Tag Archives: Adrian Alphona

Today’s Super Comic — Runaways #5 (2005)

There’s certain rite of passage every young superhero must go through in the Marvel Universe: confronting Doctor Doom.

The Runaways have met a fellow super-powered teen, Victor Mancha, who might be destined to become evil and might be the son of a major super-villain. In #5 (vol. 2), they have to save Victor’s mother from one of those potential fathers, leading to a fun match between a bunch of relatively inexperienced teenagers and the Fantastic Four’s greatest enemy.

And then the book tops itself with a superb twist and, as usual, a great cliffhanger…so not even a Doctor Doom battle is the high point here.

It’s just a consistently fun series that has a blast playing in the Marvel Universe sandbox.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Penciler: Adrian Alphona

Inker: Craig Yeung

Cover: Jo Chen

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Runaways vol. 4: True Believers (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Runaways #1 (2005)

Runaways’ second series begins on a fun note, with the kids taking on the Wrecking Crew in Los Angeles. It’s an entertaining way to show off what each Runaway can do—those who are still with us after the conclusion of the previous series, that is.

This issue #1 isn’t a fresh start—it builds on what came before, and it shows how those actions have consequences. (Spoiler ahead for the first series, but it’s a pretty obvious one…)

When the kids defeated their parents in the last series, they inadvertently created a power vacuum in the L.A. area. And now super-villains are descending on this formerly forbidden target. However, our protagonists aren’t focused on fighting crime. Their main concern is helping out the kids of super-villains, which gives them a unique motivation among Marvel’s many super-teams.

Separately, we also meet a support group for former teen superheroes, which pulls together various underutilized young characters who range from C-list to Z-list. (Remember the good-guy version of the Green Goblin? Even I had totally forgotten that one.) It’s a clever idea, and teens trying to put their superhero days behind them complements the main characters’ desire to put any influence of their super-villain parents behind them.

And lest the issue conclude without a suitable cliffhanger, we end with an ominous portent from the future. Got to have one of those every once in a while.

All in all, a solid start to the second series and an excellent continuation for one of the best Marvel properties created in the 21st century.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Penciler: Adrian Alphona

Inker: Craig Yeung

Cover: Jo Chen

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Runaways vol. 4: True Believers (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Runaways #18 (2004)

runaways_vol_1_18With #18, the Runaways’ initial storyline reaches its resolution…and the new status quo is established for the next series. Again, I have to admire how impressive this series is and how it contributes something new to the Marvel Universe.

And really, the series could have ended here and felt totally complete, but why let perfectly good characters go to waste? In just eighteen issues, these characters are as well-developed as some who have been around for many years.

A specific mission drove them throughout the first seventeen issues—stopping their parents—and writer Brian K. Vaughan kept the tension high the entire time, in part by introducing a mystery around one Runaway potentially being a mole and leveraging the parents’ lack of trustworthiness. But here we catch our breath and realize, yeah, let’s keep following these kids.

Well worth your time to read.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Penciler: Adrian Alphona

Inker: Craig Yeung

Cover: Jo Chen

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Runaways vol. 3: The Good Die Young (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Runaways #9 (2004)

runaways_vol_1_9Yeah, I’m still re-reading Runaways. I was overdue for it.

The action takes a break in #9, and we get an issue of the kids hanging out in their new hideout…with a guest, a teen they recently met who’s also eager to escape his evil parents. What a coincidence! Of course, this being a story, the odds of a new character not introducing conflict are slim. And remember one of those great Pixar rules—coincidences are great for getting characters into trouble, not out of trouble.

Meanwhile, the evil parents continue searching for their kids. What distinguishes this from the typical villains-pursuing-heroes fare is that they actually do care about their kids. Their judgment is clearly atrocious or they wouldn’t be villains, but like all parents, they desire only the best for their children.

And if you ever want to study up on amazing cliffhangers, this series has some lessons for you.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Penciler: Adrian Alphona

Inker: Craig Yeung

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Runaways vol. 2: Teenage Wasteland (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Runaways #6 (2003)

runaways_vol_1_6After I reviewed the first issue a few weeks ago, I had to keep reading. It’s been so long that I had forgotten many of the details … I just generally remembered that it was an excellent series.

My memory got that part right. This series is a page-turner, thanks to crisp writing by Brian K. Vaughan and dynamic, expressive art by Adrian Alphonso. Each issue builds on the last as the young protagonists learn more about themselves and their evil parents.

Issue #6 completes the first volume, though it’s far from an ending. It’s more akin to the end of a pilot episode that sets the course for the continuing storyline. The action ramps up as the kids battle some of the parents, and we learn that someone’s loyalties might not be what they appear … but we don’t learn who that someone is.

There’s a great advantage to having a Marvel comic book starring an entirely new cast of characters—anything can happen. And that uncertainty sure is fun.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Penciler: Adrian Alphona

Inker: David Newbold

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Runaways vol. 1: Pride & Joy (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Runaways #1 (2003)

Runaways 1So Runaways is about to become a Hulu series. I’m okay with that.

With so many well-established and well-loved Marvel superheroes already in circulation by the 1970s, introducing a new property in 2003 could not have been easy, but writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona succeeded with a concept that pays its respects to all the various segments of the Marvel Universe.

Six youths from vastly different backgrounds discover their parents are secretly a cabal of super-villains, so they, well, run away and attempt to thwart their evil plans, learning about their own various abilities as they do so. Mutants, magic, (mad) science, outer space, and more are represented. One’s a sorceress, for example, while another has an alien heritage. It’s a fantastic premise that could work well in multiple mediums.

The first issue does an efficient job introducing the bare-bones basics of these six families, which is a pretty daunting task for one regular-sized comic. But Vaughan gets it right. All showing, no chunks of boring exposition, and we get just enough information to think, okay, I could maybe consider following the adventures of these kids. And then the final pages give us the big reveal and a compelling cliffhanger, and we simply must read #2. Exactly what a first issue needs to do.

Now I want to reread the whole series.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Penciler: Adrian Alphona

Inker: David Newbold

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Runaways vol. 1: Pride & Joy (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up