Review: Run Love Kill #2

The second issue of Run Love Kill executed its temporally-removed opening much better than the first issue, but still succumbed to a lot of the same cinematic posturing. If you're going to lead off an issue of a comic with a flashback, it damn well better come back and have a payoff within the issue itself.  I know a lot of folks are writing for the trade these days, and I guess that's probably why Run Love Kill #1 opens with its ambiguous flash-back-or-forward-or-who-knows.  The flashback in issue 2 is, at least as far as an opening flashback can be, much more functional.  The addition of Janus makes for a great little climactic entrance at the end of the issue.

The interesting thing about the horizontal stacked panels is that it seems like the comic is really aware of how claustrophobic it makes the whole experience.  It sort of teases the reader, and stays boring throughout the issue until *WHAM* full-page spreads of one-man raptor-esque mechas crash through the steady, pretty dull progression of the issue to wake up the reader.

RunLoveKill-#2-1My biggest problem with Run Love Kill is really half of a bad thing and half of a good thing.  The good thing is that the world design and the character designs in this series are completely fucking mesmerizing.  I don't know a damn thing about Rain other than what's been clumsily gestured at so far, but Rain, Janus, Dey, the General, Tin-- every character has a look and feel that is meticulous and yet all of them fit together in this world.  The stylistic symbiosis happening between particular character fashion choices and the facades of buildings is clear evidence that there is a singular vision for this world, and it is being presented beautifully.  Seriously, I hate comics that assault my eyeballs with colors and I feel like I am being taunted by the work of Canete and Olea.  They are daring me not to like the look of this comic, and other than the page layouts, I am buying everything they're selling (and they are the reason I literally can't give this book less than a 3).

And yet Therein lies the problem: I care more about how things look than what actually happens.  The plot so far has just felt so deliberately cliché that I don't know how I'm supposed to feel. There is a constant tension because of the quality and thoughtfulness of the art and design of this comic: I want to like the story much more than I do.  At one-point Rain thinks she sees Janus in the club and freaks out when approached by her friend, taking her down instantly.  The whole club stops because of her violent action.  Really?  This story beat felt really unnatural: I've seen fist fights in clubs that were surrounded by people who did not stop dancing for a second.

In that moment the story kind of betrayed itself and pulled back the curtain on another one of my issues with the first two issues: I don't care about Rain and yet everyone in the story is focused on suggesting that I should.  Even in this small moment when she takes down her friend, a bunch of people become fixated on Rain, as if you would give a shit about some random drunk person lashing out randomly like on any other Friday.  The world of Run Love Kill is a world singularly built, even in small story beats, around this one person who I have no reason to care about beyond her awesome character design.  I get that we are saving the truth of her character's situation for later in the eight issues, but let's be real: I'm not going to keep reading just to find something out.  And if I am--if I am reading your comic just because I want to make sense of it--then I am not reading because I am entertained by the story, or because I have some kind of stake in the characters.

Score: 3/5

Run Kill Love #2 Writer: Jonathan Tsuei Artist: Eric Canete Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 5/13/15 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital