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Summer Reading Favorites: Runaways, vol. 1

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What if you found out one night that your parents are evil? This is the very real problem that six kids face in the first volume of Runaways after seeing their respective parents kill an innocent girl. After witnessing the murder (and as the title might suggest), the teens decide to run away. They kids are, in order of appearance:

  • Alex Wilder, the smart kid who loves playing online role playing games.
  • Gertrude Yorkes, the purple-haired sarcastic egghead.
  • Karolina Dean, the almost perfect vegan daughter of Hollywood actors.
  • Chase Stein, the straight-C athletic bad boy.
  • Molly Hayes, the 11-year old cutie-pie who is just starting to grow up.
  • Nico Minuro, the Japanese-American gothic beauty.

The group, based on Los Angeles, decides jointly to find evidence confirming their parents’ illicit activities before hitting the road. They also initially decide to leave Molly behind since she is too young to understand what is really happening. Alex is the one to initially take charge, both vocally supported by Nico and criticized by Chase. As each of the kids break into their respective homes at night they find there is much more to the story than they initially had thought.

Gertrude, for instance, learns her parents are time-traveling thieves. She accidentally opens her “inheritance” early: a genetically-bred dinosaur from the future programmed to respond to only her thoughts. Karolina discovers that her parents and, by extension, her are not even human. She turns out to actually be some sort of light based alien who can fly. By the time Chase discovers his parents are evil scientist inventors, some of “The Pride” (the name the parents’ call their evil cabal) have grown wise to the activities of their children. The Pride sets out to stop the Runaways… no matter the cost.

Brian K. Vaughan, the creator and writer of Runaways, finds an inventive new twist on the superhero genre. While people like Iron Man and Spider-Man exist in the world of the Runaways, they are far away off in New York while the kids are on the other side of the country in California. While they can accept that things like aliens, time travel, and evil scientists all exist, they are still genuinely shocked to discover that such things are a part of their somewhat mundane lives. The bigger issue for the group is the ultimate betrayal of their parents, who most of the kids had good relationships with when the story began.

If you have yet to discover the world of Runaways, the first volume is the best place to start. Make it the first title you add to your Summer Reading Book Log! Comment on this blog post and let everyone know who your favorite character is! Most of all, remember this: compared to The Pride, your parents probably aren’t that evil!

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