Can’t get enough of Marvel’s Runaways? Need something to tide you over until season 2? You’re in luck, as we’ve got your essential guide to the comics.
After a decades-long wait, Runaways finally made its live-action debut on Hulu. The first season made some notable deviations from the Marvel comics, but still struck a chord in the hearts of fans, new and old.
Of course, with a wait between seasons, now might be the time to dive into the comics, to glean some information on where the show might go next. But where do you even begin?
We’re here with your essential reading guide for Marvel’s Runaways. But, be warned. There may potentially be some mild spoilers for future Runaways episodes.
‘Runaways’ Vol. 1
The run that started it all. The Runaways series, thus far, has largely been based on this collected ‘season’ of comics. It introduced the major players we’ve already come to know and love — Nico, Karolina, Gert, Molly, Chase, Alex and Old Lace — and set up the basic premise.
Unlike on the show, the parents weren’t a major focus, and the kids ran away almost immediately after discovering they were… well. Heading up the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles.
Of course, it went much deeper than just that, as it does on the Hulu series, but all the elements are still there: The kids discovering their unique powers, coming to terms with who their parents are, love, betrayal, and everything in between.
The conclusion of Runaways, Vol. 1 could, ultimately, be a major spoiler for things to come in the show’s second season. But, as the show has shaken up the source material, it just as likely could be a red herring.
Graphic novels in Vol. 1: Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy, Runaways Vol. 2: Teenage Wasteland, Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young
‘Runaways’ Vol. 2
With the conflict with the Pride resolved over the course of the first 18-issues, Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona took Vol. 2 in another direction. As there was no one overseeing crime in Los Angeles, it created a power vacuum, one that the Runaways had to ensure other villains would not take advantage of.
As there was a major exit from the team at the close of the first run, two new members joined when the series picked back up: Victor Mancha, a cyborg, and Xavin, a Skrull refugee. The wider Marvel universe also started to come into play, with Cloak and Dagger, and the New Avengers making appearances.
Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona eventually exited after volume #24, and Joss Whedon closed out the run with a time-travelling adventure that added a final team member, Kara Plast.
With showdowns with the Gibborim, a new incarnation of the Pride, and… well, the aforementioned time-travel, Vol. 2 kicked things up a notch, and took the Runaways on some very interesting adventures.
Graphic novels in Vol. 2: Runaways Vol. 4: True Believers, Runaways Vol. 5: Escape to New York, Runaways Vol. 6: Parental Guidance, Runaways Vol. 7: Live Fast, Runaways Vol. 8: Dead End Kids
What’s better than one teenage superhero team? Two, of course.
The Runaways and Young Avengers teamed up in two mini-series, which also tied into two larger Marvel events, Civil War and Secret Invasion.
With the Superhero Registration Act affecting all super powered individuals in the Marvel universe, it was understandable that the Runaways would get caught up in all that drama. The Young Avengers stepped in in order to help them evade the S.H.I.E.L.D. forces tracking them down, and it was incredible to see the two teams interact, though the series was far too short for most fans’ liking.
They met once again during the Skrull invasion in Secret Invasion. With a Skrull on each team, Teddy, for the Young Avengers, and Xavin, for the Runaways, they both had a personal stake in stopping the invasion of Earth. The two teams worked well together, and with an already established dynamic, had the opportunity to expand on their relationships.
Graphic novels in Runaways/Young Avengers: Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways, Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers
‘Runaways’ Vol. 3
A short-lived third run was eventually published, but wasn’t anywhere near as popular as any of the previous series featuring the team. Terry Moore and artist Humberto Ramos took the kids through the first couple of volumes, which saw them return to Los Angeles, and the focus turn to Karolina, but they wouldn’t last long – not even with the now-staple inclusion of a zombie storyline for the team.
Kathryn Immonen and artist Sara Pichelli picked up the mantle from Moore and Ramos, and response was far more in-line with previous outings, but Marvel ultimately put the series on an indefinite hiatus after four volumes by the duo. That left things on a devastating cliffhanger, following the death of a beloved team member, which only recently saw a resolution.
Graphic novels in Vol. 3: Runaways Vol. 9: Dead Wrong, Runaways Vol. 10: Rock Zombies, Runaways Vol. 11: Homeschooling
The currently on-going series saw Rainbow Rowell and artist Kris Anka reunite the original team for the first time in years. With the cliffhanger of Vol. 3 finally resolved, and the characters having to come to terms with all that has happened in the time since then, there’s a whole host of things to work through.
So far, Runaways has been a return to its original form, capturing a lot of what made us fall in love, whilst giving the series a much-needed update.
If you have a cursory understanding of Runaways, Rainbow Rowell’s series is an good entry-point and doesn’t necessarily require an in-depth knowledge before reading.
It’s fun, colorful, and… well. If you love the relationships introduced in the show, this run will be right up your street.