Follow TV Tropes

Following

Comic Book / Runaways

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/runaways_earth_616_shopped.jpg
You think you and your parents had conflicts? Tell it to these guys...

Karolina: Is anyone else having a hard time processing this? I mean, no matter what you guys saw down there, it sounds like our parents have been leading some kind of freaky double lives...for years, probably. How is that possible?
Gert: What? How is it possible that our parents lied to us? Let's see: Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, um, God. "You're the prettiest kid in school. This won't hurt a bit. Your face will freeze like that..."
Alex: "Everything's going to be all right."
Advertisement:

Imagine if your parents were superheroes! More than that, imagine that, one day, you and your friends discover that your and their parents were a secret organization of superheroes! Sure, they don't cry out for attention like The Avengers, but that's okay, right?

Now imagine that, about five seconds after discovering this, you see them kill a teenage girl and place her soul in a jar. Suddenly, you and your friends are in a very different situation. Your parents are supervillains — and you are next in line to the family name.

This is how we are introduced to the Marvel Comics series Runaways. Chase Stein, Alex Wilder, Nico Minoru, Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes and Gert Yorkes are old acquaintances. Once a year, their rich parents meet up and hold a charity meeting, and they are stuck in the family room to play while the parents discuss grown up stuff. But one year, when the parents were having their meeting, Alex discovers a secret passageway which allows them to see what really happens in their meetings. They discover their parents are a secret organization called The Pride.

Advertisement:

After discovering this, the children run away from home and set up a hideaway called The Hostel. During their escape, one by one, they discover powers and abilities that they have inherited from their parents.

With these new powers, a team of supervillains working for their own mysterious goals, and a large superhero community that is convinced it knows what is best for these kids, these friends are thrown into the Marvel Universe to survive however they can. Even if that means they are on the run forever.

Following the end of the first arc, Vol. 2 would focus on the Evil Power Vacuum in Los Angeles, and introduced two new members: Victor Mancha and Xavin. This was also the last arc written by Brian K. Vaughan before his amicable departure.

Runaways is unique among superhero stories in that it eschews much of the normal superhero concepts. The members do not have costumes, codenames, or a solid team name. While all the members besides Alex did attempt to adopt codenames, it didn't stick. The series also mocks the idea of Catch Phrases, such as "Hulk smash!", "It's clobberin time!", and "Avengers assemble!". They mainly fight in their street clothes and go by their given names, and never do they call themselves "Runaways" (it's what others call them, and that was a retcon). Also, possibly the most unique of all, is that unlike most superhero teams, the women outnumber the men. At the start, there are four females, plus a female dinosaur, and two males. While there have been lineup shifts, the female members have always held a majority and it's been at least double their male counterparts. All of this was due to Brian K. Vaughn's attempt to break down superhero clichés with this series.

Advertisement:

See Young Avengers for another young but more "traditional" Marvel superhero team (which the Runaways actually crossed over with more than a few times).

Check out the character sheet to learn more about the individual runaways. Not to be confused with The Runaways, a film starring Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart, or the real-life band that the film is based on.

In 2017, the series would be relaunched under the penmanship of young adult author Rainbow Rowell. See Rainbow Rowell's Runaways for details on the new series.


Appearances in media

Comic Books

Live-Action TV

Video Games

  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance: Nico was the first character added to the roster, later followed by Molly, Karolina, Chase, and Victor. A Runaways-centered Spec Ops was started where they infiltrate the Kingpin's gang to find out the whereabouts of the Avengers.
  • Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2: The original cast have a DLC pack based around them.
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest: Nico was added to the roster in December of 2017.
  • Avengers Academy: Nico was introduced in a magic-themed event. Karolina and Molly were later added in the 2018 Runaways Event.


This series provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

     Original Series 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/marvel_runaways_comic.jpg
Try Not to Die note 
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewer that the kids escaped through after their first hostel base got destroyed was big enough to fit about four kids across plus a dinosaur.
  • Act of True Love: Xavin poses as their beloved Karolina and hands herself over to a group of Majesdanians who blamed Karolina for the destruction of their homeworld, protecting both Karolina and the other Runaways from the Light Brigade's retribution.
  • Actually a Doombot: Played with. We're set up to think that Dr Doom is Victor's dad. Then it turns out to be a Doombot, but one controlled by a completely different supervillain instead of the real Doom.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The kids fight vampires, aliens, and evil robots, but the only reason they have to deal with these things in the first place is that their own parents turn out to be evil. For most of them, this comes as a shock, although in hindsight it was rather obvious to some. Then they all start living in underground hideaways and putting themselves in danger to keep LA safe from the power vacuum created by their parents, resulting in even more physical and emotional trauma and, in Gertrude aka Gert's case, death.
    • In an early chapter, Frank Dean attacks other members of the Pride and completely freaks out when Karolina disappears.
    • When the kids accidentally travel to the past and run into the Yorks (before they died), the Yorks are quite panicked and ask straight away if their daughter is with them. When they learn that Gertrude is dead, they immediately plan to return to her and make sure she's safe. Then they bring over a futuristic bomb to get revenge on the kids for letting Gert die in any timeline.
    • Kathryn Immonen's run opened with Klara being caught in an explosion, and the rest of the team struggling to pull her out of the rubble and revive her, and her short story "It's Not Lupus" involves Nico frantically trying to find a cure after Molly and Chase both suddenly fall ill.
    • In the Age of Ultron alternate universe Victor Mancha is the caretaker of a bunch of orphans, and the last of the original Runaways alive. This version of Mancha has two simple fears, less glamorous but scarier than his past ones: he fears to be unable to protect his protegees, and he fears the day he'll start forgetting about the past and the happy moments he shared with his now absent friends.
  • Adults Are Useless: The story is an homage to every teen angst film ever made, as in the initial arc all adults are either direct minions of the Pride or under their influence by more subtle means. Numerous heroes appear in the later arcs who, if not incompetent in their own areas, are nonetheless unable to help the main characters because of their attempts to treat them as just children.
  • Aliens and Monsters: The kids fight aliens (Skrulls, Majesdinians, Kree), supernatural beasts (Demons, vampires) and criminals both mundane and super powered.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Xavin loves Starbuck's caramel machiato, referring to it as the finest accomplishment of our galaxy.
  • Alien Invasion: The team gets wrapped up in a Secret Invasion tie-in, along with Hulkling, Wiccan and Speed of the Young Avengers.
    Molly (upon seeing the invaders descend): "It's raining Xavins!!"
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Played with. Despite Gert's initial shock, no one seems to mind that Molly is a mutant, although the latter's parents are seen in a flashback defending themselves from an angry mob after being outed as mutants.
  • All Your Powers Combined - In the final battle of the original series, Alex ends up in control of Chase's fire-blasting gauntlets, Nico's Staff of One, and Gertrude's psychic connection to Old Lace. All of which would have been much more helpful if he weren't secretly working for his parents. He had no way to take Molly or Karolina's inborn abilities, but it's still a pretty impressive accomplishment for somebody with no powers of his own.
  • Alternate History: The Yorkes visit them. Artifacts from them, such as Samurai battle axes for example, make Mrs. Yorke nervous.
  • Ambiguously Christian: Precisely which brand of Christianity Klara follows has never been specified. Her stated birthplace, Bern, is traditionally a stronghold of the Swiss Reformed Church, but her stated belief that she can't change her own fate points to Calvinism. Of course, it's possible that she belongs to one of the smaller, more conservative off-shoots of the SRC that popped up in the late 19th century, but which had mostly vanished by mid-20th.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Stein is traditionally a Jewish surname, but Chase once recited a bit of the Lord's Prayer when his life was in peril, which indicates a Christian upbringing. It's possible that he's half-Jewish on his dad's side. He might also be ethnically Jewish but religiously a Christian or a Messianic Jew, though unlikely. (The Yorkes are unambiguously Jewish; Gert has mentioned having a bat mitzvah, though she now claims to be agnostic.)
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Discussed, while Karolina is mourning one of her friends Xavin points out that their entire planet was destroyed. If one person dying is tragic then a million people dying must be a million times more tragic.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Played with. The Gibborim have been around since time immemorial, but they are mainly responsible for the Pride's twenty-five-year-old conspiracy.
  • And I Must Scream: Happens to Gert's parents, who are cursed to know everything that will happen to themselves and their daughter, up to and including the deaths of all three of them, and witness it all while being unable to change their actions.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Karolina when the first Hostel is attacked by the LAPD.
  • Appeal to Obscurity: Chase tells Nico that for New Yorkers, seeing a superhero is the same as seeing Steve Guttenberg.
    Nico: Who's Steve Guttenberg?
    Chase: Exactly.
  • Arranged Marriage: Xavin and Karolina had one set up by their parents.
  • The Artifact: Old Lace's name. It makes sense when the person she has telepathic link to calls her self Arsenic. After she drops the code name...not so much. It does get a Lamp Shade Hanging though.
  • Badass Adorable: Molly, a 12 year old mutant girl with cute hats and superhuman strength.
  • Badass Normal: Gert, Chase, and Alex have no real powers, but still manage to have their place on the team.
  • Bald, Black Leader Guy: Knight Templar example - Geoffrey Wilder fits the dscription to a T and is the defacto 'leader' of the Pride.
  • Banishing Ritual: Nico uses a "scatter" spell to temporarily banish the Light Brigade from Malibu. Unfortunately, it has the side-effect of making the Runaways unable to cooperate while the spell is active.
  • Beat Panel: In the second issue.
    Molly: Duh. S...E...X. I'm not a baby.
    Alex and Gert look at each other
    Gert: Fine. Come on, kid. Let's go powder our noses.
    Molly: That's code for pee, right?
    • For reference, Alex and Gert were talking about whether or not to tell Molly that they found out that her parents were supervillains. She tells them she already knows what they're whispering about, before delivering the sex line.
  • Bed Trick: When Karolina is dating Xavin, but also has her crush on Nico, Xavin tried appearing as Nico because she thought that this was what Karolina really wanted and that it would help Karolina deal with her emotions. It did not work; Karolina thought it was "some kind of sick test". Xavin, not being from around here, is somewhat baffled.
  • Belated Love Epiphany: Downplayed. Nico begins to realize that she might have feelings for Karolina after the latter has gone off to space to fulfill an arranged marriage, although nothing comes of it.
  • Beleaguered Boss: Alex is the Only Sane Man on a team that includes a Dumb Jock, a Soapbox Sadie, a temperamental airhead, and a Cute Bruiser. Subverted in that he intentionally built the team this way; they were supposed to die fighting their own evil parents so that he and his parents would reap all the benefits of the Doomsday Plot for themselves.
  • Betrayal Insurance:
    • Chase gives Nico a list of Logic Bomb questions that will shut Victor down if he ever does the Face–Heel Turn that a friendly time traveller warned them about.
    • Nico even mentions during the Secret Invasion story that she has a spell on hand to stop Xavin's heart, and it was highly likely that she was going to use it when the group assumed that Xavin was betraying them.
  • Big Bad: For the first seven volumes, the Gibborim, who set the Pride's plan into motion in order to return to power.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: At first it's complicated, as the Pride are made to appear like a Big Bad Duumvirate. However, the members have their own agendas in that the two non-human couples, the Deans and the Hayes family, were plotting against the human members of the Pride to betray them. However, it's revealed that Alex was The Mole all along who learned of their dealings and the planned betrayal, and was so secret that even his parents didn't know that he knew. Much of the first act was his plot to use the other Runaways to undermine the Deans and the Hayes, and to that end he was successful. Too bad he was killed by the Gibborim not long after The Reveal.
  • Big Book of War: The Abstract, a book given by the Gibborim to the Pride. It contains info about everything related to them, including their future. It can only be read with a special ring that decodifies it.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Played entirely straight on numerous occasions, but also probably the only instance of a robot shouting "NOOOOO10100101!" upon defeat.
    • The first major Big "NO!" takes place when Wilder screams it after Alex is burned to a crisp by the Gibborim after he admits to being The Mole for the Pride and, "like an adult," taking responsibility for the girl's lost soul.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Victor does this on two accounts. The first is the Spanish swearing he manages to sneak in. (Also a case of Getting Crap Past the Radar.) The second is his binary rambling after Chase flips his safety switch. The stream of ones and zeroes out of his mouth? They spell W-T-F.
  • Bound and Gagged: Pretty much the effect of Chase using a "be quiet" spell on Nico in Live Fast.
  • Broken Aesop: At the end of the "Good Guys Die Young" arc. In an interview, Captain America mentions that, if a kid thinks their parents or tutors are involved in illegal activities, they should't take matters into their own hands and call the police instead. Except that's exactly the first thing the Runaways did, and it turned out that the police worked for The Pride,meaning that the kids were forced to fight their parents themselves.
  • Cassandra Truth: Played with. Most people don't believe the Runaways when they claim that their parents are a cabal of supervillains (in famously meta-crime free LA). Those who do are with the cabal, unable to help because of extenuating circumstances, or are too incompetent to do anything about it.
  • Changeling Fantasy: "Evil real family" subversion. The kids' parents weren't just boring Californian rich people, they're also supervillains with a world-ending Evil Plan.
  • Children Are Innocent: Played with. The kids had no idea of their parent's activities, but were understandably left fairly bitter by the aftermath.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Issue 24. The kids have finally dragged Chase back, they've beaten their foes once and for all, and they're tired and weary as they arrive home... to find Iron Man and a bunch of mooks waiting. In Issue 25, they begin by... meeting with the Kingpin.
  • Clothing Damage: Volume 3 Chapter 11, Nico's top gets destroyed by Klara's plants going berserk. Not that there was much there to begin with...
  • Code Name: Subverted; they made them up, but hardly ever use them (though Molly is still fond of "Princess Powerful").
  • Combat Stilettos: Nico, on at least one occasion.
    Victor: Holy... did you see how high I jumped?
    Nico: Yeah... did you see how high my stilettos are? (Kicks him in the face) Look closely.
  • Competence Zone: Anyone over a certain age is useless, even super heroes. SpiderMan managed to get a cool big brother spot, though, and Cloak & Dagger have some competence (because their backstory is that they were also runaways). This is subverted with Molly. Everyone treats her as naive and weak, needing protection, but she is really powerful and knows a lot more than she lets on.
  • Continuity Porn:
    • Hey, did you know that during the 90s Rick Jones wrote a book called Sidekick? No? Well he did, and it's actually mentioned in one of the books.
    • They bring in the good Green Goblin at one point.
    • Bringing in Ricochet from Slingers. Considering how unpopular and unknown the title was, bringing him in was a bit risky, but ultimately worked.
  • Cope by Pretending: Molly copes with the fact that her late parents were supervillains by imagining that they're still alive and not evil. This illusion is shattered after she gets kidnapped by one of her parents' surviving victims. And then she has her heart broken all over again when she discovers that her Mad Scientist grandmother has been trying to make clones of her parents.
  • Court-Martialed: This is Xavin's apparent fate; they deliver themselves to the Majesdanian Light Brigade and are taken away to answer for their role in the destruction of Majesdane. Since there is presumably no civilian government left, the trial is likely to be a court-martial.
  • Cousin Oliver: Klara. She is randomly found and recruited by the Runaways in 1907. Other than the occasional Deliberate Values Dissonance due to being a Fish out of Temporal Water, she has little personality and little effect on subsequent storylines.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Gert gives Chase CPR after he nearly drowns. He's in no shape to move immediately afterwards, but recovers quickly enough to hotwire the Leapfrog and interrupt the big fight.
  • Cute Bruiser: Molly is the Cute Bruiser, in that her code name is "Bruiser" and she is adorable.
  • Crime Concealing Hobby: Philantrophy, in this case. The main characters' rich parents are supposedly part of a charity group, but this is a front for their world-ending plan involving Human Sacrifice.
  • Crossover: Runaways has its own plotlines, but it seems like it is also open house for every other Marvel character to appear.
    • In two out of the three Crisis Crossovers (Civil War and Secret Invasion) they were involved in they were forced to team up with the Young Avengers. The remaining one (Mystic Arcanna) was a solo adventure of Nico's.
    • After their own ongoing series was 'put on hiatus' they have appeared in numerous recent series:
      • Daken: Dark Wolverine: Where Chase explains what happened after he was hospitalized in a car accident with "I got better".
      • Age of Ultron: Where Victor is the only one alive after Ultron killed off the rest of the Runaways.
      • Avengers Academy: Where Nico reveals she saved Old Lace by shunting him into a parallel universe which has the same magic signature as Reptil's amulet. Karolina also begins dating Julie Power.
      • Avengers Arena: Where Nico and Chase are participants, with Molly searching for them. Nico dies, but Comes Back Strong.
      • Avengers Undercover: Following the events of Arena, Nico and Chase join the other survivors as they infiltrate the Masters of Evil.
      • Battle of the Atom: Where a future Molly Hayes is a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants. She turns out to be brainwashed, however.
      • Avengers AI: Where Victor is recruited to join the team by his "brother", the Vision, and "grandfather", Hank Pym.
      • All-New X-Men: The Molly Hayes from Battle of the Atom returns, along with the rest of the future Brotherhood.
      • A-Force: Nico was a member of this all-female Avengers team.
      • The Vision (2015): Victor Mancha shows up... but is Back for the Dead, as Virginia Vision kills him.
      • X Men Blue: The Battle of the Atom Molly is due to appear again, according to a year ahead teaser in #1.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Molly once had an issue revolve around her and some kidnapped children.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone gets snarky lines, especially with Joss Whedon writing them. Mostly Gert, though. She gets the most.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Pride struck a deal with the Half-Human Hybrid descendants of fallen angels — they sacrifice one innocent a year to restore the Gibborim's power, and their children are guaranteed a spot in paradise.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Klara and the primary cast grew up a century apart, and there are occasional conflicts over different social norms. Karolina is shocked at abuse Klara deals with, while Klara freaks out when she sees Xavin (who chooses to be black in human guise and chooses to be a woman for Karolina) and Karolina kissing. Molly, meanwhile, (seemingly) completely misses the implications of Klara saying that she does not enjoy her "marital duties". ("He makes you do chores?")
  • Department of Child Disservices: Portrayed as incompetent in the series. Karolina, for instance, is placed with drug-addicted foster parents who don't notice her disappearance.
  • Depending on the Artist: The characters' appearances tend to vary between issues, covers, and other official media.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Victor using a neighbour's unprotected Wi-Fi to pirate music may or may not have caused a plane to crash into the Malibu house killing Old Lace, though Chase survived.
  • Discount Lesbians: Karolina and Xavin. Karolina is the traditional embodiment of the trope, an alien, whereas Xavin (who is also an alien) compounds the issue by also being a shape-shifter.
  • Ditto Aliens: Mrs. Dean makes a comment about how all the Skrulls look alike to her.
  • Double Standard: Happens in-universe, when Nico has a dream that her parents are slut-shaming her for having been with three guys thus far in her life. She points out that it's unfair to consider her a harlot while her father was implied to have had several girlfriends before he got married.
  • Double Standard: Violence, Child on Adult: Runaways plays with this frequently. Molly Hayes has punched countless adults and older teenagers, usually with only the slightest provocation, and yet it's treated as humorous or even adorable, yet any adult who so much as threatens Molly (or later, Klara) tends to be treated as a monster who's crossed a line.
  • Dr. Fakenstein: Chase's parents, Victor and Janet Stein, are a pair of Mad Scientists. Victor himself is named directly after Victor Frankenstein.
  • Driving Stick: Karolina has her drivers licence, but cannot drive a stick shift. Hilarity Ensues (and much cursing about the impossibility of stick shifts) when she has to drive Chase's van.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The original Hostel was an entire mansion underground, though some of the Pride facilities are more standard versions of this setting.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Karolina's not alone in finding Nico attractive. Some goth girls and the evil witch from Nico's Mystic Arcana tie-in are seen expressing sexual interest in her.
  • Everyone's Baby Sister: Molly and Klara fill this role, to varying degrees - Molly is everyone's baby sister, but Klara is more of a little sister to Nico and Karolina, while Chase and Victor treat her more like a Ladette. Oddly enough, the baby sister aura even seems to affect other people in the Marvel universe - for instance, during Secret Invasion, Speed of the Young Avengers literally went out of his way to keep Molly and Klara safe during a battle with the Skrulls. While he knew (and played around with) Molly during their previous team-up, Klara was brand-new.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Old Lace, a genetically engineered deinonychus who tends to function as a guard/attack dog for the team.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: LA throughout Volume 2; with the Pride gone, minor supervillains are pouring in, wanting either to replace the Pride or simply take advantage of an easy target.
  • Exact Words: For the first half of Volume 1, members of the Pride keep commenting that they do what they do to leave a better world for their children, implying that they are some kind of Well-Intentioned Extremists. We eventually find out that they are out to leave a better world for their children and only for their children - the entire rest of humanity, including themselves, are going to be dead.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Molly Hayes' future counterpart is a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants in a crossover with All-New X-Men during Battle of the Atom, and again during a story arc beginning in #26. It turns out she's brainwashed, however.
  • Fate Worse than Death When Nico casts a spell on Gertrude's parents, trapping them in their own bodies with the knowledge that their daughter will betray them, kill them, and then die herself in a few short years. But they're unable to act or speak as if they knew, unable to do anything to stop it. As Nico puts it, for the next few years, "They'll be screaming inside."
  • Fastball Special: Almost name-dropped when Victor asks Molly to throw him at the Gibborim.
  • The Fagin: Provost fits this trope to a T, getting runaway kids to steal for him.
  • Failure Hero: The team is understandably this in the first volume. Having just discovered their abilities, they barely manage to survive encounters with their parents, Topher, and Cloak and Dagger. They finally beat their parents, but only because they were unarmed. This gets subverted later on when they become competent in fighting groups of super powered people. After the second volume ends, however, things Snap Back. In "Dead Wrong" and "Rock Zombies", where the team spends large amounts of time being hindered by an alien bubble weapon, or ridiculous side effects from Nico's spells which have suddenly become ridiculously powerful.
  • Family Values Villain: While their styles of parenting range from hands off to strict/abusive, the supervillain parents in maintain normal upper middle class lives when not involved in villainy and have typical expectations of their children being successful. They want to make the world a better place and believe they are doing what is best for their kids... by letting the Gibborim destroy and remake it so their kids can live in paradise. The series is practically the poster child for Even Evil Has Loved Ones/Evil Parents Want Good Kids.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The Gibborim exploited this for all it was worth when picking the Pride. Time-travelers, magicians, glowing aliens, mutants, scientists and Badass Normals, all in one group.
  • Fictional Counterpart: In the first few volumes the kids often went to a Circle A convinience stores, a light-hearted parody of the real life Circle K chain.
  • First Kiss: The first one in the series is between Nico and Alex. Later on in Volume 1, we get a Kiss of Life between Gert and Chase, which soon becomes the real deal.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water:
    • Happened first with Geoffrey Wilder when his younger self was transplanted to the present but made moot at a later point of the story because his memory was erased.
    • Klara is from 1907, and has some difficulty adjusting to the 21st century.
  • Five-Token Band: The original team was comprised of Alex (black male), Nico (Japanese-American female), Gert (Jewish femalenote ), Chase (white male), Karolina (lesbian alien female), and Molly (white mutant female). Later additions include Victor (Latino malenote , Xavin (black-appearing possibly genderqueer alien), and Klara (white female). Enforced, as the writers wanted to avoid the superhero team cliches of the time, and lampshaded, as one character mentions they look like multiethnic gangs seen on TV.
  • Flying Firepower: Karolina has this power set, and eventually expands to force fields too.
  • For Want of a Nail: Discussed when the team travels back in time, as they want to get back to the future by changing as little as possible. It turns out they're in a Stable Time Loop.
  • Foil: To the Young Avengers, who in the '00s was Marvel's other young superhero team. Outside of being superhero teenagers, they contrast each other greatly. The Runaways did not jump at the call, they were shoved. They do not have costumes or codenames, and do not follow superhero traditions. Finally, the women outnumber the men in the team. For comparison, the Young Avengers are far more along the lines of being a "traditional" superhero team, complete with costumes and codenames, and all members fully wanted to be superheroes from the beginning. They also follow the formula of having more males than females, usually adhering to Two Girls to a Team. Finally, both teams hail from opposite coasts of the United States (Runaways being based in Los Angeles, Young Avengers being based in New York).
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Karolina Dean is driven to out herself as a lesbian in front of all of her friends in an attempt to get Xavin to leave her alone. Xavin is nonplussed, saying that gender is fluid for their species.
  • Foreshadowing: When Chamber confronts Molly, she asks him who he thinks he's fooling with that fake accent. The very end of the arc reveals that this isn't the real Chamber, but someone using an artifact of the Minorus' to impersonate him. Later still, it's revealed to be a time-displaced Geoffrey Wilder, who calls Molly out on it, telling her that he knows she's smarter than she's acting.
  • Frameup: One of the opening salvos between The Pride and The Runaways is to frame them for all their murders.
  • Fridge Horror: In-Universe, Molly says that when she once beat Alex at Chinese checkers, he threatened to throw her down a well...which is a lot scarier now that she thinks about it, since Alex turned out to be The Mole and was working with their parents.
  • Fright-Induced Bunkmate: In one comic, Molly asks if she can sleep in Nico's room, because she's afraid that there are monsters in hers.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Karolina's code name, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", referencing The Beatles song.
  • Funny Background Event: Karolina's reaction to Molly's complete misunderstanding of what Klara's "marital duties" actually are.
  • Gender Bender: When Xavin finds out Karolina is a lesbian, and that is why they can't be together, they nonchalantly informs her that Skrull can change their gender as easily as humans can change their hair, and shapeshifts into a woman.
  • Generational Magic Decline: Nico's family has dabbled in magic for centuries, but according to her ancestor, the Witchbreaker, the magical talent was already beginning to diminish sometime during her own era (the 1900s), and she herself is a hostage of the Upward Path, and thus she decides to subject Nico to Training from Hell in the hopes of keeping the family business alive.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Chase's not-so-subtle joke regarding his girlfriend in Volume 2, Issue #1.
    Nico: We're the ones who created the power vacuum.
    Chase: Heh, "power vacuum". That should be Gert's new codename.
  • Getting the Baby to Sleep: Molly Hayes' evil parents used to use their psychic powers to get her to sleep when she was a baby, and continued to do this even as she was turning eleven. In the final arc, she is understandably pissed when Nico resorts to something similar in order to get Klara to sleep.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Invoked to emphasize the Pride's Moral Myopia. Chase's mother refused to give up her baby, claiming she wasn't a monster...while she and the rest of the Pride were about to sacrifice an innocent girl.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: It's not uncommon to see the occasional $#%@, but Nico at least tries to get Molly to say "heck" instead of "hell."
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: Nico dresses like a goth and performs magic with the Staff of One.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Victor occasionally sprinkles Spanish into his dialogue; justified as he believed himself to be Mexican-American.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: The Abstract, a book given by the Gibborim to the Pride. It contains info about everything related to them, including their future. It can only be read with a special ring that decodes it.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Gibborim in the inital run. They provided the Pride with their power in exchange for their services, namely performing rituals so the Gibborim will have the power to wipe out humanity.
  • Green Lantern Ring: Nico's spells with the Staff of One can theoretically do whatever she wants, except the ones she's done before.note  There's also no guarantee a certain combination of words would do what she intended, especially in earlier comics when she had very little mastery over the Staff. Saying "Rock and Roll" with the intent of just making the ground shake a bit caused a cave-in that nearly killed the whole team.
  • Hand Wave:
    • The logistics of living as runaways (where do they get food, etc.) are mentioned every now and then, but usually just gilded over. Though it is implied that as they start using abandoned Pride bases as "The Hostel" that these places were already fully stocked with supplies, and possibly money, should the Pride themselves need to hide out there.
    • Frank Dean's explanation of how the Abstract works:
      Dean: It's magic, mutant. If you think about it too hard, your brain will explode.
  • Happily Married: All six couples in the Pride, despite being supervillains.
  • Hellfire: Nico casts it as a spell at least once. One of them is mocked by Spider-Man, as he dodges it.
    Spider-Man: Ah, hellfire. When regular fire just simply won't do.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": In Issue # 4 of the first volume, Nico complains of having "a giant rod stuck inside [her] body." Even being half unconscious doesn't stop Chase from snickering about that one.
  • Heroic BSoD: The "blue screen of death" is referenced by name. Also a more literal example than most cases, as Victor is actually a cyborg.
  • Hit Me, Dammit!: Nico once asked Gert to use Old Lace to bite her to summon the Staff of One. Gert refused so Nico threatened to choke Gert to death if Old Lace didn't do anything. She bit her.
  • House Squatting: The third series saw the team break into Chase's parents' old summer house in Malibu. In order to fend off any nosy neighbors, they had Xavin pose as their wealthy single dad.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Chase has this reaction to Gert's death, going so far as to nearly offer himself to revert it.
  • "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": Twice - played seriously with Karolina's blood killing Topher in volume one, because she had no idea it would happen and honestly wanted to die. Played for laughs in volume three.
  • Human Aliens: Majesdanians in their powered-down form look just like H. Sapes. Powered up, they look like humans in a particularly overlit nightclub.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: Majesdanians. On the surface they look like normal humans, but their bodies apparently store and then expel solar energy.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: A random thug tries to do this to Karolina in the 1907 arc. Fortunately, she blasts the crap out of him in the next panel.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Victor Mancha became an important part if the team's plot, has significant links to the greater Marvel Universe, and was part of a few ongoing series outside of the book. He doesn't make his first appearance until the second issue. Likewise, Xavin, a character that gained the series some minor attention for being genderfluid, doesn't appear until a few issues after Victor's first appearance, and doesn't join the team or really have much effect on the plot until Volume 3.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Nearly all the collected editions have titles that reference songs.
  • Incompatible Orientation:
    • Karolina is gay and likes Nico. Nico, however, is not — or at the very least very confused.
    • Played with in the case of Karolina and Xavin. Karolina explains to them that she can't date them because she's a lesbian, at which point they say that it's not a problem and shapeshift into a woman.
  • Interclass Friendship: Molly comes from the upper-middle class, being the daughter of two doctors (a dentist and a speech therapist.) Her best friend Klara is a poor immigrant from Switzerland.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chase is more a more traditional jerk, Xavin on the other hand is a jerk due to alien cultural misunderstandings regarding various things (IE: the treatment of robots). Both are good people despite their flaws.
  • Just a Machine: Xavin initially acted dismissive towards Victor, because they viewed him as merely a robot. Justified due to Skrull attitudes.
  • The Kid with the Remote Control: Gert has telepathic control over Old Lace, a dinosaur.
  • Knight Templar Parent: All of the Pride could be said to fit in this category, in that they're planning on giving the reward they earn for their Deal with the Devil to the kids. Not everyone is planning to honor this arrangement. And being a Knight Templar Parent does not necessarily translate to being a good or bad one in everyday life: the parents range from being informal and friendly (Karolina's) to outright abusive (Chase's) and everywhere in between.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: To preserve their secret, the Pride wipe memories from Cloak and Dagger. At least they use telepathy, legitimizing the trope. But then Cloak regains his memories after a swift smack on the head from Luke Cage, and this is played totally straight.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: After Brian K. Vaughan left Runaways, the series struggled to find a consistent theme. First there was a time-travel arc, then an arc involving the Majesdanians trying to capture Karolina for her role in the destruction of their planet, then an arc where a Howard Stern expy tries to initiate a Zombie Apocalypse in Los Angeles, and then the Darker and Edgier "Homeschooling" arc.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The first thing we see in issue #10 (book five) is Wolverine, and Iron Man commenting:
    Iron Man: A Wolverine appearance? How novel.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: The eponymous characters are a team of Heroes With Bad Publicity, whereas their parents were villains with good publicity.
  • Literal Genie: The "Staff Of One" carries out the literal meaning of Nico's spells in Vol. 3, and it still keeps the "Only cast the same spell once" rule.
  • Lives in a Van: The Runaways have frequently been reduced to living out of their Leapfrog, presumably because it's hard to get a home loan when you're wanted by S.H.I.E.L.D..
  • Logic Bomb: Exploited. Logic bombs are used as a failsafe against Victor should he turn against the team. The logic bomb itself (and the reset switch) are hilarious.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Nico has a self-admitted track record of bad guy boyfriends and failed relationships.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Chase goes off the deep end after Gert dies. He gets better.
  • Mad Scientist: The Steins are evil geniuses who built several gadgets.
  • Metallicar Syndrome: Averted but discussed early, where Chase drives the Runaways around and one of them complains about how uncool his plain white van is; he responds that he got it on purpose because a plain white van is the most inconspicuous vehicle possible.
  • Miko: The costume of the Witchbreaker, who is Nico's great grandmother is based on that of the miko.
  • The Mole: Key part of the plot for the comic's first year and half. It is revealed to be Alex Wilder, by self-admittance. See The Reveal below.
  • Mons: Old Lace is an emphatically bonded velociraptor genetically engineered from the 87nd century for Gert. She's at her beck and call.
  • Moral Dissonance:
    • Nico's "The show must go on" spell that she cast on the Yorkes, which forces them to continue on with their lives (being time travelers, they were at that point from before the series started), knowing full well their daughter is going to die, and be completely aware of what's happening, but completely unable to change anything. This was a HUGE dick move, but the subject is dropped the very next panel and events move on without a word about it.
    • Nico's attitude in general was forgotten for awhile after. She was tortured and then showed up performing much more powerful spells and it was implied that the spell she cast on the Yorkes was a sign that she was developing a Dark Side. This was pretty much glossed over until the whole "Don't take the Staff of One from me" thing.
  • Mundane Utility: Nico using powerful ancient magic to renovate a freakin' condo. "Ocean View!" indeed...
  • Mutually Unequal Relationship:
    • Alex has always hated Chase since they were kids. Chase was unaware of this, and thought that they were best bros.
    • Karolina had a longstanding crush on Nico. Nico completely missed it, thinking that Karolina was just really friendly.
    • Molly assumes that because she and Gert were the two youngest members of the original team, they would naturally be best friends. Gert find Molly annoying.
    • After they started dating, Gert and Chase each suspected that the other would eventually leave them. Gert feared that Chase would dump her for either Nico or Karolina because they were more conventionally attractive, while Chase thought that Gert might dump him for Victor, who was smarter and closer to her age.
    • Xavin constantly frets that Karolina might not really love them. Karolina, for her part, seems to at least care about Xavin enough to stay with them and try and work out any differences the two might have.
  • Mysterious Backer: Near the beginning of the second series, a phone calls a group of former teen superheroes for One Last Job; they call him out on it, but they still take the offer.
  • Nice Hat: Molly's collection of adorable hats. At one point, she puts one on the team dinosaur.
  • The Nicknamer: No one individual, rather all members of the team toss nicknames around that range in use from one-time teases to regularly calling to Nico as "boss".
  • No Romantic Resolution: The third series was apparently supposed to end with Chase being reunited with Gert, but the series was abruptly cancelled halfway through the last arc, so instead, he runs into a girl who may or may not be Gert, then gets hit by a car while chasing after her.
  • Not So Different: Many, many sly moments where one of the kids acts just like their parents without realizing it.
  • Not Wearing Tights:
    • Mostly. Molly once wore a self-made Civvie Spandex costume. It failed to catch on.
    • They get costumes in the non-continuity story "What if the Runaways Had Become the Young Avengers, which runs as a 5-part backup story in the 2008 series of What If?
  • Nuns Are Spooky: Black Maria, a nun-like superheroine from the time travel storyline.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Molly acts like a six-year-old most of the time, but every once in a while she reveals herself to be much, much more mature then that. For the most part, her weak little girl persona is an act to get attention. In one battle with Alex's father, he confronts her with it:
    Molly: Please, mister! Don't hurt me!
    Wilder: Skip the waterworks, kid. Your cloying Rudy Huxtable routine is just an act you put on to get attention from your older friends. Why don't you behave like the bright young woman we both know you are?
    Molly: F-fine. Your son took after you, you know. He was a total frickin' failure.
  • Off-Model: Volume 3. It slowly gets better, but at first it was as if the artist had never seen a non-white person. The exaggerated style did not help things compared to the more solid or anime-inspired styles of the past.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted. Three Victors appear in the series - Stein, Mancha, and Doom. Invoked when Doom claims to be Mancha's father and says that "Your mother was brave enough to anoint you with my name, but not to tell you of her dalliances as a young woman, in Latveria". Then the 2017 series reveals that Chase's actual first name is Victor, after his father. That means that both long-serving male Runaways are named Victor!
  • Only Child Syndrome: Justified - the six couples agreed to donate their spots to a single child each, rather than worry about which six of them the Gibborim would select once the plan was complete.
  • Opposites Attract: Gert and Chase, a nerd and a jock.
  • Our Vampires Are Different : Lampshaded with a smug reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon - and how he "got it wrong". Within the Marvel universe there are different types of vampires, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Out of Focus: Old Lace, since the "Dead Wrong" arc. She's still there, but nobody mentions her, and she's not even used during the combat situations.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The password to get into the Yorkes secret lair is 'PRIDE'. Karolina comments that her mom's AOL password is 'PASSWORD'.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Xavin and Karolina are really devoted to each other after they head off for the wedding.
  • Perky Goth: Nico dresses in gothic clothing but starts with a rather positive outlook on things. She hardens as life goes on.
  • Personality Powers: Played with. Goth girl Nico is a dark witch whose powers are activated by spilling blood...and it annoys her. Valley Girl Karolina is a walking light show who isn't as perky as she looks. The smallest of them has super strength, and the dumb jock is in charge of all the wonderful toys.
  • The Power of Love: In the Dead Wrong arc, subverted in the case of Victor and Lillie. Despite being very much in love with each other, Lillie panics at the idea of going with Victor to the future and stays behind. We later see that she grew up to regret chickening out, to the point at which she tries to warn Victor to bring her with him before he travels through time. She still doesn't go.
  • Pre-Insanity Reveal: Early on in the "Dead End Kids" arc, Victor is pursued by Tristan, a hideous and seemingly deranged man with giant metal wings who seems to hate him for reasons he can't figure out. After the team is sent back in time to 1907, Victor meets Tristan's younger self, who's far more normal, or at least as normal as a big dude with metal wings can get. Unfortunately for Victor, Tristan has designs on Lillie, a local girl who becomes smitten with Victor, and he thinks Victor's out to steal "his" girl. Furthermore, the Runaways end up inadvertently causing a catastrophe that leaves Tristan horribly disfigured.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Chase occasionally calls Alex "bro", much to the latter's irritation. Later, he calls Victor "amigo", getting a similar chilly response.
  • Put on a Bus: Xavin and Karolina went through this for a time, leaving in order to get to know each other and get married. They returned and rejoined the team fairly quickly, then Xavin left and there's no sign yet of their return
  • Reclaimed By Nature: The team's Malibu house becomes buried in rose vines after Klara loses control of her powers in an accident involving a drone crash. What's left of the house ends up being destroyed shortly afterwards when the military invades the house to try and salvage the drone.
  • Reinventing the Telephone: An odd example. When the Wilders need to talk to the other members of the Pride, they use a Video-Phone, presumably just a convenient webcam, but the other couples all use a variant based on their area of expertise. The wizards have a mystical portal, the scientists have a Hologram, etc.
  • The Reveal:
    • When Alex admits to being The Mole for the Pride.
    • While vaguely hinted at earlier in Volume 1, it is revealed that Karolina likes Nico. After Alex's betrayal, when Nico claims she's sworn off boys forever, Karolina blushes and is very pleased to hear this. Karolina later tries to kiss Nico, unsuccessfully. It's implied much later, in Vol. 3 #10, that she did eventually get to (maybe).
  • Reverse Mole: Towards the end of the first volume, a few members of the Pride start wondering if one of them is on the kids' side, but this is not resolved.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Rereading the first arc can be quite interesting after the revelation that Alex, who lead the Runaways into discovering the true nature of their parents, is actually The Mole and was using them the whole time.
  • Riches to Rags: The original team members were raised wealthy, as the children of rich Malibu socialites. This is no longer the case once they go on the run as they start having to live on tight budgets, although it's implied that the villainous lairs they repurpose as lodgings are stocked with supplies.
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: Karolina and Xavin pretend a relationship to try to end the war between their species and later fall in love.
  • Rubber Man: Xavin, amongst their other Super Skrull powers.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Pride have admittedly bought out most of California, allowing them to do pretty much whatever the hell they want.
  • Secret Legacy: The kids find out their parents are super villains and all get powers/items of importance from them.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: After running away, the kids adopted each other as a new family.
  • Sex for Solace: Nico has a self-admitted tendency to throw herself at the nearest male in the aftermath of any stressful or traumatic scenario, although she does not progress to actual sex until well into the second volume of the series. She knows it is not healthy and is not fair to herself or whomever she throws herself at, but she cannot seem to break the pattern.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: Xavin tries this with Karolina, but doesn't tell her before hand.
  • Shipper on Deck: Most of the group was this for Gert and Chase. After the two have a fight, Karolina assures Chase that they'll make up and "You two are made for each other!"
  • Ship Tease: Nico and Karolina's on-again off-again Unresolved Sexual Tension. Of course, Karolina is canonically gay and has expressed her feelings for Nico. Toned down when Xavin enters the picture but comes back full force after they're Put on a Bus while disguised as Karolina to answer for the crimes of Karolina's parents. It is even hinted that Nico might have feelings for Karolina and is jealous of Xavin. She seems slightly disappointed to learn that they are still together upon their return to Earth. Nico later tries to undermine their relationship by asking if Xavin's female form is their True Self. She also confesses in a game of "Truth or Dare" that out of all the people she had kissed, Karolina was the best kisser.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In addition, The Who get a shout or two: the "hope I die" quotation from Alex, as well as one of the story arcs being called "Teenage Wasteland."
    • Not to mention Molly's affection for Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.
    • And at one point in Volume 2, Issue 6 Nico shouts, "Shine on you crazy diamond!"
    • Don't forget Gert's codename and her dinosaur's name.
    • Not to mention Karolina's codename, Lucy in the Sky...with Diamonds.
    • When asked what he was dreaming about, Victor answered "electric sheep".
    • Also, one of the story arcs is called Pride and Joy, which may be a reference to a Stevie Ray Vaughn song.
    • The scene in Volume 1 where the entire team is trapped and surrounded by fallen rubble with one character holding everything up should seem familiar to fans of Secret Wars.
    • In the "Victorious" future, the X-Men were led by Armor.
    • Victor Mancha owns a copy of Rick Jones's book Sidekick. On top of that the copy is even beaten up as though it was published a while ago (the 90's to be precise).
    • In the alternate future seen in Volume 2, Victor as Victorious' appearance and MO is exactly like Syndrome. Killing all superheroes? A black one piece costume with domino mask and the first letter of his codename? Electricity-based powers?
    • When Victor first meets the team, he calls them the Teen Girl Squad.
    • Karolina's parents named themselves after James Dean from Rebel Without a Cause.
    • Molly makes several references to Harry Potter. Presumably she's a fan.
    • Whedon's arc features cameos from early feminist/socialist Emma Goldman and The Yellow Kid.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Chase and Gert after they start to use pet names for each other.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Karolina gets hit with this twice - it is invoked while threatening her at the climax of Volume 1, and in the first arc of Volume 3 features are more drawn-out case (as she's being pursued for her parent's crimes).
  • Sixth Ranger: After the first volume, the gang adds quite a few new faces to the crew: Victor (Codename: Victorious (Future self)), Xavin and Klara.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Topher, when he reveals he's a vampire just out to eat them.
  • Sleeping Dummy: "What is our son doing with a male mannequin head in his room?"
  • Soapbox Sadie: Gert. She is first shown wanting to join the Communist Club at her school, and correcting her dads etymology.
  • Soaperizing: More time is focused on the various relationships between the teens than fighting evil. The biggest bits of drama tend to hang around relationship troubles between them—especially Nico.
  • Spin-Off: There was a short-lived series about Excelsior, called The Loners because Stan Lee holds copyright on the word "Excelsior". Um, hang on...
  • Spirit Advisor: In one arc, Alex anonymously gives the Runaways a few vital clues from The Nothing After Death.
  • Spiritual Successor: Vaughn was never shy about acknowledging the debt the series took from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, enough to welcome Joss Whedon himself to write an arc.
  • Stable Time Loop: In the time-travel arc. The Kingpin recruits the team to retrieve a device for a client, while Victor is given a cryptic message. The device turns out to be a time-travelling device by the Yorkes that sends the team to 1907. When the time comes for them to return, the message turns out to be Victor asking Lillie to come with them to the present. Lillie refuses, and the client who orchestrated their time travel trip turns out to have been Old Lillie, who deeply regretted her choice. Thus, Lillie grows up to suffer the same fate.
  • Starting a New Life: The third series opens with the team trying to establish a new home for themselves, having been driven out of the Hostel by Iron Man towards the end of the previous series.
  • Steam Punk: The Yorkes are rife with it, at least as far as their technology is concerned.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: A mad scientist named Victor Stein.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In the first issue of volume two, two unrelated characters comment on the lack of superheroes in LA, "except maybe Wonder Man, and he don't count."
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Gert with Chase in the first volume. When they get together, it's much warmer.
  • Super Serum: Cloak and Dagger's backstory has a power-granting drug as their origin.
  • Supervillain Lair: Multiple Pride lairs have been re-purposed as "Hostels" after the original was destroyed.
  • Symbol Swearing: Most notably used by Chase at the penultimate issue of the original series, and by Karolina in the climatic battle in the second crossover with Young Avengers
  • Take That!: When Molly sees Old Lace for the first time, this exchange happens:
    Molly: You have a dinosaur!
    Gert: Yeah, but it's a friendly dinosaur. Like Barney.
    Molly: I hate Barney!
  • Tangled Family Tree: Victor's mere existence causes this with some characters outside of the team. As Ultron's son he is: Vision's Brother, Wiccan and Speed's Uncle, and Hank Pym's Grandson. And his sister-in-law's brother-in-law's brother is in fact Scott Summers. Hank Pym actually comments on this in Avengers Academy, after telling Victor that he shouldn't call him "Dr. Pym" (since they are 'related') he decides it's better than "Grandpa".
  • Temporary Love Interest: Topher and Lillie are arc-long love interests for Nico and Victor, respectively.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Alex attempts one to bring him back from the dead (though in actuality his friends would be transporting him from a moment before death into the future).
  • Their First Time: Nico and Victor lose their virginity to one another, even though they immediately regret it.
  • Throw-Away Country: Karolina's homeworld Majesdane was nuked by the Skrulls. When Xavin wonders why Gerts' death affects the team more, Karolina actually mentions that A Million Is a Statistic.
  • Time for Plan B: Happens so often that at one point Karolina says "We always use plan B. Why don't we just make it plan A?"
  • Time Travel: Joss Whedon's arc. Gert's parents are also time travling criminals.
  • Title Drop: Pretty frequently. One good example came in Joss Whedon's run.
    Nico: Runaways! Runaway!
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Twice so far. The first was the good way to execute this trope - lots of twists and turns before a really meaningful death. The second was more gimmicky and Dropped a Bridge on Him. (Protip: the best way to do this is if the death happens near the end of the arc, rather than the beginning.)
  • Totally Radical: Most notably for the use of 'rents instead of parents.
  • Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil: The Runaways have a very clear policy on traitors: if you betray the team, Nico Minoru will tear your damn heart out. Given that its founder betrayed the team and nearly got them all killed, this policy is probably understandable.
  • True Companions: The Runaways form a very tight surrogate family after they run from their parents.
  • Try Not to Die: The Team Motto, and also the Trope Namer.
  • Tuckerization: Three characters are named after creator Brian K. Vaughan's family.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Inverted. Alex and Chase are the only males in a team of seven. A rare inversion of the norm for a superhero comic.
  • Underhanded Hero: Chase Stein's major value to the team is that he's willing to do things that his teammates will not in order to advance the team's goals, like hounding the members of the New Pride to make sure they never reconvene, or making deals with criminals like Pusher-Man and Maneater to acquire things that his team needs but cannot obtain legally.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: Molly dodges this the second time the team face the Gibborim. "Put her down..and not, like, down your throat."
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: None of the kids ever seems to wear the same outfit twice.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: By the frogload.
    Gert: Sexual tension. Gross.
  • Vancian Magic: Sort of - the Staff of One can perform each spell once and only once. Unless you can think of a word that causes the same affect, or use the same word but mean something different with it.
  • Villain Decay: When the Gibborim are first introduced they are powerful, nearly all-knowing fallen angels who were out to destroy the world, and they could've have replaced any members of the Pride, and ultimately kill the entire Pride when they failed them. However, when the Gibborim resurface in the Live Fast storyarc, they are reduced to monsters trapped in a weird purgatory dimension and are completely dependant on mortals bringing them sacrifices just to sustain themselves. And a direct hit from one of their fire blasts (which disentegrated Alex onscreen earlier) merely stuns Xavin this time. Even the kid's mocking attitudes reflect this, with only Victor showing any fear at their presence. And Nico only mentions that they killed Alex as a testament to their power, nothing about them killing the Pride.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: "We can't keep bouncing around like this. Klara just barfed all over Molly."
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot.
  • Voodoo Zombie: The Rock Zombies. Although they turn out to be not actually undead, but rather people deformed and mind controlled by Magic. And then there's Dead George Pellham from the 1907 arc.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Subverted. The members of the Pride keep saying that they're building a better future for their children, but it turns out that they literally mean just the six kids they spawned—the rest of humanity will die if all goes according to plan. Plus, the original deal with the Gibborim was that three of the couples would get to live eternally in paradise, so their motivations were purely selfish to begin with. Only the Yorkes seem to genuinely think they're doing the world as a whole a favor.
    Stacy Yorkes: Before my dolt of a husband totaled our 4-D portico permanently, we visited thousands of possible futures, each worse than the last...The next generation deserves something new...and that's exactly what we're going to give them.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • Addressed and played with in Victor, whom Xavin at one point refers to as "the house android" because they don't understand Vic's relationship with the others at that point, which has actually gotten pretty comfortable and Xavin, the Skrull Gender Bender.
    • In Immonen's run, Victor raises the question of whether or not Klara should be treated as a regular human, since she is clearly something more than human and her powers are endangering the rest of the team. This earns him a Death Glare from Molly, and the issue is not brought up again.
  • Wham Episode: Quite a few, especially towards the end of each long arc.
    • Volume 1, issue 6: There's a mole within the team.
    • Volume 1, issue 13: The Pride's true motivations are revealed: their serving three gigantic monsters, possibly fallen angels, known as the Gibborim that want to extingish all life on earth, leaving only the six runaways, originally the six members of the pride the Gibborim favored the most before a pregnancy led to a change of plans, to inherit the earth.
    • Volume 1, issue 16: Alex is revealed to be the Mole, right after gaining possession of the Fistagons, Chase's goggles, the staff of one, and Old Lace.
    • Volume 1, issue 17: Alex reveals he found out not only what his parents were doing a year ago, but that the Deans and Hayes planned on betraying the rest of the Pride, and that he manipulated the team into finding their various equipment and/or ablities. Alex is then quickly dispatched and Molly destroys the vessel for the rite of thunder, leading to the Gibborim destroying the Pride and Alex.
    • Volume 2, issue 5 Victor's "father" is revealed to be Ultron, not Doom as the previous issue suggested, who promptly takes control of him.
    • To a lesser extent Issue 6 revealing Ultron's plans for Victor, that his love for supeheroes was imbedded in him so that he'd become a hero/sleeper agent when he grew up and then slaughter them, as seen in the Bad Future, when a trigger is activated. Also Rick Jones was the one funding excelsior
    • Volume 2, issue 12 The mysterious figures plotting against the Runaways reveal one of the team will die.
    • Volume 2, issue 18 Gert is Killed Off for Real
    • Volume 2, issue 27 The mysterious individuals running the Sinners are the Yorkes.
  • White Gang-Bangers: Parodied in Teenage Wasteland - Nico complains that the group's disguises make them look the sort of politically correct gang that only shows up in bad TV shows.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
    • Much like the original Marvel teen hero, a majority of the series revolves around them encountering B-villains and having teamups. Many of Marvel's most popular heroes have made cameos in the series, most of whom have some idea about what is best for the teens. When Wolverine himself made an appearance it was only a brief one, but was lampshaded by Iron Man (Who was also cameoing) who commented that it was the third time this week the two had run into each other. Soon afterwards, Wolverinewas beaten up and thrown through a church door by Molly after a series of comic misunderstandings and a request to be allowed to touch his hair (Hey, Molly might be smarter than she looks, but she is still a kid, and he is Wolverine. You would want to touch his hair, too).
    • The cover of Vol 2. #15 features Ultron, and he does appear...in a nightmare Victor was having. Strangely enough, in the issues in which he does appear don't feature him in any cover.
  • The Worf Effect: Any heavy hitter facing Molly Hayes gets this. She one-punched the Punisher once and Wolverine twice.
  • Worst Aid: Analyzed and played straight. When it looks like Chase is dead from being held under the water, the other kids all throw out different suggestions to bring him back to life, ranging from sucking the water out to the heimlich maneuver. They do use CPR, but none of them can remember how many compressions to give him. It does cross over into CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable territory when it brings him back fully even though his heart had been stopped for several minutes.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Gert has purple hair. She dyes it.
  • You Have Failed Me: Lieutenant Flores in the first volume's last arc, after an unsanctioned attempt to bring in the kids nearly gets them killed and destroys the first Hostel. Alex's dad is waiting for him when the cops get him out of the rubble, and is not happy.
  • You Watch Too Much X: When the team discovers Karolina's powers, Alex suggests that her Med-Alert bracelet is made of something that inhibits them. He gets halfway through the word "Kryptonite" before Chase cuts him off. "You've been watching too many WB shows, bro."
  • Your Vampires Suck: Ironically aimed at Joss Whedon, who later ended up writing for the book.
    The 2017 Series 
  • Adoptive Peer Parent: After Molly ran away from her grandmother's home, Chase and Nico end up being these for her thanks to a magic spell from Nico's Staff of One.
  • Almost Kiss: In Issue #5, between Nico and Karolina, until the latter pulls away since she has a girlfriend already.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: How Dr. Hayes describes the Pride.
    Dr. Hayes: I begged my Alice and Gene to walk away from the Pride. I know they were trouble—thieves, magicians. Actors.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Issue 12 has two — the first between Victor and Gert among a flock of glowing butterflies., followed by an epic kiss between Nico and Karolina following a fancy party.
  • Blunt "Yes": Molly asks Nico and Chase to be her legal guardians, so that she can go to school. Chase thinks that they can try it, and Nico snarks that "Right, we'll just magically become Molly's legal guardians". Chase thinks that it's a great idea, she can use the Staff and do it!
  • Cosmic Retcon: A minor one. Chase changes history so that instead of the Runaways burying Gert, they never found her body. Nico's memories have specifically changed to reflect this.
  • Criminal Amnesiac: Victor's programming as Victorious initiates when Chase tries to reboot him.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Issue #4 seems to suggest that Chase actually does have super powers when Gert is talking to Molly's grandmother, but the latter is cut off elsewhere.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Julie can't handle the emotional distance of Karolina when she starts running with the Runaways again, on top of that she accidentally eats Abigail's eternal youth cupcake, which de-ages her to 13 years old and makes her just as emotional as she was at that age so she spends the whole time sniping at everyone until she is turned back to normal. At the end of it she and Karolina are broken up.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Molly's grandmother.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Julie narrowly escapes being permanently stuck as a 13-year-old, which promo materials outright called a fate worse than death.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended:
    • At the start of the series, both the Runaways and A-Force have been broken apart.
    • Issue 2 has Nico explaining to Gert how the Runaways split. Much of it long-time fans already knew (Xavin leaving Earth, Victor joining the Avengers, Murderworld and going undercover), but we also find out what happened to the rest of the kids: Nico decided not to come back to the group after the events of Undercover and went off on her own, eventually joining A-Force. Klara got taken by the State, Molly's grandmother took her in, and then Karolina decided to leave, making Chase the only one left.
  • Finger in the Mail: Tony Stark sent Chase Victor's head in the mail.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: A mild case for Gert. Time hasn't changed too much, but her friends have in the span of two years. For instance, she refers to Victor as "the only boy Nico hasn't kissed". Turns out, Nico and Victor did kiss, shortly after Gert died.
  • Fountain of Youth: Abbie gave Molly a magic cupcake that could stop her from aging, but Julie Power accidentally ate it, instead, and it de-aged her.
  • Grand Staircase Entrance: Nico gets one in issue #12 before she and Karolina head out together. Karolina is stunned.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Nico isn't very happy anytime Karolina mentions her girlfriend, Julie Power. And that's even before Julie herself comes to visit Karolina and, by extension, the rest of the team.
    • Abbie's origins involve an almost-literal green-eyed monster - The Enchantress, who was at the time sulking about Thor rejecting her advances.
  • Happily Adopted: Klara has been adopted by her new foster parents.
  • The Heart: Lampshaded. Gert cannot, for the life of her, understand as to why the group fell apart after her death, stating that she was the appendix of the group. Both Nico and Chase correct her - Chase is the appendix, not her.
  • High School Rocks: Molly just loves going to school.
  • I Choose to Stay: Klara chooses to remain with her new foster parents rather than live with the Runaways again.
  • Imagine Spot: When Gert mentions Putting the Band Back Together, Old Lace imagines the group forming an actual band, with her at the drums.
  • Inconvenient Summons: In a desperate bid to heal Gert, Nico summons a doctor who happened to be brushing her teeth at that exact moment.
  • Implicit Prison: In Issue #14, the Seed give the Runaways a week to procure a sacrifice for them, and leave one of their members, Gib, to make sure that the kids don't renege on the agreement, effectively putting them under house arrest.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Chase says that "everything fell apart" when Gert died. Many fans consider Gert's death the moment the series jumped the shark.
  • Morality Chain: How Nico saw the others. She's afraid of going bad, so she was hoping that all of them would keep her on the straight and narrow.
  • Never Found the Body: Chase traveled back in time and compelled Old Lace to drag his past self out of the observatory, enabling him to take Gert into the future just before she died. As a consequence, the team never found Gert's body in the new continuity, and thus never buried her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Nico's decision to leave the team after her experiences in Murderworld led to child services moving in and taking away Molly and Klara, which in turn caused Karolina to leave.
  • Older Than They Look: Abigail stopped physically aging when she was thirteen... way back in 1969.
  • Opt Out: In Issue #3, Karolina opts out of rejoining the group since she's established a life elsewhere.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: When the doctor is teleported back to her house, she thinks that it was all just a weird dream... and notices that she's still wearing the x-ray glasses.
  • Ouija Board: In the first issue, Nico summons a ouija board to try and figure out if they need to bring Gert to a hospital.
  • Psychic Powers: Molly's grandmother gave her cats and her children psychic powers.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The first arc, with Gert driving it. The trope is name dropped quite a few times in issue #3.
  • Refusal of the Call: Karolina rejects abandoning her new life and rejoin the group. Though it's implied she felt really bad about it. This turns into a Changed My Mind, Kid when the entire team is gathered to rescue Gert and Molly from Molly's grandmother, though it's worth noting that she still maintains her residence at her college.
  • Sequel Series: The series is set 2 years after Gert's death in Volume 2.
  • Spoiler Opening: Gert comes Back from the Dead (thanks to Chase's time traveling) in the first issue.
  • Survival Mantra: Karolina has one, taught by her therapist, which she seems to chant quite often.
    Karolina: I'm a good person. I'm my own person. My parents' decisions don't define me. I forgive myself for the mistakes I made when I was too young to know any better. I deserve to be happy.
  • Temporal Paradox: Nico warned Chase against going to save Gert through time-travel because of this. Chase retorts that she only died because of the various other time travelers involved, from her own parents to Alex's.
  • They Do: Nico and Karolina finally become a couple in in issue 12.
  • Time Travel Escape:
    • How the first issue starts. Chase went back in time to try to stop Geoffrey Wilder from killing Gert, but he was too slow and got there just as she got stabbed. So he had Old Lace drag his past self out of the building, and brought her in that condition to Nico in the future to heal her.
    • Gert tells Chase to do the same with Victor, but as Chase points out, unlike Gert, Chase has no idea when, where or how Victor was reduced to a head.
  • Trigger: Double dose for Victor; first he has to shout at Chase to get some vibranium, which caused an addiction that directly lead to his death, away from him, then he breaks down crying when Doombot puts him in a highly weaponized robot body, since it reminds him of his greatest fear of being a Manchurian Agent for Ultron to kill all superheros.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • While the events of Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover are still in continuity, Nico's left arm appears to have been restored. Chase pointedly asks her about this, but Nico refuses to explain.
    • Despite undergoing extremely crude surgery in the first issue, Gert is mobile again by the third issue.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Gert brings her Deinonychus to a college campus, and the biggest reaction they get are a few raised eyebrows, and some particularly dense student mistaking her for a dog.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Nico never explicitly reciprocated Karolina's feelings for her in prior series, but is now implied to be in love with the latter. Problem is, Karolina is now dating Julie Power.
  • Unwanted Revival: Victor is livid that Chase reactivated him, as he felt that he had deserved to die.
  • Voodoo Shark: In Issue #2, it's stated that it's only been two years since Gert's death, but given how many major Marvel events the Runaways have been involved with in the decade since Vaughan left the series, this raises some serious questions about just how chaotic the Marvel Universe truly is.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Chase is convinced they can rebuild Victor. Gert is much less optimistic, and thinks they should give him a proper burial already.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Issue #3 has Chase tampering with Victor's head, causing it to reboot into Victorious.
    • Issue #12 has Victor and Gert become a couple along with Nico and Karolina, but then Alex Wilder shows up at the end.
  • Wham Line: Well, more like Wham Code Line, near the end of Issue #3:
    Execute <"Victorious">
  • Wham Shot: The final panel of Issue 12. Alex, who betrayed the team back in the first volume, is back.
  • A Wizard Did It: Molly loves school, but being a runaway, she can't go to school because they would take her to foster care. But there's a solution: let Chase and Nico be her legal guardians! The paperwork and bureaucracy are not needed: just take the Staff, say "Legal adoption", and that's it.
  • Womanchild: Abigail is at least four decades old. But since she stopped aging when she was 13 years old, she always acts like that age.
  • Writer on Board: Rainbow Rowell has made no secret of her preference for the original run and distaste for subsequent runs. One of the most poignant examples is Klara Prast being taken into foster care and adamantly refuses go with the team when they try to pick her up, because she's finally found a place where she can live a happy life. The team's heartbroken, especially poor Molly, but they accept her wishes and leave her be.


Top