Chase Stein (Talkback)

Almost at the end of the main characters from the Runaways cast, this time we see one of the two boys in the group (quite outnumbered, our guys): Chase Stein, portrayed by Gregg Sulkin. Older than the others, Chase is described as a highschool lacrosse player who likes to give of himself the false image of the dumb athlete, but who’s actually quite a brilliant engineer…not that this comes as a surprise, considering that his parents are quite the stereotypical mad scientists. In the comics, he’s changed his role quite often in the team, and he also acted solo for a time, so it’s quite hard to find a fitting label for him…but of course, whe can look at his story together.

Chase Stein was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of two inventors, Victor and Janet Stein, who had made a fortune with a tool capable of removing stickers from CDs. As a kid, Chase was constantly scared by Marcus Roston, a criminal from L.A. whom he knew as Uncle Eli, a man who even entered his room by night as a threat to his parents, who had cut all ties with him. The uncle he liked the most was actually the true one, Hunter, Victor’s brother, who however fought with Chase’s father any time he dropped by. All his life, Chase had been pushed by his parents, Victor especially, to follow their footsteps and become interested in science, but he always liked sports more, and he became quite a skilled athlete…something that his father didn’t like the least, and he often beat him even without a reason (albeit most of the times it was because of the many Cs he received at school). Quite understandably, the only thing Chase really wanted to do was to disappear and never come back, and that’s the main reason he asked for a white van for his sixteenth birthdat: an anonymous vehicle that could have led him anywhere. Unfortunately, immediately after receiving the van, Chase accidentally ran over Uncle Hunter, who had just finished arguing with Victor: scared, he let his parents do the cover-up, sure that he had just killed his uncle (Hunter actually survived, but the Steins didn’t tell him, knowing they now had a way to control him). Still trying to put a distance between himself and his parents, Chase started looking for a “secret place” just for himself, and reading on one of his father’s books about a “missing mansion” built by a crazy actor in the 1920s, he tracked the supposed location of the house, and found it underground, where it had sunk during a earthquake: renaming the mansion “The Hostel“, Chase started to use it as his secret refuge. Every year since he was a kid, Chase attended along with his parents to an annual meeting of six wealthy families, Steins included, and he came to know the other families’ children, whom he befriended, despite being the oldest of the group. During one of these meetings one of the other kis, Alex Wilder, convinced Chase and some of the others to follow him into a secret passage: peeking from the end of it, they witnessed their parents murdering a young girl during some kind of ritual. Apparently, his father was even meaner that he thought.

Together, the kids decided to run away from home and to collect evidence against their parents, starting from their respective houses. In his own, Chase found the inventions his parents didn’t put on the market, some lethal high-tech weapons that challenged the laws of physics: he took two along, the X-Ray Specs, goggles that increased his vision, and the Fistigons, weaponized gauntlets capable of shooting a variety of projectiles. The others found something as well, and after the group narrowly escaped their parents, they all took shelter in The Hostel, their elected headquarters. Following Gert Yorkes‘ advice, Chase chose a new moniker to adopt in order to distance himself from his parents, and he started calling himself Talkback, quite a representative name, given to him by Gert herself. In the meanwhile, Alex was deciphering a book he had stolen from Gert Yorkes’s parents, a volume called The Abstract in which every information about their parents was recorded: it turned out the adults formed a group called The Pride, and that they had accepted to serve ancient deities known as Gibborim in exchange for six places in the heaven the monsters promised. Apparently, Alex had been pivotal in Pride’s history, as it had been his accidental conception that convinced the six families to conceive a child each to leave the new world to. This, however, didn’t change the fact that they were criminals, and Chase remained as determined as the others to bring them to justice. Being the only one with a driver licence, Chase transported the whole group on his unregistered white van, but instead of becoming some sort of “big brother” figure to them, his impossible character led him to fight a lot with the other Runaways, with Gert in particular. This tension, however, soon turned out to be something else: when Alex finally led a direct attack to The Pride in the place they would have popped out next for their Ritual of Blood, the Marine Vivarium, Chase nearly sacrificed his life protecting his friends from security golems, and he almost drowned. Gert saved him by performing CPR on him, but when the boy was reanimated, he shared a passionate kiss with the girl: from that moment, they became a couple. During the following battle with The Pride, Chase was defeated, and he entrusted his goggles and Fistigons to Alex, being unable to continue the fight. Unfortunately, Alex was a traitor who wanted to sacrifice them all but Nico Minoru: only the Gibborim’s untimely arrival saved the kids, while Alex and the Pride lost their lives. Captain America arrived just in time to save the kids, and he placed them in foster care…but Chase gave the agents a false address (the one he used to receive porn magazines), claiming it was his aunt’s, immediately disappearing from radars: no adult would have ever controlled him again.

Chase Stein is a smart but uncaring young man, a reckless and provocative guy who always has something to say about everyone. As Talkback, he’s a skilled athlete who possesses quite some equipment: the X-Ray Specs allow him to see through walls and even mountains (also clothes…), his Fistigons are extremely powerful gloves that can act as flamethrowers, electricity discharegers, missile launchers and much more, while his Footstigons allow him to fly at high speed; he’s also an expert pilot of the Leapfrog, an experimental amphibian vehicle built by his parents, and after Gert died, he inherited from her a psychic connection with Old Lace, her pet deinonychus, whom he can now control. Rebellious by nature and quite unnerving with his constant provocations, Chase is actually extremely insecure, a stubborn kid who’s afraid of finding himself alone in the world despite his thirst to be free…quite a living paradox, whose only steady point is his fierce loyalty to his friends.

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8 Comments

  1. […] Chase Stein (Talkback) […]

  2. […] Chase Stein (Talkback) […]

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  4. […] Chase Stein (Talkback) […]

  5. […] lives. Exposed by the Skrull Xavin, Geoffrey attacked the Runaways directly, nearly killing Chase Stein and succesfully murdering Gertrude Yorkes. Finally, despite all the magical and high-tech gadgets […]

  6. […] the six places in the new world for their children, each couple conceiving a heir. Janet had a son, Chase, and Victor had high expectations on him, believing he would have joined him and his wife in their […]

  7. […] so that the promised six places in the new world would have been given to them. Janet had a son, Chase, who grew up to be quite different from both her and her husband: a superb athlete, he wasn’t […]

  8. […] future daughter, Gertrude. Questioning their motives and presence, Dale learnt from one of them, Chase Stein, that Gert had died in the 21st Century. This was more than enough to have him lose control: using […]


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