Friday, March 02, 2007

Runaways

With this week's issue #24, an era ends as series creators Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona say goodbye and head on to other projects. The good news, of course, is that Joss Whedon is taking over writing chores, but still, it'll be strange reading the series under someone else's hand.

If you look back to the initial issues of Runaways, you may not have been very impressed with what you saw. But beginning with volume two of the book, Adrian Alphona really honed his craft and produced some beautiful art. The few fill-in issues that appeared during this second chapter of the Runaways' lives didn't really grab me, so it'll be interesting to see if the new artist, Michael Ryan, can capture what made this title special under Alphona's reign. Either way, I'm expecting something exceptional with Whedon writing, whether it's different or not. Here's a little catch-up in what's gone down in the title up through the final issue of Vaughan and Alphona's run:
A group of children learn that their parents are supervillains, who identify themselves as the Pride and serve the Gibborim, who plan to destroy all life on Earth albeit the supervillains' children. These children witness a human sacrifice and run away. The initial team consisted of Alex, Nico, Karolina, Chase, Molly and Gert, each of whom gained some sort of advantage via their parents' exploits: Gert has a telepathically-linked dinosaur she named Old Lace. Molly is a mutant with super strength. Karolina is an alien with several abilities. Alex is a super genius strategist. Nico inherited the Staff of One which allows her to cast any spell once. And Chase got some super power gloves from his techi parents. The Runaways did their best to battle their parents and various supervillains while hiding in a hotel that had been buried during an earthquake, but there was a traitor among the teens who was still on the supervillains' side in spite of their sinister plans. Meanwhile a bunch of drama ensued, but basically Karolina and Nico had feelings for each other, and Gert and Chase became an item after months of arguing. They also acquired the Leap Frog, an invention of The Pride that made getting around a lot easier, who had a certain affection for Chase, who had since lost his power gloves. At the end of the first volume of the series, the Runaways confronted their parents, but were betrayed by Alex, who was subsequently killed, along with all of the evil parents, and the Runaways somehow managed to put an end to the terror that the Gibborim planned to wreak. After a short hiatus, Runaways returned to see the children in a new hideaway beneath a tar pit exhibit, a former lair of their parents. A new member was added to the team, Ulton's robot son Victor, who was supposedly destined to be a supervillain himself, according to a possible future variation of Gert. Quickly following Victor's arrival, Karolina found herself in a situation where she had to leave with a skrull to stop a war between two intergalactic races. With this change in line-up, the team fought supervillains around LA, and a new Pride was suddenly born from mystical means. Alex's father was resurrected and tricked a group of outcasts into helping him capture Molly and take down the Runaways. His plot was thwarted however, and saw Karolina's return with her betrothed, the shape-shifting androgynous skrull Xavin, and the death of Gert, whose telepathic raport with Old Lace shifted to Chase. Chase recently tried to ressurect Gert by attempting to sacrifice himself to the Gibborim, but he wasn't a worthy sacrifice and he ended up putting his friends' lives in danger before sending the Gibborim away from the limbo they clung to forever (supposedly). There was a certain amount of unease toward Chase after this event, a feeling that the Runaways barely had time to process before they returned to their hideaway to find Iron Man and SHIELD waiting for them in their exhausted state. And this is where Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan will pick up the story next month with Nico, Karolina, Chase, Victor, Molly and Xavin (and Old Lace, of course). We'll just have to wait and see what sorts of twists and turns the new creative team takes us on...

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