What would you do if you found out your parents were supervillains? That’s the basic question answered in Brian K. Vaughn’s (Saga) Runaways series. Each year, 6 families come together for a meeting – the kids are told it’s to plan out charitable giving for the year. “Good deeds should be done in secret, with no expectation of reward” Alex Wilder is lectured sternly before the guests arrive. The other teens, and one pre-teen, cover the bases of typical kids, with a jock, a goth, nerdy girl, and so on. There’s somebody for everybody to identify with. Like any children surrounded by entertainment options, they get bored and decide to spy on their parents. Things go south when they see their parents murder a young prostitute in some sort of dark ritual. They just manage to avoid being spotted while spying, and decide together to try and find a way to stop their parents from doing whatever it is they are planning. Seems like a tall order until they discover they all have some secret power of their own. Gert has a telepathic bond with a dinosaur pet, Karolina is actually an alien with a superpowered physiology, Nico has magical abilities, Chase stole some high-tech gear from his parents, Molly, the pre-teen, is a powerful mutant, and Alex is a strategist.
If you think you know what’s going to happen from that, you don’t. That’s the great thing about Runaways – there are some solid twists, and this first volume ends with a reveal that one of the kids is helping the Pride. DundunDUNNNN. Adrian Alphona’s art seems sunny and cheery, without the excessive details or heavy shadows of some modern comics, though you can feel the menace from the parents as they realize their kids know the secret of the Pride.
This volume covers the discovery of the Pride, their powers/gifts, and a daring rescue. It’s a great starting point, and a good gift for a teen who has shown an interest in comics.