Chili Public's Reviews > Runaways, Vol. 1: Pride and Joy

Runaways, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
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This series is unique in that it is a super-hero comic that is not about the super-heroes, nor is it about the super-villains. This series is about six teenagers and what they do after they find out their parents are super-villains.

What would you do if you found out that what you thought was a once a year get together with old friends, turns out to be an excuse to go in the basement in order to sacrifice an innocent girl in an evil ritual? In Runaways, six teens are in that very predicament. They find a secret passageway in the house and following it down to the basement, are just in time to witness their parents kill an innocent girl.

Soon after, the teens learn that they aren’t ordinary teens at all, but each has different special powers in one way or another, just like their parents. There is a boy with a brilliant mind, a mutant, an alien, a teen with a psychic link to a velociraptor, a teen whose parents created hands that shoot fire, and a teen whose magical parents have bestowed her with a magical staff. All this becomes too overwhelming for them, and they decide to go into hiding.
The plot is creative and unique. Some of the turns the plot takes later on in the series seem a little outrageous and downright bizarre, but teens who like super-heroes or fantasy will just eat it up. The main theme revolves around the six teens’ parents, who are part of the Pride, an organization created by the Gibborim who are giant beasts that live deep underwater and want to revert earth back to its original state, without humans. The Pride has to sacrifice innocents and steal their souls so that the Gibborim can swallow their souls and get strong enough to put their plan into action. The members of the Pride can choose six of their group to move on to paradise with the Gibborim, and the other six will die with all the other humans that are contaminating the earth with their bickering.

The illustrations are gorgeous, and the colors are deep and rich, adding to the dark plot. Much of the time, the teens are in darkness, either waiting until nightfall to come out of hiding or when they are in their hiding spot underground. The teenagers look like teenagers, not beautiful busty models pretending to be teenagers. They are regular kids taken out of their comfortable lives and forced into a situation that they hate.

For librarians just starting a graphic novel collection this will be a great addition, especially those in need of more superhero comics. There’s enough violence to interest the teens, but not enough to bother parents. Some of the teens become interested in each other, and typical teenage romance ensues, without going beyond a little kissing. The cover illustrations and the deep colors are eye catching and would benefit from an outfacing display. Teens will connect with the runaways’ everyday problems and relationship issues, plus they’ll breathe a sigh of relief that their parents aren’t super-villains!
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