It's about time. Back in 2003, Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona launched a comic book legend. They created the Runaways, an offbeat comic in which a bunch of teenagers learned their parents were evil. We're talking deal-with-the-devil, virgin-sacrifice level evil. Now, with a Runaways TV series due for release next year, #Marvel has finally decided the time is ripe to relaunch the series - and they've recruited Eleanor & Park author Rainbow Rowell for the book!
Let's take a look at what we know so far...
Here's Nico Minoru
As Rainbow Rowell told Entertainment Weekly:
"At the beginning of this series they are scattered to the four winds and half of them are dead. One of the challenges now is who are they when they’re apart? They got thrown together, but now they’ve been pulled apart. They’re trying to figure out who they really are without each other… This arc is very much about them choosing to be together."
Nobody's traveled further than sorceress Nico Minoru. She's traditionally the leader of the Runaways, a powerful witch who wields the legendary 'Staff of One': a mystic weapon that allows her to perform any spell once. In the years since Runaways launched, she had the misfortune of being dragged into an insane superhero death-match, leaving deep scars on her character. She also wound up with a mystical witch's hand, and notice that seems to have gone.
I have to confess to having mixed reactions. As a massive fan of the original comics, I'm thrilled to see them return. At the same time, though, this sleek-and-sexy design is very different to the Nico created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. Plus it doesn't help that I rather enjoyed Dennis Hopeless's controversial Avengers Arena, so I'm sorry to see that it looks to have been forgotten.
Bring On Chase Stein!
These Runaways will definitely be older - but not necessarily wider! The teaser text for Chase suggests that we can expect Chase's love-life to be a major part of the story - intersecting with the comment that Nico is a "mixed-up Malibu girl who only kisses the wrong people - or the right person at the wrong time." According to editor Nick Lowe, one of the major plot-points is that these kids have to deal with the reality of growing up, and that undoubtedly includes their love-lives.
Meanwhile, fans will be amused at the idea that he has a "plan" of some kind. We all know how Chase's plans tend to work out...
BONUS: He comes complete with his pet dinosaur!
Karolina Dean Makes Her Entrance!
Karolina Dean is one of the most fascinating members of the Runaways, a teenager who wound up in a fantastically complex relationship with an alien Skrull. At the same time, I have to say that this one seems to be the anomaly; neither the description nor the artwork really evokes memories of the classic character. It may be that we're seeing an interesting adaptation of Karolina.
The Runaways' youngest member, Molly is an absolute fan-favorite! While the others seem to have been aged a little, Molly is still a seventh-grader - her youth is clearly felt to be key to her identity.
Guess Who's Back!
Wait, what--? Long-term Marvel readers will know that Gert is dead - but thee are comics, and death is a revolving door. Yes, we're getting a major Runaways resurrection!
A Smart Call On Marvel's Part
Fans have been eagerly demanding the return of the Runaways for years; back when Axel Alonso used to do weekly interviews over on Comic Book Resources, he pretty much got asked about the comic every week. Given Marvel's recent sales woes, it's certainly a smart time to relaunch a powerful brand. What's more, Runaways could well be that rare and mythical beast: a concept that appeals to new, younger readers, while tapping into the strong sense of nostalgia you find among traditional comic book fans.
Another plus; Rainbow Rowell is an excellent author, with a sterling reputation. She's also a huge fan of the original Runaways comics, as fans of Eleanor & Park will have noticed! Rowell is teaming up with one of Marvel's most popular artists, Kris Anka, which suggests just how excited Marvel are about this project.
The timing, of course, is no coincidence. We're currently eagerly awaiting the trailer for the new Runaways TV series, set in the #MCU and due to stream on Hulu in 2018. Simplifying the status quo — for example, getting rid of the magic hand — is a smart move, making it easier for fans to jump from comic to TV show, or vice versa.
"Just another forgotten super-kid..." Those five words describe Nico — and her fellow Runaways — perfectly. Up until now, it seemed Marvel Comics had forgotten one of their most dearly-loved books; it's fantastic to see that isn't the case. I'll keep this post updated as we learn more...
Are you looking forward to a new 'Runaways' comic?
(Source: Entertainment Weekly; Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)