Runaways 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughn

It’s that time of the semester again, when school and work and commuting are leaving me totally burned out.  I can’t read anything but fun things.  I don’t want any books that make me think, I want books that make me laugh.  I don’t want books that are heavy on the issues or the tissues, I want books that are exciting and adventurous.  Combine that with this months GLBT Graphic Novel challenge and a recommendation from Nymeth for the Runaways series, and I was sold.

I’ve been a huge fan of graphic novels since I was a freshman in college when I read my first one, Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth.  But I’ve never read true comic books.  Runaways is a recently published (early 2000s) story set in the Marvel world (so X-Men, Spiderman, the Avengers etc all show up at some point or another), but it has a very unique premise.   Every year, Alex, Gertrude, Nico, Chase, Molly and Karolina’s philanthropist parents get together to decide which organization they are going to donate to.  Except what they’re really doing is getting together to do a ritual sacrifice.

The teens parents are actually supervillains called the Pride and they control LA.  Their children decide that they aren’t going to continue living in the homes of evil villains, so they run away from home.  Slowly they discover that some of them have powers, Gertrude has a velociraptor that is controlled by her thoughts, and some of them have inherited their parents skills, but their parents are not even close to being the worst villains they fight in the first four books of this series.

I really loved these comics.  I originally only checked out number 1 from the library, but as soon as I finished it I put as

Best frame from the whole series.

many as my library had on hold.  It seems they are missing number 5, but do have 6 and 7, so I’m going to have to see what’s up with that.   The tagline for this series is, “At some point, everyone thinks their parents are evil.  What if they really are?” and how awesome is that?  The series is fun and humorous, but it has a very serious side that never feels out of place or inappropriate.  There are betrayals and love stories and all kinds of good things to be had.

One of my favorite things about the series was the romance.  It’s so perfectly handled and unexpectedly, too.  There are six main characters and you think you have them pegged from the very beginning, but no one is who you think they are.  The romance  between two of the girls is only hinted at in these first few books, but it’s subtlety and unexpectedness is wonderful.  There’s also another romance that makes me smile every time it is mentioned, but I don’t want to spoil any of it for you!

My only complaint about the series is some of the inconsistencies with the drawings and it really only seems to happen with one character, Gertrude.  I feel like every time they draw her she looks different.  But I do love her pet velociraptor, so I can’t complain too much.   I do admit that I am not a traditional comics reader, so I can’t really judge how this series stands against other comics, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  One good thing about all those superhero movies over the past decade or so is that I had some idea of what was going on most of the time!  If you’re looking for a quick, fun but emotional read, then I can’t recommend Runaways enough.

So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve exhausted your TBR

Other reviews: Sarah Cross, author of Dull Boy, on

6 thoughts on “Runaways 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughn

  1. The sad thing about that list is that I’ve yet to read the majority of the books 😛 They were just ones that sounded good to me. And it looks like I was right about this one at least! I want it.

  2. I’m so mad that I missed out on this mini challenge, but I still plan on reading Skim and the Runaways! This may end up being a summer read due to exams coming up (boo) but it sounds excellent. I’m no judge of comics/graphi novels but I do think it would be annoying to have a character’s appearance constantly changing. And that tag line? Amazing 🙂

    Have I mentioned that I love your rating scale?

  3. Ooh, these look like fun! I don’t usually read comic books (or graphic novels, although I’m starting to read more of those) but this looks definitely worthwhile!

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