Rating 3/5 – When doing reviews for any comic movie or TV show, especially Marvels Runaways Season 1, I specifically have to remember there’s a difference between seeing them as a comic geek as opposed to someone who doesn’t know who or what The Runaways are. I don’t believe anyone will be confused or lost because they don’t know or especially never read the series. That’s a stupid complaint and even dumber conceit comic geeks drape over themselves like a worn security blanket they refuse to throw away. We live in the age of Google, Wikipedia and YouTube, so if someone comes to a reference they don’t understand only need to use their voice prompt on their phones and ask. If the movie or show does its job people will pick up on the finer details of who everyone is, what’s the conflict and who we are supposed to be rooting for. Let’s be real, movies are mostly based on pre-created media like books, short stories, old TV shows and now comics and graphic novels. Changes are made all the time because 30 years of comic stories or a 600-page book cannot possibly fit a 2-hour movie, even it in two parts. I’m guilty of feeling a little put off when I see changes in these things, and while Marvels Runaways Season 1 kept the basic core of the storyline there were some changes I had to work out within myself if they worked or if they didn’t.
Marvels Runaways Season 1 Changes
The most glaring change in Marvels Runaways Season 1 is the parents. While the basic story of the kids coming upon their parents murdering a young girl is the same, the reason is different. As in the show, the parents are a part of a group that calls themselves “The Pride” and they are the super criminals who control the California area in a corporate mafia but with superpowers and magic kind of way. They brag about keeping their area as superhero free as possible and they sacrifice young people to some god thingies who grants them powers and stuff. The conflict comes when their kids find out they are supervillains and sets about stopping them. Another change is that Molly is only about 10 or 11 and her parents are alive. She’s the little girl who may be as strong as the Hulk in the comics. In the Hulu show, she’s “TV show strong” and her parents were murdered by members of the Pride as was Niko’s older sister. The parents are not exactly super villains but it’s obvious they signed on to something not so legal or moral or ethical. The reason for murdering young people is to keep their leader alive, and the leader has the same powers as Karolina – who is an alien in the comic. Then again Molly is a mutant in the comic but even though Disney just gave Marvel a huge chunk of their toys back with the Fox Studios buy out, the show was made before they could say the M-Word again. What Karolina and the big bad leaders haven’t been spelled out in the show. In the comics, she’s a Majesdanian, and the only lesbian on the team. (If she’s an alien would they really have the same hang-ups and definitions as humans?)
Do The Changes Matter?
Here’s the thing, in some ways yes and in some ways no. A lot of things were left open-ended but there were a few things that were hard to reconcile with knowing the plot of the comics. As I said the biggest change was that in the comics the parents were straight up supervillains. It made them much more mustache twirling “we will rule the world’ types. While it would be too over the top for a TV show it made things move much faster. For example, they were runaways by issue #3. In Marvels Runaways Season 1 the main characters did not actually run away until the last episode. In the show, the parents were all working towards some secret goal. You never got the sense they ran anything in particular but for some reason, they had cops in their pockets. In the comics, you know who the Pride was, what their goals were and in most cases, their own kids were just means to an end. In the Hulu show the parents seemed to be being blackmailed only one of them had a magic wand which seemed to be able to do anything, so why is she in fear of the guy with light powers? Everyone seemed to have something going on, except the Wilders. We know dad was in a street gang but what he’s doing now isn’t clear to me. The parents feel bad about murdering so many young people to keep their leader alive, yet I had no clue why they were keeping this guy alive. He somehow convinced them it was about digging into the middle of L.A. and finding an endless source of renewable energy. They were being tricked into helping the whole world. Except two of their members were murdered, a daughter committed suicide but everyone suspects it was murder and they keep killing young people. Let’s not forget that it was never made clear what this big bad leader was giving any of them.
For me, it felt like the show was taking too long to get to the point. There were a lot of good moments and I liked every actor all around except for the big bad, and I’ll get to him in a minute. The story flowed okay, I just felt that getting to the action and the point of the action too the whole season. That’s why the supervillain angle felt more right because the danger became immediate, more apparent. For 10 episodes it felt like the kids took forever to get to really doing anything.
Holy Shit It’s Spike
What was the last thing you saw James Marsters in? If you said Marvels Runaways Season 1, very funny. I used to recognize James Marsters as soon as he popped up. He showed up in Warehouse 13, and I know he was on Hawaii Five-0 (or is still on, I don’t watch the show) but when he showed up my immediate reaction would be “Holy shit, it’s Spike.” This time, I did not know that Victor Stein was James Marsters until I looked up the IMDB for the show. And I was like “huh, that was Spike?” Because in this show he didn’t feel threatening, he did not feel like this guy you should fear. He felt more like when Fox tried to make Doctor Doom into a corporate raider type and you were like “This is supposed to be the big bad villain?” James Marster’s whole thing is being the scary guy. IMO, he wasn’t scary here.
Marvel Runaways Season 1 was okay. It wasn’t bad, the special effects worked and the drama held up to a point. Slow in some points, but good twists in others. It worth a binge but I don’t see it being put high on a Best of Marvel TV list anytime soon.