I’m hooked on ‘Runaways!’

Runaways vol 1: Pride and JoyEver thought your parents were evil?

Well, what if they really were?

Brian Vaughan’s popular Runaways comic series begins with six couples, longtime friends, who drag their six teenagers along to spend an evening together. Bored out of their minds, the kids find a secret passageway, and inadvertently discover that their parents are super villains. Like actual supervillains, who call themselves The Pride and ritually sacrifice young girls. Running away from their parents, the gang vows to overthrow them, and along the way discover secrets about their heritages and own dormant powers– mutants, aliens, traitors, and a pet velociraptor are all involved.

I’ve read the first three volumes, and the fourth is waiting on my shelf–I can’t stop reading it! Runaways is an engaging and fun read–you can expect nothing less from the writer of Lost. Vaughan mixes good old high school drama and romance with superheroes and the ultimate adolescent identity crisis. Plus, the kids themselves are easy to relate to as they try to understand who they are and how they fit in–I particularly loved it when they come up with codenames by insulting each other, and when Molly (the youngest at 12) makes her own haphazard costume. Adrian Alphona’s art style is cute, and similar to manga, perhaps further suggesting that Runaways is for a younger crowd. Though it can appeal to them, the third volume becomes much darker, as the kids learn of the Pride’s origins and finally fight them, leading to the death of a Runaway.

Gertrude Yorkes, aka Arsenic (above) is my absolute favorite. Her parents are time travelers from the 87th century, and she has a pet velociraptor named Old Lace, who has a telekinetic link with her. I love Gert’s sarcastic one-liners, her intelligence and underlying sensitivity, and how comfortable she is in her own skin, with her purple hair and glasses, and being slightly overweight (though she doesn’t look it as much on the covers…hm). Oh, and she STILL gets a guy. Needless to say, we need more girls like her in comics.

And now is the best time to start up on Runaways, since a movie version is coming out next year! None of the cast has been decided, but at the moment it’s between Joss Whedon (everything awesome) and Peter Sollett (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) to direct. (Is there really any question who the better pick is here?)

I agree with Sci-Fi Movie‘s views about the movie– I’m not sure Runaways as a movie will work really well. There’s a huge ensemble, lots of different powers to explain, and they would have to consolidate at least the first three books. Plus, it would take a very delicate balance between the comic’s lighter and darker elements to appeal to everyone. But it looks like Vaughan will help write the script, so I have faith.


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