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Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy Paperback – November 29, 2016
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For the story itself, I enjoyed it, even though the actions of the characters were a little goofy. I liked the idea of a group of unknown but very powerful super villains having kids that upon learning of their parents evil ways runaway from home. They're an interesting collection of characters, although for their design it's a little odd that the youngest one looks like one of the oldest of the group (and talks like a child). For the parents, they look cool and appropriately varied and evil, but their reasoning really bothered me. The first thing they do when their kids (who they love) learn about them, instead of trying to reassure them, is to attack them and then when that doesn't work, threaten to kill the youngest of the kids in her sleep if they all don't immediately come home. The reasoning of the kids was a little off too, you'd think they'd want to say something to their parents to get their side of things, but they're so quick to runaway/call the police. Still, I think I'll continue the series, although I hope the rest of them aren't produced in a similar fashion.
The storytelling and art are amazing and should appeal to readers tween to adult. The themes are universal and relatable (teen angst, high expectations parents, being attracted to your goth friend) and the diverse cast teaches young readers a great message without ever being preachy. Most importantly it’s fun, with snarky, MCU-esque dialogue at every turn and loads of great action. One of my all time favorite comics.
You have got to check this comic out!
Here's the basic setup:
There's a bunch of kids, most of whom seem really normal. You've got your general mix, of course, the brainiac, the jock, the goth, the gamer. But they find out that their lives aren't as normal as they thought. Their parents are...supervillains! Oh the horror they must be feeling!
And that's how it takes off. The first few issues are a little rough, as the series attempts to find its niche. I don't LOVE the art style, but I like it well enough, and it's certainly well-done. The characters, however, are constantly realistic and earnest. I love them!
But the book...oh the book! I read it through once, no real problems. I opened it again an hour later, and the pages were already coming apart! In fact, the whole book is coming away from the cover! I have Runaways Vol. 2 as well, and its the EXACT SAME PROBLEM! It sucks! And, to add insult to injury, the paper is cheap, thick, and feels like cardboard, so not only does it lack the high-quality gloss of a real comic, the colors are washed out and faded! I want to rate this book highly, cause it's a total must read! But that read might end up being the only one you get out of it.... Try digital? I hate to say it, but it might be more practical here...
What you don't know is whether you (or your kids) will enjoy it. Allow me to answer that simply: You (they) will. It might even become a favorite.
Still, it's got a nice pace, action, dark deeds, heroic deeds, and the bickering you'd expect among teens. Plus a pre-teen who adds the added dimension.
In this opening bound volume, we get to meet the families of Villains/Heroes--that is, the parents are villains and the kids will be heroes who decide to break from the familial units and band together to stop the evil plans of their moms and dads. That, in itself, is a huge conflict. Think about it: Would you be willing to fight your parents to the death? Hmmm. I don't know. Sounds tough to me. And that's good. Anything that adds an emotional and conflictive dimension to a story is a dramatic plus.
So, kids find out who parents really are, learn things about themselves they never knew (ie, each one has a power/gift/specialty), and, yes, they become RUNAWAYS. Of course, running away from supervillains isn't easy. They have ways of making you show yourself, ways of tracking you, ways of making running away extremely stressful. And that's good, too.
I like the digest size volume. I am vexed that amazon doesn't have the digest size volume two: Teenage Wasteland. Geesh. Now I have to traipse to the local comic store and scout for it. Or order it. Why is volume 2 so hard to find?
Well, be warned. While volume one is a pleasant graphic novel read, you may have a bit of a headache getting to the next installment in this form.
Top international reviews
With its easy to grasp concept and the right amount of action and romance to keep things ticking along until the last page, it's easy to see why kids took to the title and saved it from cancellation (twice) as a monthly series, and as a trade collection, it works well as medium-sized snippets of a larger ongoing story, combining with volumes 2 and 3 to cover the origin of the characters and their first adventure before striking out into the wider Marvel universe in search of a direction.
The size and format isn't really an issue, being more to give the series the look of a manga title (I assume because these are popular with Runaways' intended audience of teens), and the artwork combined with some blunt dialogue helps with the affectation, but the low paper quality might mean buying another copy of the book a few years down the line if this one gets more than one read-through - which it very well might.
A commendable effort on Marvel's part to reach younger readers, and a good start to the series.
It has all the inventiveness and optimism of early 60's Marvel. Without being pastiche or ironic. Which is a pretty hard gig to pull off.
It's sort of like Claremont's 70's "X-Men' without all the moralising and angst. ("NOOOOOOOOOOO!) Mixed with a bit of "The Ultimates" street cred. Minus Millar's try-hard shock effects. While the art approximates a Japanese manga view of LA.
Yeah. That description probably doesn't help you much. Just stop being so serious, pull out a few quid, and let yourself have some fun...
I've been reading many US comics lately and the more I read them, the more I feel the differences between the way I intend a fumetto should be and the way Americans draw their comics. I grew up with Disney comics and I got used to very bright colors and nice, fluffy drawnings. Then I switched to manga and I found out that the more kawaii a drawing is, the more I like it. When it comes to Us comics, you rarely get bright colors and kawaii art.
I don't know why, but colors in Us comics are always dark and brownish. Come on, there are millions nuances that are better than brown... Even in Runaways brown is the most used color. What's wrong with brighter colors? Even the different color shades seems fake in these comics.
What I also don't like in Us comics is... the strokes, but I'm not sure this is the right word. Take this one, for instance, or The Hockey Saint or Alex + Ada, Vol. 1. It seems to me that you can see from a mile away that they're drawn on a screen. And The results... I don't know... It's like drawers can't draw expressive faces anymore. Most of the faces in those comics have always the same expression over and over.
And even Japanes artists used computer nowadays but their strokes are thinner and they are able to show tons of expressions in their characters' eyes. American artists - but also Italian ones - haven't learned to do that yet. And it seems that they will never learn. SIGH!
Apart from the drawning style, Runaways has an interesting story. Six kids find out that their parents belong to a sort of secret society named The Pride and they're all super-villain with distinctive characteristics: you have the ninja-like couple, the witches, the aliens, the mutants... Of course, their kids have inherited some of their traits.
My favorite character in this first issue is... the name-less dinosaur from the future. I wasn't that sure that I would continue reading the series but as soon as I saw the dinosaur I was hooked. I also like Nico very much, while Molly and Chase are my least favorite protagonists so far. Chase because he seems to be the classic brain-less jock. Molly because she's a bit wimpy for the time being.
I also don't like the parents... which aren't that big on parenting apparently.
Let's see what happens next. Fortunately this short series has an ending... I hate comics that are never-ending, sorry!