Wizards and aliens and raptors…Oh My!

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now part of a sprawling movie and TV multi-verse. Tony Stark, Thor, and Star-Lord have the big-budget movie corner of the universe covered, while Phil Coulson and his S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents are holding things down over on network television. And then on Netflix, we’ve got The Defenders crew and Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher) keeping the streets of New York Safe. Starting next month, another Marvel entertainment tendril is landing on a streaming site when Marvel’s Runaways launches on Hulu.

Marvel’s Runaways is based on Brian K. Vaughan’s comic book series of the same name. While “Runaways” is a critically adored series it’s also a pretty deep cut for any Marvel movie aficionados that have never actually picked up a comic book. “Runaways” launched in 2003 and focuses on a group of teenagers who “run away” from home after discovering that their parents are supervillains. While on the run, the kids form a plan to stop their parents which involves stealing their supervillain weaponry and learning to use their newly discovered superpowers.

“Runaways” is as comic booky as comic books get. The kid’s parents are evil sorcerers, mad scientists, and if my rusty memory serves correct, aliens too. One of the children even has a pet velociraptor. Again, “Runaways” is so comic booky. The stories on the pages of “Runaways” aren’t the sort of material that lends themselves to television budgets and the show will have to scale back some of the comic’s more outlandish elements. That being said, the most brilliant aspects of “Runaways” aren’t its pulpy superhero action beats; it’s areas that television does exceptionally well: endearing characters, their earnest relationships, and a focus on how they each grow over time.

Check it out below:

In a broad sense, I would say Runaways reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The book and the show are about a group of awkward teens coming to grips with their supernatural destinies while figuring out who they are. The sci-fi and fantasy elements serve as allegories for their teenage angst. Much like Buffy’s Scooby Gang, the super-powered kids greatest source of strength is the bonds they form with each other. Plus, all these elements are served up with a delicious topping of superhero melodrama. Did I mention that it’s a great comic?

Runaways is a show I want to like, and I’ll do my best to go in unbiased but there’s a lo-fi quality to the trailer that gives me pause. It looks more like a daytime soap than a TV show based on a comic book. I also get the impression that Runaways is the first live-action Marvel show aimed at a demographic that doesn’t include me. That’s not a knock against it, there’s already more comic book shows on the air than I have time to watch. On the plus side, Runaways seems to stay true to its comic book roots. We even see the kid’s supervillain parents dressed like they’re having an Eyes Wide Shut party as they’re worshiping around a magical cauldron. The trailer also confirms that the show features a Raptor, so maybe this series is for me after all. Either way, we’ll all know how we feel about Marvel’s Runaways when it debuts in less than a month.

Marvel’s Runaways starts November 21st exclusively on Hulu

Here is Hulu’s official synopsis:

Every teenager thinks their parents are evil. But what if they really were? When six L.A. teens stumble onto a terrible secret, they realize their parents have been lying to them all their lives. But what are their parents after? And why? While the kids investigate, the adults start to wonder if their kids are hiding secrets of their own. The parents close in on the truth just as the kids uncover a plan with devastating consequences. Now, this unlikely crew of teenagers must band together to stop their parents before it’s too late.