Hello everyone and welcome to another exciting edition of Silverwolf Suggests! Each month, I select three different comics for a friend that I think she or he will like. The friend then selects one of the three, and, if they like, I’ll purchase it for him or her. Later, we discuss the comic, the results of which are shared here!
This month, I’m joined by Vidasoy as we discuss Runaways, a popular comic series from the early 2000s written by Brian K. Vaughan (Saga) and drawn by Adrian Alphona (Ms. Marvel). We checked out Volume 1: Pride and Joy, which features the introduction of these characters. Check out our thoughts after the jump!
Silverwolf: Thanks for joining me today, Vida. Let’s get right to it! Can you briefly describe Runaways in your own words?
Vidasoy: Runaways is a comic series following a group of six teens that live a typical, rich kid life – up until the point they accidentally find out their parents are part of a Supervillain society called the Pride. They are then burdened with the responsibility of deciding how to best turn them in. Yet, even as each teenager discovers his or her own abilities to time-travel, perform dark magic, or use their new-found alien and telepathic powers, in the end they are facing the lies told by their own parents.
Silverwolf: Great! And what made you choose this series from among those that I suggested when you agreed to help out with this month’s column?
Vidasoy: I was intrigued by this title because while most series are about a superhero origin story, I’ve never read one where ordinary teens realize their parents are the Jokers and Lex Luthors as well. Superheroes have a hard enough time waking up to find that they’re now mutant and are tasked with saving the world. It’s another thing to find out they have powers and need to stop their mom. It adds another interesting layer to the moral dilemma they face.
Silverwolf: Definitely. I also loved the non-traditional origin story, as well as the fact a lot of their powers were totally original. From among the issues you read, what was your favorite scene or moment and why?
Vidasoy: Some memorable moments were when Karolina went all alien and started flying. I really loved how the colors lightened up the page and shifted the mood. It was a reminder of how young they were and the upsides of finding out your secret identity.
I also have to admit I liked Nico’s unexpected act of kissing Alex. I didn’t even realized I liked that pair until she made that spur-of-the-moment decision. It may be cute, but it also expresses the new bond between the members of the group and raises the stakes. Nico is a girl that makes things happen, not the other way around. Other than that, the writing overall was really compelling. I found myself smiling at every other line.
Silverwolf: Yeah, I absolutely loved the youthful energy in this series. It was really welcome in a superhero market that’s often just full of grim-dark-grittiness all the time. Did you have a favorite character from among the cast?
Vidasoy: Can I say Gertrude’s pet Velociraptor? What an MVP.
Dinosaurs aside, I was the most drawn to Nico. The cast in itself is full of silly characters that are deeper than they seem. At first glance, Nico wears a lot of gothic lolita and has her black nail polish. When the group comes together though, she is a pretty reliable voice of reason and also is not afraid to put herself aside for the sake of others. I was impressed when she charged at a man wielding a battle axe and reacted by coming into her powers. I feel she would be one of the ones that hold the group together, sort of as the backbone of the group. Alex acts like the leader, but she is invaluable at his side.
Silverwolf: I totally love Nico too, for the reasons you mentioned and more. My favorite would probably be Molly, just because she had so many amazing lines and was really the heart of the team.
That said, not everything can be perfect; what was your least favorite part of the comic?
Vidasoy: Cool! Molly has just sort of appeared in Issue 6, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.
I have nothing to complain about in terms of the writing and characters. Even the parents are artfully and realistically portrayed. My only issue would be the art. I realize it was released in 2003, but I’m so used to perfect digital art nowadays. Some of the expressions seemed almost cartoonish at times.
When Karolina’s parents were introduced, I nearly laughed at how big her mother’s mouth was. When the expressions aren’t exaggerated, it doesn’t give enough subtle cues about how they feel either. It wouldn’t stop me from reading it, but I might not have been inclined to pick up an issue otherwise.
Silverwolf: I can understand those criticisms. Adrian Alphona has definitely developed as an artist since this, as evidenced by the work we see on Ms. Marvel.
I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Runaways! Do you plan to keep reading it?
Vidasoy: The series has a habit of ending on some dramatic cliffhangers, so I don’t think I will be able to stop. Plus, I still haven’t seen Alex find out what his abilities/parents really do. I certainly hope to use the Marvel Unlimited subscription as much as I can before the month is over now that I have it. Thanks again for that!
Silverwolf: You’re welcome, it was my pleasure! I’m glad to hear you liked it enough to keep going. I know when I first started reading the series, I basically blasted through the first 18 issues in around a week because I couldn’t stop reading.
Now, do you have any questions for me?
Vidasoy: I was wondering, how does the story work in terms of the Marvel universe? Does it exist alongside their titles? Do we see the Avengers as more than MMORPG characters?
Silverwolf: Runaways stays pretty tight in its own continuity, but it does exist in the Marvel Universe. When you read more, you’ll see a few more popular characters show up. One villain in particular has a pretty big role in an upcoming arc, and there’s a really funny scene involving one of Marvel’s most popular superheroes that happens later on, too.
Vidasoy: More things to look out for! And what is your favorite scene in the comic, and why?
Silverwolf: Oh gosh, that’s hard for me to pick! I read the first 18 issues back-to-back, so I tend to forget which scenes happened when. Let’s just say my favorite scene is one you haven’t seen yet, but involves Molly meeting someone who she’s very fond of, and learning some things about this person she wasn’t expecting. That vague enough for you? (laughs)
Vidasoy: Some spoilers-not-spoilers fun. Last question, how did you stumble across the title and decide to recommend it to me in particular?
Silverwolf: Well, it’s actually a bit of a funny story. A few years back, I went on a date with a girl who was even more into comics than I am! I know that may be hard to believe, but we spent our entire first date talking about comics. Runaways was one she recommended to me, stating that it was her favorite series, so I went to my local library and tracked it down a few days later; I was lucky they had all the early volumes!
I picked Runaways for you because I know you’re fond of lighter superhero fare, like Ms. Marvel and Supergirl, as well as stories focusing on younger characters, like Gotham Academy. It was a little tricky, I must admit, because sadly the comic book market doesn’t have a ton of those stories. But, luckily, the market seems to be diversifying more and more in the past few years.
Vidasoy: Well I’m glad you did, and I’ll check out the other X-men series you recommended me as well when I have the time.
Silverwolf: Great! Well, thanks again for joining me this month Vida!
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