Impossible Decisions at Impossible Ages in Runaways 10

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Teacher: Daria, what about your goal?
Daria: Uhmmm, I don’t have any.
Teacher: Oh come, Daria! You must have some goal.
Daria: My goal is not to wake up at forty with the bitter realization that I’ve wasted my life in a job I hate, because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens.

Daria, Gifted

Society asks a lot of teenagers, especially when it comes to big decisions. These same children who aren’t allowed to drink, vote, or often even have a say in how they present themselves to the world are expected to commit to a career path, often burying themselves in debt to do it; it’s a daunting decision for anyone, but especially for young people who aren’t quite sure who they really are and what they want out of life yet. None of the young heroes (or “villains”) of Runaways 10 are contemplating college at the moment, but they’re nonetheless faced with similarly difficult, life-altering decisions that they simply just aren’t ready, or even qualified, to make yet. Continue reading

How Not to Communicate in Runaways 9

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Miscommunication has always been a major threat in superhero comics: after all, one of the most famous tropes of the medium is the idea of pitting heroes against each other simply because they didn’t take the time to talk and explain themselves first. Of course, the Runaways have never really been superheroes, so the miscommunication that plagues their team is a more subdued, realistic one. Don’t let that fool you, though: it’s easily the greatest threat the team faces right now. Continue reading

(Not) Learning from Experience in Runaways 8

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

“My advice is: stand firm for what you believe in, until and unless logic and experience prove you wrong.”

Daria, Is It College Yet?

One major advantage of growing up and getting older is experience. Being young means screwing up (a lot), but every screw up teaches you something new, hopefully helping you avoid similar mistakes in the future. That’s only if you take those screw-ups to heart, though. That seems to be a problem for the Runaways (and even for the visiting Julie Powers) in Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s Runaways 8 — they’re so busy holding on to what they once were that they can’t see how badly they need to grow. They can’t learn from their own mistakes. Continue reading

Growth, Chemistry, History, and Change in Runaways 7

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The density of prose, as well as the ample opportunities for dialogue and conversations, make novels a format that excels in rich, deep characterization; there’s just more room and opportunity to get into a character’s head than in most other mediums. It’s no surprise, then, that writer and novelist Rainbow Rowell would excel in this regard, but it is a pleasant surprise that she’s been able to translate those skills so perfectly to her comic book work on Runaways. This is a title where every character feels real and three dimensional, more than just archetypes or action stars but like actual kids with actual concerns, desires, deep-seated fears, and the ability to grow and change. Most importantly, Rowell makes us feel the effects of their history, of everything they’ve gone through since first being created 15 years ago. Continue reading

It’s Family That Hurts the Most in Runaways 6

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I love this line, not only because it’s so perfectly in character for the prickly Gert, but because it really sums up the relationship all these kid had with their parents: the people who raised them, who tried to kill them, each other, and the entirety of the human race, the people whose deaths they were partially responsible for, and the people whose deaths they still feel guilty for, even years later. In Runaways 6 Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka add another complex, loving, evil guardian to the list of loved ones who will forever haunt these kids: Molly’s grandmother. Continue reading

Found Family is an Attractive Force in Runaways 5

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

The band is finally getting back together in Runaways 5. After a few issues that establish the new normal, make sure all the characters are alive and show us what has and hasn’t changed in their personalities, Rainbow Rowell is ready to give the former Runaways a common goal. There is no better person to have at the center than Molly, the character who is simultaneously the most and least vulnerable. Continue reading

The Uncertainty of Youth in Runaways 4

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

While almost none would admit it — and probably less are even aware of it — most teenagers crave stability. Being young is a time of terrifying uncertainty — not just the almost paralyzing possibilities of the future, but the more mundane uncertainties of crushes, changing bodies, and rapidly evolving places in society. Throw superpowers and evil parents into the mix, and it’s no wonder the Runaways have often felt so lost. In lives practically defined by constant change and uncertainty, the one constant they’ve always had is each other. How are they supposed to handle losing that? Continue reading

Runaways 4

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Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Runaways 4, originally released September 23rd, 2015. This issue is a Secret Wars tie-in. For more Secret Wars coverage from the week, check back Tuesday for our Secret Wars Round-Up!

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“If there’s one thing I love, it’s teens who stay teens even when the situation is really dire, and so even when they’re running for their lives they never quite lose sight of crushes, pretensions, anxiety about their future and who they’re going to be. Sometimes those situations can feel just as life-or-death as…actual life-or-death.”

Noelle Stevenson, Runaways 4 letters page

Spencer: I loved Runaways 4′s letters page; the sheer unfettered enthusiasm and creativity from readers warmed my heart. But to me, the most insightful moment of that page is the above quote from Runaways writer Noelle Stevenson, which explains the greatest strength of both this mini-series and its finale magnificently. To these characters, coming to a romantic realization is just as significant as escaping from the Doom Institute; Stevenson and artist Sanford Greene realize that and treat every victory with equal importance. It makes for an uplifting, triumphant finale. Continue reading

Wolverine and the X-Men 37

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Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Wolverine and the X-Men 37, originally released October 23rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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Patrick: Marvel and DC are known for their outrageously fun sandboxes. Each publisher has an impossibly large sack of toys to play with, and creators work their entire lives to have access to them. And when they finally get their hands on those toys, the gloves come off, and the story telling gets ambitious, bombastic and spectacular in every sense of that word. Brian Bendis, Brian Wood and Jason Aaron may have been given access to a shallower sandbox, but their gleeful deployment of several versions and generations of the same handful of characters has cast an enormous number of iconic characters into the spotlight. We’ve had the pleasure of watching them wrestle with the emotional result of all of these characters coming together, but Wolverine and the X-Men 37 finally gives us the Battle Royale (of the Atom) we’ve been waiting for. It trips every pleasure-center in my lizard brain, and I’m suddenly 9 years old, playing with my toys in my childhood bedroom. In this way, Battle of the Atom achieves something amazing — not only do I have to confront time traveling X-Men, I have to reconcile my own prepubescent excitement, as it rockets from the past and lands squarely in the present. Continue reading

Wolverine and the X-Men 36

Alternating Currents: Wolverine and the X-Men 36, Drew and TaylorToday,  Drew and Taylor are discussing Wolverine and the X-Men 36 originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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Isn’t it worth a few bruised children to save the entire future?

Xavier

Drew: Sacrifice is a funny thing. If helping others requires harming yourself, people will hail you as a hero, but if it requires someone else being hurt — even with the same net result — people hem and haw about ends justifying means. Obviously, the sticking point is free will; it’s perfectly okay to willingly do something yourself, but each of us must be free to make that choice. Of course, that can become a bit of a sticking point in time travel narratives, where there’s a sense that certain things have to happen — Sarah Connor has to survive to give birth John, Marty McFly’s parents have to kiss at the enchantment under the sea dance — in order for the story to even be possible. We tend to focus on the potential paradoxes there, often forgetting that the affected characters have effectively had their free will’s sacrificed by whatever time-travelers happen to be meddling with their pasts. The morality of that act is under scrutiny in Wolverine and the X-Men 36, as Jason Aaron adds new players to both sides of the debate. Continue reading