Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Andrés Genolet
Colors: Dee Cunniffe
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Kris Anka
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
You have been warned.
The Runaways seem to be thriving under the guidance of Doc Justice. The grizzled veteran vigilante has taken in the team and added them to the ever-revolving roster of the J-Team.
Gert is still struggling to find her place on the new J-Team. Her split link with Old Lace makes it difficult for her to rely on the deinonychus.
When the Runaways are called out on another mission, Gert stays behind with Matthew to learn how to be Alfred, whoops, run support for the team.
Matthew goes over the detailed and tragic history of Doc Justice and the J-Team and it confirms what Gert feared: The Runaways are in danger.
We, the readers, learn more troubling things about Doc, his history, and what exactly the Runaways are to him.
No doubt about it: Doc is a dick.
- Matthew, Doc’s mistreated assistant, is really his son.
- Doc has been married to 3 of the 4 Princess Justices. Karolina is the 4th and Doc has plans to try and romance her.
- Doc only cares about his own success and reputation.
- It’s all he’s ever cared about. The J-Team was a means to an end and the Runaways are just the next batch.
The Runaways are too star-struck and Matthew just seems like a little boy who just wants his dad to love him. Doc is bad news and Gert seems to be the only one who knows it.
Well, Rainbow Rowell does it again. Completely subverts our expectations and continues to slowly deconstruct the superhero genre brick by brick.
The comparison was jokey at first, but there is no denying it: Doc Justice is Batman.
(The long-suffering assistant, sidekicks and an extended family that’s allergic to being alive, and rotating love interests that all sort of seem the same and so on.)
The deconstruction is blunt and heavy-handed, but that’s exactly why it works. It takes these overused concepts and strips them bare for our perusal. It doesn’t try to entrench it in the philosophy-drenched deconstructions we’re so used to seeing.
Sometimes less is more.
Rowell showcases just how f&$*ed up it is and asks the question: For the health and wellbeing of these kids, is it worth it?
Now, most of us would probably answer akin to Victor: They knew the risks.
But what if the guy in charge of your family is a self-serving douche with a growing sidekick body count? Then what’s the answer? Do they play the game for the greater good or do they strike out on their own again?
Rowell has something up her sleeve and I’m excited to see where she does from here.
(Also, Doc is going to creep on Karolina and it’s going to be so freaking awkward. Nico is going to have something to say about all of this.)
Andrés Genolet and Dee Cunniffe continue to impress. Genolet’s set design and action shots have become more detailed since he took over. Anka was the master of the minimalist background, but Genolet has slowly added more and more detail to the background that it feels natural.
Anka brought a very specific style to this book and Genolet has been able to honor that and still inject his own elements.
I honestly wish all artist transitions were this smooth. It has been wonderful.
Cunniffe’s soft colors, almost waterlike, colors have been a delight. Like Genolet, Cunniffe stays true to the spirit of the work laid out by the original visual team, while still adding his own. The colors also help play into Rowell’s subversion.
Everything is so warm and bright that readers are lulled into a sense of security. The palette feels almost Superman-eqse, which I absolutely believe is deliberate.
You can really tell when a creative team is in sync and this is a prime example.
This story is going to get intense and I’m excited to see where this team takes us.