The Comic Queen

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Single-Panel Review 9/21/04

Runaways: Teenage Wasteland TPB
Marvel $7.99
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan; Pencillers: Adrian Alphona & Takeshi Miyazawa; Inkers: Craig Yeung & David Newbold
Runaways is one of those gems that has gotten overlooked in the multitude of titles on the shelf. Support for this title seems to be coming late and isn’t necessarily translating into bigger sales as the title has hung around 120 on the top 300 comics industry sales chart for the past few issues. Runaways would be perfect for preteens and teenagers, but readers older than this can definitely enjoy the title. This is the second trade in the series, collecting issues 7 through 12. Runaways follows a group of kids who sort of know each other through their parents who are all friends. Well, it turns out their parents not friends so much as supervillians – members of “The Pride” whose network reaches into practically every corner of law enforcement and society in general. The children run away together to escape their parents and end up discovering more about themselves than they ever thought possible. Vaughan’s writing is his normal – sharp with good pacing and cliffhangers. My only criticism of this second trade is that it seems to be repeating much the same idea as the first. Sure some of the foes have changed, but the challenge is the same and was maybe not kept as fresh as it could have been. But, overall, this is a good TPB to pick up and a good series to get into. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about a supposed “second season” for this title.
Bottom line: B+

War Games through Act II, Part 4 – the halfway point
DC
We are now halfway through War Games, and it’s turning out better than I first imagined it would. So far in the action, a city-wide gang war has broken out after a meeting of the gang lords called by an unknown player got out of hand resulting in the death of several crime bosses and becoming the catalyst for a massive power struggle. We learn later that Spoiler – after getting into Batman’s “contingency” plans – was the person who called the meeting in the first place and is now struggling to get things under control. The missing piece in Batman’s worst-case scenario plan to take control of the city’s gangs is Batman himself. Spoiler set the plan in motion waiting for Matches Malone to show up and take control of the gangs. Little did Spoiler know that Batman *is* Matches Malone. That is when he wants to fit in and get information he could only get as a crime boss not a crime fighter. Meanwhile Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, Oracle, Robin, and even Catwoman, Tarantula, and a few others have been trying to contain the turf wars all over Gotham City. And finally in this issue Batman connects the dots and realizes why this all seems so familiar – it’s his plan after all. This issue ends in quite the cliffhanger (I won’t ruin it). I have to say that Spoiler is the most frustrating part of this storyline – I don’t have a lot of patience for the characters who are young and in over their heads but refuse to ask for help. Ugh. There have been some really great individual issues and some pretty mediocre to bad issues as part of this series so far. The action and feel among the titles is starting to really mesh now; the series has turned the tide and is promising to be exciting from here on out.
Bottom line: B+

The Batman Strikes #1
My review for The Batman Strikes #1 should appear soon at the Paperback Reader website.

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