Being a teenager sucks. SUCKS. You’re always getting punched in the face…it’s rough. Plus girls suck, or if you’re a girl, guys suck, or if you’re a gay guy, guys suck, or if you’re a lesbian, girls suck. Stuff sucks in general. Plus no one understands you and you’re a unique snowflake and all that.
Imagine, if on top of all of that, you found out that your parents were super villains.
Did you picture it?
I know, a real punch in the face. Your world is shattered.
That’s the premise of Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s Runaways, a Marvel Comic book involving people with super powers and such, but not so much with the super hero-ing.
Runaways plays with your expectations a bit. It takes place in the Marvel Universe, but in a corner that’s away from the interference and watchful eyes of The Avengers, Spider-Man, or any other do-gooder. Mostly because they’re all either based in New York, Space, or The Great Lakes, while this story takes place in California.
Alex, Gert, Molly, Carolina, Chase, and Nico are all teens who see each other once a year because their parents are all friends. While they may have all had fun as children, they’re all awkward and full of hate, so hanging for these family get togethers has become a real chore. So of course, when Alex tells them all about a secret passage, they’re all up for it.
And they see their parents dressed like this:
And then their parents sacrifice a young woman who doesn’t look much older than them.
Yeah, kind of a punch in the face.
Across eighteen issues in this first series, Vaughan and Alphona tell a tale of heroes and villains, aliens, witches, time travelers, mutants, mad scientists and straight. up. gangsters. All while remaining grounded in what it feels like to be a teenager. Alphona’s art is a little rough in the first few issues, but becomes really polished. By the time you get to issue 18, you’ll be amazed at how he’s defined and evolved these characters.
You should read this comic if you liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Veronica Mars for sure, but also if you’ve ever been a teenager and suspected that your parents might be evil.
This series was mainly written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Adrian Alphona, but Takeshi Miyazawa does a few pick up issues on art here and there, offering a more manga-y take on the series while never making it feel like a different book. A couple of other creative teams took over after Vaughan and Alphona finished their run (including Buffy creator and Avengers director Joss Whedon) but none (for me, anyway) captured the same spark or energy that the creators of these characters did.
You can get the first issue for FREE on Comixology RIGHT NOW. Then buy all the rest at $1.99 a piece. Do it. I have bought this series in individual issues, in trade paperback, and in hardcover. It’s that good. You can buy it on Amazon or at your local book store or comic shop too, of course, but read the first issue. Again, it’s FREE. Then let me know what you thought.
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