Review: RunLoveKill #1

I think readers are going to need more than one issue to really sink their teeth into this world, so let's just launch right into what immediately struck me about the first issue of RunLoveKill other than the simultaneously awesome and terrible title of the series. First off, the art is striking, both for good and bad reasons.  The pencils are frantic but focused, and the character designs and settings throw the reader face first into a familiar but intensely charming dystopic future.  The color work is, for the most part, solid, but sometimes awkward lighting effects take away from an otherwise carefully constructed scene.  As for the frequent use of stacked horizontal panels, I cannot say that I'm a fan.  These layouts are so simple that they often border on tedious and make splash pages feel too indulgent and small beats feel out of place.  RunLoveKill feels like it really wants to be a movie, and though it seems pretty clear from the opening sequence that the cinematic feel is intentional, it sucks the wind out of the sails when more intimate comic moments need to carry the story.

Run-Love-Kill-#1Speaking of the cinematic intro, it's an awkward narrative move to make.  It's not an uncommon thing for limited, eight-to-ten issue comics to open with a critical story beat without any context.  Often, it has an interesting overall effect when the work is finally collected all in one place.  But for a serial-- I don't know, it always bugs me.  Comics is a form that lives and dies by context, and having so much of a first issue devoted to a sequence that is currently meaningless seems like a waste.

We're set in a dystopic future, but I thought the introduction of the oppressive regime was unnecessary and had too much exposition.  This is less of a complaint and more of a suggestion, since I think the meat of the issue still works well.  There is something Bladerunner-esque about the feel of this world, and, ironically, the narration is out of place here much like it is in the original Bladerunner film.  If you take out Rain’s entire string of thoughts before she gets down to having her car towed, by the end of the issue, we are still finding out (over and over) that she is trying to get the hell out of dodge, that there is an overbearing organization installing a wall, and that they're after her.  The comic is attractive enough that I'm willing to do some work as a reader.

This issue largely existed as an inciting moment for the situation around which this story will revolve, and in that sense I can't be too hard on it since it has to start somewhere; but, I don’t care about Rain as a character just yet, and would have appreciated some more context for this character (which gives me more reason to come back for #2), rather than the unqualified context I get in the beginning sequence.

Score: 3/5

RunLoveKill #1 Writer: Jonathan Tsuei Artist: Eric Canete Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 4/15/15 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital