December 4, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Jimmy Attempts To Read All Of Secret Wars XXVIII: Runaways Edition


There’s been a lot of talk around these parts by Tom and especially Ryan that I’ve underrated Runaways in our Secret Wars Power Rankings. Like here, here, here and here.

I thought Runaways was ok, with one of the few good endings in these (and I use the term loosely) “tie-ins”.  But I’ve just never dug on teen angst teams.  So no, I’ve never read any previous incarnations of Runaways either.

At the end of the day I can only mark it down to personal preference.  And much like I’m sure Terminator 2: Judegement Day is not Ryan and Tom’s favorite movie, or Led Zeppelin Ryan and Tom’s favorite band, to each their own.

After the cut I’ll take a look at Runaways #1, Runaways #2, Runaways #3 and Runaways #4 with an eye to telling you what happened, and not necessarily if you should spend your $15.96 + tax on it.

Related links:
Secret Wars Power Rankings
Tom’s Road To Secret Wars: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7.
Other parts of this series: 1, 2, 34, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1415, 1617, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

Runaways #1

Welcome to the Victor Von Doom Institute for Gifted Youths.  The best and brightest from each domain have been brought here to learn honor, leadership, loyalty, determination and obedience to represent a perfect future.

But as with any school (and any story like this or we wouldn’t have much to talk about) there is always a band of rebels/outcasts that doesn’t play by the rules and ends up in detention.

How did they end up in detention?  Well, because teen angst and fighting in the halls of school and Bucky Barnes, glorified hall monitor, being no fun ever.

But this is a group of super heroes and geniuses, so it doesn’t take much for one Amadeus Cho to remotely hack into their Doombot teacher and make him do whatever they want.  This allows the occupants of the corrections room to escape, but arrive at registration for the final exam much too late.  Looks like this rag tag bunch, much to their chagrin, must be a team.

Bucky reports the gangs breakout to to the school’s headmistress Valeria Von Doom.  She doesn’t believe that they should pass their final exam…which will sound a lot more ominous in later issues.

Runaways #2


It’s final exam time.  Which is a virtual reality romp as each team fights for survival on the holodeck.  Team Puce don’t have much time to deal with their own in-fighting before the games begin.

During the battle Amadeus Cho discovers an escape for them into an unused parallel level.  However once in this level and undetectable by the program, they find bodies.  Student bodies.  (Is that funny?)  It seems that this reality is not so virtual after all.  When you die in the games you aren’t just sent home to your domain, you actually die.  The team is shocked to learn the true nature of the school and that they have played a part in some of these deaths.

The team decides to do what most all of us would do in that situation…run the hell away.  They make a successful getaway, leaving “reverse powers” Dagger behind to spy on the school as she wasn’t part of their team in the games and not being hunted.  When they have gotten free they realize that someone else has been left behind, Sanna Strand.

Runaways #3


After their escape the kids first hide in The Valley of Doom, which must have been a source of great internal conflict for Ryan as he loves Runaways but hates 1872 which takes place in this domain.  When they head into town looking for supplies it turns out buying boots for a Hulk kinda draws attention.  After wining a gunfight the team head off to visit Amadeus Cho’s parents in the Civil War-torn Warzone.

What they find is a giant crater where the Cho’s home used to be.  His parents assumed dead.  More lies from the house of Doom.  A house that has also caught up to them thanks to Bucky Barnes.  In the ensuing melee, Cho and Delyphne are captured and Barnes readies his team to take them back to the school.

Runaways #4


Last issue, Dagger with Cloak’s powers arrived too late to warn the team that Barnes was coming for them.  But her presence now saves most of the team as she teleports them away to Weirdworld to avoid capture.

While the team hatches a plot to return to the school and save their friends, soon to be Totally Awesome Hulk Amadeus Cho is brought before headmistress Valeria Von Doom.  She is offering a chance at retribution.  At joining their family…which Cho refuses as he already has a family.

And that’s when all hell breaks lose.  Team Puce has returned and hacked into the video monitors and share the secret of the school.  Of students killing students and that Doom’s school’s only purpose it to pump out loyal soldiers.  At which points most students rebel and join forces against Barnes and his security team…until Barnes let’s them get away.  Which costs him his life as Doom has a zero tolerance policy against anyone defying his will.

Another Winter Soldier dead (this event hasn’t been too kind to him), Valeria upset and heading home and the escaped students of the institute preparing to make a lives for themselves out from under the rule of Doom.