"True Believers, Chapter Two"
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Adrian Alphona (p), Craig Yeung (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: As the members of the support group Excelsior discuss whether they should be taking money to hunt down the Runaways, the Runaways are faced with their own crisis, as they debate whether they should believe their visitor from the future, and accept the mission they she has charged them with. However, after one of Nico's spells confirms the woman's story, the Runaways head out to confront the young man who will endanger the planet a couple decades in the future.
Comments: It's actually a welcome surprise to see that this book is willing to bring all its various plot thread together so early in the game as it's a nice change of pace from what has become the standard method of delivering a story which is strung out the over several issues. To keep the readers from getting too antsy for the actual plot to begin, many times the writers will offer up a battle that is only marginally linked to the main plot. However, this issue manages to dive right into what looks to be the main plot, as last issue the Runaways were given their mission, and wouldn't you know it by the time this issue has reached its halfway point the team is out actually out trying to accomplish their mission. What's more this issue also had itself a secondary plot involving a group of third-string heroes who were hired by a mysterious party to bring the Runaways in, and wouldn't you know it by the end of this issue this group has confronted the Runaways. What makes this issue even more impressive is than in spite of the accelerated pace of the writing, Brian K. Vaughan still finds the time to deliver the little character moments, as I like the fact that it took a couple pages to show us that the members of the support-group are asking important questions about the person who is paying them to bring in the Runaways, and this scene also does a nice job of selling the personalities of these characters. The Runaways also get their moments, from the lovely little moment where Nico tries to use her powers to raise Alex from the dead, to the always enjoyable contributions that Molly makes to the action with her various comments that perfectly reflect her younger age. The mystery of the identity of Victor's father is also an interesting mystery that I'm sure Brian K. Vaughan will milk for all it's worth.
I give the cover image full marks when it comes to selling the mystery of the identity of this kid's father, as any of the choices that we see behind him would make for an big revelation. Based though on the powers that the teen displays in this issue, it would appear that the villain in the upper left corner would be the lead suspect. In any event moving on to the interior art, Adrian Alphona continues to bring a wonderful sense of energy and clarity to the story, and unlike many of today's artists it actually looks like the artist has a pretty good grasp on the clothing styles that today's teenagers would be wearing. The art also does some solid work on the brief bit of action that we see in the future, as that one page shot of Victorious does a wonderfully sells the idea that this man is a very real threat that needs to be stopped before he can start. The action sequence later in the issue was also deftly presented, with the scene where the giant hand is formed being a particularly effective visual.
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