After two years, Marvel’s Runaways is no more this week, with the bingable release of its third season on Hulu. Fans looking for what happens next will not be getting another season — at least until the inevitable Disney Plus relaunch.
But there’s one more place that TV show fans can turn in the meantime. And sure, it seems obvious to say “read the source material.” But here’s the stone cold truth: The Runaways’ comic has been around since 2003, but it’s never been better than it is right now.
For a comic series that was canceled three times in its first six years of existence, Runaways has a flabbergastingly good pedigree. Created by Saga, Paper Girls, and Y: The Last Man’s Brian K. Vaughan and Ms. Marvel co-creator Adrian Alphona, the series would eventually be written by a pre-Avengers Joss Whedon himself.
After nearly ten years off the shelves, an ongoing Runaways series returned in 2017, from the immensely talented artist Kris Anka (Captain Marvel, Star-Lord) and YA author and Runaways superfan Rainbow Rowell. Their series builds on the continuity that’s come before it to craft its own distinct era for the characters. With her own YA-reading following to bring into the book, Rowell was emphatic about making the series one that anyone could pick up and read. If readers really want to catch up, she suggests just reading the Vaughan/Alphona era.
But if you’re a show fan, then you already know the drill: Children of supervillains run away, have teen adventures. Among the very first thing that Rowell and Anka did in their series was start putting the band back together from the various places they’d been in the intervening time — including dead, dismembered, or just generally trying to move on.
Easier said than done, but the job took plenty of adventures to get there. Then, once the team had some stability, their past came back to haunt them, their parents’ lackeys loomed as a threat, and today, they’re actually trying to be Real Superheroes for a bit, just to have a place to live.
But don’t think that Rowell and her collaborators have skimped on the drama! Nico finally realized she’s queer, and got together with Karolina. On the other side of things, there’s way too much time travel, resurrections, and apocalypse baggage between Gert and Chase. And while Chase is willing to wait for them to be the same age again, Gert is falling for Victor. Who’s Victor?
Well, in the comic, TV viewers might even find a bit of closure from where the series left off.
[Ed. note: The rest of this piece contains some spoilers for Hulu’s Runaways season 3.]
Though Runaways’ final episode looked like it was setting the whole gang up for a happily ever after, its final moments teased more to come. An evil Alex sent a note from the future, telling his present self to kill Nico and hide “Mancha,” teasing the introduction of Victor Mancha.
Victor Mancha was just an average teen, until he found out he was really an Ultron robot in disguise and turned his back on his villainous creator-dad. That kind of makes him the Vision’s brother, a stronger connection the the main Marvel universe than any before in the Hulu series, but not one that viewers are likely to ever see followed up on.
Unless, of course, they check out the comic. Rowell and Anka’s series (which also features art from David Lafuente, Takeshi Miyazawa, Andres Genolet, and others) is available on Comixology, Marvel Unlimited, and four collected volumes so far.