Runaways 1-3 by Brian K. Vaughan: B+

From the inside flap:
They were six normal California teenagers linked only by their wealthy parents’ annual business meeting… until a chance discovery revealed the shocking truth: Their parents are a secret criminal society known as The Pride. For years, The Pride has controlled all criminal activity in Los Angeles, holding the entire city in its iron grip. With their true natures exposed, the members of The Pride will take any measures necessary to protect their illicit organization—even if it means taking out their own children!

I confess I never would’ve been interested in this Marvel comic had it not been announced a few months ago that Joss Whedon was going to take over the writing duties after the second series. I’m not a big fan of comics in general, but when the library had this nice big hardback compiling all 18 issues (also available in three paperback volumes) of the first series, I thought I’d take a look.

The story wasn’t the best I’d ever read, and I thought certain developments transpired too quickly, but it none the less held my interest and I practically read it in one sitting. Each of the families has their own gimmick: mutant, evil scientist, et cetera. The kids either inherit or steal their parents’ abilities, making for a variety of skills. Interestingly, the team is comprised of four females and two males rather than having a few token girls along. Pop culture references abound, though I don’t get how they don’t know the A-Team but did know The Neverending Story, since I remember adoring both in the same year.

Of the characters, my favorite is Nico, who looks especially lovely on the cover to the first issue. Too bad her character design is one of two subjected to inconsistency issues. I experienced a similar issue with Fray, where her facial features kept changing and I could never get a grip on how she was supposed to look. Is this a normal thing in comics? It was incredibly distracting and seemingly confined to these two characters.

I liked this well enough to continue on with the second series (comprised of twenty-four issues). And after that, it’s Whedon time!

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