The real name of this story should be “In Which Everything is Tied Up into a Nice Package with a Pretty Red Bow on Top” because that is precisely what has happened in this issue. Whedon’s conclusion to his six-issue arc plagued with delay after delay falls together too perfectly, just like the rival male in romantic comedies who is too perfect only to become the devil himself so the main male may win the bride despite whatever akmost unforgivable mistakes he made. It works too nicely. It’s a relief someone else is coming in to clean up after Whedon, and that someone is Terry Moore. After only recently read about half of Strangers in Paradise, I am very excited with what this brilliant writer will come up with.
While I am a fan of most of Joss Whedon’s other comic books and movies, I have not been a fan of his Runaways arc. The run feels more like a bad fan fiction story written directly after watching Back to the Future rather then a legitimate comic book story. It has all the elements of Back to the Future, as I have discussed in previous reviews of this arc, but Whedon just didn’t seem to be able to create anything without it falling flat. Chase simply disappears for a long time, as does Nico, with little exploration of what they were doing. The excuse is his time traveling to see a younger Gert only to think of the consequences of saving her life. Chase. Thinking about the consequences. While the moments he spent talking about Gert were touching, it was too late. Whedon displayed his ability to draw real emotion out of the character at the last minute instead of during the story when it would have counted. As for Nico, she was apparently beaten/trained to be a super-witch. The battle raging for the past issue or so (I can’t really remember how long, becoming sick of rereading issues because of the delays) is simply left to happen, which really seems like a giant let down. In fact, the only good to come out of this arc is possibly Whedon’s new character Klara, a girl the same age as Molly who can affect plant life and possesses an ironically conservative set of values. But whether or not the new team turns those qualities into a tiny, female version of Ultimate Captain America is yet to be seen. But the conclusion of this story is too clean, too nice. Everyone turns up to perform at least three deus ex machina tricks and the kids go back home. Back at home, Whedon has apparently decided the kids can just go back to LA, even after pissing the Kingpin off enough to have an entire legion of ninjas storm their apartment. It’s the offhand coments meant to deal with the issues Whedon created that make the issue a frustration. It’s all to perfect and easy and I don’t like it. The high point of this series happened just before they went back in time, and I wish Whedon had kept them in the present.
Where I have been disappointed by Whedon, Michael Ryan has consistently brought his best to every issue. His style, animated yet not over the top in any way, works perfectly for the Runaways. He can draw every age group, something that comes in handy with this issue filled with characters from ages eleven to ninety (or older). Children look like children, adults look like adults, and teenagers strike a happy middle. His action pages are just plain fun to look at as well, with a series of panels just before Nico pops out of her god-box coming instantly to mind. There is a fight between two characters surrounded by fire, but the fire is replaced with water as the
streets flood and it looks amazing. Where I am not broken up about Whedon’s departure, Ryan’s talents will be missed.
5/10 Ryan’s pencils are great, Whedon’s script was not.