Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy

Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy

Brian K. Vaughan has always been known to tackle controversial topics.  Y: The Last Man commented on gender roles in society while Ex Machina (which I will write a review for soon) explored gay marriage and educational funding.  In Runaways, the topic is less controversial, as to make the comic accessible, but never lacks in depth or focus.  In fact, Vaughan’s commentary on the generation gap effectively illustrates conflicting moral issues and rebellion.

Runaways is, as you’d expect, a comic about a group of runaway kids, varying in age from about 12 to 17.  There are six of them in all – Nico Minoru, Alex Wilder, Karolina Dean, Gertrude Yorkes, Chase Stein and Molly Hayes.

It’s the eve of Alex’s family’s charity benefit, an annual tradition that brings his parents’ closest friends together along with their disgruntled kids.  However, when the six kids spy on their parents, they learn that they are actually members of a super-villain organization known as The Pride.  The kids are then forced to team up and run away from home – vowing to turn the tables on their evil legacy.  Little do they know, they all harbor super powers of their own.

The runaways - Nico, Alex, Gert, Molly, Chase and Karolina

The runaways (from left) - Nico, Alex, Gert (with Old Lace), Molly, Chase and Karolina

The runaways are children on the cusp of adulthood, forced to make their own decisions for the first time and rebel from their deceitful parents.  However, The Pride’s motivations have yet to be revealed, leaving some of the kids to question the morality behind their parent’s doings.  This not only leaves the reader with a sense of mystery, but also unrest.

The primary characters are all distinct and likable, thanks in part to Vaughan’s believable dialogue.  As always, his use of depth has proved a hallmark, no character is left untouched.  For as little as the reader knows thus far, the story is compelling and subject matter never gets too heavy.

In fact, one of the best parts about Runaways is it’s clever use of wordplay.  One such would be when Gert chose the codename, Arsenic while naming her raptor, Old Lace.  Arsenic and Old Lace is in fact based off a play by American playwright, Joseph Kesselring.  This is one of many references made in the comic.  

Adrian Alphona’s pencils are sharp and fit the stories tone as well.  The result is very attractive, even if proportions seem skewed from time to time.  The only issue I have with Alphona’s artwork is that it’s too manga inspired.  I myself am a fan of mangas, but I didn’t feel as though this particular drawing style fit the story.  However I’ll admit, upon multiple reads through, this became less of a problem.  It’s merely a matter of getting used to.

Honestly, I would have preferred Pride & Joy to be published as a regular, glossy trade paperback, but I don’t find this digest-sized read to be too troublesome.

Overall, I found Runaways to be extremely gripping and a must read for any comic fan, regardless of age.  Pride & Joy sets the stage for what looks to be a promising ride.

Look for a review of Volume 2, Teenage Wasteland shortly!

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