Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

05 August 2008

Runaways, v. 7: Live Fast

Collects: Runaways v. 2 #19-24 (2006-7)

Released: April 2007 (Marvel)

Format: 144 pages / color digest / $7.99 / ISBN: 9780785122678

Runaways is among Marvel’s best new concepts since Jim Shooter was forced out as editor-in-chief in 1987; certainly, it’s the best of the last few years.

Runaways, v. 7: Live Fast wraps up some of the plotlines from previous volumes, such as Gert’s death, the Gibborim, the New Pride, and Alex Wilder. Because it closes out these plots without raising many new ones, it makes Live Fast feel as if it’s coasting along on momentum — especially since most of those plots aren’t monumental. Gert’s death, for instance, deserves to be dealt with, but it’s spread over two storylines and is more interesting than anything else in the one it’s not featured in. The one that does spotlight Chase’s reaction to Gert’s death feels a little padded.

Runaways, v. 7: Live Fast cover There are some interesting parts: Xavin’s search for identity, Chase being a legal adult, etc. And there are throwaway moments like the pack of werewoofs that are amusing. Nico having a new boyfriend feels a little rushed, though. But even if the plots feel a little weak, this is still Brian K. Vaughan writing the characters he created, and that’s entertaining.

Live Fast is the final volume by Runaways co-creator Vaughan, which explains the tied-up plotlines. Vaughan wrote 42 issues of Runaways, and although its readership did not always match its quality, it’s had an excellent five year run. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly creator Joss Whedon takes over next, then comes Strangers in Paradise creator Terry Moore. Both are established names, but with the departure of one of the book’s creator and a cliffhanger opening the team into the larger Marvel Universe, you have to wonder if the book’s going to lose its specialness.

Adrian Alphona — another co-creator who is leaving the title — does the art for the final three issues of this volume; his work is excellent, as always, and the gives the book the distinctive look that says “Runaways.” Mike Norton, who does the first three issues, has a smoother style, but it fits Alphona’s work without seeming like he’s trying copy. Also, the digest size doesn’t seem to muddy his art as much as it does Alphona’s.

Live Fast ends with a teaser for the next storyline, but it’s unclear whether that story is in v. 8 of Runaways or in the Civil War: Young Avengers / Runaways miniseries. The back cover seems to suggest the Young Avengers / Runaways story happens simultaneously with Live Fast, influencing the story there. Soon, those of us who wait for the trade will finally get to see whether new writer Whedon follows up on the Civil War angle.

Rating: Marvel symbol Marvel symbol Marvel symbol Marvel symbol (4 of 5)

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