SECRET WARS: RUNAWAYS #3
Written by Noelle Stevenson
Art by Sanford Greene and John Rauch
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 19, 2015
Previously on Secret Wars: Runaways: Our motley crew of teenagers escape detention, start their Final Exam, find out said exam involves killing their classmates, and escape again from Victor Von Doom Institute for Gifted Youths.
Fast forward to issue #3 and our teenagers are trying to find supplies in a new domain of their world. Skaar inadvertently creates problems for his friends as Jubilee laments losing teammates, and Amadeus Cho decides the group should take a trip to find a new safe haven. Amadeus finds himself reeling from distressing revelations as the Runaways are caught and I’m left wondering how our loveable misfits are going to make it through their latest obstacle.
Noelle Stevenson’s work is masterful, illuminating significant parts of this new Runaways tale and elements of the overall Secret Wars world. For one, Valeria is nearly as ruthless as her father in the main Secret Wars series but also is a child, somewhat of a merciless foil to Molly, Princess Powerful (I’m sorry, I can’t fully bring myself to call her Bruiser), who indicates a strong sense of heroism and doing what’s right, a moment that truly stood out to me reading this issue. Though it seems relatively little time has passed between this issue and the first, Noelle finds a beautiful way to illustrate the strengths that our 616 Runaways show: a sense of family, emotional depth, and timely humor.
What I love about this issue is that it’s bringing to the foreground what people may be thinking about Doom playing God in this Secret Wars universe. The Runaways are thrust into essentially what is Battle Royale, except they don’t fully know they’re killing their friends and classmates until too late. Doom is grooming students to be his elite soldiers. This series is pointing to exactly why people would think Doom isn’t right to be the sovereign of a new world or dimension and helping us remember, “Oh wait. What he’s doing isn’t okay and at the end of the day he’s still Victor von Doom.”
Sanford Greene and John Rauch do an excellent job of portraying a stylized, edgy, and somewhat rough vision of this particular Marvel world. With a mix of bubbly, sarcastic, punk, they convey something important about the feelings of each of the Runaways. Their shock and surprise, fears and regrets, are all aptly conveyed in the art, adding a particular sincerity to the feelings of teenagers thrust into a chaotic world they are just discovering. Just like with the Runaways we know and love, this group is developing a dedicated sense of family love and devotion.
After this issue, I still have questions, but I have no doubt they’ll be answered. As we are building to the major points of the main series and its tie-ins, Runaways #3 points to an underlying unease about Doom and his rule over the Secret Wars world. I only hope that Runaways will be a major key in pointing to why we shouldn’t trust Doom, but also why we should have faith in a ragtag group of youngsters willing to bounce between domains to save themselves and the ones they love.
The Verdict: 8.0/10