were two kinds of comic book readers when I was a kid: those who read
about superheroes and those who liked Archie. I was always in the latter
group. So when I picked up Runaways: Pride & Joy at the suggestion of my Internet friend Kelly (The Written World), I wasn't sure what I'd think. But because we--along with SuzieQOregon (Whimpulsive)--decided to read a graphic novel series more or less at the same time, I gave it a go.
Brian K. Vaughan (of Saga fame) wrote the Runaways series for middle grade readers and up who are looking for a fresh, modern take on the superhero genre. Although the books don't feature Spider-Man, Superman, and the Invisible Woman, they do star teens who are somewhat more than they appear.
Ever since they can remember, Alex, Gertrude, Karolina, Chase, Molly, and Nico have been forced to spend one evening a year together at Alex's house while their parents meet in private to discuss their charity work. One year, bored and not happy with each other's company, the kids decide to spy on the meeting.
What they discover is that their parents are part of a secret intergalactic group called the Pride. Instead of doing good for the less fortunate, the six couples are really plotting the takeover of the world. Their children are naturally horrified and band together, hoping to thwart the Pride's plans. Once the adults realize they've been exposed, they cast aside all parental feelings and go after the children with a vengeance, protecting their own interests at all costs.
Pride & Joy sets up the premise for the books to follow. We are introduced to the two rival gangs, and see the teens' transformation as they begin to discover their own powers and learn the truth of their parents. I particularly liked how Vaughan captured the teenage mind and gave each kid a distinct personality. There is a tiny bit of sexual attraction between two characters, but it's a minor part of the story, so we are saved the drama of all-consuming teen love.
I never would have guessed that I'd look forward to reading a graphic novel series with a foundation in classic Marvel comics. But Brian K. Vaughan has caught my interest. Plus I love the tag line:
At some point in their lives, all young people believe their parents are evil . . . but what if they really are?Don't be thrown off by either the target audience (middle grade readers) or the superhero aspects of Runaways. Pride & Joy holds the promise of much more than simple action-packed good vs. evil. I'm looking forward to seeing how the teens mature into their new roles and learn to get along so they can work as a team.
The artwork, penciled by Adrian Alphona, is detailed enough to provide a clear sense of the environment, action, and emotions without being distracting. The quirks of each character seem to be consistently rendered, making it easy to recognize people at a glance. I love the color scheme of dark greens and blues, sparked by muted orange and purple. The scan (click the image to see full size) comes from early in the book (the pages aren't numbered), when we are being introduced to the six families on the evening of the annual get-together.
Source: Bought (see review policy)
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