With so many well-established and well-loved Marvel superheroes already in circulation by the 1970s, introducing a new property in 2003 could not have been easy, but writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona succeeded with a concept that pays its respects to all the various segments of the Marvel Universe.
Six youths from vastly different backgrounds discover their parents are secretly a cabal of super-villains, so they, well, run away and attempt to thwart their evil plans, learning about their own various abilities as they do so. Mutants, magic, (mad) science, outer space, and more are represented. One’s a sorceress, for example, while another has an alien heritage. It’s a fantastic premise that could work well in multiple mediums.
The first issue does an efficient job introducing the bare-bones basics of these six families, which is a pretty daunting task for one regular-sized comic. But Vaughan gets it right. All showing, no chunks of boring exposition, and we get just enough information to think, okay, I could maybe consider following the adventures of these kids. And then the final pages give us the big reveal and a compelling cliffhanger, and we simply must read #2. Exactly what a first issue needs to do.
Now I want to reread the whole series.
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciler: Adrian Alphona
Inker: David Newbold
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Runaways vol. 1: Pride & Joy (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 12 and up