Sunday, February 19, 2006

This Comic Was Good - Runaways #13

Recently, in the pages of Runaways, Julie Power, of Power Pack, guest-starred. Now, as someone who actually enjoyed the old Power Pack stories, I do not think Julie fared that well in the comic. However, in this stand-alone issue of Runaways, Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona created a tale that evoked the best issues of Power Pack.

The issue stars, perhaps, the most popular (and certainly the strongest) Runaways character, the young mutant Molly Hayes, who goes by the "codename" Princess Powerful. During a battle with a bad guy, Molly gets separated from the rest of the group, and ends up in a group of children being used by a Fagin-esque bad guy to commit crimes.

Ultimately, Molly must call upon everything she has learned about being a superhero to save the day, and the end result is well handled.

The key to the issue, however, is not the plot, which is fairly straightforward. No, the key is the characterization, and it is here that not only does Vaughan shine, but especially the art team of Adrina Alphona and inker Craig Yeung and colorist Christina Strain. This is the best I can remember Alphona's artwork looking, and the issue easily loses a large chunk of its characterization without Alphona's highly expressive artwork.

Throughout the issue, Alphona does a stand-out job of getting across character's thoughts just by their facial tics. It is a great help for the story, as Vaughan does not have to waste dialogue getting ideas across, as Alphona's drawings do the work for him. However, the rest of the story, Vaughan's dialogue does an excellent job of setting up the conflict and letting these well-developed (in just one issue!) personalities interact, especially the most-developed, Molly.

In addition, there are tons of funny lines in the issue, and the overall pervasive sense of "cute" was extremely strong. Well-written and well-drawn, it was a real treat. Just like classic Power Pack.

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Anonymous C. Tynne said...

Don't let Brian mislead you!

He talks of the cuteness but leaves out the fact that the final sequence is heart-breaking.

It's an excellent comic, but it does end of a very downbeat note. Poor Molly. The Power kids never had to deal with what she deals with (or rather, fails to deal with) in the coda.

2/19/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Foss said...

Even when their mom was comatose? I seem to recall several down moments in Power Pack, mostly related to that plotline.

Fine article, Brian. It's always nice to see other Power Pack fans. Much as I like the current miniseries route, a new Pack series with more interconnection and more attention to the dramatic elements that made the series so poingant would be nice to have as well.

Although Runaways seems to be carrying that torch nicely. I guess *that's* why I like this series so much.

2/19/2006 06:45:00 PM  
Anonymous C. Tynne said...

A comatose Mom is the same thing as finding out your parents are evil, yet still desperately loving them?

I never said the PP comic never had downbeat moments, I said the Power kids were spared -that- sort of trauma.

2/19/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Showing how Molly still loves her parents a great deal, even though they're evil is still cute.

Shows how sweet she is.

2/19/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a little sidenote: Molly wanted to call herself Princess Powerful but got stuck with Bruiser by the others... Just like Chase got Talkback when he wanted Neo.

2/20/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

I am boycotting this book for admittedly very immature reasons, but I keep hearing enough good things about it that I may give it a shot again.

2/20/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Fair enough, Anonymous, but she refers to herself as Princess Powerful in this issue...hehe.

2/20/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Foss said...

C.: Well, sure, the Power kids never had to deal with *exactly* what Molly's going through. But, a comatose mom, hiding your superpowers from your parents, discovering the fact that your dad's boss is a pervert and a semi-supervillain, and then causing your parents' total mental breakdown when they find out about your superheroic lives.

And then finding out that they'd had their brains altered so they wouldn't suspect anything was wrong.

And then having one of your members turn into a horse.

And the Numinus. Dear sweet Jesus, the Numinus.

Until Molly faces the Numinus, I have to give props to the Power kids...they can handle *anything*.

It's heart-wrenching, sure. That's the point. But I think it's unfair to say that the Power kids never had to deal with anything of a similar caliber.

2/21/2006 03:07:00 AM  
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