Rating: 4/5 – A Series That May Read Even Better When Collected.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
It could be said that with the rise in popularity of trade paperbacks/hardcovers and reading titles in a collected format, the first issue of a new series can become less important in hooking new readers. Creators can be less forthcoming with plot points, character origins and backgrounds as they’re afforded the luxury of tying it all together in later issues. The first issue of RunLoveKill is a perfect example of this idea. We’re thrown into a futuristic world and introduced to a couple of new characters without much backstory or explanation. For the most part it works, but it assumes you’ll be back for the remainder of its eight issues rather than giving you everything you need to know right from the start.
The opening pages jump back and forth between two scenes in a wide panel format that makes you feel as though you’re watching an opening to a movie. In one scene a female is looking to escape a prison complex while in the other, a different female is drawing her bow frantically across a violin. It’s cinematic and wonderfully laid out and you can almost hear the rhythmic crescendos as the mysterious prisoner tries to desperately make her escape. But as that scene draws to a close we don’t see those characters again. Instead the story jumps to what looks to be the central figure of the story as she copes with life in a futuristic closed off society. Writer Jon Tsuei writes a wonderful opening action scene that grabs your attention and then introduces the main character, but there’s so many more questions waiting to be answered. Without the background of the characters it can be tough to care about their individual predicaments, but artist Eric Canete will for sure bring you back with his energetic and stylized art.
Canete is a storyboard artist who’s work isn’t regularly seen in the world of comics. Although we’ve seen his pencils on books like Spider-Man and the highly underrated End League from Dark Horse, most of his time is spent in the world of animation which is no surprise when you see his work. That opening scene mentioned above absolutely moves on the page. He’s able to show just as much movement in the hands and head of a woman playing a violin as he does with the one running from her captors. There’s a grace to his work, which is ironic since he uses plenty of lines and hand drawn shadows that aren’t always clean and precise. Canete exaggerates his lines and is never afraid of pushing the pencil a bit further than what’s anatomically correct. That self confidence achieves great results because of it.
RunLoveKill won’t give you much in terms of background and history behind the worlds and the characters, but it does give you a story that has the potential to become something great, and art that delivers. As good as the art is though, this a perfect example of a series that will most likely read better in trade. RunLoveKill as a first issue is written with the expectation that it does just enough with the art and the few ideas introduced to bring you back. I’ll be back for sure, but after reading this first issue I’ll be back when it’s released in a collected format.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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