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.

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