The Gibborim are defeated again, but that leaves the Runaways with a new member (who is also a new problem.) Your Major Spoilers review of Runaways #20 awaits!
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Andres Genolet
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 24, 2019
Previously in Runaways: At the end of last year, the Gibborim children came to Earth to destroy humankind. The Runaways refused to feed the junior/elder gods a soul to save themselves and the strongest Runaway, Victor, was only at partial strength since he’d resisted rebuilding his body, worried about the future Ultron had programmed. So, the Runaways were doomed, until one of the Gibborim defected. In the aftermath, Alex realized the others trusted blind chance more than him, and left the team again.
“I AM ALL THAT REMAINS OF THE GIBBORIM. AND I HUNGER.”
The issue opens with Gert about to be killed by a Gibborim, with Victor Mancha unable to respond in time, watching in horror as she falls and breaks her arm. Cut to Gert waking Victor from some sort of dream as they bond over a movie. She leaves him to his thoughts and tries to wake Molly for school, but APrincess Powerful has been badly affected by yet another run-in with alien demon-gods and rejection by their “big brother” Alex Wilder. Molly refuses to go to school, Carolina has a meeting with her college advisor, Chase has to go to work and Nico is suddenly wearing bright colors, which frightens me as much as the demons. Oh, and the last remaining Gibborim, a giant green thingama calling itself Gib is living with the Runaways, insisting that it hungers, but refusing to eat anything resembling food. Victor continues to have strange waking hallucinations before finally filling a bathtub and soaking his head…
Seriously, he disconnects his head from his makeshift body and sinks into a solution that he has created, going into some sort of regenerative cycle.
SOMETHING’S WRONG WITH MOLLY
This issue gives us brief moments with every one of the cast members, including Carolina’s slowly sinking academic career and Molly’s depression, but most of the focus is on Victor Mancha, in what I think of as a rebuilding issue. All of the Runaways are very much teenagers here (which is maddening for an adult mind to read about, even as it makes for some fun drama and conflict) and the worries about things like whether the inactive Doombot is naked or Chase leaving Old Lace in charge are really cute. The final page indicates that something is about to happen with Victor, who has been refusing to build a new body, but there’s not actually a lot that happens in these pages, other than conversation and personal revelation. Still, there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when the art is as lush and details as Genolet’s is here. All the characters have distinct facial expressions and body language, and the hostel’s detailed backgrounds are lovely. The art is aided by a really well-chosen color palette, muting the greens and red and adding in pastel tones, reminding me of the earliest days of the book, back when Marvel wanted to crack the manga market open.
BOTTOM LINE: FEELS A LITTLE BIT SLIGHT
Though Runaways #20 is an okay read (and frankly, any new issue that staves off cancellation is going to be good news for me when it comes to this book) but the intricate, character-focused plot ends up feels less satisfying, but a lot of that is made up for in strong art, leaving the book with 3 out of 5 stars overall. I’m hoping that we get some focus on other Runaways moving forward, but this issue’s time with Victor Mancha ends up being well-spent.
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The team is in flux, and everyone is being very teenage, but their new member and some new twists keep it pretty fresh.