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Review: Runaways #2

runawaysIt’s final exam day at the Victor Von Doom Institute for Gifted Youths.  This is the day where the students of the institute put everything they have learned into practice, wanting to prove to their headmaster Valeria Von Doom, that they belong in the institute and are strong enough to serve Doom.

Being late to the exam sign up, due to serving detention because of a disagreement between Jubilee and Sanna, our rag tag band of students have been put together as team Puce, and must rely on each other to pass this test.  Amadeus Cho quickly takes charge of the group, telling them to lay low in a “glitch” in the simulation room, and just survive.  At that moment, a wall slides open and reveals a squad of training drones ready to attack the students.  Instead of running, Sanna charges head long into the battle, forcing the other members of her team to engage.  Barely holding their own, they come to the realization that they have to retreat and the team tries to pull back…but lose Pixie in the cross fire, watching her teleported away, to see her after the exercise.   The kids run for the glitch and intend to keep their heads down and wait it out….until they discover the bodies.  Shocked and horrified, the kids quickly realize they weren’t fighting against training drones during the exam…they were fighting other students.  It all falls into place for them, Dooms “only the strong shall survive” motto playing in their heads…when Jubilee discovers Pixie lying dead with the other defeated students.  At the moment, the kids decide they have to leave the institute; if they’re found out, or it is found out they know the truth behind the exam, they will end up like their fallen school mates.   Sneaking out of their rooms, Jubilee getting Molly Hayes to go with them, and hot wiring a transport, the students make good on their escape….but realize one of their own is missing.

I really enjoyed the first issue of this Secret Wars book, but to be honest I lost some of that enjoyment reading this second issue.  The reveal of the true nature of the exam was good, but the in-fighting and little quips between the kids just feels flat for me, like something we’ve seen in countless team books before.  Nothing has really made these characters stand out, to me anyways, though I did enjoy them escaping from the school and now truly becoming ‘runaways’.  Noelle Stevenson does an ok job with the story, but the dialogue and character interaction really did nothing for me.  Sanford Greene’s art is again, ok for me, but didn’t really shine.  It definitely captures the youthful feel of the book, but some of the facial expressions and depictions in certain panels felt a little rough, though I enjoyed the darker colours through the issue, adding to the darker tone from the first issue.

As I mentioned, this second issue lost a lot of steam from the first issue.  It felt to me that the characters themselves just lost something for me between the issues; there really wasn’t any growth here, and the story just played itself out as one note for me.  I know not all of the Secret Wars books are going to be number one with me, but after the high issue one left me on, issue two dropped me down hard.

Story: Noelle Stevenson Art: Sanford Greene
Story: 5 Art: 4.5 Overall: 4.75 Recommendation: Pass

2 comments

  • I have to disagree. This issue is possibly one of my favorite Secret Wars titles. It’s Hunger Games for Marvel (which is how I’m selling it to customers in my comic book store :D ). This is definitely a coming of age story for these guys. The world is not black and white, and adults are monsters (so is Valeria). Breaking up Cloak and Dagger was heartbreaking. I can only imagine what tortures she’s going to go through. I’m truly wondering where Bucky will fit into this, because he’s been on every cover.
    Out of all the titles, this is one of the few I’m jonesing to get my hands on.

    • Thank you for the comment hopemullinax! I’m glad you’re enjoying this title. Maybe it’s because these tie ins are trying to tell their story in a limited number of issues, but I didn’t get the Hunger Games feel. I do see how this is supposed to be a coming of age story, and how their world has crumbled because of what they’ve learned, but I just didn’t ‘feel’ it when all this went down. And I saw Cloak ad Dagger being split up coming, so it wasn’t very emotional for me…to me, it all played out like many books with the same themes before it. And yes, PLEASE finally give us some Bucky. He’s been on every cover, but we only saw him briefly in issue #1. Again, thank you for reading my review and leaving your thoughts :)
      P.S. – for a really good coming of age/Hunger Games feel book, I suggest you read (or re-read if you’ve read it already) Avengers Arena.