Runaways: Escape to New York v. 5 Paperback – Mar 9 2009
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Led by Nico Minoru, a powerful witch, the other Runaways include Gert Yorkes, who psychically commands a genetically engineered dinosaur, Chase Stein, their ship's pilot, Molly Hayes, a mutant with superstrength, Karolina Dean, a solar-powered alien, and their newest recruit, Victor Mancha, the cyborg "son" of Ultron, one of the deadliest killing machines ever invented.
In the first arc, Star-Crossed, Karolina finally admits to her homosexuality and makes a move on Nico, which ends up badly for the two of them. But that pales in comparison to the decision she must face when a Skrull warrior arrives and tells her that he is her betrothed husband. After explaining about the history between Karolina's homeworld of Majesdane and the Skrull world, which includes nothing but violence and deception, he tells her that, he tells her that her evil parents made a deal to offer up Karolina in exchange for aid from the Skrulls.
In East Coast/West Coast, the Runaways are reunited with Cloak, of Cloak and Dagger, after the New Avengers accuse him of beating Dagger into a coma. While the Runaways are initially skeptical about helping out Cloak, who was unable to fulfill his promise to them to help them deal with the Pride after the Runaways' parents erased his and Dagger's memory, they eventually concede, and Cloak brings them to New York.
While a few of the Runaways try to find out who the imposter is who framed Cloak, others try to keep the New Avengers away from Cloak. This leads to a great scene with Gert, Victor, and Spider-Man, as well as a hilarious confrontation between Molly and her hero Wolverine.
Both of these arcs are very well done, as usual. Vaughan is a great writer, and the East Coast/West Coast story may be one of the best since the original run of Runaways. Even better is the fact that Marvel actually used some quality paper to print the series on in this digest, so the colors don't bleed together, and everything is clear, though smaller than when it premiered in single-issue format. I really hope that Marvel puts out a second (and third, and fourth, and so on...) hardcover of this series because these digests don't do it justice. This is truly one of Marvel's greatest assets, and everyone should definitely check it out.
Star-Crossed: A major character departs. A new major character is introduced. A plot point about Karolina that was hinted at and slightly developed in the first run of the series finally pays off here. This mini-arc has some cool fights and snappy dialogue as usual, but the best part of these two issues was that they were--compared to the usual explosiveness of the Runaways series--mostly made up of downtime. We get a lot of character interaction and development of not only Karonlina, but also Nico, Victor, and the majority of the other main characters. Takeshi Miyazawa, who penciled a couple of issues in the first run of the series, returns to take a "Celebrity Shot" and handles that art of this mini-arc. As with Miyazawa's previous "Runaways" art, the illustrations are much softer and cartoonish, however it is a welcome change from the detailed and lush art of Adrian Alphona. I'm not ready to say that I like Miyazawa better--or even AS MUCH--as Alphona, but I was very happy to discover that Miyazawa came back for these issues.
East Coast/West Coast: This arc has the most solid standalone story so far. The Runaways go to NYC to help Cloak (a criminally underused Marvel hero who they met earlier in the series) clear his name and discover who attacked his partner, Dagger. Speaking as someone who lives in New York, it's hilarious to see these California-raised characters--who we all have grown to love, at this point--reacting to their surroundings. The city is full with Marvel super heroes, and we get cameos from Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, and Luke Cage. However, these heroes don't really come off as that heroic; I know it wasn't at all the intent, but the way these characters are written makes them seem like bumbling fools, except for--perhaps--Spider-Man. Our main Runaways, on the other hand, shine in this arc, each of them undergoing major character development. Chase and Nico will have changed for what they experienced in this arc, and though it's sad to not have Karolina around, her absence gives much screen time to the other main players. Adrian Alphona is back as the artist here and he shines at his depictions both the Runaways and the guest stars Cloak and Dagger. However, as if following the trend of the way Brian writes the other Marvel heroes, Alphona's art suffers when it comes to drawing Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine. Though, gotta say, Alphona pencils a mean Iron Man.
DISCLAIMER: It is best to buy Runaways, Vol. 2 instead of the separate digest paperbacks. It is a hardcover edition, much better quality, that includes not only this, but also #4 and a lot of extras.
In this volume a member leaves and the remaining members take on a mission in New York. They have entertaining encounters with the big name Marvel heroes, Captain America, Wolverine and of course Spider Man all show up.
Vaughan sneaks in some 4th wall-breaking jokes about Wolverine's frequent guest star appearances but it's all good fun.
The art by Alphona and Miyazawa is clean and happy. Faces are expressive, the teens look like teens and not supermodels and the action is easy to follow.
The actual story is secondary, the Runaways have to clear a hero charged with assaulting his partner, but the ride is a lot of fun.
Definitely worth buying.