Runaways (2005 Series) #26
Quick Rating: Good, but…
Title: Dead-End Kids Part 2
Things get worse when the Runaways run afoul of the Punisher.
Writer: Joss Whedon
Pencils: Michael Ryan
Inks: Rick Ketcham
Colors: Christina Strain
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Nick Lowe
Cover Art: Jo Chen
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As the Runaways hunt down the package the Kingpin wanted, they find themselves facing off not only against a bloodthirsty monster-man with wings, but against the Punisher himself. A lot of people seemed to dislike Joss Whedon’s first issue of Runaways. I was not one of them – I thought it was pretty good, although I had my reservations. I’ve still got reservations, but there’s also a lot to like about this issue.
First of all, Whedon’s gift for dialogue continues to impress. Say what you will about the credibility stretch concerning the kids working with the Kingpin, anytime you can include lines like “Why aren’t you awesomed by me?” without a bit of irony, you’ve started to win me over. He’s also got a good grasp on the characters, particularly little Molly, who seems to be becoming the star of this story arc. The ethical issues of the kids working for the Kingpin are addressed this issue as well, and I feel a bit better about it, and we go into a dandy cliffhanger that promises a storyline that I’m quite looking forward to. What’s coming up next isn’t exactly groundbreaking in a superhero comic book, but it’s at least something the Runaways haven’t done before.
That said, I’ve still got problems with aspects of the book. Like I said, the dialogue was good, but at times it seemed a little self-aware. Another came with the Punisher – I can buy him pointing a gun at Chase, at Victor… maybe even some of the girls, but crazy as he’s been painted lately, I somehow just can’t picture Frank Castle pointing a gun at a girl as young as Molly. (Okay, granted, I don’t think he ever points the gun at her directly, but the implied threat is about the same.) There are some other little quibbles that all seem to come together that put me ill at ease at parts – it isn’t enough to make me hate the book, but it’s like feeling an old pair of shoes that suddenly don’t fit quite right. Maybe it’s just growing pains, maybe once Whedon has worked on the characters more, that feeling will go away.
Michael Ryan’s artwork, fortunately, doesn’t have any of those problems. She’s got a great style that works really well with this book, and Christina Strain’s colors pop out all over – this is visually a very appealing package.
This book really is okay. I think Whedon just needs a little time to get his footing.