RUNAWAYS # 1-3
SQUADRON SINISTER #1-3
Have you ever met a girl that you tried to date? But a year to make love she wanted you to wait? Let me tell you a story of my situation; I was reading two badass Battleworld comics and I had to declare a winner. Battleworld Battleworld has forced me, a simple comic book looker-at-er, to choose between the devilishly indulgent Squadron Sinister and an epic us-VS-the-world saga in Runaways. It’s not fair and it’s not right, but it is the job.
One of the greatest things about reading comic books in the modern era is that they (sometimes) take the time to craft excellent story that would work on any level and then get to throw in giant fucking explosions and rad super powers. It’s a great thing to see a writer have the confidence to show a leader having a heart-to-heart with a trusted confident about his concerns for his ability to control his kingdom. It’s equally great to see that conversation be interrupted by superhuman invaders and watch a man crush another man’s skull with his bare hands. And though that particular example is raked from the Squadron Sinister, both books have tender moments followed by back breaking action. So whose mash worked best with the mish?
The first three books of Runaways take their time, or at least as much as a story about superhuman teens running away from their death school can. Watching genuine bonds being formed amongst characters that would not be intriguing on their own makes this book different. Oftentimes we get to see a group of super powered folks work together and alone. They’re usually equally entertaining and lend their own pieces to the plot. With Runaways however, the group is the thing. Watching Jubilee go off and do something on her own would be about as boring as…Jubilee herself. In the context of teenaged runaways, however, all of these more one-note characters are allowed to shine. The books are able to juggle each character so you get to see them without focusing so much on any one that you get bored. These are not the most notable of characters but watching them work together and form a team that works is interesting. The monsters and explosions and back biting are all just tasty little bonuses.
And then we have this Squadron Sinister thing. The first three books are fucking bonkers. Rooting for the bad guys might make this book seem a bit gimmicky but once you get past all of that garbage, you are left with a story that comes at you hard and fast. And while the conversations are completely necessary to understanding the plot, there are moments that teeter on too mundane when chats about lands and borders are delved into. The joy of these three books, however, is in watching the bad guys fall right the fuck apart. The team is divided by a sinister plan (blackmail and fool people) that works almost a little too well. Team members start dropping like flies and you are torn between rooting for a protagonist (because life taught you wrong) and being excited to watch an evil empire crumble. It’s a lot to take in and it happens in three short books. And it all makes sense! They never ask you to take leaps of faith too large and never throw shit at you without a clear understanding of events.
And so, while it hurts me to my core to kick out a book as fucking awesome as Runaways, I have to. You guys, I really don’t want to, but Squadron Sinister is so good. In a Battleworld full of bombastic, attention-grabbing books, you, Squadron Sinister, still find a way to elevate yourself into the rare air that is the elite of the Battleworld Battleworld tournament. And for that, I congratulate you.
Jason R. Noble