The multi-talented Joss Whedon (he of the critically acclaimed “Buffy” television series) has taken the wheel of my fav comic series Runaways and steered those bad boys and girls left of the present and straight into the past, circa 1907. For those of you not in the know, the Runaways (created by the awesome Brian K. Vaughn) are a group of teens who discover their parents are super villains. After unleashing their own super powers on their unfortunate ‘rents, the California kids (originally from L.A.) bounce back and forth from coast to coast as they flee their parents’ evil legacy and try to adjust to their new-found strengths. Finding themselves once again in New York, the kids team up with the crime leader Kingpin, in a blind attempt to gain some security in a strange city not their own. In return for his protection, they agree to stage a small heist. Only they recognize the stolen object as a time travel device and decide to hold onto it for a bit. Naturally, the Kingpin wants what’s his, and sends an army of ninjas (yeah, you read that right—NINJAS) to get it. So before you can say “turn of the century,” the kids jam the device into one of the portals of their long-legged all- terrain vehicle (nicknamed The Frog) and scoot out of harm’s way and back to the 1900’s, where things actually aren’t much better. They find themselves in the middle of a turf war that’s just like The Gangs of New York. Except, these strikers and rabble-rousers, known in their time as “Wonders,” also have super-powers and are turning the tenements into a super-big mess. It will take all the kids’ strength and ingenuity to extricate them selves from the battle and get back to present-day New York in one piece. Whew! Whedon has penned a fast-paced doozy of an adventure that does not disappoint. The genius behind Buffy deepens each of the kids’ characters, especially conflicted leader Nico, and provides cyborg Victor with a romantic storyline that rivals Leo and Claire, I mean, Romeo & Juliet. From what I can discern from the single-issue reviews, it’s better to digest Whedon’s work all in one gulp in this collected volume so that you can more easily follow the complicated time travel plot. Want to know what happened first? Start here. But for those of you who are already fans of the tricked-out teens, I can’t think of a better way to wile away a lazy Sunday afternoon than spending time with these Dead End Kids!
Runaways: Dead End Kids by Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan