Neon Angelinos on the Road to Ruin

RunawaysEven though they possessed a multitude of weird powers, the Runaways didn’t consider themselves superheroes. Even the term “superhero” made them a tad uneasy. They weren’t guarding the galaxy, or fighting Thanos, or anything crazy like that. Their mission was simply to save kids in danger and get them off the streets.

But as long-time comic book readers know, Gert, Chase, Nico, Molly, and Karolina were an unlucky bunch. Even in the best of times, things had a habit of going horribly wrong for them. They often found themselves in knotty situations that needed to be untangled by superpowers. Having a genetically engineered nine-foot-tall dinosaur from the future was a big help too.

It all started back in 2003 when the kids discovered their parents were an evil consortium of magicians, scientists, time-travelers, and aliens called the Pride. In cahoots with the Gibborim (a trio of Elder Gods of the Earth), the Pride sought immortality, power, and wealth in exchange for one ritual human sacrifice a year.

In Christopher Golden’s novel, the Pride was gone (dispatched by their children), but L.A. was being threatened by two disparate criminal contingents: the Masters of Evil, a bunch of B-list supervillains trying to fill the power vacuum left by the Pride, and the Nightwatch, a group of metahumans from San Francisco with a shady agenda. It was up to the Runaways to stop both of them.

Unfortunately, teenagers were a distracted bunch, and the Runaways were no exception. Nico spent her days navel-gazing, Gert and Chase were busy working on their night moves, and Karolina was getting frisky with a new lover. On top of everything else, their hideout had recently been compromised and they desperately needed to secure a new HQ.

Thankfully, the Runaways were able to rally before mad villains and ancient elemental gods smashed L.A. Their novel-ending clash with the Masters of Evil and the Nightwatch resembled a “Michael Bay wet dream,” wrote the author. We’re pretty sure he meant that in the best possible way.

Capturing the spirit of the original comic book series, author Golden does a good job of breaking down superhero clichés with snark and self-conscious humor. Nico, the lonely but clever goth witch, and Molly, the chibi She-Hulk, consistently deliver the best zingers, but all of the Super Angelinos are funny in their own particular way.

Be forewarned, however: If your only exposure to the Runaways is via the Hulu video-on-demand series, there are some spoiler-y moments sprinkled throughout this novel. Similarly, if your only exposure to the Runaways is via the music of Joan Jett and Lita Ford, then you’ve just wasted your time reading this review.

[Runaways: An Original Novel / By Christopher Golden / First Printing: January 2018 / ISBN: 9781484782019]

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