The Runaways has always been on my to-do list ever since my husband read them and raved about it. Unfortunately, I tried watching a few episodes the TV adaptation and my interest cooled. Since then it’s just been sitting on my “get around to it eventually” list. Enter Rainbow Rowell. She did what she always does and motivated me to actually do the thing. Everywhere I turn, her run of the Runaways is racking up praise and I, being the completionist I am, decided that I needed to read Brain K. Vaughn’s run first if I wanted to read her continuation of the story. So that’s what I did and having devoured Brian’s run over the course of a day, I get why Joss Whedon, at the height of his power in the mid-aughts, was wowed enough by The Runaways debut, that he felt motivated to write to Brian K. Vaughan and demand that the story not end after its initial 18 issue arc. All the Whendon elements are there: Indifferent adults perpetuating the same broken system! Magic! Quippy pseudo slang! Disaffected but hyper aware youths who slowly discover their lives and the world around them are built on lies and complexities they could not have imagined!
The story kicks off with a disparate group of five teens and one 11 year old being gathered together and forced to hang out while their parents meet for their annual charity meeting. The kids get bored, decide to explore a secret passage they discovered and accidently witness their parents murder a teen girl as part of some kind of occult ritual. Horrified, they quickly realize that instead of being the boring, slightly disappointing parents they thought they had, they discovered their parents were supervillians with ties to time-travel, mutant powers, evil geniuses and most importantly a plot to destroy the world.
What do you do when the parents you’re already estranged from turn out to be evil? Well, the title kinda gives it away. To say anymore would destroy the rollicking ride Brian K. Vaughan takes us on by the time this arc is done. I would recommend this arc without hesitation but I’ll warn that some of the references are a little dated, which feels weird to say about a piece of work written in 2005 (hello teens making West Wing references). Oh! I’d also be remiss if I did not shout out how great the illustrators Adrain Alphona and Takeshi Miyazawa are at capturing each kid’s personality by way of their style and the L.A setting.
Pick up this run, it’s worth it. Or if you don’t, please go out and try a new comic with new characters. The Runaways almost didn’t get made because the publishers were worried no one would read a comic about characters no one had ever heard of before. So go forth and pick up a new to you comic today!