?

Log in

No account? Create an account
The Book's Not Called Stopaways - The Book of the Celestial Cow

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile
> My Website

September 22nd, 2008


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
12:08 am - The Book's Not Called Stopaways
After having finished Y: The Last Man and catching up on Ex Machina, it was time to complete the Brian K. Vaughan trifecta and hit Runaways. Thankfully, omoo sent me the first four baby trades. I had read a few issues years ago and enjoyed it, but I'd forgotten most of what happened (and luckily, I'd forgotten the huge spoilers I would have read).

Yet another award-winning series, Runaways is the tale of six kids who discover that their parents are supervillains. Yep, that's right. Vaughan takes the idea of kids' thinking their parents are EVIL and...makes it literal. It's a running theme throughout the series, the younger generation's mistrust of the older generation. And these kids have good cause, what with their parents being "a collection of crime bosses, time-traveling despots, alien overlords, mad scientists, evil mutants, and dark wizards." It's a Haruhi-esque smorgasbord of villainy.

Now, I don't want to spoil who's who because part of the fun of the first few issues is discovering everything along with the characters. But it's a diverse group with diverse personalities. Alex Wilder, African-American, is an RPG fan and becomes the group's de facto leader because of his strategic prowess. Nico Minoru, Japanese, is more emotional, often unsure of what she's feeling (she's a teenage girl, after all), and she likes to make her own Goth-style clothing. Karolina Dean, blonde, is the vegan California girl, but she's very insecure and feels like she doesn't belong (for reasons that become clear during the series). Gertrude Yorkes has awesome purple hair and sweet glasses and is a little chubby (not really "overweight" like the EVIL parents call her), and she's the entertainingly sarcastic, jaded one. Chase Stein is, like, that dude, you know, like Judd Nelson in...shit, you know, this really is the fucking superhero Breakfast Club. Except for Molly Hayes, who is eleven and adorable. And Old Lace, who is a dinosaur. Yes, a dinosaur. Look, this series is awesome. (For instance, did you notice that the team is mostly women? EVEN THE DINOSAUR IS A CHICK.)

Once these teenagers (and Molly) discover their parents' true nature, they—you guessed it—run away. Some of them discover they have powers of their own, and others find unique gifts (like Old Lace). Together, they vow to take down their parents, a story that is told in the first volume (or the first three baby trades). There is a THE END at the end of the first 18 issues because Vaughan wasn't sure if the series would continue. And, in fact, it did not. It was cancelled. And then they brought it back! If only it were so easy to do with television shows. BKV went on to write 24 more issues of the continuing adventures of our heroes (which included them picking up some new teammates) before, unfortunately, leaving the series. Joss Whedon, who had fanboyed the series—he even got a letter published in the letters column—came in for a six-issue stint that closed out Volume 2. Now, Terry Moore of Strangers in Paradise fame has taken over.

Unlike Y and Ex Machina, Runaways is set in the Marvel universe. Thankfully, however, it tends to stay out of the clusterfuck that is the Marvel universe (although Marvel is probably less clusterfucky than DC, right?). The team is based in Los Angeles, and all your favorite Marvel heroes are based on the East Coast, most in New York. That doesn't mean that BKV doesn't have a hell of a lot of fun playing in the Marvel sandbox; the Avengers make frequent appearances since they're the big Marvel superhero team and thus the grown-up analogues of the Runaways. Usually, though, he just snarks on whatever's going on in the big crossover events (although there was a Young Avengers/Runaways book during Civil War that wasn't written by BKV and doesn't sound worth reading). And he eschews most of the traditional superhero conventions like a team name (I refer to them as the Runaways for convenience; they only refer to themselves as Runaways once that I recall), codenames (they use them for a time, though), costumes (well, Molly makes one), and battlecries (theirs is "Try not to die," which, I think, says a lot about the book). I love, however, that BKV has inserted these lovable teenage superheroes into the Marvel universe, and they are there, a part of history and continuity. This is real Marvel, not Ultimate X-Men! I just get excited at writers I love creating new stories and characters that are meant to endure. I mean, I got a kick out of BKV's mentioning of one of the characters Joss created in Astonishing X-Men (BKV fanboyed Joss as well).

What's so great about Runaways? Well, it's got all of Brian K. Vaughan's best qualities like great dialogue loaded with amusing pop-culture references, subtle characterization, likable characters, and plot twists you don't see coming but in retrospect make total sense and had been foreshadowed all along. It's very well paced; you never want to stop reading. And Adrian Alphona's art is also top-notch, giving the characters very realistic looks that allow you to connect with them. It looks like it should be turned into an animated series (but instead, it's being turned into a movie, of course). All the non-Alphona artists are also good (a couple so good I didn't notice/wouldn't have noticed it was a different artist) until the current artist, Humberto Ramos, whose style doesn't fit with the series at all. It's too cartoony and childish, and while the target audience for this series is a little lower than that of, say, Ex Machina, part of the appeal of the book is that it doesn't treat its younger characters like children. Except for Molly, who is eleven and adorable. And says things like, "It's cobblerin' time!" Also, for a lot of run, you get beautifully sweet Jo Chen covers, which are always ace.

One of the good things about Runaways is that it's been collected in what I call baby trades, manga-sized digests that are just eight bucks each! So it's a really cheap and easy series to try out. Start from the beginning. Brian K. Vaughan's run—which is awesome—is in seven baby trades, and Joss's run—which is pretty good, if somewhat muddled—is currently only available in hardcover. Terry Moore's first issue—which is okay so far, art notwithstanding—is on the shelves right now. Check your local library! Support your local comic book store!

By the way, did I mention that our heroes travel in a giant robot frog? Look, this series is awesome.
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: Nine Inch Nails - Wish

(29 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 22nd, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Cooooooool!! I think I have English translations downloaded somewhere, but it's cool that they're coming out as real books.
[User Picture]
From:propensity
Date:September 22nd, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
*delurks* Yay Runaways! I really didn't care for Joss's run, though. Particularly in comparison with the earlier issues. Which was a surprise, because I usually love his stuff. It also kind of sucks that it's a perpetual series, because you just know Marvel is just going to milk it endlessly with constant reboots/crossovers/movie adaptations until all its awesomeness has been sucked dry. Although a movie would be nice! =x.

Also, yeah, the crossovers are a complete waste of time. I tried reading one issue, and it basically went something like:
Molly: I'm whiny!
Chase: I'M ANGRY AND SULLEN AND TAKING IT OUT ON EVERYONE!
Skrull-person-whose-name-I-forgot: I'm arrogant and aloof!
(repeat over next 50 pages)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 22nd, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yay Runaways! I really didn't care for Joss's run, though. Particularly in comparison with the earlier issues. Which was a surprise, because I usually love his stuff.
It wasn't as good as BKV's stuff, no. But it did make me laugh, and it was a decent yarn.

It also kind of sucks that it's a perpetual series, because you just know Marvel is just going to milk it endlessly with constant reboots/crossovers/movie adaptations until all its awesomeness has been sucked dry.
Yeah, I'm worried about that.
[User Picture]
From:punzerel
Date:September 22nd, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
(Link)
What I've read of Runaways was fantastic (Vol. I) and yeah, the art was great. I'm stubborn, though, and since I've been spoiled for something huge that seeeriously depressed me, I'm reluctant to read the rest. :(
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 22nd, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Aw, I'm sorry you got spoiled. But you should still read the rest! It's still good.
[User Picture]
From:daynr
Date:September 22nd, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
(Link)
so, what's the name of the first stuff so I can request from the library.

It was the teenage girls that got me.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 22nd, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hee. The first book is called Pride and Joy, followed by Teenage Wasteland and The Good Die Young. You'll want to get those three together, since they form the first story arc.

Teenage girls, kicking ass! I actually didn't think of the whole Avatar comparison (group of kids, kicking ass!) until choosing the icon for the post.
[User Picture]
From:beeker121
Date:September 22nd, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I have the baby trades and so am up through the end of BKV's run. I'm waiting for them to release Joss's that way, and am thinking of taking this up monthly. Except the trades are so happy! Hmmm decisions.

It's all cadhla fault I'm reading these, because I tend to avoid the Marvelverse. But they are wonderful.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 22nd, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm waiting for them to release Joss's that way
I'm not sure if they will. It might take a while. You could probably check Joss's run out from the library like I did. My BFF got me the first hardcover for my birthday, though, so now I'll get the other BKV hardcovers (at the very least) to match. I think they might release the Joss book in regular softcover, and if they start doing regular-sized trades, I may switch to those to collect since hardcover is expensive. Then I must find someone to donate my baby trades to (once I buy the two volumes I'm missing) and pass on the BKV love.

am thinking of taking this up monthly
Unfortunately, the art sucks now, but Terry Moore is supposed to be good, so I'll see where he takes these guys. Don't pick it up before reading Joss's run, though, as it'll spoil you a bit. As these things do.

I tend to avoid the Marvelverse. But they are wonderful.
They are! I wondered if cadhla read Runaways. Of course she does!
[User Picture]
From:beeker121
Date:September 22nd, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
At the very least I will probably wait for the paperback of Joss's run - regular or manga sized. There are very few comics I buy in hardcover, it would get too expensive too damn quickly.

I didn't see #1 while I was at the comic store today - they may have already sold out of it. I like Terry Moore - I have the more manga sized trades of his Strangers in Paradise - so I'll certainly keep reading. But this might stay on my read as a collection list, as opposed to my buy monthly list.
[User Picture]
From:sabra_n
Date:September 22nd, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
(Link)
My personal Runaways motto: Reading it in French Is Not Enough, So Reread It Already, Idiot.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 22nd, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Ha ha. Yes, read it in English, the way it was intended!

You read it the first time in French, really? How much of it?
[User Picture]
From:sabra_n
Date:September 22nd, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
(Link)
...I think Vol. 1. It was a few years ago when I was in Paris. Waiting for a ballet.
[User Picture]
From:omoo
Date:September 22nd, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm really glad you liked it and some of the things that you mentioned I liked as well. Loved Old Lace, Loved the kids figuring out what was going on and Loved the art.

So I'm back to not being sure why I didn't like the ending and why I figured I'd never re-read it. It's not that I don't like serial stories, since I love Hawaiian Dick (Read those already!) and a few others that I read in serial form (although they've been wrapped up) like Love Fights and Slow News Day.

Another teenage girl you might like is Chance, in a series called Leave it to Chance. I think there are only three hardcover books, and you should be able to get them at the library.

But I think you should read Hawaiian Dick, because it's awsome.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 22nd, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
(Link)
So I'm back to not being sure why I didn't like the ending and why I figured I'd never re-read it.
Hee. I...don't know, because I am not you. If you figure it out and want your books back, let me know.

love Hawaiian Dick (Read those already!)
Oh! I totally forgot to look into that. Thanks for reminding me. Er, keep reminding me until I check it out from the library. I have a lot of other things to read right now. I haven't even heard of those other books you mentioned!

Leave It to Chance does sound like I'd like it, though. The library only has the first two hardcovers, though.
[User Picture]
From:omoo
Date:September 23rd, 2008 12:14 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks, but I don't want them back, I think they are in the library here if I ever decide to re-read them. Although I think there are other very cool stories I'd like to read and so many non-graphic novel books and none of that can happen until I'm done (sadness).

Love Fights and Slow New Day are both by Andi Watson, who has a really simple style and loves to explore relationships. His Breakfast Afternoon, was the first Graphic Novel I read. You might like Love Fights and you might like Geisha (it's about a robot that looks like a girl).

Leave it to Chance is beautiful and silly and she is another teenager with a dragon. So..
[User Picture]
From:foresthouse
Date:September 23rd, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Dave got me a subscription to Runaways last year as a present. I LOVE the beginning ones. I...am ok with the Whedon ones, but they're not quite as good, IMO. And the art on the last couple...well, let's just say I flinched. *sigh*

Speaking of the Marvel universe and comics that pretty much stay out of the clusterfuck, you really should be reading Deadpool. :)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 23rd, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I LOVE the beginning ones.
Yes!

I...am ok with the Whedon ones, but they're not quite as good, IMO.
Yeah. The first couple issues were pretty good—and I totally loved the scene where Molly imagines how Old Lace saved Chase and then is totally gobsmacked when she finds out that's exactly how it went down and then complains that no one is being awesomed by her—but the 1907 world was really confusing, with all those new characters, and then he split up the team so you could barely follow what was going on when, and then there were way too many times where I wondered how character A had gotten to place B with object C or whatever. It was just sort of muddled, like I said. I didn't have that problem with BKV! He was simple and direct and still awesome. Plus, the whole Victor/Lillie thing was random and dumb. Even though I liked the time travel twist.

And the art on the last couple...well, let's just say I flinched. *sigh*
Yeah, eesh. The second issue comes out tomorrow. Let's hope Terry Moore's story and dialogue can help me overlook the art. They barely look like themselves!

Speaking of the Marvel universe and comics that pretty much stay out of the clusterfuck, you really should be reading Deadpool. :)
Hee. You do pimp him strongly. I will think about it. But I can't take on too many titles, especially since I don't buy issues!
[User Picture]
From:foresthouse
Date:September 28th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
(Link)
and then he split up the team

I know - that was annoying.

was random and dumb

YES (to the thing you said that about.) I was like, "WHUT? Why is this even in here. GAH!" When I read it.

Go to scans_daily and check out Deadpool #3 or 4 - 11, including the Daredevil/Deadpool Annual, which goes between 7 and 8. That's a whole slew of old-school Deadpool you can read online for free! Then you can see if you like it. Also, I know you can get torrents of it. I haven't, but they're out there.
[User Picture]
From:foresthouse
Date:September 28th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
(Link)
P.S. You can find the issues in the memories section. He has his own subsection. BECAUSE HE IS AWESOME.
[User Picture]
From:scifantasy
Date:September 25th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The series really has spent a lot of earned karma since Vaughan stopped writing, at least with me. Joss was late and turned in a very meh run, and one which was far too self-contained: "let's play in the past for no reason whatsoever!" The Secret Invasion sidestory (and the prior Civil War one) was even worse: three or four issues of Something Completely Different, and besides, the whole point of Runaways was to avoid the continuity clusterfucks, not be in them for no good reason.

And I've yet to be grabbed by either Moore's writing or Ramos's art. So this one...let's just say it ain't what it was.

And while you're right about the baby trades, the hardcovers are so awesome.

(Nice Haruhi reference, too. Can't wait for the second season--which really is going to be a second season, I'll believe that until proven wrong.)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 25th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Joss was late and turned in a very meh run, and one which was far too self-contained: "let's play in the past for no reason whatsoever!"
Yeah, pretty much. Playing in the past is fun, and bringing in the Yorkeses was kinda cool, but it wasn't stellar overall.

The Secret Invasion sidestory (and the prior Civil War one) was even worse: three or four issues of Something Completely Different
Yeah, I don't see a need to read those, really. It looks like they just go and fight and come home.

And I've yet to be grabbed by either Moore's writing or Ramos's art. So this one...let's just say it ain't what it was.
Moore's second issue is better. It has some good Karolina stuff, even though he can't write a fight scene for shit. I am trying my best to ignore Ramos's art.

So this one...let's just say it ain't what it was.
No, it ain't, but I still love these characters and want to follow them. Hopefully, it'll pick back up.

And while you're right about the baby trades, the hardcovers are so awesome.
My BFF got me the first hardcover for my birthday, so I'll definitely be buying the other two Vaughan trades in hardcover. And then I'll pass on my baby trades to someone.

Can't wait for the second season--which really is going to be a second season, I'll believe that until proven wrong.
I keep checking the Wikipedia page for a date! It's been almost a damn year since they announced the damn thing. Or...hinted at it obliquely or whatever.
[User Picture]
From:scifantasy
Date:September 25th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
it wasn't stellar overall.

Right. And then it was late, which can really anger the fanbase.

It looks like they just go and fight and come home.

Pretty much. Hell, the first Moore issue came out before the last Secret Invasion one. And didn't suffer for it...more than already, as it were.

Hopefully, it'll pick back up.

I'm with you there.

I keep checking the Wikipedia page for a date!

I'd expected something last month, myself, what with the Tanabata connection...hell, technically, last month was when the world was created.
[User Picture]
From:scifantasy
Date:September 25th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, and it's probably self-evident, but I got here from cadhla, with some reference from prophetkristy and fond memories of reading Mars Investigations's Round Tables.
[User Picture]
From:scifantasy
Date:October 24th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
(Link)
Hopefully, it'll pick back up.

Having just read issue #3...it may be, at that. It's not going to be the same, and the art is still so fundamentally different...but it's actually building and becoming interesting. We'll see.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 24th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, thank goodness. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but the second issue did have some more interesting developments.
[User Picture]
From:scifantasy
Date:October 24th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, I was relieved too.

(Between that, more awesome Angel: After The Fall, and a new Ex Machina trade that I think I can use to springboard into "caught up and catching new releases," it was a good day at the store. *grin*)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 31st, 2008 05:57 am (UTC)
(Link)
You were right! It's definitely building and becoming interesting. And, man, picking up the issue...I miss those guys! I just like reading about them, you know? (MOLLY AND HER FORT!)

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com