The team gets an unwelcome houseguest and quickly falls back to some old familiar habits as the Gibborim return with an ultimatum for the team.
After last issue’s surprise return of Alex Wilder, I expected a lot of sparkage in this installment and was somewhat satisfied. The team gets their first comic book action sequence in a bit since encountering Molly’s forever-young buddy a bit ago as a gigantic three-headed-monster-dog thingy comes a knocking, hot on the heels of the aforementioned and somewhat unwelcome Alex Wilder. Rowell writes a competent, if a bit by the numbers, action sequence, placing Alex at the center of it all, strategizing and directing the Runaways to the correct places and having them perform all the right moves. The team gets to show off all of their signature moves with Nico getting the most interesting tidbit in a sequence that further develops her seemingly contentious relationship with the Staff of one. Of all the many wheels that Rowell has spinning, this is the one I’m most intrigued to know more about. Nico and the Staff of one seem destined for some kind of big collision course and I can’t wait to see it happen and know why it’s happening.
The sparks and punches of the battle provided a distraction in more ways than one. While it makes a certain kind of sense that the team will fall back to old familiar patterns when dealing with an unexpected monster attack, the ease with which Alex slides back into the team dynamic felt a bit too forced to me. I certainly got the sense that I missed some things here, with Chase and Nico referencing encounters with Alex that occurred between the time he died in BkV’s original run and his appearance last issue. This may have served to ease the shock of his appearance for the characters themselves, but I felt that they seem weirdly not that anxious or threatened by the appearance of a cunning and master strategist who betrayed them and the whole world not that long ago. It would not have been at all unwelcome if someone pointed out that Alex probably provoked the dog monster and the Gibborim to coming in the first place. It undoubtedly was a pleasure for some fans to get an action sequence that harkens back to their earlier adventures, but it seems that a few key and needed emotional beats and scenes were skipped to get us there fairly quickly.
Kris Anka takes a break this month, with David LaFuente taking over art duties. La Fuente does a well-enough job with picking up the baton from Anka, giving us a sense of continuity in the looks and styles of the characters, though the feeling of this just being a fill-in artist for this installment pervades the entirety of the issue. This probably isn’t LaFuente’s fault, as the clash of styles and visual adjustment from Anka’s distinct line work and style and LaFuente’s brief to tell the story that began last issue required more consistency and less of LaFuente’s personal flourishes. What results is a competently told story that nonetheless made me miss Anka’s flair and charming aesthetic. I often wish that artistic ‘breaks’ took place on a story arc and not on a by-issue basis, as this would allow fill-ins to ‘own’ a story rather than being asked to play in another artist’s sandbox. I have no doubt LaFuente would have been able to stamp his own style on these characters if given more time and freedom, rather than trying to discipline his style to follow the aesthetic Anka began the story with. I would have loved to see what a La Fuente-designed-conceived Gibborim would have looked like in a La Fuente issue rather than being impatient to see how Anka would draw them instead.
A mostly by the numbers action sequence that takes some character beats for granted. The issue was satisfying but nonetheless made me miss Anka’s deft lines and sense of style.
Runaways #13 That Old Familiar Feeling
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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