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Runaways #4

Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"True Believers, Chapter Four"

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Adrian Alphona (p), Craig Yeung (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: As the Runaways return to their hidden base with their captive, they turn their attention to trying to figure out who Victor's father could be, and in an amusing little sequence the team goes down a list of potential suspects that ranges from Magneto to Galactus. Meanwhile, the group of retired teen heroes that has been hired to bring the Runaways together looks to be having their own problems, though their mystery benefactor is still confident in their ability to bring the Runaways in.

Comments: You have no idea how difficult it was to move around the web and not learn the identity of the villain who appears on the final page, as my local comic shop didn't get their copies of this book until just this week. As such, I spent the past couple of weeks scrambling away from any message board that even hinted it was discussing Runaways. Still I was rewarded for this extra restraint in that I was genuinely surprised by this issue's final page, though I will concede that going into this issue my fingers were crossed that this character would be the big-name villain who was the absentee father of the young man who was destined to destroy the Marvel Universe. Plus, given I've gotten my hands on this issue so well after its release date, reviewing the book is considerably easier as I don't have to take the extra step of holding back information for fear of spoiling the surprise for others. Now it's entirely possible that this final page revelation isn't the full truth of the matter, as the real villain could easily be using a Doombot or a suit of Dr. Doom armor to mask his true identity, but truth be told it's not exactly that big a leap to believe that Victor Von Doom would have a child, as if nothing else, past stories have shown us that he has made plans that take his death into account. In fact, the suggestion made by the mother that she made a deal with the boy's absent father also looks to fit Victor Von Doom's personality as it's quite easy to see him viewing the creation of a child as a methodical bit of planning on his part rather than the result of an unplanned tryst. As for the rest of the issue, this chapter is full of moments where Brian K. Vaughan reminds readers why this book stands up as one of the best new titles that has come out of Marvel in years. How can one not love this cast as they go through the list of villains that could be Victor's father? Brian K. Vaughan also does some solid work with his cast of secondary characters, as he nicely explains Darkhawk's overly aggressive behaviour. And there's a cute little moment where Julie and Rico get into a Lord of the Rings discussion.

Adrian Alphona continues to deliver a very solid art on this series, as while this issue is largely a talking heads affair there are a couple impressive big impact images in these pages, from the one-page shot of the Leapfrog descending into the tar pit, to the wonderfully unsettling nature of this issue's final page as we discover who is waiting on the other side of the phone. The art also deserves credit for its work on the facial expressions, as how can one not smile at Chase's look of pride as he discusses the Leapfrog's capabilities, or the various faces that Molly makes whenever the character becomes the centre of attention? There's also a nice attention to detail on display, like the fact that Molly is the only one in the Leapfrog who is wearing her seat belt, or the bandage that Chase is wearing on his arm. The establishing shot of the Runaways underground base also gives readers a good look at the sheer size of the place. I do find myself wishing the cover images offered up some more exciting, attention grabbing images.



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