When Runaways was announced to be canceled earlier this week, I can’t imagine I was the only reader not really surprised by this news. The book had seen several delays and never seemed to get much promo at Marvel, despite game-changing events occurring like the time-traveling Gert coming back to the past. The cancellation seemed a bit abrupt, and the story itself reads that way too, leaving one to wonder how much time Rowell and co. had to finish this story.
The time-traveling Gert plot feels like it could have been fleshed out more, as does the Karolina/Majesdanians arc. Both feel like they’re stuck giving the exposition to the plot and wrapping it up in the same issue, making it very oddly paced. Again, it’s hard to know how much of this was because of the series getting its cancellation and Rowell was forced to wrap up plots quickly and how much was planned in advance.
While the plots in this issue are a bit clunky, there are some good character moments that lay the groundwork for an exciting future for the Runaways in future series. When several members of the team are separated, they always come back together as a family in the end — this is the backbone of the Runaways series and something that has made the series so special, being a true case of the “found family” trope.
Some plots are likely to upset certain groups of fans, but they’re handled in a very mature and heartfelt way that makes the controversial plot decision feel better. Character growth sometimes happens when characters break up or break apart, but it doesn’t mean they loved each other any less. Again, this is the backbone of the Runaways series — these characters may break apart, break up, or fight each other, but they’ll always be back together by the start of the next series because they’re a family.
This is one issue that once I finished, I really couldn’t anticipate what the general consensus on it would be. Some plots are likely to upset fans who wanted different endings for certain characters in this series, while others will appreciate the direction the characters have taken and the journey they have left to take. Runaways #38’s big strength, at the end of the day, is the groundwork it lays for the future of the series for when another writer inevitably takes over.
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