REVIEW/RECAP: Runaways (2015) #2 – “Only the Strong will Survive”
In the second issue of Runaways things get really deep, really quickly. So with that ominous warning let’s get into the next part of the story!
It’s the day of the final exam and everyone’s lined up for the opening ceremony. Valeria Doom gives a speech reminding them all how important the final exam is before they all swear allegiance to Doom. It just goes to show how sneaky she is, being able to look everyone in the eye while plotting their demise.
After the ceremony, in the changing rooms Pixie tries to get Jubilee to apologise to Sanna. There’s a joke about Lee and Sanna getting together if Sanna didn’t hate her, which I’m hoping foreshadows a canon relationship. Once all the jokes are aside Lee agrees to apologise to Sanna. Shout out to the writers for showing that exes can still have a healthy friendship, and for demonstrating female friendship too.
As the group waits outside the doors of the final exam room they get a few words of advice from Bucky. Well, a bit of backhanded advice. He has no faith in them at all so he just tells the group to lay low until the exam is over. Lee tries to apologise to Sanna but Sanna just tells her to stay out of her way. From the way Lee and Pixie were talking before it sounds like Lee and Sanna have hated each other for a while. A simple sorry isn’t going to make up for all of that. Although making sure they at least don’t kill each other in the final exam is first priority.
Did I mention that it’s not a written exam? The teens get put into a virtual environment where they have to fight against the enemies that are thrown at them. A final exam involving fighting for survival should set alarm bells ringing. Do any of the characters actually know how exactly they’ll be expected to serve Doom if they pass? Or are they all just accepting of the fact that they may have to take part in some kind of battle? Tyrone suggests hiding in the turrets, but that would leave them as sitting ducks. Amadeus says they should use the mechanics of the environment to win, demonstrating this by predicting when a hoard of enemies emerges from a nearby wall.
They start the fight well, but soon begin to lose their advantage. Amadeus begins to lead them all somewhere safe, but Pixie waits for Jubilee who is still trying to take out some enemies. Pixie gets hit and Skaar has to drag Jubilee away, reminding her that they’ll see each other after the exam.
The group arrives at a parallel level; a place where they can’t be detected. Lee spots something in the corner of the level—the dead bodies of their classmates. That’s right: instead of killing virtual enemies, they were killing their classmates who had been disguised as virtual enemies. The fact that they were doing it unwittingly makes it all the more painful. There’s a scene of Lee crying over Pixie’s dead body; this will most likely be a major point of conflict for her as it was while waiting for her that Pixie was hit.
It’s then they all decide to run away. Well, almost all of them. Sanna initially wants to stay because she’s worked so hard to get to the final exam, but they convince her to leave after reminding her that she’ll be killed if anyone finds out what they know. I like how they’re not all suddenly brave. There’s a hesitation among them because they’ve just found out the people they’ve trusted actually don’t care about them at all. Imagine being told you’re special, but then finding out you’re nothing more than pawns in a ‘god’s’ game.
The group wait until the exam is over before sneaking off to the hangar where all the spaceships are kept. Lee runs off to get a sleepy Molly, Tyrone shares a tearful goodbye with his sister and Amadeus decides to bring a robot head along with him (he feels sad because they scrapped the robot because he reprogrammed it in the previous issue). They all almost get caught as they board the ship but Amadeus manages to fly them off into the night before that happens. Everyone’s relieved…until they realise they’ve left Sanna behind (when did she even disappear???)
And that’s all for issue 2. Talk about the feels…I did not expect main character death so early on. Does everything only go downhill from here? Where do our characters even go from here? All we can do is wait until the next issue!