RunLoveKill by Jon Tsuei, Manu Fernandez , Eric Canete

RunLoveKill is a bit of a mixed bag – a frenetic plot with frenetic artwork that somehow manages to be less as a whole than the sum of its parts. Specifically, the story probably should have been fleshed out more in order to create more mystery and intrigue; instead, we have a fairly random sci fi setting with an all too typical ‘girl goes on the run from tyranical organization after she gets morals’. Run Lola Run meets Aeon Flux is the best description of this title; sadly, it lacks the charm of either.

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Story: Rain Oshiro defected from Origami awhile back – hiding from the elite military/ruling organization of the City. She’s about to escape beyond the wall they’ve enacted – until her cover is compromised and Origami throws all it has to track her down and bring her back into their fold.

There are hints here that something is different – Rain herself kidnapped, perhaps augmented, and then also attempting to save children that perhaps were going to be inducted in the same way she was. The thing is – we’re not given much to go on in this slim volume (about 100 pages of story). Very little worldbuilding means we’re given nothing to tease and ponder and no reason to want to follow a fairly straightforward plot of run and be hunted.

The artwork is very detailed but also fairly inscrutable at times. I never really had a feel for how the characters look and often became confused at what was going on. E.g., were riders IN the dog like vehicles? Which was Janus and which was Dey? What does Rain actually look like… I can understand that the illustrator wanted to create a feel of movement and haste – but the result was that visually the book was as nebulous as the writing.

I always look forward to creator original tales in the graphic novel industry. I may not always love them but I’m always glad for the chance to read them. While I didn’t love RunLoveKill, it did keep my attention through to the end. I hope with the next graphic novel, author Tsuei creates a definitive story arc across the volume – this ended abruptly and without really giving readers the satisfaction of a satisfactory stopping point. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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