Friday, 27 March 2015

Runaways, Volume 2: Teenage Wasteland Review (Brian K Vaughan, Adrian Alphona)

Alex, Gertrude, Karolina, Chase, Molly and Nico are The Runaways, hiding out from their newly revealed supervillain parents aka The Pride. Are murderous supervillain parents with seemingly unlimited resources the biggest threat to these teenagers? No, it’s a cute boy!! Ohmigod Topher is like so hawt, sploosh! As the girls’ bickering over the new kid on the block threatens to break up the group, a pair of Z-list heroes called Cloak and Dagger are hired by The Pride to track down the Runaways.

The first volume was so good, Brian K Vaughan’s basically repeating it in the second with hopes of similar success. Seriously, the first issue in this book is so packed with clumsy exposition, recounting everything that’s happened so far, I wished he’d just written a summary page and pasted it at the start instead so I could ignore it and get on with the next part of the story! In a way it’s almost like an homage to classic Marvel-style where every character recounted their backstories every single time they appeared! 

Talking about classic Marvel, anyone remember Cloak and Dagger? Because I don’t – but then I wasn’t reading Marvel in the ‘80s. Apparently they were runaway characters themselves for some embarrassing public service announcement comics or something? As if a pair of characters called Cloak and Dagger could be anything less than embarrassing! They have “hack” written all over them! I wouldn’t say they were terrible in this book though and I appreciate that Vaughan is ensuring his series remains on the fringes of the Marvel Universe by keeping his costume choices very obscure. 

The cute boy storyline isn’t as bad as it sounds either and, without giving away spoilers, it does anticipate a major trend in YA/romance stories a few years before it became the standard. The sub-plot of the mole in the group is still enticing and the storyline and overall tone of the series remains very fun. Adrian Alphona’s art undergoes a change in the second half of the volume, indicative of the kind of art he would produce years later which isn’t nearly as polished and (sorry but it’s true) boring as it’s been so far in the series. 

The second volume of Runaways disappointingly isn’t as brilliant as the first. The excessive exposition is really awkward and annoying and the plot nearly as exciting but it’s still not a bad comic – Marvel have produced far, far worse! At any rate this mediocre book hasn’t put me off the title and I have faith that this talented creative team can still produce some more great work given the enormous potential of the series.

Runaways, Volume 2: Teenage Wasteland

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