Reeling from the final mission as The J-Team, the Runaways return to the Hostel. But just because they survived the battle doesn't mean they remain unscarred. With relationships strained and their confidence shattered, the teens try to figure out how to go forward.
Runaways #32 shows our team returning to their home and lives after their disastrous foray into the world of superhero-ing in the last arc. As the Runaways figure out what happens next, the comic’s tone shifts back to the slice of life tone that Rainbow Rowell has maintained for most of the series. Due to this transition, the issue proves to be a fresh start for those who may want to jump in or have forgotten due to the delay from Covid.
The art by Natacha Bustos and colors by Dee Cunniffe do a phenomenal job of carrying the emotional weight of the first few pages. The teens are devastated by the betrayal from the last issue. Their disappointment in themselves and each other is clear. It works to the point that it’s the pages with fewer words that seem to say more. The cover art by Kris Anka is equally fantastic, though like the solicited preview better suited for the previous issue.
Rainbow Rowell does a good job of intriguing what is to come next. A tease of potential time travel shenanigans here. A taste of Gib’s potential when he eats souls. A potential retcon of a retcon early in this run that would tie Runaways to the current Marvel Universe status quo.
The dialogue in the issue works to show the cracks still in the team. And while things have seemed on the edge of blowing up for thirty issues, it manages to not present as dragged out. Instead, Rowell is present a slow burn that builds anticipation for the inevitable blowout. In contrast to the dialogue, the narration feels like it misses the mark. The detached narration had worked in past issues, giving nostalgia to the tone used in the past. But in this issue, having the characters’ emotions told by this outside voice dampened the scene’s impact.
Runaways #32 (Rowell, Bustos, & Cunniffe) is heavy with emotion and potential change, creating either a good entrance for new readers or a unraveling of the team as we know it.
Runaways #32: Fresh Start or Road to the End
Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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