"True Believers, Chapter Three"
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Adrian Alphona (p), Craig Yeung (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: The Runaways find their efforts to kidnap the young man who will grow up to be one of the most dangerous super-villains on the planet are impeded by a group of barely ran super-heroes who call themselves Excelsior. The team is able to slip away when Chase discovers that the Leapfrog is armed with laser cannons. As the Runaways race back to their secret headquarters with their captive, they discover Excelsior aren't willing to give up on them so easily as they are knocked out of the sky by a surprisingly aggressive Darkhawk.
Comments: I dropped the Darkhawk series relatively early and as such, I'm not all that familiar with the character, but if memory serves I do believe that crystal served to bring Chris's darker emotions to the surface, and if this remains the case that his decidedly hostile actions in this issue are far easier to understand. The writing establishes that he hasn't been using the crystal, and as such his control over it might not be all that strong. In any event I do like the idea that the Runaways' victory over this collection of heroes is due more to the lack of chemistry between these characters rather than anything the Runaways did. There are also some fun little moments in this issue as how can one not love Chase's childlike delight when he discovers the Leapfrog has laser cannons? And while it's a little throwaway moment I had to smile at the background detail that was the adventure of the poor guy who was trapped inside that garbage can robot. The battle is also a lot of fun as Nico remains a pretty formidable player as she reverses Turbo's turbines with explosive results, and I rather enjoyed the idea that most of the battle is played for laughs, as it's clear that neither group is all the impressive, from the sad performance of Gertrude, to the gag that results when Molly discovers Chamber was trying to hurt her. Also while his actions might be a little extreme, Darkhawk's statements are quite engaging, as they nicely present the idea that the character was on hand when the Avengers were torn apart by the events of the "Disassembled" story arc. Another fine issue in what is easily Marvel's best new series, and I glad to see its second kick at the can is just as engaging as its first.
Adrian Alphona turns in a pretty solid effort, as this is an action heavy issue, and the art does a lovely job when it comes to the big impact shots, from Chase's big arrival scene to the equally impressive scene where Darkhawk knocks the Leapfrog out of the sky, and the craft is sent crashing to the ground. There's also a nice little sequence where Nico uses her magic to disable Turbo, and how can one not love the visual gag where Molly manages to step all over Karoline's budding friendship? There's also a cute little sequence where the Runaways slip away while their opponents are busy dealing with some internal conflict, as I loved the panel where Molly opening questions what their opponents are doing. There's also a number of interesting little details as Ricochet manages to disable Old Lace, and I also loved the decidedly cheesy quality of the space opera that the battle intrudes upon, though you can never have enough characters sporting those tiny little hats.
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