What If Your Parents Were Supervillains?
So what would you do? The title brings about an intriguing conundrum and this question is brought to life in a remarkable series, Runaways. This series started in July 2003 and since its creation has continued on with much success (even winning a couple awards) and currently consists of three volumes. This series revolves around a group of teenagers who learn that their parents are supervillains and take the only logical action in their minds: run away. With one discovery, these kids take to defending themselves from their parents’ wrath and the mean streets where they have no one to go to nor anyone to take them in.
So what makes this series worth reading? What makes this series stand-out compared to others is the emotional drama that each issue portrays. As one would expect from the kids of super-villains, each kid displays abilities and powers that are beyond normal. From Volume 1, Alex Wilder discovers he is an extremely clever and brilliant strategist, Nico Minoru is a powerful witch, Karolina Dean is an alien from the Majesdanian race, Gertrude Yorkes has a telepathic link to a dinosaur, Chase Steins steals high-tech gloves from his parents, Molly Hayes is a mutant with super-strength and durability; with Season 2 and onward, Victor Mancha joins as a cyborg who is the son of (SPOILER), also the Skrull, Xavin, and Kara Plast, a plant manipulator from the early 1900s (who was taken as a little girl and brought to the “current” time).
With so many super-powered teenagers, drama of all sorts is bound to erupt: between the surprise romances, the obvious mommy and daddy issues, and conflict over what to do, these kids are an emotional rollercoaster that can bring tears to the unprepared reader’s eyes. Besides what you might expect from runaways, this group has a couple of quirks that make them even more unique: Nico is prone to making out with anyone when stressed, Karolina is a lesbian, Kara has an irrational fears of gays, Gertrude has to witness her future self die in front of her eyes, and poor Molly even gets abducted (though just for an issue!). Though nothing compares to these kids discovering that there was a traitor in their midst who nearly killed them all to gain favor in his/her parents’ eyes!
Why should anyone read this series? This series provides a full cast of characters that can fit into teenage archetypal roles, while maintaining a degree of uniqueness. The plot is suspenseful from issue one and is hard to quit reading once started. Yet, above all else, what makes this series a number one “must-read”, is the fantastic development that both the writers and artists helped create in both the characters and plot. As the story unfolds, the plot evolves from “what do we do now that we know our parents are super-villains?” to an elaborate depiction of clueless kids trying to survive in the real world. Likewise, the characters themselves expand from basic archetypal roles expected of teenage characters to a dynamic cast full of individualism that are as elaborate as some characters that have been around for decades. It is the complexity of how the story expands that really make this series exceptional.
Image Credit: Marvel