Review: Runways: Dead End Kids

Modern comics have had great difficulty in coming up with new characters that have been able to survive in the current marketplace.  Out of all the titles on the stands only a handfull feature characters that were created after the silver age, and most of those first appeared in the mid 70’s.  Thus it’s always a real mark of quality when something newer does manage to have some real staying power, and of those the best book by far is Marvel’s the Runaways.

The Runaways (created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona) focus on a group of teens who discover that their parents are secretly the crime lords of L.A.  Throughout the course of Vaughan’s issues the Runaways gain superpowers, overthrow their parents, get introduced to some of the other heroes in the Marvel Universe, and lose a few members in battle.  By the time the two original creators left they had written the best YA epic mainstream comics has seen since Jeff Smith first began working on Bone.

This left some huge shoes to fill, the end results of which were a little disappointing.  For this book the usually brilliant Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fame) and the inconsistant Michael Ryan (in top form here fortunately) come on board for a single arc.  The good is that Whedon has a great feel for the characters and is clearly coming on board having been a fan of the material first.  The bad is that the time-travel story is a bit uninspired, creating what is by far the weakest story yet for the series.  Although the setting does give Ryan plenty to work with, and his designs for the New York City of 1907 and its heroes are lovely.

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