Overview

Runaways #10

Review

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Runaways #10

Credits

  • Words: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Art: Adrian Alphona
  • Inks: Craig Yeung
  • Colors: Christina Strain
  • Story Title: East Coast/West Coast, Part 2
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 16, 2005

The kids’ adventure in New York continues as they attempt to clear the name of a wrongfully accused hero.

Last issue, the Runaways (the rebellious children of super-villains) were transported to New York City by the vigilante known as Cloak. With the police and the Avengers believing he viciously attacked his partner, Dagger, Cloak’s options are limited. He enlists the Runaways to help prove his innocence. They seek to help but the team members react in different ways to their East Coast road trip. New York may be "hallowed ground" for superheroes but not all the teens are equally impressed with it.

I’ve never been a devoted follower of the Marvel Universe but there are certain series that make both casual readers and tried-and-true fans take notice. Runaways is just such a book. The premise is creative, the characters are engaging and fun, and the writing thus far has been genuinely top notch. Brian K. Vaughan has created a diverse and fascinating cast and while each Runaway is ostensibly part of a classic superhero character type (a mystic, a mutant, a time traveler, an android, etc.), they all present a fresh spin on their particular role.

The personalities of each character truly come through in this issue and make the series come alive. Vaughan’s clever and fast-paced dialogue does much to establish the Runaways as individuals— Gertrude’s biting sarcasm; Chase’s boneheaded comments interspersed with moments of surprising street smarts; Nico revealed as a former altar girl; Molly’s childish frustration and immaturity juxtaposed with incredible physical strength. Like true rebellious teens, the Runaways refuse to be boxed in by stereotypes or labels. The best comics of any genre make their characters feel like real people and Runaways does this in spades. In this issue, Vaughan also plays with the culture shock of transposing the team to a new city. The story is loaded with amusing moments from star-struck She-Hulk sightings to playful jabs at the over-exposure of Wolverine and Cloak’s melodramatic dark avenger act. All-in-all, an extremely fun and satisfying read.

Visually, the series also stands out from the numerous superhero books around with Adrian Alphona’s distinctive artwork. In truth, I have a hard time defining it (much like the kids themselves) as it seems to blend American comic art with a touch of manga and a dash of European illustration. Alphona’s linework is a study in economy of design, never cluttering the pages with too many details or too few. The smooth solid shapes that fill the panels also help to emphasize the wonderful work of colorist Christina Strain. Strain’s palette is of a deeper, more subtle range than one normally sees in hero books. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Iron Man’s armor take on the kind of metallic sheen that it does on the opening pages.

Runaways is one of the strongest series coming out of the House of Ideas. I can only hope they keep running for a long time to come.

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