Another week brings another delve into what my LCS had for me to slobber over. A very good haul this time makes up for the few choices last week. Three books rose to the "potentially great" level for me, and while Jack of Fables is always a good read, it wasn't quite up to the "can't wait to read this one!" level we look for each Wednesday. Additionally, any Detective story written by Paul Dini that has Harley Quinn on the cover.. almost. Any other week, that's the book. This week though, it's gotta be:
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: Michael Ryan
I should, in all fairness here say that yes, I'm kind of a Whedon-phyle. Generally, I like his stuff. Sometimes, I absolutely love it. I came late to the game, but after I was talked into watching Firefly, I became completely sold on his story-telling and (more importantly) character developing prowess. Mind you, I couldn't get through season 3 of Buffy, but Serenity was one of the best Sci-Fi movies made in my lifetime. Yes, I'm including Star Wars in that. As far as his comics go, both Serenity and Buffy are basically episodes of the TV series in comics form, but as comics they're very good. Buffy in particular really impressed me, especally as I had no knowledge of how the series ended. Astonishing X-Men is, to me, by far the best X-title going right now, but remember that Cassidy's art automatically kicks anything up an extra notch from the writing. Still, it's a great comic.
I was amazingly upset when Vaughn announced that he was leaving Runaways. And taking Alphona with him. That was bad enough, but the series was going to continue?!? No.. just no. No one else could do it justice.
Then Whedon was announced. Didn't even think about him as a choice... so I did. Hmm... Tight knit group of super-powered teenagers. Dialog driven book (for the most part). Whedon. Yes, I believe we can work with this. So, I've been looking forward to this inaugural issue for a while now.
It's pretty good. Not fantastic, mind you, but solid. Obviously intended to handle the jump-on "Hey! Whedon's writing this!" new traffic, it starts off with a nice recap of the-series-so-far cleverly written into the current plot and ending in a very nice reveal. That's another strength of Whedon - he writes reveals and cliffhangers very, very well. Another plus for him taking over this title, which has a fair amount of both in every issue. Two of each in this issue, in fact.
The kids are in New York, hopefully only for a few issues, where in exchange for protection from all of the Civil War Shenanigans (The CWS for short), end up taking an ethically ambiguous job. Everything goes wrong, of course, and it's a credit to Whedon's writing that the way in which things dissolve is mainly because these are, first and formost, kids without guidence. Kids. Not a cohesive super-team. Kids. No planning, no experience, bad initial ideas, and simply not mature enough to handle the job. Whedon really does write teenagers and dialog quite well. Once you learn to read it as he put it down. Kinda like Bendis in that way.
The art is ... well, it's there. Not fantastic, not terrible. Perfectly acceptable and actually really clever in parts. With Runaways, it's important to be able to have an art style that differentiates between adults, teenagers, and little kids. This is done very well - his drawings of Molly in particular are just plain adorable. All in all, a decent choice for this book. My only real reservation is that he's not Alphona, and that's not fair, I suppose.
After all this, now that I've finally read it, I'm still stoked. This could be one of the best series hand-offs ever. It has the potential, and this was a very solid foundation issue upon which to build. Here's hoping. Cross your fingers.
Most Wanted Panel:
What can I say? I'm a sucker for a genetically engineered Deinonychus from the 87th century. Especally when they're climbing skyscrapers.