ROUND 1, BATTLE 14
If there’s one thing that Battleworld: Runaways makes clear it’s that intro comics have a lot of groundwork to cover. Even without having to explain the twists and nuances of the Battleworld setting, you’ve got like 24 pages to introduce the characters, introduce the setting, introduce the plot, set the plot in motion, resolve the plot within the issue while establishing the next plot’s issue…it ain’t easy. And you’re always going to be drinking from the firehose. But Battleworld: Runaways handles all this with a certain grace, hitting you with a barrage of one-note characters whose roles are clearly established and setting their inter-relationships into motion. The one-note-ness of the characters is completely palatable because the writer also makes it clear that these are the beginning notes of a character and not their whole summation.
Runaways, more than any other series I’ve read, also slots amazingly into the intrigue/batshit insanity/secret agenda-filled nature of Battleworld. The original series follows a bunch of marginally powered teens as they discover that their parents are a secret cabal of super villains. You’re watching their teenaged, drama-filled lives get turned upside down and in Battleworld you’re seeing the same thing. It’s just that the whole world has already been turned upside down and now it’s just being shaken further. It really is a seamless transition.
Weirdworld is putting itself in a fairly delicate position. It’s…called Weirdworld, and it’s kind of about how Weird this one World is. But given everything else that’s going on in Battleworld, is that really a great way to brand yourself? Do you want to stand toe-to-toe with Reed Richard’s Dr Doom fantasy land full of hulks and thors and zombies and pride yourself on how weird you are?
Weirdworld tells a fine story – it’s sort of an Odyssey-meets-Marvel-Mashup kinda deal and there’s some decent twists in there. What it honestly comes down to is that there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on, but the series just really wants to focus on this weird angle. Like does it even make sense that there’s a place called weirdworld on Battleplanet? What the fuck could there possibly be about this place that made everyone go “Ok well THIS is just too much.”
Runaways is where it’s at. The series looks primed to go places, and if it cashes in on even a bit of the original comic’s potential you’re in for a show. And as an added bonus, they won’t all be walking around and pointing at how weird everything is while they do it.