Runaways, Volumes 1-3

GN 1. Runaways, Volume 1-3 ( Periodicals 1-18 ) by Brian K. Vaughan. Illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Takeshi Miyazawa. Published April 2004.

Runaways Volume 1 Cover

I decided to review the volumes of Runaways at the natural plot breaks. I am reading the serial-novel sized publication, though it has also been released in the standard trade size and as a large collected format. I read these first three before the Graphic Novel Challenge began, so they do not count.

Runaways opens with Volume 1: Pride & Joy on six childhood friends, all now in their teens. Vaughan uses the prety typical breakdown of teen personalities – the geek, jock, goth, shy guy, freak, and hottie. As their parents get together, the kids decide to spy on them, and discover a terrible truth. Their parents form The Pride – a league of supervillians capable of the worst evils. The kids, stunned by this revelation, band together and flee into LA, a city blanketed under their parents’ influence. As they run, each character discovers the heritage their parents left them in the form of magic, super powers, preturnatural abilities, and a pet dinosaur.

In Volume 2: Teenage Wasteland, The Runaways have gotten comfortable with their newfound abilities and newest hideout. However, constant threat of exposure as a pair of superhero bounty hunters who are put on their trail brings their reality into stark detail.

Volume 3: The Good Die Young is the best of these 3 opening volumes. The Runaways come to the frightening decision that the only way of obtaining freedom and save the world is to confront The Pride on their own. Battle rages and blood spills as shocking revelations of fate are only overshadowed by betrayal most foul. As the battle ends and the volume comes to a close, the only thing that is clear is that no one came out a winner.

Vaughan’s unusual ability to capture the reader is brought to a whole new level of perfection with The Runaways and the artwork of Alphona and Miyazawa. The humor and witty banter that fills the average comic is cast in a whole new light by the overwhelming situation The Runaways find themselves in. Vaughan’s dialogue truly captures the fear, uncertainty, and exhaustion of children heartlessly tossed into a very adult world. These heroes aren’t perfect. They make quite a few mistakes. But the innocent yet earnest nature of The Runaways leaves the reader with that giddy lightheartedness reminiscent of the truly great classics.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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