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Brian K. Vaughan – Runaways Vol. 4: True Believers and Vol. 5: Escape to New York

August 11, 2010

90. Runaways, Vol. 4: True Believers by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, Craig Yeung (2005)
Runaways, Volume 4

Length: 144 pages each
Genre: Superhero Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Started / Finished: 01 August 2010 (for both)

Where did they come from? The library.
Why do I have them? More graphic novels to read, hooray!

Summary: The gang of Runaways get an oddly familiar visitor who claims she’s from the future, and that they have to find and stop a kid named Victor Mancha, who is destined to grow up to be a terrible hero-destroying supervillain… but when they track him down, he seems like just a regular kid. Meanwhile, a group of former teen superheroes is working to get our Runaways off the streets and out of the crime-fighting game – for their own good, of course.

Review: Up to this point, one of the things that I really liked about the Runaways series was that while it took place inside the Marvel Universe, it was very much its own story, and established Marvel characters existed only on the very periphery of things. However, in this volume, Marvel characters play a much more vital role in the plot. Unfortunately, for someone like me who doesn’t know the background of these characters, it made the plot less compelling, and while it was still understandable, knowing that there were things that were going over my head caused my interest in the series as a whole to suffer. It was still a fun read, with some interesting character choices, excellent one-liners and sight gags, and gorgeous artwork, like always… I just wish they’d kept more of the focus on the kids. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: There’s enough going on that non-Marvel fans will find something of interest, but it’s definitely veering in a direction that’s geared more towards existing superhero junkies.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

First Line: “Okay, if you could be any super hero… who’d it be?”

91. Runaways, Vol. 5: Escape to New York by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, Craig Yeung (2006)
Runaways, Vol. 5

Summary: The team is busy dealing with the wannabe supervillains that keep cropping up now that the Pride no longer rules Los Angeles, until they run into a seeming bad guy with a particular interest in Carolina. Meanwhile, they’re also paid a visit by their old friend Cloak, who wants them to come to New York City to help him track down an imposter who’s stolen his identity.

Review: Everything I complained about in Vol. 4, about the series basing itself more and more on established Marvel characters? Yeah, it gets even worse in this one. Ironman, Spiderman, and Wolverine all show up as guest stars, and while that’s all well and good for them, it left me antsy to get back to plotlines that actually involve the kids… y’know, the main characters, the reason why we’re reading? Yeah. Also, the pencils for the first two issues in this volume were done by a new artist, and while they’re totally fine on their own merits, they’re visually very different from the established tradition of how the characters should look, enough so to be jarring. Still, plenty of funny bits, and things move along as snappily as ever, so I can only hope that in the next volume they’ll knock it off with the “famous superheroes” diversion and get back to their main storyline. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: The series as a whole is still interesting enough to keep me reading, even if the shift towards being more Marvel-y has dampened my enthusiasm somewhat.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

First Line: “Yes, flee in terror, Los Angelinos… lest you feel the sting of the mighty Swarm!”

Other Reviews: Have you reviewed either of these books? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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