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Saturday, 23 October 2010

Runaways: Rock Zombies (vol 10)

Rock Zombies                                       Mollifest Destiny
Writer: Terry Moore                              Writer: Chris Yost
Penciller: Takeshi Miyazawa                   Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colourist: Christina Strain                     Colourist: Christina Strain
Inker: Takeshi Miyazawa,                      Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Norman Lee and Craig Yeung
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna

Truth or Dare
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Emma Rios
Colourist: Christina Strain
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna

Publisher: Marvel

What's it about?
Rock Zombies is the main story here, and as you may have guessed, zombies are the predominant theme.  However, these poor souls are neither undead for hungry for brains, instead they are ordinary people cursed by a local radio station DJ to become swollen, misshapen, lumbering creatures.  Enter the Runaways who decide it's their job to fix this mess.

Mollifest Destiny is about Molly Hayes, the youngest of the team, meeting the X-Men and being invited to join their ranks.  It turns out they were not quite prepared for the full on Molly experience.  Truth Or Dare has the Runaways playing a simple game that gets a little out of control.

There has been a change in roster since the first volume (titled Pride & Joy, review here).  Alex and Gert have left, Klara (a street urchin from the late 1800s) and Victor (a robot) have joined.

What's good about it?
It's still funny, cute, full of action, realistic and well delivered (and the telepathic dinosaur is still there!).  The new characters have changed the dynamic of the group and allowed the story to develop in a natural and organic manner.  The characters are relatable, the action well paced and the magic interesting.

The zombie horror theme isn't really played for fear; it's done in more of a gentle comedy manner, playted for laughs.  It's nice to have a light hearted interpretation of these traditionally terrifying monsters.

It's got a positive gay role model in Karolina, the team leader is a Japanese-American woman and the team is full of girls.  Such a far cry from those heroes of the 1980s where in teams the girl was always the token - my 5 year old mind didn't interpret this as inclusivity or equality, more like condescension and othering.  Thankfully things have changed and characters are allowed to be more than just 'the female one'.

The final good point is that it comes in a both a normal large format but also in a digest size – about A5 size.  Handy to carry about and takes up less space on your shelf.

What's bad about it?
In the digest format (about A5 size), the text font seems to be very small, making it a little tricky to read if your eyes aren't very good.  This is such a pity as the digest size makes it much easier to carry about and store on your bookshelf, but a smaller size is no use if you have to squint to read the text.

What's the art like?
Although the pencillers change with each story they are similar enough that the reading experience isn't disrupted.  This is partly due to the talented colourist that is used the entire way through.  Christina Strain uses bright but soft colours, expertly changing the tones and shades according to the mood of the panel.

Strain is perfect for a book such as this where characters such as Karolina have a rainbow hue to them and so much of the book is set in sunny climbs, with big blue skies and sandy deserts.  She gives each page a feeling of clarity of freshness and it's simply wonderful to look at.

None of the artwork feels exploitative, it's all respectful and the women and girls are all drawn with normal proportions.
Other Information
Digest price: £7.50
Digest ISBN: 0785133151
Full size price: £10.99
Full size ISBN: 0785140743

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