I started reading comics only recently, about a year ago. It was at that time, i started telling myself to get into the whole comic/graphic novel scene and immerse myself into this new form of storytelling art. As mentioned previously, I like any form of medium, so long as something tells a beautiful story and its appealing to me. It can be virtually anything that interests me, and as long as the stories that i read, are fresh, interesting and innovating, packed with character development, a thick plot, a surprising twist and a good ending.
To be honest, I was quite lost in the world of comics, especially western comics. There are soo many out there, and the industry is pretty established, dating far back in history. While browsing and researching, i realised that i dont really like superhero comic books. Im just not attracted to the lure of reading Spiderman, or Superman or any other comic book heroes out there. Furthermore, with all the different storyline, worlds, alternate realms etc, it was a turn off for me. Essentially, there wasnt a good starting point that i could find to snug myself comfortably and find that one comic book that i would truly enjoy.
I wanted something different, something fresh, something original, not the cookie-cutter of good vs evil and heroes saving the day. It was daunting, till i came across Runaways graphic novel, authored by Brian K Vaughan, under Marvel. With whatever limited reading of comics that i had at that time, it is still my favourite comics of all time.
So what is it all about? Essentially it chronicles this group of teenagers, Nico Minoru, Gertrude Yorkes, Chase Stein, Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes, and Alex Wilder, whose parents are part of a terrible, evil secret organization called The Pride. While their parents had a secret gathering at one of the parents house, they witnessed a terrible killing of a teenage girl right before their eyes. Having seen that, they tried desperately to find out more about the organization by running away and try to come up with plans to defeat them. It was then they realised that thier parents have made a deal with The Gibborim, which granted their parents power, in return of helping The Gibborim to bring the end of the world, and give birth to a new one with them as the rulers of the new world.
As they went on a road of self discovery, they also realised that they had tricks of their own.
Nico Minoru, whose parents are dark wizards, inherits the Staff of One and can cast spells, with a twist. The spells casted cannot be casted more than once or it will backfire.
Karolina Dean, is an alien who can fly and manipulate solar energy, in which she can spent and must recharge by basking in the sun. However her powers were realised when the bracelet which she wore was taken off, apparently as a suppression tool for her.
Molly Hayes, the youngest of the runaways, a mutant of super strength and invulnerability with its own shortcomings. Extended usage can cause her to become sleepy.
Chase Stein, a jock but from genius parents. He learns to use some of the gadgets invented by them and also drives Leapfrog, their transporter.
Gertrude Yorkes, a geek from a pair of time travelling parents. She shares a telepathic bond with this genetically engineered dinosaur created by them.
Alex Wilder, the leader of the group, but soon turned a traitor. Parents of the boss of The Pride.
A total of 3 hardcover volumes have already been completed. The first volume, covering the story of how they managed to defeat The Pride, which turns out to be going against their own parents. It also tells the story of how and why Alex Wilder betrayed the group at the cost of his life. Some new characters were introduced, and some of which joined the runaway group, and also some died throughout the plot thus far. Alot of character developments happened since the begining. I shall not spoil it for you, but i can guarantee that it would be one hell of a ride.
What i truly like about Brian K Vaughan’s work is that he is able to capture the precise moments of them growing up as a teenager, going through difficulties and overcoming all odds. Also, the dialogues presented in the comics are so well written that just by reading it, you would definitely know who it’s spoken from. The characters are established right at the begining and from then on, its really clear cut as to who is who, their behavior and attitude. And the conversation within the comics are very engaging and interesting to read. And mind you this is not a typical superhero comic book. Sure some do have powers, but when you put all these elements together, its unpredictable and its nothing you’ve ever read before. Brian is truly a visionary when churning such stories.
I just bought the last volume 2 days ago (pic above) and i finished all 200++ pages already. It was that good. The subsequent volumes however will be penned by Joss Whedon and no longer be Brian. Im kinda skeptical at this change of authors. Will Joss, creators of Serenity and Firefly and Buffy series churn out a compelling story about the Runaways? For now, i can only pray that it would a good job as brian and not spoil the entire series.