Monday, 20 April 2015

Runaways, Volume 3: The Good Die Young Review (Brian K Vaughan, Adrian Alphona)

The Runaways discover the bizarre origins of their parents’ supervillain group, The Pride, before deciding they need to confront them once and for all. But the mole in the group threatens to bring them down, while The Pride have their own insurrectionists. Whatever happens, there will be blood! 

After a lull in the weak second volume, Brian K Vaughan is back with a much more energised and focused third book. The origin story for The Pride is completely bonkers but in keeping with what you’d expect from Marvel (cosmic zaniness)! After that it’s all systems go as he has the Runaways, uh, running away from the LAPD and then deciding running away’s not for them anymore and take the fight to the ‘rentals – wow, successful character arcs, that’s something you don’t often see in a Marvel comic! 

For the most part the characters are well written. They’re teenagers so they’ve got lame superhero names – Arsenic and Old Lace, Lucy in the Sky, etc. – because they’ve kids’ imaginations. They’re also hooking up left and right, as the kids do (he says, adjusting his walker). The only character who’s strangely written is Molly. She’s 10 or 11 but she behaves like a 5 year old, always throwing babyish temper tantrums and talking like an ickle kiddy! 

The mole storyline is exciting and the payoff is excellent – I didn’t expect THAT character to be the Judas! Vaughan also makes them almost sympathetic because they’ve been humanised as one of the goodies to us over three books – almost. And then the mole does the classic corndog thing of monologuing long enough so that the heroes have a chance to recover. If I were going to put an obnoxious gif in this review, it’d be of Scott Evil telling his dad how supervillains should deal with prisoners - “I have a gun, in my room, you give me five seconds, I'll get it, I'll come back down here, BOOM, I'll blow their brains out!”

The reasons though for what The Pride are about and how they got their powers, etc., is conveyed a bit too conveniently. Alex finds a book where literally everything they said and did got written down for some reason. There’s a comment from Karolina’s mum about wanting to have a kid so she’d be preggers on the cover of People magazine – why would anyone record that? But then why would anyone record all of this anyway? Their parents were going to sit them down and tell them the whole deal when they turned 18, why would they need a book for that same purpose? 

Those are only three minor problems though that don’t detract from an enjoyable read. The frog robot is a great vehicle – excellent design, Adrian Alphona! – and Cap makes a cameo, reminiscent of the way The Lord of the Flies ended. The ending itself is a little earnest but that too fits in with the whole teenage mindset. The Good Die Young is really fun and the pages fly by – a good finale to the first Runaways arc!

Runaways, Volume 3: The Good Die Young

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