Look at those tears. Her pain, I feel it – true facts though, I have no idea why she’s crying…or who she is – and that characterizes perfectly the problem I’m having with this comic.
Confession time…I was never really into comics but Billy gave me Runaways because he thought it would be a good starter comic for me…I love Whedon and the characters are teenagers and Billy’s pretty smart when it comes to picking things out that I will like. I was totally into it…
I just read Runaways #29 and I have to be honest…my enthusiasm is matched only by the massive amount of WTF that I feel as I turn each page.
First of all, I’m having a hard time keeping the characters straight…because they all look alike. The most helpful thing that EVER happens is when Xavin shapeshifts…because then at least I know who she is and then I can locate Karolina Dean. And of course there’s Molly. She’s easy to find because she’s tiny and she’s always got the Buffy-esque one-liners popping off. (Joss Whedon’s affinity for clever young girls, as evidenced by EVERYTHING he’s ever written, makes me think maybe he deserves a place on “To Catch a Predator” but whatever.)
As I read through this issue, I think about 50% of my brain was occupied with trying not only to keep the characters straight but to figure out who some of them were and the other 50% was occupied with trying to keep the convoluted plotlines straight. Whole scenes are devoted to new characters…characters whose names I’m not sure I ever learned…like the boygirl with the short hair and the tiny man on her shoulder…I wondered to myself if I was supposed to care about them…and then they died, killed by another character I either couldn’t remember or legitimately never met. Then there’s Klara – Whedon’s attempt to infuse his storyline with some sense of social commentary – which would be awesome except that for the most part, our culture has agreed that little girls shouldn’t be marrying dirty old men anymore. So mostly, I don’t care about her either. I can’t keep the gangs straight either…Street Arabs, the Sinners, the Upward Path…is this really necessary? It’s like Joss rolled up to the DayLaborers Center for Unemployed Comic Book Characters in a semi-truck, opened up the back and packed in as many as would fit. I don’t even want to talk about the multiple romantic plot lines…because I can’t figure them out. There are literally like seven threads in this one issue alone. I was relieved to arrive at the giant fight scene. It’s a clusterfuck that reflects perfectly my confusion at the preceding pages. THE CHAOS RESONATES WITH MY CONCERNS.
The convoluted storylines, the time travel plot and the parade of clones makes Runaways a whole lot of work…and yet, I sort of feel like I’ve waded halfway into an alligator pit…forward or backward, I’m screwed either way so I guess I’ll push on?