RUNAWAYS #33, available Wednesday from Marvel Comics, presents fans with a version of the Runaways that is in constant flux. Everything is changing, regardless of how tightly each and every one of them tries to hold on. An impressive feat, given Molly’s strength.
The Runaways have been through it all. The best, and the worst, that the Marvel universe has to throw at them. However, the events involving Dr. Justice may very well have pushed this group of children (young adults now, really) too far.
Runaways #33, much like its predecessor, promises much change. In the last issue, we saw three of the crew heading back to school, alongside young Molly. That’s an unexpected move, for a group that typically has zero faith in the system.
Naturally, this act raises several questions. How long can this sense of normalcy (admittedly one full of adjustment and pain) last? What is the motivation for going back to school? And how long will outside forces allow the Runaways their freedom?
It’s important to remember current events when heading into this issue. There has been a lot happening in the wider Marvel ‘verse that the Runaways have largely been ignoring. They’re lucky to not have been pulled into many of the major events that seem to drag all the heroes under on a regular basis.
In a way, Runaways #33 is fairly jarring. Not for all the insane things they’re going up against – but because they’re now railing against normal teenage battles. The contrast can be quite shocking when put up against their normal adventures.
It’s just further proof that Rainbow Rowell is trying to push these characters to new points, sneaking in character growth and surprises all over the place. Speaking of surprises, there are quite a few in store in this issue.
Some come with a sense of humor, mostly revolving around one (newer) Runaway in particular. Others carry a sense of foreshadowing, as they should. On that note, I really appreciate that Rowell hasn’t let that subplot drop, as I’m eager to see where it leads. While admittedly dreading it all at the same time.
It’s a complex situation that they’re in, and I honestly don’t think they’ve yet to grasp the full scope of it all. All of this makes for an interesting foundation for what happens next. A surprise cameo, or rather, two surprise cameos. In a way, it actually feels like it shouldn’t be a surprise. And yet it is. It adds yet another layer to the mess that the Runaways are trying to work through.
The artwork inside Runaways #33 is bright and rich at the same time. While the series as a whole does tend to lean towards brighter colors, it just makes the darker moments (or the details that lack color) all the starker.
Andres Genolet did a great job of portraying a variety of scenes, from the classic high school trope to the slightly chaotic home life that the Runaways are more used to. However, it’s the last five or so pages of this issue that really steal the show. Those panels are full of life and action, showing a sense of animation that many of the characters seemed to (intentionally) lack up until that point.
Obviously, Dee Cunniffe’s had a major impact on this issue. The colors are bold, as is the style for this series, but it goes beyond that. Karolina’s coloring plays an important role in this issue, and it also feels like the background tones are leaning towards certain characters at times. It’s all very cleverly done.
VC’s Joe Caramagna’s lettering is perfection, as always. There are two scenes that really showcase the finesse in this case. Ironically, both scenes are fairly distinct from one another. Yet both imply a certain level of activity and intensity.
All things considered, it’s good to have the Runaways back. Even if several of their members are going through their own version of an existential crisis. Runaways #33 made for a fascinating issue, one that brought about plenty of change, and even more hints for what is to come.