Monday, August 14, 2006

I WANNA BE YOUR RUNAWAY

Just a short little bit (I've done five other posts this weekend, fool!) as I pause in my writeup of Banana Fish and finish this Kenwood Sauvingnon Blanc.

I have read the four collections of Runaways comics that Brian K. Vaughan and (mostly) Adrian Alphona did for Marvel, reprinted manga-size. These were quite enjoyable. Fun, 'Buffy/Angel as comics' stories about a group of kids who discover that their parents are super villains. They runaway and discover that they're all either super-powerful or have super-powerful weapons at their disposal. They then turn on their parents and attempt to bring them down.

It's smart, it's funny, it's nicely drawn (it's printed on paper that absorbs so much ink that the colors become too dark, which is a shame and a half), it's got one great character and a bunch of potential characters. It's really what a good superhero book should be.

I wasn't sure I'd read another thing by Vaughan after that awful first Y, the Last Man collection, but his factoid approach to dialogue feels a lot more authentic when applied to teenspeak, and his characters actually seem to live in a real world (despite the fact that the Marvel Universe is a lot less 'real' than the world Y was supposed to take place in). My only gripe is his overuse of " 'rents " to describe the parents. I'm sure a lot of teen-fiction writers wish they could be Joss Whedon or Amy Heckerling, but an SNL overuse until it catches on approach to writing is bothersome.

Any minor problems with the stories about these minors can easily be swept aside with one name: Alex Wilder. In Alex, Vaughan has created my favorite young adult in comics since I met Light Agami several months ago. Actually, I think I like Alex better. Alex reads like someone I know. He doesn't read like a particular person, so much as he reads like someone I could know. Sure, he's the son of super villains, and he's weathier than most people I know, but he speaks and acts like a friend. Let me take that one bit back: he does read like a particualr person, he reads like Alex Wilder. I buy him as a real person, and I bought his parents as real people.

It's a rare thing to find in superhero comics. An actual character. He's not defined by his high concept (in a book so focussed on its high concept, I'm not sure it can survive dropping that concept), he's defined by being bright, arogant, unsure, a little less funny than his friends, hiding his emotional adolescence behind his brains, his quirky tastes, his loyalty and his dicovery that he might actually be attractive as he approaches manhood.

I won't go into Alex's character arc that takes us through the first three books in this series, but it is character-consistent and sometimes heart-breaking. I hope that as other characters become more prominent in this series, that someone (I'm looking at you, Nico) becomes as fully realised as Alex.

I'm definitely on board to see that someone does.

3 Comments:

Blogger Marcos Perez said...

netflix sux! and i got the first 2 dvds but i wont be getting any more for 2 days and now im hooked!

could i possibly borrow the remaining discs tonight! i need more!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Marcos Perez said...

you dont go on days anymore do you.
perhaps i ask at forum. or just wait till tomorrows response

4:49 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

Check your email, yo.

Yes, stop by anytime for discs.

6:50 PM  

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