We recently asked Sarah Cross, the author of our book of the month, Dull Boy, to review one of her favorite YA novels. Sarah chose Runaways, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. Enjoy!
Runaways, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona
Dull Boy wouldn’t exist without Runaways–I really believe that. It’s a long story, but I never would have taken the plunge and made my superhero-story dreams a reality if I hadn’t read this series and been slapped by the realization that I could write about superheroes without writing about capes and spandex. (No offense, Batman; seriously, I respect your fashion choices.)
Now let me try to sell you on it. 😉
Runaways takes place in the Marvel Comics Universe–where Spider-Man and Captain America are a reality, and villains are real, too. It’s about superheroes, but it’s also the ultimate reality story, because it holds fast to one eternal truth:
Your parents are totally evil.
I mean, who hasn’t had that thought? Especially when you’re 16 or 17, fighting for your independence & struggling to reset your boundaries.
But what if it was true?
Runaways is about six teenagers who have known each other for what feels like forever, because their parents–wealthy movers & shakers in Los Angeles–are friends. The group is made up of Alex Wilder (our supersmart narrator), Nico Minoru (the goth girl Alex has a crush on), Karolina Dean (gorgeous blond daughter of movie star parents), Chase Stein (a seemingly dumb jock), Gertrude Yorkes (purple-haired and awesome with attitude), and Molly Hayes (the youngest).
While their parents are gathered together somewhere in Alex’s house, ostensibly to plan a charity event, the kids creep through a secret passage to spy on them–and watch in horror as their parents murder a girl as part of a creepy sacrificial rite.
It turns out that their parents are actually a group of supervillains calling themselves the Pride, who have been ruling Los Angeles with an iron fist. Karolina’s movie star parents? Yeah, they’re actually aliens–and so is she. Gert’s parents are time travellers and have trapped a velociraptor in their lair as a surprise gift for her. Molly’s doctor parents are mutants, like the X-Men, and now that she’s inching into adolescence, the powers she inherited are starting to manifest. Chase’s parents are mad scientists who have created a pair of metal gauntlets that can shoot flames. Nico is the child of dark wizards; and Alex, whose parents are the masterminds behind the Pride, is a prodigy.
Throw out the rules manual; there isn’t one.
Runaways is about gaining your independence–um, because you have to, unless you want to walk the same diabolical road your parents have been walking–and it’s also about friendship, first love, and betrayal. And while all the characters have a special skill, no one wears a cape. These kids are “people” first, “super” second. I read it and instantly fell in love with the originality, the art, and the gorgeous coloring.
So if you like superheroes, or just dig a hilarious, amazing story (complete with snappy banter and the cliffhangers and plot twists Brian K. Vaughan is famous for), give Runaways a shot. You just might fall in love with it too.
Now, stay tuned for Nikki’s review of Dull Boy, author interview with Sarah and a Dull Boy giveaway!