Molly Hayes (Princess Powerful)

Finally, we arrived to the last character from Runaways‘ main cast, who’s also the one who suffered the biggest changes: Molly Hernandez, portrayed by Allegra Acosta. She’ll be the youngest member of the team, characterised by an always positive attitude…but as young as she can be, she’s remarkably older than her comicbook counterpart, who’s only eleven years old. Plus, there’s no “Hernandez” in the comics, and she’s called Molly Hayes, but her name has been changed along with her ethnicity in order to include Latin Americans in the already racially diverse team. Another thing that would most likely be changed is Molly’s nature, as in the comics she’s a mutant, but Fox still has the exclusive over them, so she’ll probably become something else. There’s no sign also of her trademark impossible hats, quite a distinctive trait for the comics’ Molly. All these changes, her age especially, are quite a pity, considering how tough and hilarious the original young heroine is. Let’s meet her together.

Molly Hayes was born in Los AngelesCalifornia, the only daughter of doctor Gene Hayes and his wife, therapist Alice Hayes. She lived her first eleven years as a perfectly normal girl, with the only peculiar things in her life being her parents constantly making unspecified tests on her (unbeknownst to her, they were looking for signs of the X-Gene in her DNA, since they were both mutants), and an annual meeting her family attended to with five other families. Even among the other families’ children Molly was the youngest, and the others mostly acted as babysitters to her, never really bonding; the only ecception was Karolina Dean, the daughter of her parents’ best friends, who acted as an older sister to her. It was during one of these meetings that Molly’s life changed forever: one of the other kids, Alex Wilder, convinced the others to follow him down a secret passage, at the end of which they found their parents dressed in strange robes. Just as things were about the get really weird, Karolina took Molly away, letting the others witness what happened next: as they told the girls, their parents had killed a young woman in cold blood as part of a strange ritual. Molly refused to believe what they were saying, and so did Karolina, but the latter later met with the others at Griffin Observatory, where she was convinced to join them in running away from home and find evidence to incriminate their parents…everything while Molly was peacefully sleeping in her own bed, oblivious to everything. Knowing she was too young to sneak out of home, the other kids went to the Hayes’ place to “save” her, but their parents were already there, knowing their children were planning something. The battle that ensued awoke Molly: still sleepy, the girl looked out of her window, just in time to see her mom under attack…something that shocked her to the point of activating her mutant powers for the first time. Without thinking, Molly jumped down and reached her friends, knocking Leslie Dean out of the sky and saving Gert Yorkes in the process. Then, exhausted from the enormous amount of strength she had used, she fell asleep.

When she woke up, Molly had been taken by her friends to their newest refuge, The Hostel, an abandoned house hidden underground that now belonged to one of them, Chase Stein. When she was told what had happened, she still had doubts about her parents’ evil nature, but all her doubts faded as soon as Gert proposed they changed names, adopting monikers…something that the girl immediately interpreted as “becoming superheroes”, something that thrilled her enough to make her forget she was away from home for the first time in her life. Molly chose for herself the name “Princess Powerful“, but Chase insisted of calling her “Bruiser“…albeit he quit with it when the girl remarked her choice by punching through a wall. As an “official” mutant superhero, Molly announced she would have grown up to join the X-Men and marry Wolverine, in the meanwhile planning all her future adventures…thus making clear it was all just a game for her. Soon after, however, the group took in another runaway, Topher, who turned out to be vampire: Topher was incinerated when he tried to drink the solar-charged blood of Karolina, and died right in front of Molly’s eyes. For the first time since everything began, the girl understood being a superhero was no game, and she started crying, calling for her mom. Molly started missing her parents, and she had to be constantly reminded that they were supervillains, mainly by Alex, who explained to her and to everyone else what was written in The Abstract, the magical book he had stolen from the adults: their parents were The Pride, a sect devoted to the ancient gods Gibborim, who was harvesting soul to prepare their return to Earth. Molly wasn’t exactly interested on who her parents were and why they were doing what they were doing, but she agreed enthusiastically when Alex suggested to intercept them in the Marine Vivarium and interrupt their new sacrifice. Once on the place, Molly used her super-strength to destroy the Pride’s sacrifice container, thus freeing the souls in it, but she passed out once again due to exhaustion. When she woke up, her life was about to change drastically once again…

Molly Hayes is an enthusiastic and naive girl, happy to be a superhero and proud to be a mutant, but often quite unaware of the deep implications of what’s happening around her. As Princess Powerful, she has quite a formidable strength, that makes her capable of impossible deeds such as ripping Cloak‘s mantle from him (a feat that not even a god can achieve), and she’s also nearly invulnerable, as she emerged unscathed even from hits coming from the godly Wrecking Crew; all this power, however, fatigues her, and she deeply falls asleep immediately after using her immense strength. Quite short-tempered (as Wolverine, PunisherBeast and other heroes she’s beaten the crap out of have realised) but with a heart of gold, Molly is the Runaways‘ super-powerful mascotte, a girl who’s growing into a sensitive and careful girl, always ready to give a (super-strong) hand to her friends.

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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.

Gertrude Yorkes (Arsenic)

Next main character in Runaways is Gertrude “Gert” Yorkes, the purple-haired girl on the left side of the picture. Portrayed by Ariela Barer, Gert is described as a social justice warrior, a feminist and a punk, quite a committed teenager. As all the others, she discovers that her parents are supervillains, and goes on the run to escape their legacy and collect evidence against them. The main question spreading among the comicbook readers is: will the show’s budget be enough to allow Gert’s unforgettable companion to make an appearance as well? This wouldn’t normally represent a problem, but said companion is a genetically engineered dinosaur, so things may be a little harder than usual. Anyway, hoping to see both Gert and her Deinonychus in good shape, let’s meet the original(s).

Gertrude Stein was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of wealthy antique dealers Dale and Stacey Yorkes. Since she was little more than a baby, Gert showed an unusual intellect, that brought along quite a sharp character; distrustful by nature, she became convinced that parents always lie to their children, and grew with the deep certainty that all adults were evil (something that would have come in handy years later). Every year, the Yorkes met with five other families for a big charity event, something that Gert didn’t like the least; despite this, however, she managed to become friends with the other families’ kids, and when she was fifteen years old one of the other girls, Nico Minoru, made her a gift, a purple skarf. Gert liked the color so much that she dyed her hair the same way, something that became another reason of conflict with her parents. The main reason of enmity between her and her parents, however, remained the mysterious disappearance of Orwell, her pet potbelly pig, that Gert was sure her parents had killed. Growing up, she kept a distance from everyone but Nico, as not everybody could understand her sharp and sarcastic humour. Finally, the time came for another annual meeting, and Gert put up quite a fight not to follow Dale and Stacey, until she finally was forced to. This reluctant decision proved to be one of the most important in her life, as while the “grown-ups” were busy with their business, one of the other kids, Alex Wilder, convinced Gert and most of the others to follow him in a secret passage he had just discovered. What they saw on the other side changed their lives forever: all their parents were gathered together, celebrating some strange ritual during which they murdered a young girl in cold blood. Of all the witnesses, Gert was the less shocked: after all, she had always known that her parents were villains to begin with. What happened next was just the obvious consequence, according to Gert: after trying to convince Karolina Dean and Molly Hayes of what they had seen, the kids decided to collect evidence against their parents and to run away from home, looking for a way to bring them down. First, however, they decided to raid each one’s houses to look for something incriminating…and when they arrived to the Yorkes’ place, the surprise was even greater than expected.

While exploring her parents’ basement, Gert inadvertently activated a holographic last will with a registered message: Dale and Stacey revealed that they were actually time travellers from the 87th Century, and that they wanted to leave their daughter a special weapon to protect herself. The weapon turned out to be a dinosaur from the future, a genetically engineered velociraptor (actually a deinonychus) that instinctively formed a psychic bond with Gert. The girl tried to leave the (female) dinosaur behind, but she followed her, and eventually saved both her and Molly during a first battle against the kids’ parents, who had come to take them back. The group took shelter in a place owned by Chase Stein, one of them, and there Gert had the idea to change their names and to adopt monikers, a first step to distance themselves from their parents’ legacy. Gert named herself Arsenic, chosing for her new pet, the dinosaur, the name Old Lace, a homage to the old play Arsenic and Old Lace. Her bond with the deinonychus became stronger with time, and eventually the two of them were inseparable, with Gert finding an unexpectedly tender friend, a reliable protector and a lethal ally in the dinosaur. Unfortunately, the same thing couldn’t be said for the human members of the team, as Gert’s distrustful and suspicious nature put her at odds with most of them, especially Chase, who became her favourite verbal punching ball. This actually hid a secret attraction between the two, and after Chase risked to drown, Gert reanimated him, sharing a passionate kiss with him immediately after. From that moment, the two became a couple…even if this didn’t quell Gert’s attitude at all. When Karolina tried to have a new friend of her, Topher, join the group, Gert plainly opposed the idea, not trusting the stranger…and she proved to be right, as the boy was actually a vampire, who brought along his friends to have an easy banquet on the runaways. Luckily, the meal wasn’t easy at all, and the vampires were destroyed. Gert, however, was distrustful pretty much with everybody outside the group, and she even spoke against Cloak and Dagger, two superheroes and former runaways themselves who offered their help to the group. She didn’t trust even her own teammates, and when Alex convinced the others to follow their parents to the site of the next ritual, the Marine Vivarium, Gert said it loud and clear that she believed it was a bad idea…and facts proved her right even this time, as Alex turned out to be a mole who had betrayed them all from the first time. The battle ended in the runaways’ favour as Alex and the entire Pride were consumed by the Gibborim, the ancient deities they were serving. The Avengers, however, disbanded the juvenile group, and while Old Lace was taken to a secret facility, Gert was entrusted to a foster family. Once she had learnt to live without adults, however, Gert wasn’t willing to come back to her old ways ever again, and not much time later, she joined forces with Chase to free Old Lace and become a trio of vigilantes…

Gertrude Yorkes is an intelligent and cultured young woman, with a sarcastic spirit and a caustic humour; always distrustful and suspicious, she doesn’t let anybody come close to her, with only a few exceptions, one of them being a dinosaur. As Arsenic, she shares a psychic and empathic bond with the deinonychus Old Lace, being able to command her with a simple thought and sharing with her emotions and feelings, physical pain included. Quite a tough cookie to deal with, Gert is a rebellious punk always in conflict with the entire world, a girl who deeply and truly hates any adult, who protects herself from the world with a badass attitude and who trusts nobody as a principle…with the few ones she actually likes, however, she’s the most loyal of friends and a fierce defender, always on the first line to protect the people she loves.

Karolina Dean (Lucy in the Sky)

On with the characters appearing in the upcoming Runaways, we meet the beautiful Karolina Dean, portrayed by Virginia Gardner. As everyone else in the show, Karolina will be the daughter of a couple of supervillains, but unlike all the others she’ll be an alien in hiding on Earth (albeit, if things are like in the comics, she doesn’t know it yet). She’s described as a young model who perceives her social status as a burden, and who’d like to pursue her own path rather than follow the one her parents have chosen for her…something that will become even more radical as soon as she finds out who and what her parents truly are. I’m not sure the series’ budget will help to make justice to Karolina’s true appearance, but let’s just hope the rainbow-colored alien will be as gorgeous on the screen as she is on paper. Anyway, let’s take a look at the original one as usual.

Karolina Dean was born in HollywoodCalifornia, the only daughter of Frank and Leslie Dean, two famous actors mainly known for their roles in the tv series General Hospital. Karolina lived in luxury and wealth, and she had everything she wished for…but she was different from the usual movie star’s kid, as she developed a completely different personality from her parents: compassionate and caring, she was a convinced pacifist, and she even became a vegan as a teenager not wanting to hurt any living creature. Since she was a little baby, she was told by her parents that she was allergic to penicillin, and she was forced to wear day and night a medic alert bracelet in case of emergency. Once every year, she followed her father and mother to a charity event involving other five families, each one with a single child: Karolina became friends with all the others, and she developed a particular relationship with the youngest of them all, Molly Hayes, whom she became like a big sister to. Growing up, she became more and more sensitive to matters of social justice and ambientalism, and as soon as she found out she was a lesbian, this became even more of a distinctive trait for her. Finally, on a fateful night, during one of the annual meetings with the other families, she was keeping company to Molly, while the other four kids were exploring a “secret passage” one of them, Alex Wilder, had just discovered. When they came back, they claimed to have witnessed all their parents, including Karolina’s and Molly’s ones, performing some dark ceremony and killing a young girl in cold blood. Karolina thought of a bad joke, and she got angry at them, believing they were trying to scare Molly, but the others seemed to be sure of what they were saying. She found herself nearly forced to play along when all the other five of her friends decided to run away from home, and even planned a ransack in their respective houses to collect evidence against them. When they arrived at the Deans’ home, the only thing they found was the last will and testament of Frank and Leslie, locked with a symbol resembling the one on her bracelet. Convinced by Alex, Karolina removed her madical aid bracelet, believing she would have finally given her friends the evidence they were wrong. Actually, it was the other way round.

Without the bracelet, her skin started changing, as she glowed with a light of all the colors of the rainbow. Shocked at first, Karolina found herself even more confused when Alex, who had overheard what their parents were saying, theorized that she was the alien he had been hearing of. With such an obvious evidence, Karolina couldn’t do anything else but to follow her friends in their escape, but she was soon confronted by her parents, who had come to stop them along with all the others. Frank Dean confirmed to her that they were indeed aliens, on the run from planet Majesdane where they were wanted criminals; with everything her friends told her confirmed, and discovering she had superpowers besides her shining appearance, Karolina fought her parents back and made her escape with Alex and the others, officially entering in conflict with their parents (who turned out to be members of The Pride, a group of supervillains devoted to cosmic destroyers known as the Gibborim). At first, Karolina found solace in her friends, and when everybody started picking up superhero names, she chose Lucy in the Sky for herself, after her favourite song by the Beatles. Soon, however, she found herself more and more uncomfortable with her “new” nature, as she considered herself a freak even among her “peculiar” teammates, being the only one not from Earth to begin with. Her uneasiness soon became a true depression, as Karolina summed up all the problems concerning her heritage, her homosexuality, the truth about her parents. With quite a death wish, the only thing that prevented Karolina from ending her own life was her relationship with Molly, as the young girl still relied on her, and wouldn’t have endured her suicide. Her condition became clear to the others, however, when the group was attacked by a gang of vampires led by the charming Topher: wanting to sacrifice herself for the rest of the team, Karolina allowed herself to be bitten by the undead…but the effect wasn’t the one she was expecting, as the solar energy stored in her body incinerated the vampire as soon as he drank but a drop of her blood. Soon, however, she would have needed to solve her problems, as her friends would have needed her in the upcoming final battle with The Pride…

Karolina Dean is a gentle and caring young woman, characterised by a strong morality and an innate compassion. As a Majesdanian, she’s able to absorb and store solar energy, which she can use in a variety of ways: she can fly, she can emit light and heat, she can shoot powerful energy blasts or create force fields, and she can augment her physical strength, durability and speed; every time she uses her powers while not under direct sunlight she depletes her reserves, and while wearing her “medical aid” bracelet all her abilities are suppressed. Gifted with a heart of gold, but also weakened by a fragile sensitivity, Karolina spends all her energies to make sure nobody around her suffers…unfortunately, she doesn’t take care of her own pain just as much.

Nico Minoru (Sister Grimm)

Back to Runaways, let’s take a look at another one of the main characters, this time female lead Nico Minoru, portrayed by Lyrica Okano. In the show, she’s described as a Wiccan who dresses in a goth-like fashion, usually isolating herself from others. Well, the “goth” part surely fits, but the “Wiccan” is something new, albeit magic is indeed Nico’s thing. It’s still unclear if Runaways will be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but if it won’t, that will represent quite a conundrum, as Nico’s mother already appeared in Doctor Strange, oddly as a good guy, while in the comics she’s not at all. Well, almost at all. Anyway, let’s take a look together at one of the most popular young heroes among the Runaways, always being careful of potential spoilers for the series.

Nico Minoru was born in Los AngelesCalifornia, the daughter of Robert and Tina Minoru, two rich philantropists. Nico grew up under a Catholic education, then inevitably came the age of rebellion, and she started wearing goth clothes and listening to metal music, a way to affirm her identity to her parents…obviously causing a lot of arguments. Once every year, the Minorus travelled to different locations along with five other families for a “charity event”, and seeing the same kids year by year made Nico grow close to them, as they became her friends. One year, in occasion of this annual meeting, one of the other teenagers, Alex Wilder, convinced Nico and the others to follow him through a secret passage, at the end of which they found their parents, garbed in strange robes. Much to the kids’ shock, the adults were performing a strange ritual, and they murdered in cold blood a young girl. Nico and the others couldn’t believe what they just saw, and they came back upstairs being careful not to be seen or heard by their parents. The six boys and girls decided to expose their parents as killers, and to run away from home. Organised by Alex, Nico and the others gathered together to escape, but they were soon found by the adults, who tried to stop them: Nico confronted her mother and father, who confessed to be dark wizards, in possession of arcane magic. Tina tried to hit her daughter with the staff that she was carrying, but Nico’s body reacted unnaturally, as the girl absorbed the weapon into her chest. Still unsure of what had happened, Nico ran away with her friends, and took shelter in an old mansion belonging to one of them, Chase Stein. In here, the group started making plans against their parents, with Alex trying to decipher a book he had stolen from them, which apparently contained every information they needed…the first of them being that their parents were part of an evil group called The Pride, which served ancient malevolent gods named the Gibborim, who would have destroyed the world but saved six of them for a future paradise they would have inherited. It didn’t take long to the runaways to understand they were the six their parents wanted to inherit the world…not that this made them less murderous than they were.

During a later confrontation with The Pride, Nico battled Gertrude Yorkes‘ parents, Dale and Stacey, with the first one attacking and cutting her with a battle-axe. As soon as blood spilled, the staff she had absorbed earlier reappeared, and she suddenly knew what she had to do with it: she pointed it to Stacey Yorkes, and shouted the word “Freeze!”…freezing her enemy solid. The weapon was the Staff of One, an extremely powerful relic passed down in her family from woman to woman every generation, an arcane tool that allowed its bearer to cast any spell she could think of, as long as she used the same word only one time (thus, Nico would have not been able to use the command “Freeze” again on the Staff). Nico, just as her parents, was a sorceress, and she wielded one of the most powerful weapons ever. Along with the others (everyone but Alex), Nico chose a name she wanted to be called from there on, something that would have replaced the one her parents had given her, and she chose Sister Grimm…albeit she abandoned it shortly after. In the following year she shared many adventures with her friends, battling The Pride, mercenaries hired by them to bring them home, and even vampires, and she grew closer to Alex, until they became romantically involved. Finally, the time came for the final confrontation with The Pride, in the place Alex indicated as the location for the next Rite of Blood: in here, a surprise attack managed to save the intended sacrifice’s life, but the kids were no match for their parents, and one after the other they fell to their attacks. Before passing out, Nico entrusted her Staff of One to Alex, who eventually wielded all his companions’ weapons…and revealed himself as a mole of The Pride. Nico awakened just in time to hear her boyfriend’s confession, as Alex offered her a place in the paradise promised by the Gibborim, along with their parents…an offer the girl gently declined with a punch in the face. Things became messy when the Gibborim arrived to claim their sacrifice, and took Alex instead; The Pride, wanting to protect their children, sacrificed their lives to stop the Gibborim and save the Runaways, who were later rescued by the AvengersCaptain America himself took care that Nico Minoru was taken in Father Flanagan‘s Home for Unwanted Goth Kids, a foster home in which she could forget her time as a witch and live a normal life as a teenager…but the Staff of One was far too a heavy legacy to ignore, and the Minorus’ old enemy, the witch Marie Laveau, appeared to make sure Nico learnt it well…

Nico Minoru is apparently a gloomy and sullen goth girl, keeping the attitude of someone who’s enraged with the whole world, but she’s actually a positive-thinking and careful girl, more mature than her age and deeply altruistic. As Sister Grimm, she’s a witch in possession of the powerful Staff of One, that allows her to perform any spell she can think of, as long as she uses only once in her life the word to command it (otherwise, the spell doesn’t work, or has a random effect); hers is a Blood Magic, so it can be activated only when her blood is spilled, meaning she has to cut herself or to be wounded to cast spells (when she has her period, no wound is required); after her harsh training with the Witchbreaker Nico is able to perform some lesser incantations such as telekinesis and flight without the Staff, and after being resurrected the arm that Apex cut from her has been replaced with the Witch Arm, a powerful gauntlet that apparently works like the Staff of One. Intelligent and cultured, Nico is a wise leader and a maternal figure for some of her teammates, a girl who sometimes feels like the weight of the world is entirely on her shoulders, but who can always face the threats in front of her with a smile to cheer her teammates up.

Alex Wilder

Marvel is not losing any time, as two pics from two upcoming tv series have been released in the previous days (in the following days, we’ll alternate characters from both shows). The first one is Runaways, about a group of teenagers running away from home…and escaping from their supervillain parents. The first member of the juvenile team we see is also the de facto leader, Alex Wilder, who’ll be portrayed by Rhenzy Feliz. In the show, he’ll be the son of two crimelords who rebels to his parents, and he’ll apparently be also the one who’s most eager among the young protagonists to meet his childhood friends again. We still don’t know if the show will follow the comicbooks strictly, but if this is the case beware, as you’ll find some major spoilers about quite a plot twist here. If you don’t mind, let’s meet together young and brilliant Alex Wilder.

Alex Wilder was born in Malibu, California, the son of Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder. Since he was just a kid, he showed to possess quite an incredible intellect, that put him on an entirely different level than his peers. As all kids, he had a passion for superheroes (especially for Spider-Man, who was his favourite) and videogames, and he wanted to work for Rockstar Games when he grew up. This put him at odds with his parents, who wanted him to be a doctor, but everything was part of normal family quarrels. What wasn’t normal about Alex’s family was the job of his parents: as the boy soon found out, the Wilders were the most powerful mob bosses of the entire Los Angeles area; investigating more about them, Alex spied them during their annual meeting with other couples of friends, but what he stumbled upon was a human sacrifice, the Rite of Blood, performed by his parents and the others. Alex was close friends with the other children (he even had a long-time crush on Nico Minoru), but he decided not to tell them anything about what he had seen, wanting to investigate on the matter further. What he found out deciphering an old book he had found (the Abstract) was quite astonishing: all the kids’ parents, including his own, where collectively known as The Pride, a sect of supervillains working for the Gibborim, interdimensional demons who had promised to six of them to inherit the planet if they helped them come to Earth by sacrificing teenagers; the members of The Pride ha conceived children for the sole purpose of letting them obtain the Gibborim’s inheritance, while they would have sacrificed themselves in the apocalypse to come. What was immediately clear to Alex was that, despite being mass-murdering villains, his parents loved him, and this was also all that mattered. However, soon another problem appeared: four members of The Pride, Frank and Leslie Dean, two aliens, and Gene and Alice Hayes, two mutants, planned to kill the human members of the pride, in order to inherit Earth along with their daughters, Karolina and Molly…and Alex overheard them as they were planning it all. No matter what, Alex would have saved his parents, using any mean…including manipulating his childhood friends. The next year, during the usual families’ reunion, Alex guided Nico Minoru, Chase Stein and Gertrude Yorkes through the secret passage he pretended to have just discovered, letting his friends witness unseen to the Rite of Blood. He deceived his friends as he pretended to find out for the first time that their parents were assassins, and later suggested that they all ran away from home, looking for evidence to incriminate The Pride. Alex’s plan had just begun.

In the following days, the teenagers collected some weapons (and even a dinosaur) from their parents, then they escaped, taking shelter in The Hostel, an old mansion belonging to Chase Stein. Alex spent most of his time deciphering the Abstract, which he had taken along, a book that turned out to be a magic text containing not only the past deeds of The Pride, but also their present and their future. While he pretended to be using it for helping his friends, he was actually playing a dangerous chess game: on the one hand, he did assist the other kids in facing the many traps and threats coming from their parents, looking for them, while on the other hand he acted as a mole for The Pride, leaving them clues on where to find them and setting traps for his own friends, all the while remaining anonymous. When The Pride incriminated their children for the murder of Destiny Gonzales (the girl they had used for the Rite of Blood) and the abduction of Molly Hayes, who was still a little girl, the group became fugitive, and they started moving around the country from a shelter to another, always relying on Alex’s accurate planning for coming out of the most desperate situations. Although all the other runaways looked up to him, Alex remained emotionally detached from them, as he expected them to die in a few months. When, enthusiastic about their abilities, the members of the juvenile group started chosing “super-names” for themselves, Alex was the only one refusing to play along and pick one, as he insisted that he would have rather cleaned the name his parents had ruined rather than play superhero and hide behind an alias. Slowly but steadily, his plan was taking form: he wanted the Runaways to take down The Pride, possibly suffering major casualties, so that at last only the three Wilders and the three Minorus remained to claim the six sits in paradise the Gibborim had promised. The Pride, however, never exposed themselves long enough for the Runaways to strike them effectively, while none of his travel companions died, despite his best efforts (he even led a vampire, Topher, to The Hostel, but Karolina managed to incinerate him). When the heroes Cloak and Dagger found out about them and promised to tell their story to the Avengers, Alex realised the game was becoming too risky: he manipulated the Hayes so that they erased the heroes’ memories about their encounter with the Runaways, then he finished deciphering the Abstract to learn the site of the next Rite of Blood, convincing his teammates that it was the perfect spot for a surprise attack. The plan worked out pretty well, with his friends being knocked out one after the other: when Chase was injured, he entrusted his Fistigons and X-Ray Goggles to him, and so did Nico with her Staff of One; Gertrude relinquished the control of her dinosaur Old Lace to him before fainting, and eventually only Alex and Karolina remained to fight…at that point, Alex knocked the girl out and revealed himself as the mole. Next step, he told The Pride about the Deans’ and the Hayes’ plan. The consequences, however, proved to be hard to control for him…

Alex Wilder is an extremely intelligent kid, a genius born with leadership skills and a natural charisma; emotionally detached and morally ambiguous, he’s fiercely loyal to his parents, but values the life of a very few people besides them, most notably Nico Minoru’s one. Originally, he doesn’t possess any superpower, totally relying on his incredible intellect and his remarkable strategic abilities, but after his resurrection at the hands of Daimon Hellstrom he seems to be able to cast some magic spells, being now able to teleport, to increase his own strenght and even to banish people to Hell. A ruthless planner and a misguided genius, Alex Wilder is even more dangerous than his parents are, a true heir of The Pride’s legacy.

Tina Minoru

tinaminorufilmAnother character from Doctor Strange (I’ll add the other two as soon as I find the images): Tina Minoru, portrayed by Linda Louise Duan. She’s another one of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, and she appears briefly in a couple of sequences. It’s safe to say that most of her scenes got cut out, since we see more of her in the trailers than in the actual movie, but she can be spotted in Hong Kong, when Wong organizes the defense of the sanctuary agains the Zealots, and she’s seen chosing a very familiar weapon to battle the evil sorcerers, the Staff of One, which will be the trademark tool of her more famous and popular daughter. In the comics, Tina never had anything to do with Kamar Taj, albeit she’s a magic user…but quite a bad one, actually. Let’s see together.

Tina was a perfectly normal woman, who lived a perfectly normal life with her fiancé Robert Minoru: both Americans of Japanese descent, they lived in Los AngelesCalifornia. Tina had a lot of friends, enjoyed watching Oprah Winfrey, was a devout Catholic and a faithful fiancée, nothing was out of place…at least apparently. Behind the normality’s facade, Tina hid a secret, as she was a practicioner of the dark arts, a sorceress who mastered a number of powerful and complex spells…and this was a “passion” she shared with Robert. They both seeked unlimited power, aiming to disclose the secrets of the multiverse, and they found out they strenghtened each other’s proficiency and strength. Eventually, Tina and Robert got married, but during their wedding day something utterly unexpected happened: the momenth they exchanged rings, they vanished, teleported underwater, to a secret and ancient temple known as the Vivarium. Along with them, other five newlywed couples had been summoned: tinaminorucomics1Catherine and Geoffrey WildersStacey and Dale YorkesAlice and Gene Hayes, Janet and Victor Stein and Leslie and Frank Dean. As soon as they found themselves in the Vivarium together, the prisoners started accusing each other, and pretty soon they all started to use superhuman powers one against the other: they were all super criminals. Tina and Robert together created a dark portal aimed to kill the Hayes (who were actually mutants), but the battle was stopped by the ones who had summoned them all for first: the Gibborim, three interdimensional giants, elder gods who had been exiled from Earth eons before. The Gibborim wanted to return to Earth realm, and to destroy it, but they needed the help of selected couples with particular skills (the Minorus were The Magicians): in exchange for their help, the summoned criminals were promised absolute power over L.A., and eternal life to survive the upcoming apocalypse; in exchange, they would have made a blood sacrifice a year for twenty-five years, allowing the gods to return. As well as all the others, Tina and Robert accepted the offer, and they founded The Pride.

The pact worked out pretty well, and Tina and her husband found out their magic powers had been drastrically increased; respect to her husband, Tina also wielded the Staff of One, a powerful relic (so powerful that even the Dreaded Dormammu trembled at its sight) able to perform any kind of feat responding to a simple vocal command, with the sole limitation of allowing the same command to be said only once. Using their combined magic powers, The Magicians of The Pride performed the Ritual of Blood every year, sacrificing a soul to the Gibborim to restore their power and weaken the barrier between dimensions, and in the meanwhile they enjoyed the gifts they’d been granted. When the Steins (evil scientists who served as The Wise Men) announced that they would have had a child, and that they wanted eternal life to be granted to him, the Minorus decided to do the tinaminorucomics2same, and they conceived a daughter, Nico. Tina and Robert raised their daughter as a normal kid, never making her part of who they truly were, and when Nico entered a goth phase as a teenager, the Minorus did whatever they could to keep her out of it, believing it would have led her to tap into magic. When Nico and the other children of the Pride were teenagers, the families reunited for the usual Ritual of Blood, and this time they had captured a young prostitute. While Tina and the others performed the ritual, slaying the girl to let her soul be devoured by the Gibborim, a scream was heard, and the Pride feared that their children might have witnessed the murder…but the kids were just playing Twister, and the scream was part of the game…apparently. Soon after, Nico Minoru and all the others ran away from home, and started foiling their parents’ project of destroying the world. Tina faced Nico one night in the Steins’ house, and in an attempt to stop her, she stabbed her daughter with the Staff of One…but the girl’s body absorbed it, as the Staff had chosen her as its new master. Now without her main weapon, Tina Minoru still had plenty of power to prevent her daughter from foiling a vicennial plan that would have granted immortality to her family…

Tina Minoru is an ambitious and power-hungry woman, who follows the Dark Path in the effort of undiscovering forbidden truth and obtaining immense power. Trained by the witch Marie LaVeau, Tina is a powerful sorceress: with the Staff of One in her possession, she was capable of pretty much everything, but even without it her proficiency in dark magic is remarkable, and she can perform a variety of spells, from creating matter out of thin air to teleportation, from summoning demons to energy manipulation; when she sums her magic energy to her husband’s, they reach a formidable level of power, high enough even to repel mystic beings such as Elder Gods (even if briefly). One of the most powerful magic users in North America, Tina Minoru is one of the pillars of The Pride, a mother ready to let the entire world burn to assure her only daughter eternal life.