Runaways #25 Review

by Charles Martin on October 02, 2019

Runaways #25 Review
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Andrés Genolet
Colourists: Federico Blee & Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

A milestone issue confronts the Runaways with big changes. Karolina lets the cat out of the bag regarding her superhero activities, and mundane forces push the family out of the Hostel.

Thanks to smart internet detective work, we already know Marvel's upcoming "Doc Justice and the J-Team" will be the Runaways. This is where that story starts, with the endearingly goofy Doc Justice lending a hand to Karolina and Nico. 

That snowballs naturally into breaking the whole thing down for their family. While the story hasn't yet hit the "let's all put on capes" point, it's not far away.

Rainbow Rowell's script does an excellent balancing act, tying the arrival of Doc Justice to an entirely unrelated (is it?) plot about innocent (are they?) developers digging down toward the Runaways' base. 

The tension between the two challenges keeps the team hopping and discourages excessive navel-gazing. But it's not just an accelerant speeding up the pace; tossing the family out of its home makes it more vulnerable to change -- for good or ill.

And speaking of "ill," it really wouldn't take much navel-gazing for the team to get suspicious of Doc Justice. The beloved and long-established protector of Los Angeles! That none of the Runaways (except Victor) has heard of! He knows the kids from knowing their parents! He describes his 20-year heroing career as "stamping out the Pride's fires!"

This guy practically has a neon sign above his head flashing "I am a fake hero the Pride created for sinister purposes," is what I'm saying. 

I have total confidence in this title's creators, so whether that suspicion is confirmed or contradicted as the story develops, I'm sure it will make for a satisfying read.

And to circle back around, by combining Doc Justice's introduction with the family's eviction from the Hostel, Ms. Rowell keeps the kids from looking too foolish for missing the gigantic red flags flying over the older hero. They're mega distracted right now!

The frantic pace calls for a lot of emoting and interaction, and the art team is more than capable of delivering. Andrés Genolet continues to build productively on the stylistic foundation Kris Anka created for this title. These are still, visually, the Runaways we love, but Mr. Genolet's more organic finishing style allows for even wider, subtler ranges of expression. That versatility is put to great use here, with the art doing just as much as the script to characterize the Runaways and reveal their emotions.

Also, Mr. Genolet looooves Old Lace. Every single drawing of the dino is divine. Take extra time to appreciate them!

Federico Blee and Matthew Wilson handle the colours very well. I believe Mr. Wilson's contribution is the flashback fight-introduction of Doc Justice; his more saturated colours lend the moment exactly the larger-than-life cape-tastic feel it needs. 

The colours for the contemporary Hostel scenes are much softer, paying a lot of attention to complex lighting and the way the environment affects the characters. But Mr. Blee isn't afraid of cranking up the intensity himself; the sun-drenched outdoors scenes are positively bathing in California vibrancy.

Runaways #25 is a roaring success, briskly throwing monkey wrenches into the family's status quo without losing a step when it comes to complex characterization. It's the team we love facing brand-new challenges, and it's written and illustrated, as usual, with notable and endearing skill.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
I am putting a large long-odds bet not only on "Doc Justice is secretly evil" but also on that plot point colliding with the "Gib desperately needs to eat a soul" plot point somewhere down the line.