Being a kid sucks, no real freedom, no rights, always having to do what your told, can’t drink or smoke (legally), you can’t drive, and curfews are the worst.
Being a kid is hard enough, but being the kid of a supervillain? That just wins the “My life sucks award”.
Today on Retro Vision we take a look at Marvel’s award-winning sleeper hit: Runaways.
All young people believe their parents are evil … but what if they really are? Meet Alex, Karolina, Gert, Chase, Molly and Nico – whose lives are about to take an unexpected turn. When these six young friends discover their parents are all secretly super-powered villains, the shocked teens find strength in one another. Together, they run away from home and straight into the adventure of their lives – vowing to turn the tables on their evil legacy.
Alex Wilder was just a normal kid who enjoyed video games and occasionally had to suffer through his parents annual “get togethers” with their friends. This was the first one they had hosted in a while, so he was slightly uncomfortable with seeing all the kids he had spent so much time with when he was younger. Enter Karolina Dean (the out going free spirit), Getrude “Gert” Yorkes (the snarky cynic), Chase Stein (the short-tempered & often reckless rebel), Molly Hayes (the youngest of the group), & Nico Minoru (the intelligent, shy introvert). The kids seem to get along more or less, reconnecting and getting to know more about each other, but things soon go horribly awry when they witness their parent commit a human sacrifice. This act alone changes the kids perception of their parents and their lives forever.
The series was created by Brian K. Vaughn became a superstar after creating this and his other hit series, Y: The Last Man, and it’s easy to see why. The book was originally going to be a six issue story, but due to the massive amount of popularity it became an ongoing series. His run on this series is great, he has hard hitting narrative that everyone can relate to, winning him an Eisner award. A group of kids dealing with growing up and trying to move away from the shadow of their parents while also trying to bring them to justice. Each of the kids are portrayed and crafted expertly, each with their own unique personalities, fears, strengths, weaknesses, problems, and powers. The pacing is fluid and even as well, giving us time with each of the kids and lets us know who they are as people, while also adding new characters to join them on their journey. Superstar “Buffyverse” creator & Avengers director Joss Whedon also has an acclaimed run on the book as well, with the current run being written by Kathryn Immonen & illustrated by Ultimate Comics Spider-Man artist Sara Pichelli.
The art for the first half of the comic was done by Canadian artist and series co-creator Adrian Alphonda, who later went on to draw the covers for the second volume of the “Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane” series. His light-hearted whimsical style is used here to great effect. The kids, look great, the parents look great, the environments look great. It is an all around gorgeous book to look at.
The writing and art style mostly reflect a teen book, but this is a book i would recommend for all ages. Solid stories, great characters, gorgeous artwork, and an all around great read. One of the things that makes Runaways special is that it stays in it’s own little world and rarely (if ever) crosses over with any other Marvel titles (save Young Avengers which they crossed with once or twice) and some Marvel heroes, like Wolverine & Captain America, make special appearances as well.
The Runaways haven’t been shown in recent years (save a small crossover with the Daken: Dark Wolverine series and 2 issues of Avengers Academy) and the series has been on indefinite hiatus since 2009, ending with a cliffhanger. Although a couple of the characters are resurfacing for Marvel’s upcoming NOW! title Avengers Arena, no official continuation on Runaways has been announced.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good teen drama, superhero tales, and coming of age stories. This book has got it all, and no matter what your preference is you won’t be disappointed.