By Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Runaways 12 focuses in on two different pairings, which both eventually blossom into romance. In both cases, though, those romances are born of a deep friendship, of a deep intimacy which has been developed throughout several volumes of adventures together. Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka, and Matthew Wilson spend most of this issue digging deep into their intimacy in all its forms, be it emotional intimacy or physical.
In fact, those two kinds of intimacy not only manifest in a myriad of different ways, but are inextricably linked as well. Take Nico and Karolina at their fundraiser — Nico’s mere presence, even if she’s clear across the room, provides Karolina the comfort she needs to make it through a difficult evening.
That dedication to simply being there on Nico’s behalf, and Karolina’s realization of how much that means to her, eventually leads to their kiss (and many more, apparently). I do hope we get to eventually see Karolina’s presence helping Nico in the same way, though, because it looks like her powers are malfunctioning, and thus she’ll no doubt need all the support she can get sooner rather than later.
Emotional and physical intimacy go hand-in-hand with Victor and Gert as well. Throughout all their scenes in this issue Anka makes it a point to include both characters together in almost every single panel, breaking this rule only for quick reaction shots or serious monologues. Due to Victor’s status as an immobile head this kind of closeness is essentially required, but this kind isn’t.
Victor and Gert are close enough that Victor is able to open up and finally reveal his secret, the painful burden of Vin Vision’s death that he’s been carrying since his return, and Gert comforts him not only through words, through truly understanding him in a way maybe even he doesn’t, but through her presence, by being there, by being close enough to provide comfort and catharsis.
I love the effect Anka and Wilson employ in that third panel. Victor and Gert are surrounded by a bit of a barrier, cementing their closeness and allowing it to shield them from the rest of the world. The creative team employs this same effect later in the issue when Nico and Karolina are finally about to kiss as well; in both instances it’s when the two are at their closest, their most open and intimate, but while that moment for Karolina and Nico is the moment they finally admit their love, for Victor and Gert that moment comes later. It’s the intimacy they show here that allows them to eventually come to their romantic realization, because they’ve seen how good they are together, how good they are for each other, how close they truly are and how powerful that kind of intimacy can truly be.
Again, that kind of intimacy is born of years of friendship, as even Alex Wilder realizes. Though he’s betrayed and tried to kill the rest of the Runaways on more than one occasion, in his moment of need, where does he turn? To his old friends, of course. Those bonds are clearly powerful, but it should be interesting to see whether the two new intra-team romances strengthen or threaten those bonds as we go forward.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?