Thursday, 11 June 2015

Runaways (Deluxe Vols 2 & 3) by Brian K Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Runaways (Deluxe Vols 2 & 3) by Brian K Vaugh and Adrian Alphona are the two volumes of Runaways containing the second season of Vaughan's Runaways run. My intention was to review each deluxe volume separately, but reading on Marvel Unlimited I accidentally overshot and was halfway through Vol 3 when I realised. I also blame Goodreads for being wrong about which issues were included in Vol 2. So here we are. A review of issues #1–24 of the 2005–2007 run of Runaways, which is regular (non-deluxe) volumes 5–7. This review (and the blurb) contains spoilers for Runaways Deluxe Vol 1.

In True Believers, now that the evil Pride is gone, nearly every bad guy in the Marvel Universe is trying to fill the power vacuum in Los Angeles, and the Runaways are the only heroes who can stop them Plus: What does a mysterious new team of young heroes want with the Runaways, and which fan-favorite Marvel characters are part of this group? In Escape to New York, the Runaways embark on a coast-to-coast adventure, guest-starring Cloak and Dagger AND the New Avengers When Cloak is accused of a crime he didn't commit by the heroes of New York City, the vigilante is forced to turn to the teenage Runaways for help. This story will take our teens to a place they've never been: NYC. In Parental Guidance, the secret super-villain society is back, but this all-new group isn't made up of the Runaways' evil parents. Who are these shadowy players, and what do they want with the Marvel Universe's next generation of heroes? Plus: When the youngest member of the Runaways is separated from her teammates, Molly Hayes must survive a night alone on the mean streets of Los Angeles The 11-year-old mutant girl soon hooks up with a new group of runaways, but is their mysterious leader a hero or a villain? And in Live Fast, the Runaways say good-bye to the past, and make hard decisions about their future.

In the first deluxe collection of Runaways, I thought the single over-arching plot was one of its strengths. In these two volumes the story arcs seem to run more or less over six issues/one regular volume, giving it a distinctly episodic feel in the style of an ongoing TV series. I enjoyed this run of Runaways, but not quite as much as the first one. I think that's partly because of a bit of shuffling of the team members (was some of it caused by external comic events? I got the feeling it might have been).

The first story arc has the Runaways basically running around fighting bad guys as they arise. Meanwhile, a group of adult ex-teenage superheroes start an organisation to help rehabilitate teen heroes and find that with the Runaways, they may have bitten off more than they can chew. This was an entertaining sort of gentle storyline, and I suspect one that long-time comic book fans might have enjoyed picking out the old heroes out of. It also lead nicely into later events.

In the second story arc we meet Cloak and Dagger (well, mostly Cloak) for the second time in Runaways. Dagger asks the teenagers for help with a problem that squicked me out a bit. I mean, it all worked out in the end, but I didn't like the fact that it revolved around Dagger having been beaten into a coma. The pair's appearances in Runaways have made me curious about them, however. (And hey, at least Dagger didn't have to wear her horrible costume much.)

The third story arc has a new team of nemeses out to screw over our main characters. It's a less scary group of people than some of the bad guys they've fought before, but the group turns out to have more of a bite than expected. The showdown is very dramatic. This was also the storyline with more shuffling of team members than I would have liked. (No spoilers, but I'm not sold on the addition to the team, as well as obviously being sad about the person who leaves.)

The final story arc in Vaughan's run is dealing with the severe ramifications of the previous arc's show down. It's sort of more of an epilogue although I was surprised at how much it set up the next story (surprised because the next story is written by a different writer and I expected more of a clean break even if the issue numbers didn't restart). It did leave me intrigued as to where the story is going next.

I am still enjoying Runaways and I plan to keep reading it, although I'll probably have a bit of a break first. It's refreshing to read a story with a predominantly female ensemble cast. Runaways is a fun series full of arse-kicking ladies and I'm glad it had a good run. I recommend starting from the beginning of the whole series (the 2003 run), but I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes the idea of teen superheroes (and perhaps used to enjoy Buffy).

4 / 5 stars

First published: 2005–2007, Marvel
Series: Runaways, ongoing series, issues #1–24 of the second run
Format read: Digital
Source: Marvel Unlimited

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