Saturday, September 13, 2008

Parents with a dark secret

A group of teens who have known each other from the time they were very little are gathered together for their parents' annual get-together. Now that the kids are older and their interests have diverged, they don't have a whole lot in common anymore, and they are not thrilled with having to hang out together while their parents discuss their fund-raising charity work.

They sit around, bored, until they find out that there is a one-way mirror in the house - a window into the room where their parents are meeting. Why not see what they are up to? It doesn't seem like an idea that's terribly exciting, especially given how dull their parents are - until they take a look and see them discussing "off world enemies" and wearing interesting outfits. "Our parents are superheroes!" exclaims one boy. Then, to their horror, they witness a murder - the sacrifice of a young woman. Far from being superheroes, they realize their parents are supervillains, complete with super-villainous powers. When the parents realize the kids have discovered their secret, they fully expect them to join them in whatever dastardly deeds they have in mind.

The teens, however, are decent people, and they run away, discovering they seem to possess some superpowers of their own. But they are a long way from mastering those powers, and in the meantime, their parents are hot on their trail. Their dilemma is that, should they have a confrontation with their parents, what can they do? They still love them, and can try to defend themselves, but they really don't want to harm them. But do their parents have those same scruples?

The story is told with humor, and the characters spring to life through snappy dialogue and lively illustrations. The teens are an unlikely mix of allies, stock types ranging from an uppity goth girl to a computer geek to a jock. But they are sweet and funny, and as their relationships with each other grow and develop, they rise above their stereotypes, creating a promising start to this exciting twist on a superhero series.

Runaways, Vol. 1: Pride and Joy by Brian K Vaughan and Adrian Alphona (Marvel Comics, 2004)

Also reviewed at:
Crowy Reads

If you've reviewed this book, let me know and I'll add your link to the list!


  1. Great review! I am a fan of Marvel comics and enjoyed the Runaways series immensely. Marvel did a bang-up job creating this YA line.

  2. Thanks, Book Zombie! I intend to continue on with this series. Is it open-ended, do you know? Or is the third one the end? Are there other YA Marvel series you'd recommend? Thanks!

  3. So far the series is up to #8 and there also talk of a movie version coming soon.
    Our family is into mostly the X-Men which isn't specifically for YA's but my kids (11 and 14) enjoy them. Another series called Marvel Adventures Super Heroes is really great for kids of all ages, there is no mature content and the action-violence is very minimal.

  4. #8? I had no idea. My library only has the first three. And in the current budget crisis, I doubt we'll be getting more any time soon. Time to hit the bookstore!

    Thanks for the recommendations - I'll definitely look into the Super Heroes series for my kids - sounds perfect for them!


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