Comic Book Backstory: Who Are The Runaways?

Running way from home is a common habit among teenagers, and usually the main reason is their parents. Maybe they’re absent most of the time, maybe they’re too strict, maybe they’re part of an evil cult that sacrifices innocent people for a race of giants. In the case of the Runaways, a group of super-powered teenagers, it was the latter.

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The Runaways first appeared in Runaways #1, created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona, in 2003. The group consisted of Alex Wilder, Gertrude Yorkes, Karolina Dean, Chase Stein, Molly Hayes and Niko Minoru. These teenagers met through their parents, who held an annual gathering where they handled some mysterious business. It wasn’t until one year when they found out their parents were part of an evil cult called the Pride that sacrificed innocent people, when they saw them sacrifice a young prostitute.

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Afterwards, they came together and ran away from their homes, to learn more about their parents. In the process, they found out that each of them had special abilities, and together they formed the Runaways, a super team dedicated to fighting the Pride and clearing their name after being framed for the murder of the previously mentioned prostitute. They found their new home in an abandoned old mansion which they called Hostel.

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Gertrude Yorkes was the daughter of the time-travelers Dale and Stacey Yorkes, who went from the future to the 80’s, forming the Pride afterwards. She found out her parents had left  a present for her, a genetically-created female Deinonychus-like dinosaur from the 87th century, mentally linked to her (at least her evil parents gave her a nice present). She named her dinosaur Old lace and took up the code name of Arsenic.

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Karolina Dean was the daughter of two extraterrestrials who came to Earth disguised as humans named Frank and Leslie Dean, who both took up acting careers. She was given a special bracelet when she was four, which secretly protected her alien abilities. After she and the others found out about the Pride, she discovered her alien abilities to fly, project energy blasts and create force fields, all of which were powered by the sun. She took up the codename Lucy In The Sky (a Beatles fan, I assume).

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Chase Stein was the son of mad scientists Victor and Janet Stein. He doesn’t possess any super-human powers, resorting to some of his parents’ powerful technology to fight alongside the Runaways (and he was the only member of the Runaways to have a driver’s license, which came in pretty handy for the team). He took up the codename Talkback.

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Molly Hayes was the daughter of the mutants Gene and Alice Hayes. Because she was 11, the rest of the group thought it was for the best that she wasn’t included in their search for their parents’ true identities. But when the Pride found out their children knew their secret, they used Molly as a hostage and was later rescued by the rest of the Runaways, and during the rescue her mutant powers of super strength emerged since mutant abilities first manifest during puberty (as if it wasn’t awkward enough). She later took up the codename Bruiser.

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Niko Minoru was the daughter of the sorcerers Tina and Robert Minoru. After running away with the others she found out she could control the Staff of One, a magical artifact which belonged to her parents. She took up the codename Sister Grimm (her AOL Instant Messenger screen name).

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And finally there’s Alex Wilder, a gamer, a fan of superheroes (a geek, essentially) and the son of crime lords Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder. He didn’t have a codename because he wished to redeem the Wilder name. He also didn’t possess any superhuman abilities, so he depended on his intellect to lead the team. He was also able to use a decoder ring stolen from Karolina Dean’s parents to decode the Abstract, a large book which detailed the past, present and future of the Pride.

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They discovered that the Pride was brought together by a race of giant Elder Gods named the Gibborim. Their plan was to wipe out the human race and create a utopia, with only survivors being the Pride’s children, who would carry on the Pride’s legacy, and the six members of the Pride which had served them best, who would rule the human society along with the Gibborim. Each year they would perform a ritual called the Rite of Blood, in which they would sacrifice an innocent life and that person’s soul would be used to feed the Gibborim. The Pride would also be given control and protection over the city of Los Angeles, California.

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The Runaways later defeated the Pride by causing the Gibborim to kill them via explosion and barely escaping. Afterwards, Captain America had them all placed in foster homes, but they ran away again and vowed to continue to fight crime as the Runaways. With Los Angeles left unprotected by the Pride’s demise, they fought threats like Swarm, a bee hive controlled by a human intelligence and one of  Spider-Man’s foes (which was especially bad for Arsenic, since she’s allergic to bees), the Wrecking Crew, a team of criminals given super-strength via Asgardian magic (so obviously, they are foes of Thor) and a new version of the Pride. The team even got a giant vehicle named Leapfrog, which they stole from Chase’s parents. This group has always proven they’re not just a team, they’re a family. Which is why they’re getting their own TV series set to debut on Hulu today.

(Fun fact: Niko’s mother, Tina Minoru, makes a cameo in 2016’s Doctor Strange, along with the Staff of One.)

Written by: Miguel Coelho

Source: Marvel Universe WikiMarvel DatabaseDid you like this article? What else would you like to learn about this brave band of teenagers? Share your thoughts in the comments below and, for more Marvel-related articles, be sure to follow Geek Motivation (@GEEKMOTIVATION) and me (@Miguel420Coelho). ‘Till next time!

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