BENT WOOKEE COMIX (..we have issues..)

BENT WOOKEE COMIX (..we have issues..)
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Review of Runaways #1

Story by: Terry Moore

Art and Cover by: Humberto Ramos

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Brief Synopsis: The Runaways are back for yet another go around. This is the third iteration of the book which started way back in 2002 under the old Tsunami imprint. Remember that? It was a line of comics that was supposed to appeal to manga fans and had numerous titles from Mystique to Sentinel to Emma Frost. There were 9 books in total but 'Runaways' is still the only book being published today. Volume 1 of the series was a nice little gem, and told the story of the group being forced together by circumstance and finding out one of their own was a traitor. The second volume dealt with the kids on the run and probably had the strongest stories, including the death of Gert. When Joss Whedon took over for series creator Brian K. Vaughn, things started going downhill. The first arc was good but then there was a time travel arc that was almost too boring to read. The kids go back in time, pick up a new member, try not to change things, and go home. Now, volume 3 kicks off with a new #1 because Marvel is a fan of renumbering their properties to boost sales. Did it work?

Eh, not exactly. The issue starts out with members of Karolina's alien race hunting for her throughout the galaxy. She disappears from their radar, presumably because she was in the past, then pops back up again and they now know she is on Earth. The Runaways decided to return to their old stomping grounds of Los Angeles, but not back to their old base in the Tar Pits because that was compromised many issues ago. They find an old Pride safe house in Malibu and are attacked by security daemons(?) for a third of the issue. After they take over the house, it is decided someone has to get a job. Chase is elected because he is the oldest. He decides to try to work at a radio station that is in a mall or something. The head radio guy (obviously a rip off of Howard Stern) has a spat with his boss and possibly suggests the man have a heart attack. Chase begs for a job and the boss somehow ends up plummeting towards certain death before Klara, the newest Runaway member, saves him with her plant growing powers. The kids return home only to be found by Karolina's alien brethren, who are looking for revenge. They blame Karolina for the destruction of their home world.

Positives: Not too many actually. The storyline with Karolina's people has potential. The Runaways need a threat to well, run away from, and introducing a new villainous group makes sense. Their parents are all dead as are some of the other people who were trying to hurt them. New villain blood is always a good thing.

Always got to like when Kevin Smith gets a shout out in the book. Xavin, who is a Skrull, at one point turns into Mr. Smith and they have some fun with the concept. It does get a little tedious though because Moore couldn't let people get the subtle joke and eventually pounds it into the ground.

Negatives: Security daemons? Seriously? This just had dumb written all over it. The concept, the execution, the length of the fight. The fight is literally one third of the book and it just all feels like filler. It is almost like the writer went into the office with a way to start and end the issue, and filled the middle with a bunch of fluff. Not a good way to start off a 'new' series.

Want more filler? How about a Howard Stern knock off who perhaps has some sort of powers? Another third of the book is dedicated to Chase meeting this disc jockey and asking for a job. There is a mystery of how the boss got tossed off the top floor, but that resolution will have to wait. This too felt tacked on and pointless.

Klara, the new girl, saves the boss from falling to his death by growing a rain forest in a mall, and no one sees her do it? Come on! There is a difference between insulting a reader's intelligence and flat out thinking they are all morons.

Not sure I like the moving back to LA. It seems lately, especially in the X-Men line, that Marvel is trying to move their teams around so they aren't all based in New York, which I am perfectly fine with. They moved the Uncanny/Astonishing X-Men teams to San Francisco, X-Factor to Detroit, and even every state is supposed to have an Avengers Initiative team. Having the Runaways go back to LA takes away from why they left there in the first place. Couldn't they moved them to Florida or Texas or some place?

Marvel is afraid of lesbians. Karolina came out as a lesbian and has a girlfriend on the team, Xavin the Skrull. The problem is, Xavin is shown in a male form 97% of the time. I know they tried to explain this in volume two but it still seems like a cop out to me. Why can't the two girls be shown together? They don't have to beat the reader over the head with it but they can't stop inferring it's really not a gay relationship because Xavin looks male and Karolina looks female. Be like Wildstorm with the Authority and let the gayness fly. Especially for two lesbians. Who doesn't want to see that?

Conclusion: I have to say that I wasn't very impressed with the first issue of the new series. All the characters are the same and other than the location it appears that not much has changed. Something has though because I'm not as jazzed about this book as I used to be. Maybe things will pick up next issue. They better if they hope to gain more readers because this effort was lackluster at best.

Disagree with my review? Leave me a comment.

And remember, you can buy all your funny books at the greatest comic book store in town: Bent Wookee Comix.

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