Runaways 29 CoverWritten by: Joss Whedon

Pencilled by: Michael Ryan

Inkers: Rick Ketcham with Andrew Hennessy

Colorist: Christina Strain

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Artist: Jo Chen

Company: Marvel

I went through an honest, semi-serious bout of depression when “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, and “Firefly” all disappeared from my television screen. I had felt rather “close” to many of the characters on these shows, and it saddened me that I wouldn’t be able to follow them any longer. But wow – if I had known what the cancellation of his TV shows would do to Joss Whedon in terms of comics production, I would’ve started my own write-in campaign years ago.

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“Buffy Season 8” by itself would have been enough for me, let alone the enjoyment I’ve gotten from his run on “Astonishing X-Men”. But his recent “switch-off” with Brian K. Vaughn on the “Runaways” title has opened my eyes to yet another excellent read.

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In the current storyline, the group of Runaways (a group of children and adolescents with random super-powers) has jumped back in time 1907. But, this isn’t any early 20th century that you’re familiar with: yes, there is a fight in the last issue with some strike busters, but the number of super-powered folks almost seems to outnumber the normal humans in this neighborhood. Meanwhile, the kids are trying to figure out how to get home, various personal relationships are in flux, they try to convince a young girl to join them, a couple of villians from their past show up, and no less than three other super groups of the time are preparing for a turf war.

So basically, Joss is really packing a lot into each page.

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In fact, that’s probably my only real (small) complaint (besides the rampant anachronisms): the sheer size of this storyline. It’s honestly difficult to keep up with the ever-expanding number of sub-groups, let alone the cast of individual characters. There’s no less than 25 named characters in this 28 page book – that’s a lot to keep straight at one time.

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However, even I will admit that’s somewhat minor nit-picking: especially in a comic book format, where it’s easy enough to flip back and forth between pages. It also helps greatly that the art team of Michael Ryan, Rick Ketcham, Andrew Hennessy and Christina Strain are able to give each character such a distinct style. Nonetheless, I would advise picking up at least the last three back issues, as well as a good read-through of their Wikipedia page, for your own sanity if nothing else.

Rating: 8 / 10

 Read the first five pages of the issue here

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