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The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
"Shadow Scale" by Rachel Hartman
Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
Brian K. Vaughan is the Eisner Award-winning writer of Y: THE LAST MAN, EX MACHINA, RUNAWAYS, and PRIDE OF BAGHDAD. His newest work, with artist/co-creator Fiona Staples, is SAGA, an ongoing sci-fi/fantasy series from Image Comics that The Onion's A.V. Club called, "the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make." Vaughan lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a writer and producer on various film and tv projects, including three seasons on the hit series LOST.
A few months ago, I was walking around in a comic book store with a friend of mine. While I am a newbie in the world of comics, he knows his stuff, and he pointed out Runaways to me. I had never heard of it before, but he assured me that it was amazing. The premise is simple: 6 kids in Los Angeles find out that their parents are supervillains, and they run away from home and try to find ways to defeat them. I was intrigued by the idea, but I never picked it up until just now. The book was everything he said and more. Alex Wilder, Gertrude Yorkes, Chase Stein, Karolina Dean, Nico Minoru, and Molly Hayes are six kids, ranging from 12 to about 17, living in LA. They exist within the established Marvel universe, meaning that heroes like Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine, as well as supervillains like Dr. Octopus and Dr. Doom live in their world as well. That doesn't mean that they don't also live in "our world" as well. There are many references to popular culture, which I will touch on later. Since most Marvel stories are based in New York City, the six kids have never experienced larger than life situations that super heroes find themselves in. The closest Alex ever got was when he played online games with his friends. Every year, the six families got together so that the parents could get stuff done for the charitable organization that they work for. At least that's what they tell their children. Meanwhile, the six kids, who aren't big fans of each other, are forced to hang out together and find ways to pass the time. Gert is a cynical girl who can't stand capitalist culture (if you've ever read/seen Ghost World, she's very much like Enid) while Chase is a lacrosse player without an overabundance of brains. Nico is a goth while Molly is a young firecracker.Read more ›
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Runaways, Volume 1 (Hardcover) is a collection of Runaways series one issues 1-18. If your a huge fan of Runaways this is a must have. If your a fan in general you will still enjoy this edition. I got this for $21-22 including shipping and I think it was worth every penny.
Here's a break down of what's in the book:
1) Introduction - Some word from Brian K. Vaughan.
2) The comics. (Issues 1-18)
3) A fan letter by Joss Whedon that appears in issue 18 and Brian K. Vaughan's response.
4) Runaways Expanded Proposal by Brian K. Vaughan.(I think this was interesting. To see what was originally planned. It funny to see what some of the characters name were originally and how they changed. A lot of the changed were for the best I think. Read and decide for yourself.)
5) Adrian Alphona Sketchbook. (Character concept art, character sketches and reandom doodles.
6) Promotional Art by Adrian Alphona.
7) Bios of Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, Craig Yeung, Christina Strain, Jo Chen and Takeshi Miyazawa.
Also the book it's self without the dust cover is black with Runaways written in red. Very cool looking. So go and get your own copy today and enjoy. =^__.__^=
I am not a serious comic fan. I own about three dozen graphic novels, which is a lot compared to the average American, but paltry compared to serious comic fans. But I can't imagine many not loving this story about six young kids who become runaways when they realize their parents are super villains. It is set very much within the Marvel comic universe. Captain America appears briefly and there is mention of the Avengers. Also, one of the six kids is a mutant of the X-Men variety. But the story is not at all dependent on any in depth knowledge of the Marvel pantheon of heroes and in fact having such knowledge won't actually add much to the enjoyment of the story.
I want especially to recommend the book to parents of children. I deeply regret that this wasn't around when my daughter was young and we were still reading books together. There are a couple of bits that might be disturbing to very small children, but I would have felt comfortable reading this with my daughter when she was 8 or 9. The book is especially good for girls, because in an unusual alignment, four of the six kids are girls and in fact both the oldest and the youngest are female. A girl of 10 would really identify with Molly aka Bruiser (though she would prefer to be called Princess Powerful), an eleven-year-old mutant with super human strength (though upon using it she always has to take a nap afterwards). But I don't want to mislead and suggest that this is mainly or even primarily for kids. This is an "all ages" book in the best possible sense. An adult of 60 could easily enjoy this as much as a child of 16.
This is certainly a nonstandard collection of heroes. I've mentioned Molly. Karolina Dean is the oldest, the child of two famous actors who in fact are aliens from another world.Read more ›
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What a fun book! 6 teenagers find out that their parents are really supervillains. The book just sets up the premise and shows some of the initial confrontations between the kids and their parents. The term to use here is "Buffyesque" :) Just like Buffy, this is a good story with a premise that might appear silly at first. Just like Buffy, half the fun is the various characters and the way they interact. There is still so much left to explore - the full extent of the children's and parent's powers, the true nature and goals of the secret organization that the parents belong to. I have not had this much fun reading comics in a while. Think of the first volume as 1/2 of season one of a good teen SciFi/Fantasy show like Buffy or Smallville.
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