Sunday, 7 June 2015

Runaways (Deluxe Vol 1) by Brian K Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Runaways (Deluxe Vol 1) written by Brian K Vaugh and illustrated by Adrian Alphona is the first season (for lack of a better word) of the fairly long running comic series. I didn't read the actual printed volume, but rather the issues in it (#1–18) in digital form on Marvel Unlimited. This seemed like a sensible unit to review in, so deluxe volumes it is (this deluxe volume, for the record, contains the first three normal volumes of Runaways).

In Pride & Joy, six young friends discover their parents are all secretly super-powered villains Finding strength in one another, the shocked teens run away from home and straight into the adventure of their lives - vowing to turn the tables on their evil legacy. In Teenage Wasteland, the Runaways find a kindred spirit in a daring young stranger and welcome him into their fold. But will this dashing young man help the teenagers defeat their villainous parents... or tear them apart? Plus: who do you send to catch a group of missing, runaway teenage super-heroes? Marvel's original teen runaway crimefighters, Cloak and Dagger, make their first major appearance in years In The Good Die Young, the world as we know it is about to end, and the Runaways are the only hope to prevent it Our fledgling teenage heroes have learned how their parents' criminal organization began, and now they must decide how it should end. As the Runaways' epic battle against their evil parents reaches its shocking conclusion, the team's mole stands revealed, and blood must be shed. Which kids will still be standing when the smoke finally clears?

What really set this series apart from other Marvel series I've read recently (so, y'know, a lot of them) is that the story arc is stretched over all eighteen issues, rather than five or fewer. It was refreshing to read something with a more involved storyline and a lot of space for character development. In that sense it put me in mind of Saga (also written by Vaughan), which makes me wonder if the similarity is in the writer or the breadth of the idea.

The basic premise of Runaways is a group of teens whose parents are friends are forced to hang out together once a year when their parents get together to do some boring charity thing. This year, however, the teens wander into a secret passage at the host house during their parents meeting and witness them a) dressed in weird costumes and b) perform a human sacrifice. Naturally they freak out and, as the title suggests, run away.

The story is mainly them dealing with their parents being evil and the challenges of living on their own and on the lam. They also didn't exactly start out as friends, more like people who've known each other their whole lives because their collective parents forced them to spend time together. So there's a bit of friction in the group, but not so much that it distracts from the main story. Oh, and did I mention half of them have super powers? There's also a pet velociraptor, which was pretty adorable and kind of my favourite character.

Runaways was a really fun read and also a surprisingly quick read. Those eighteen issues just flew past, compared with some of the other comics I've read. I think there might have been more larger panels (so less happening per page) but also I think the spread-out story also contributed. Like the more the plot progresses in a single issue the slower it feels? Maybe something like that.

Anyway, Runaways Deluxe Vol 1 was pretty great and I will definitely be reading on. It was great to have a single season-length story arc and a distinct ending over the eighteen issues. There was even an epilogue which starts to set up a different story for the next season. I am definitely going to read it as well. I recommend Runaways to fans of YA stories.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2004 with issues published from 2003 to 2004, Marvel Comics
Series: Runaways Deluxe Vol 1, collecting issues #1–18 and regular volumes 1–3
Format read: Digitally
Source: Marvel Unlimited

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