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Runaways is a series of comic books from Marvel. Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, the series features a group of teenagers who try to make up for the evil done by their super villain parents by becoming superheroes. They are known as "the Pride's kids" or "those kids in L.A." by other characters in the Marvel Universe, due to the team's lack of an official name and the majority of Marvel's characters being based in New York.
In vol. 2 #26 Nico referred to them as the "Runaways," but not as group but simply as a bunch of. In 2006 alone, the series won the Harvey Award for best continuing/limited series and was additionally nominated for the Shuster Award. Series creators Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona left the series at issue #24 of the title's second volume. The second volume was continued by Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan until they departed at issue #30. Marvel has announced Terry Moore, creator of Strangers in Paradise will take over the title, starting over at a new issue one in August with Humberto Ramos on art.
Runaways launched in 2002 as part of Marvel Comics' "Tsunami" imprint. After Marvel canceled the Tsunami imprint in January 2003, the series moved to the "Marvel Age" imprint - as such, the individual story arcs for "Runaways" are collected in small, manga-sized trade paperbacks, but the hardcover compilations are compiled in normal sized books. In September 2004, the series ended at issue #18. Marvel revived the series in February 2005 and it has continued ever since.
The series is unusual in that it does away with the concepts of superhero aliases, uniforms, and team names. All the characters in vol. 1 (except Alex) adopt codenames, but they are used with diminishing frequency over the course of vol. one. Occasionally since then the codenames have been mentioned once in passing but are never actually used. Molly is the only character who makes a costume but creates it from old bed sheets and clothes, not the traditional spandex of superhero costumes; she never wears the costume again after vol. one, #8. Despite Vaughan's efforts to break down the superhero clichés within Runaways, Marvel's handbooks and website still refer to the characters by their codenames. The Marvel miniseries [Mystic Arcana] features Nico Minoru under her superhero alias "Sister Grimm," a name she has not answered to since Runaways vol. two began.
During battle, the runaways mainly fight in their street clothes and call each other by their given names or nicknames. Furthermore, the children almost never refer to themselves as "the Runaways" as the series' title might suggest; their team simply goes unnamed, save for one instance in passing. Other Marvel characters usually refer to the nameless team as "the Pride's kids" or "those kids in L.A." Vaughan even mocks the notion of superhero catchphrases such as "Hulk smash!" or "Avengers assemble!" in Runaways vol. two, #7 when Nico semi-sarcastically tells Victor that the team's rallying call is "Try not to die."
- Nico Minoru (Sister Grimm) - Daughter of dark wizards Robert and Tina Minoru. Uses the mystical Staff of One to cast spells, though never the same one twice. To make the Staff of One come out she must shed blood. Formerly in a relationship with Alex, then with Victor. She is the group's leader.
- Karolina Dean (Lucy in the Sky) - Daughter of alien invaders Frank and Leslie Dean. In her alien form she can fly, manipulate solar energy for a variety of purposes, and her skin glows with a fluid, rainbow-like light. She is engaged to Xavin.
- Molly Hayes - Daughter of evil telepathic mutants Gene and Alice Hayes. Mutant powers include super-strength and invulnerability. Use of her powers originally caused her to tire very quickly, but has increased her endurance against fatigue with repeated usage of her powers.
- Chase Stein (Talkback) - Son of mad scientists Victor and Janet Stein. Used flame generating/manipulating gauntlets and x-ray goggles. Had a relationship with Gertrude. Pilots the Leapfrog, the groups transport. He shares a telepathic and empathic link with Old Lace.
- Old Lace - Genetically engineered deinonychus from the 87th century. Formerly emphatically linked to Gertrude, but now shares an empathic bond with Chase and obeys his mental commands.
- Alex Wilder - Son of organized crime bosses Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder. He is a child prodigy at strategic thinking and planning. He was the original group leader until he outed himself as a mole for the Pride.
- Gertrude Yorkes - Daughter of time-traveling criminals Dale and Stacey Yorkes. Shared an empathic and telepathic link with Old Lace. She later dies in a fight with a time-displaced Geoffrey Wilder.
- Victor Mancha - Cyborg "son" of the the android Ultron. Possesses electromagnetic powers similar to Magneto and Electro, he can also produce large electric blasts. He was in a relationship with Nico, but fell in love with Lillie.
- Xavin - Child of Skrull alien warlords. Can manifest all the powers of the Fantastic Four, but only one at a time. Also able to utilize the Skrull racial ability to shapeshift. Engaged to Karolina.
- Klara Prast - A young Swiss immigrant with the ability to control plants. She ran into the time displaced Runaways in 1907, who later brought her back to the present with them.
- The Pride - In vol. 1, a group of archetypal super villains consisting of the runaways' parents; this Pride controls all organized crime in Los Angeles. In vol. 2, a new Pride forms consisting of Alex's MMORPG friends. Both work for biblical benefactors, the Gibborim.
- loners - Called Excelsior until their 2007 mini-series, a support group for former teenage superheroes adjusting to civilian lives and dissuading other super-powered teenagers from becoming vigilantes. Founded by former teenaged superheroes Mickey Musashi and Phil Urich. Financed by former Avengers sidekick Rick Jones.
- Cloak and Dagger - Runaway teenagers-turned-vigilantes dedicated to aiding runaways and wayward children.
- The Gibborim - Old Testament era giants who employ both incarnations of the Pride. Require the sacrifice of an innocent soul once a year in order to remain in the material world.
- Young Avengers - Group of teenage vigilantes formed after the events of Avengers Disassembled. Each member is modeled after a member of the former Avengers.
- Wonders Gangs - Comprised of superhumans/non-humans from 1907, these gangs start the street war that the time-displaced Runaways get caught up in.
The Pride is the head of an organized crime syndicate that runs L.A. Their children (Alex Wilder, Chase Stein, Gertrude Yorkes, Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes, and Nico Minoru) witness them making a sacrifice to the Gibborim, who are responsible for the Pride's creation. As the story progresses, the children learn of their heritage and abilities, and they decide to remove their parents from control of L.A. At the end of the first arc, it is revealed Alex is still loyal to the parents. He betrays the others so that the Gibborim will save only the Wilder and the Minoru families. After the remaining children defeat Alex and their parents, they vow to prevent other villains from filling the void left by their parents. Eventually, they meet Victor Mancha, the son of Ultron the robot, who joins them under the pretense that he has suffered a similar tragedy. Xavin, a Skrull who plans to marry Karolina, arrives to take her with him in order to help stop the ongoing war between their races. They later return to the Runaways after their wedding causes tension, with Xavin becoming a fully-fledged member of the team. When Alex's online friend realize that he has gone missing, and, after assuming that the Pride were heroes, attempt to resurrect him. This goes awry and results in Geoffrey Wilder being summoned from a point in his past. After two failed sacrifices, Geoffrey fatally wounds Gertrude, who transfers control of Old Lace to Chase. Chase leaves the group and takes Old Lace with him. Geoffrey has his memory of the time travel erased and is returned to his time.
Joss Whedon conducted his run on the series by sending the Runaways in a critically-acclaimed travel back in 1907. Chase proved he had accepted Gert's death, Victor becomes involved in a "Romeo and Juliet" love affair, Xavin's identity is proven, and they encounter Gertrude Yorkes' parents. After defeating the Yorkes and a deadly gang war, as a result of the entire time twist, Chase has obtained newer deadly Fistigon gloves, Nico has a new Staff of One, and they gain a new team member, Klara Prast, a plant manipulator.
On August 27, 2008, the newest Runaways issue will be released, written by new author, Terry Moore. The Runaways return to Los Angeles, but the sins of their parents begin catching up with them. What is left of Karolina's alien race arrives at Earth, and blames Karolina and Xavin for the problems caused. A battle between the remaining Majesdanians and the Runaways will ensue.
The Young Avengers travel to L.A. to help the Runaways with pro-registration forces. The two teams encounter Noh-Varr who works for S.H.I.E.L.D. and attempts to capture the teenagers. His handlers manage to capture Wiccan, Hulkling, Karolina and Xavin to a high-security meta-human prison. After they escape, Noh-Varr, now free, takes control of the prison.
After their return from 1907, the Runaways find themselves in New York, where the Skrull Armada has invaded, seeking Teddy Altman aka Hulkling. After being attacked, with Xavin pretending to be loyal to the Skrulls to protect her friends, they retreat away from the battle while Xavin helps Hulkling escape his pursuers.
At one point, Gertrude's future self travels back in time. This future version is in her thirties and is without Old Lace. Nico Minoru reveals, with the aid of magic, that this version of Gertrude is the leader of the Avengers of her time line. The roster for this incarnation of the team includes characters yet to make an official appearance in the 616 universe, including a heroic version of "Scorpion" and "Captain Americas". She, the rest of her team, the X-Men (led by Armor) and the "Fantastic Fourteen" are killed by Victor Mancha's future self, a villain called Victorious. Gertrude Yorkes' codename is Heroine in this time line.
Goofy versions of the original team, including Alex Wilder, are seen in the What...Huh? one shot.
What If?: 2008Edit
For the 2008 series of What If...?, a story which sees the Runaways become the Young Avengers will run as a back-up story though all five issues. They are supposed to the Young Avengers in a world where Iron Lad recruited them for the Avengers Fail-Safe Program and makes them appear and act as a real super team.
House of MEdit
The Pride is mentioned as ruling Southern California in the House of M reality warp. Unlike mainstream reality, their children stay with their parents.
Runaways has been collected in the following digest-sized comic book collections trade paperbacks:
|Title||Material collected||Softcover ISBN||Hardcover ISBN|
|Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy||Runaways vol. 1 #1-6||ISBN 0-7851-1379-7||ISBN 0-7851-3470-0|
|Runaways vol. 2: Teenage Wasteland||Runaways vol. 1 #7-12||ISBN 0-7851-1415-7||None|
|Runaways vol. 3: The Good Die Young||Runaways vol. 1 #13-18||ISBN 0-7851-1684-2||None|
|Runaways vol. 4: True Believers||Runaways vol. 2 #1-6||ISBN 0-7851-1705-9||None|
|Runaways vol. 5: Escape to New York||Runaways vol. 2 #7-12||ISBN 0-7851-1901-9||None|
|Runaways vol. 6: Parental Guidance||Runaways vol. 2 #13-18||ISBN 0-7851-1952-3||None|
|Runaways vol. 7: Live Fast||Runaways vol. 2 #19-24||ISBN 0-7851-2267-2||None|
|Runaways vol. 8: Dead End Kids||Runaways vol. 2 #25-30||ISBN 0-7851-3459-X||ISBN 0-7851-2853-0|
Runaways has also been collected in the following oversized hardcovers:
|Runaways, Vol. 1||Runaways vol. 1 #1-18||ISBN 0-7851-1876-4|
|Runaways, Vol. 2||Runaways vol. 2 #1-12, X-Men/Runaways: FCBD||ISBN 0-7851-2358-X|
|Runaways, Vol. 3||Runaways vol. 2 #13-24||ISBN 0-7851-2539-6|