Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Runaways Vol 8: Dead End Kids by Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan

Runaways Vol 8: Dead End Kids written by Joss Whedon and illustrated by Michael Ryan is the eight "normal" volume of Runaways comics. It contains issues #25–30 of the second run. You can read my reviews of earlier Runaways here and here. This review will contain some spoilers for earlier plotlines.

Rebellious teens Nico, Chase, Karolina, Molly, Victor, and Xavin are survivors. All children of super-villains, they turned against their evil elders to become amateur super heroes. But when the authorities chase them out of Los Angeles, the Runaways forge an uneasy alliance with East Coast crime boss Kingpin, placing them on a collision course with the killer vigilante Punisher. The ensuing disaster hurls the kids a century backward in time, trapping them in 1907 New York - home of child labor, quaint technology, and competing gangs of super-folk known as "Wonders." Can the Runaways get back to the future? Find out in this timeless tale of comedy, romance, and old-fashioned heroism!

I was hesitant going into this story arc because of the change of writers. Although I like some of Whedon's other work (Buffy, Firefly) I wasn't sure how that would translate into comics. The answer is, it translated just fine. Dead End Kids was an engaging story, which featured Fisk (who I've come to like thanks to the Daredevil TV show, even though I know this comic portrayal was written much earlier) and time travel.

Picking up where the previous volume left off, the Runaways are in New York for a short while and plan to go back to LA soon. But of course, nothing is ever a smooth run with this group of kids. Instead, they find themselves in questionable circumstances that lead to 1907. The question then becomes how will they get back and how many new strays will they pick up in the process?

The whole thing with Karolina's relationship with Xavin was something that bothered me in the previous comics. I just didn't think it made a whole lot of sense from the context we were actually shown for it. That is actually remedied a bit in this story arc. I still think it started weirdly, but I'm less weirded out by their continuing relationship.

The main aspect I had an issue with was one of the bad guys' powers. She was a throw-away character but the super power of making men fight over her was kind of icky. As was how implausibly clingy her 1907 dress was. Happily, she was only a small part of the story and easy enough to overlook. On the other hand, all of the other bad guys/antagonists were male, which didn't help. It's nice that the Runaways are a female-dominated ensemble cast, but it would be nicer to have seen more diversity in the characters introduced for this arc.

Overall, however, I quite enjoyed this volume. If you're up to it in Runaways but aren't sure whether to keep reading, then my advice is to go ahead. If you haven't read any Runaways, I definitely suggest starting from the start. It's a nice comic with a long stretch of continuity.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2007–2008, Marvel
Series: Runaways Vol 8, issues #25–30 of the second run which started in 2005. These issues released 2007–2008
Format read: Digital
Source: Marvel Unlimited

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