Runaways #33 Review

by Charles Martin on February 03, 2021

Runaways #33 Review
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Andrés Genolet
Colourist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Runaways is back! But I have to start with a warning:

You know that thing that sometimes happens where the recap blurb on the credit page spoils a plot development in the issue?

Runaways #33 has the worst example I've ever seen. The recap spoils not just this issue but an arc-wide mystery that the comic proper may be several issues away from explaining.

So! Read this issue by all means -- it upholds the title's track record for excellence -- but do your best to slide past the credit page without reading anything. 

(Further editorial mess: Although the teaser page at the end says #34 is coming in April, editor Nick Lowe has confirmed via tweet that the title's back on a monthly schedule and we get the next one on March 3.)

With all that out of the way, I can get down to reviewing the comic itself.

What's up with our Runaways? Gert has second thoughts about her decision to re-enter high school. Victor struggles to patch up their relationship. Nico is unpleasantly surprised by her transformation into the team mom. Chase is off on his own, mysteriously distancing himself from his friends.

And Molly has made a call that produces big drama for the Runaways. I don't want to spoil the issue's main conflict, but I remind you that Molly is a mutant ...

The comic relief part of the entrée is capably delivered by Gib, who's experiencing the joys of being a high school football star. The deadly-serious mirror to Gib's fun and games comes from Karolina, who is struggling with the injuries she sustained in the last arc. Nico does her best to care for her girlfriend.

My first and highest kudo has to go to Rainbow Rowell for the bold decision to keep Karolina sidelined by her wounds in this arc. It is a quintessentially "Runaways" move; all of this team's best stories draw a line of harsh realism under the fantastical developments of the Marvel universe.

There's plenty of outstanding work to appreciate all around the creative team. Andrés Genolet delivers another clean, distinctive serving of character art, effortlessly conveying both action and emotion. And a notable little detail: When he draws Nico eating pancakes, it is adorable.

Dee Cunniffe is continuing to kill it on the colours. This issue features a lot of outdoor scenes, and he bathes them (except the cloudy moment) in a bright glow that screams "California." In the same way that Ian Herring has built a distinctive Jersey City palette over in Magnificent Ms. Marvel, Dee Cunniffe has a personal colour scheme for this title that is unique and terrific.

Of course, it wouldn't be Runaways without sharp character development, and Ms. Rowell provides that in spades. As I already mentioned, Karolina's injuries provide the issue's characterization high point, but every character gets meaningful attention. Molly might be at the bottom of the list -- she's on cruise control until the final-act conflict starts -- but she still gets some excellent lines reacting to the challenges her family is facing.

Runaways smashes back onto the shelves with #33, a delightful little adventure that completely lives up to the title's reputation for greatness. Every character moves forward, the art is delicious, and a great big-picture threat gives the last act a real punch. As usual, this isn't a great place to pick up the story in media res, but for faithful followers of the title, this issue is a happy, long-overdue treat. 

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Andrés Genolet has done an all-around admirable job filling Kris Anka's shoes, something few artists could do. And he's made the book his own, too.