Brian K Vaughan’s Runaways is the latest Marvel property to get the TV treatment. Here’s why you should read the original comic series…
5. It’s a fresh YA take on the superhero genre
Runaways‘ central conceit is that a group of LA-based teens discover that their parents are supervillains, and that they have inherited their powers. To make up for the sins of their mothers and fathers, the Runaways decide to use their abilities for good.
As such, the series has a lot in common with YA fiction – it’s all about teenage rebellion, young people going against the corrupt adult world and everyone talks in quips and one-liners.
4. Great characters
Thankfully, the eclectic bunch of Runaways make for a brilliant bunch of leads. You’ve got team leader Alex, Nico the teenage witch, the extraterrestrial Karolina, mutant Molly, Gert with her genetically-engineered dinosaur and Chase – the slacker son of two genius scientists. What is refreshing about Runaways is that there isn’t just one or two token females in the gang and actually the guys are in the minority for once.
3. Engrossing mysteries
There are a lot of conspiracies going on in Runaways. Firstly, the kids have to uncover the truth of their parents’ supervillain group The Pride – what are the mysterious origins of the group and what is their end goal? Secondly, unbeknownst to the Runaways but made clear to the reader, one of their number is a spy for The Pride. Can you work out who it is?
All I will say is that the big mysteries of Runaways reliably have great pay-offs.
2. The tie-ins to the wider universe
Though Runaways mostly stands apart from the wider Marvel universe, there are more and more ties to it as it goes along. This works for both hardcore Marvelites and comic newcomers. If you are already a fan, it’s fun to see certain characters cameo now and again. Or, if you’re not, it will act as a way-in to heroes you might not be familiar with. For instance, Cloak and Dagger – who are also coming to TV soon – tussle with the kids at one stage.
1. There’s not that much of it
Unlike, say, taking on the mammoth task of reading the entirety of Spider-Man’s comic adventures, catching up with Runaways isn’t that difficult as it has only run, on and off, since 2003. Series creator Brian Vaughan wrote about 50 issues (which isn’t that much in comic terms), with later arcs being written by the likes of Joss Whedon. Overall, there are about 10 graphic novels that make up the complete run (plus a few tie-ins). That might sound like a lot now but, once you get hooked, it suddenly won’t seem like enough.