Comic Book Review: Runaways #5
It’s a great week to be a fan of the Runaways if you are a reader who is keeping up with the book and enjoying the live-action show that just wrapped up its first season on Hulu. Having said that, the last issue took bold steps in emphasizing how you can’t force change on people who have finally found some sort of peace with themselves. They are what you call a dysfunctional family and not one that you would expect to stay together forever.
The boldest step taken in a new direction was Gert’s decision to stay behind with Molly after reality set in that things can’t be like they were two years ago. It sucks when someone like Gert can’t even imagine what they have all been through in such a short amount of time to lead to this fracture in the team, but she at least was able to reach a conclusion that some are better off on their own. For the sake of the story this was best for us to further explore this new life for Molly. From the minute we caught up with Molly, something just felt off about her grandmother and the mystery of what kind of experiments she does. I mean for Molly’s parents to end up where they did, was it hard not to assume that there was something more to this family? Just Molly’s expression alone when Gert made her decision said a lot about something being wrong. The truth was pretty shocking. You expected something along the lines of what is really going on, but not exactly what was going on behind the scenes.
Understanding Molly’s situation in its entirety brought clarity to her life that we couldn’t have gotten if no one came to see her. I actually enjoyed the contrast in how things turned out for Molly compared to Karolina. Well actually compared to most of the team who has been left with some scars. Her life isn’t perfect, but you could see why she wanted to stay and feels like she had a place to call home. Emotion genuinely began to set in when it came to Gert accepting her place in this world. She’s a rebel, that’s what you love about her, but what happens when she stops fighting? That was the depressing thought which floods these pages when given no other option but to grow up. It’s a familiar place that I’m sure a lot of us were in at some point in our lives, and that is what makes this so engaging.
I wouldn’t exactly have called Chase’s new project a project, or something that would shock you. Surprise you maybe, but nothing that should shock you. What developed on his end I’m actually glad wasn’t dragged out longer than it should have. He is a character in desperate need of direction and what is revealed to him was the perfect motivation to do something productive with himself.
It was only disappointing when this issue seemed to hype up something important concerning Nico and her super-power feeling more like a prison with every spell she casts. There was something addressing this feeling, but it was nothing more than a thought that came and went. If you were looking forward to something developing around that or even answering what happened to her during the times she was gone, then this wasn’t that issue. It’s not as if you would have wanted everything to go on pause to get into Nico’s story, but they made this seem like something it really wasn’t.
There was plenty to take in this issue from the art team. You can tell they have fun with a lot of the things they are able to do with these characters in new situations. For as gut-wrenching as it was to see Gert defeated and say she was staying behind with Molly, that was nothing in comparison to the way they capture her after. It was like looking at someone devoid of motivation and those just aren’t the words one would normally use for a character like Gert. As for Molly, growth could be seen from the way she handles herself around Gert. She understands her situation, and has a way of adapting that is entertaining for her range in expressions. It was certainly different to see her a fair number of times without her hat too. In general, something I enjoyed was the use of close-ups to show concern or disappointment. You expect drama, and Kris Anka had a solid approach to getting that out of these characters without being over the top. That aside, I loved that the color work for this issue really highlighted some comical moments. This is a book where nothing is overly peppy, though there are moments where there can be positivity. Whether it was Molly’s attempts to communicate with Gert secretly or Chase’s “accomplishment”, the bright colors and effects made a big different in adding energy to said panels.
This impossible choice that Molly makes by the end of Runaways #5 was probably the moment we were all waiting for since the start of this volume. It goes without saying that there wasn’t much to go off of to assume where this new story would take these characters. They all moved on and they were not the same as they were when they were close. This issue gets the ball rolling and not a moment too soon.