REVIEW: Runaways #30

Written by: Joss Whedon

Penciled by: Michael Ryan

Inkers: Rick Ketcham, Victor Olazaba, Roland Paris and Craig Yeung

Colorist: Christina Strain

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Artist: Jo Chen

Company: Marvel

Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat: you would struggle to find a bigger Joss Whedon fan than me. I own the DVDs for every season of Buffy and Angel, along with Firefly and Serenity. If I see his name on a comic, I buy it – and I am rarely disappointed. But there is a part of me that wishes I had the luck to be born, say, 40 years in the future – because then I could just buy all of his works whenever I felt like it, since they would have been published many, many years in the past, and I could be unconcerned with how well he stuck to a schedule. Because it’s a simple fact that when dealing with a product that has an expected delivery date, the appreciation of that product is rather easily affected by how well it meets that expectation.

Runaways #30 is the end of Whedon’s run on Brian K. Vaughn’s tale of super-powered teenagers. To give you some perspective, Runaways #29 came out in February. So… yeah. And as with any Whedonesque product, you take the good with the bad.

Okay, the bad. First off: there are simply too many characters, most of which have been introduced just in the past 3 issues. Now, it’s one thing to ask your audience to keep track of 20 or 30 characters when you publish a book on a regular monthly schedule. But when you take over four months between issues? That’s ridiculous. (For the record: I don’t know if the delay is specifically due to Whedon, but considering how long it took for “Giant-Sized Astonishing X-Men #1” to hit the shelves, he appears to be suspect numero uno.)

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And I’m still trying to figure out what all of these characters actually added to the book: we learned absolutely nothing about practically any of them outside of their code names and (sometimes) their powers. And what exactly what the deal with The Adjudicator? We just had to have a Punisher-esque character throughout the run?

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The good: we get a new character, and someone who fills a gap in one of the main characters lives (oh, the lengths I will go to give you info and not spoil the issue). Two characters who have been around since the beginning go through a MAJOR character upheaval, and in a very, very good way. The artwork is beautiful, and incredibly detailed (though again, not “three month delay” detailed). And I still love the 1907-speak.

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As I said: I love Joss. And I love BKV, and I love this title (in fact, it’s the only Marvel title I collect that my wife actually reads). If this had stuck to a monthly schedule, I would probably give the entire run a rating of 8 or 9 out of 10, because I did love Joss’ interpretations of the Kingpin (“Mmmm, chocolate”), the Punisher (“Punisher’s war journal: Hhhhhhhh…”), Molly and Xavin (and the reaction of Klara to Xavin and Karolina’s relationship). And the cover to issue 26 is possibly my favorite comic cover of all time. But seriously, next time – free up your time before making this kind of a commitment, ok?

Rating: 6 out of 10