Written by: Eric Canete and Jon Tsuei

Art by: Eric Canete

Publisher: Image

RUNLOVEKILL #1 is the kind of comic that I want to like. It’s interesting to look at, it has some great character designs, and the art style is fairly unique. Sadly, the comic seems to subscribe to the idea of style over substance and the reader is treated to a pretty albeit empty first issue. What makes it even worse is that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong.

The story is present and seems engaging enough. Basically, a futuristic Orwellian city called Prygat is set to be fully surrounded by a giant wall that’s intended to protect its citizens. However, our hero Rain seems to have fears that the Origami (Prygat’s military more or less), doesn’t have citizens’ best interests at heart and plans on getting out before the wall is built. Oh, and Rain also may have a mysterious past that makes her one of the Origami’s prime targets.

My problem is that none of this is refreshing at this point.

Eric Canete does a wonderful job in creating Prygat and the comic would certainly suffer without vision that he brings. Canete draws some wonderfully varied characters and his backgrounds are often full of detail (such as walls filled with graffiti) that help give Prygat a sense of uniqueness. He also doesn’t shy away from using color which is refreshing in a genre that tends to rely on grays and browns to hammer in the idea that the society pictured is oppressive and decaying. Canete’s backgrounds also clue is into the various technology that exists in this world without the story having to be explicit about the state of things. I was happy to see that no panel seemed wasted when it came to visually telling a story.

Unfortunately, the writing struggles to reach the same level as the art.

While the art is detailed, varied, and overall fairly exciting the story is more or less the exact opposite. The storytelling is minimal and the characters feel like terrible one-dimensional stock characters that simply exist to fill roles. Rain fills the role of a mysterious main character but that’s about all we get from her. Even her monologues have more to say about the city than herself and we’re basically left with a character we know nothing about outside of the fact that she hates the city and wants out. What’s also annoying is that there’s a clear set-up for a romance subplot that’s apparent the moment a certain character enters the scene.

What’s more worrisome for the series, however, is that there doesn’t seem to be anything that really sets this story apart from the dozens of other dystopias we find in media. Rain isn’t particularly interesting, there’s already implications of very ordinary plot devices (such as the aforementioned romance), and pretty much every character you’re introduced to seemingly has one role in the entire story. There’s nothing to hook you outside of the implications of Rain’s past and that isn’t even introduced until the issue is essentially over.

Ultimately, it’s not a terrible issue. I wasn’t particularly bored by it but I found myself uninterested in really continuing the series, especially when Image has so many phenomenal titles to choose from. The art is there and the art is sure to draw in some regular readers but as for now, RUNLOVEKILL is a comic that’s better to look at than it is to read.