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Comic Book / Runaways

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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."

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.

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.

Brian K. Vaughn made Runaways to break away from many of the normal superhero conventions. 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 Catchphrases, 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). And though the lineup has changed, there have always been at least twice as many women as men.

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 was relaunched under the penmanship of young adult author Rainbow Rowell. See Runaways (Rainbow Rowell) for details on the new series.

Appearances in media

Comic Books
  • Runaways: Their main title.
  • Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways: A crossover with the Young Avengers in which they team up against a brainwashed Noh-Varr.
  • Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers: Another crossover with the Young Avengers in which Xavin's old mentor is sent to kill Hulkling.
  • Avengers Academy and Avengers Arena: Co-starring Chase and Nico, with appearances by Molly and Karolina.
  • Avengers A.I.: Co-starring Victor Mancha, who joins the team created by Hank Pym to take down rogue A.I.s.
  • The Vision (2015): Victor Mancha, technically the Vision's brother, appears in the story with a mission from the Avengers.
  • A-Force: Co-starring Nico.

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, and Karolina followed two years later.
  • Avengers Academy: Nico was introduced in a magic-themed event. Karolina, Molly and Old Lace were later added in the 2018 Runaways Event.
  • Midnight Suns: Nico is one of the Midnight Suns, helps resurrect the Hunter, is one of the first characters you recruit to your team, plays a major role in the game's plot, and is the first character to hang out socially with The Hunter.

Runaways provides examples of:

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    In General 
  • 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.
  • 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!!"
  • Alternate History: The Yorkes visit them. Artifacts from them, such as Samurai battle axes for example, make Mrs. Yorkes 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.)
  • 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.
  • Appetite Equals Health: Towards the end of the last arc, Klara is seen eating and drinking, showing that she is recovering from the various injuries and ailments that she suffered in the previous two issues. Of course, not long afterwards, she ends up vomiting it all up after developing motion sickness while riding around in the Leapfrog. Poor girl can't catch a break!
  • Appeal to Obscurity: Chase tells Nico that for New Yorkers, seeing a superhero is the same as someone from Los Angeles seeing Steve Guttenberg.
    Nico: Who's Steve Guttenberg?
    Chase: Exactly.
  • 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 Lampshade 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.
  • Baffled by Own Biology: Karolina is a Majesdanian, an alien who absorbs sunlight. Being the only member of her kind left on Earth (her parents died just after she discovered what she is), she has only a rudimentary understanding of how her powers actually work. This becomes a problem for her in the revival series, when a light-absorbing villain drains all of the solar energy her body had been storing up for years. As neither she nor any of her friends know how to cure her, she's forced to call up her former enemies the Light Brigade for help, because they're the only people she knows who might know how to restore her powers.
  • Bald of Authority: Knight Templar example - Geoffrey Wilder fits the description to a T and is the defacto 'leader' of the Pride.
  • 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...yet.
  • Betrayal Insurance: Nico 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 "NO!": Played entirely straight on numerous occasions, but also probably the only instance of a robot shouting "NOOOOO10100101!" upon defeat.
  • Breakout Character: Nico, who would appear with Chase in Avengers Arena, and join A-Force.
  • Buffy Speak: Tons of it, especially when Whedon is writing. Not surprising, when Vaghun was a big fan of the Trope Namer, and Whedon is the creator of said namer.
  • Character-Driven Strategy:
    • Alex is first seen playing an MMORPG. He's shown to be a brilliant strategist who struggles when other players don't take the game as seriously as he does. This ends up foreshadowing a major plot twist: he dies after betraying the team, because he fails to anticipate that his teammates would all stick together rather than any of them breaking off and joining him to save themselves.
    • Victor is a skilled player, but constantly follows the rules, even when it's to his detriment, reflecting his straight-laced, Nice Guy personality.
    • Molly makes up new rules whenever it suits her, reflecting her stubborn and willful personality, but also her capacity for creative thinking.
    • Xavin constantly loses, either because they insist on playing a game despite not knowing the rules or because they refuse to take risks, reflecting how out of place they feel on Earth.
    • Klara, normally the shyest and most reserved member of the team, is a ruthless and shameless cheat when it comes to games, because they are one of the few times when she doesn't feel the need to be nice and polite and agreeable.
  • The Chessmaster: Alex Wilder. His mother mentions early on that Alex is a prodigy when it comes to logic and strategy, and Alex proves the truth of those words when he reveals that he was mapulating his friends from the beginning, all so he and his parents could kill off the rest of the Pride and live forever in Paradise. Turns out he gets it from his dad. We discover this when a time-displaced Geoffery Wilder manipulates Alex's old online friends into forming a new Pride.
  • Closet Gay: Karolina harbored an obvious crush on Nico Minoru, but remained in the closet until Volume 2. Nico herself would not admit that she returned Karolina's affections until the fifth series, over a decade later in real life (and two years later in-universe.)
  • Code Name: Subverted; they made them up, but hardly ever use them (though Molly is still fond of "Princess Powerful").
  • Competence Zone: Anyone over a certain age is useless, even super heroes. Spider-Man managed to get a cool big brother spot, though, and Cloak and 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.
  • Cop Hater: The team is generally anti-cop, because the cops used to be on the payroll of the Pride. Later members Victor, Xavin, and Klara aren't too fond of cops, either, since Victor and Xavin were tortured at the hands of S.H.I.E.L.D. during Civil War and Klara hails from a time when the cops harassed immigrants like her with impunity.
  • 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.
  • Cute Bruiser: Molly is the Cute Bruiser, in that her code name is "Bruiser" and she is adorable.
  • 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 her 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 A.I.: Where Victor is recruited to join the team by his "brother", the Vision, and "grandfather", Hank Pym.
      • Cloak and Dagger: The titular heroes mistake The Runaways for criminals.
      • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone gets snarky lines, especially with Joss Whedon writing them. Mostly Gert, though. She gets the most.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Irony: There's plenty of examples of this throughout the series.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Five-Token Band: The original team was comprised of Alex (black male), Nico (bisexual 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.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Old Lace, a big threatening dinosaur with the same name of a delicate fabric.
  • Flying Firepower: Karolina has this power set, and eventually expands to force fields too.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Gender Nonconforming Equals Gay: Played with. Rumors circulated among the fans that one of the characters would turn out to be gay, and a significant number of fans figured that it would be Gert, as she was overweight, had dyed purple hair, dressed tomboyishly, and seemed disinterested in sex. It later turned out that the lesbian was Karolina, the team's most conventionally pretty and feminine member, and Gert ended up being the team's only explicitly heterosexual girl. Ironically, for the TV adaptation, Gert was played by Ariela Barer, who is a lesbian in real life.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Human Aliens: Majesdanians in their powered-down form look just like humans. Powered up, they look like humans in a particularly overlit nightclub.
    • Human Alien Discovery: Karolina is the daughter of aliens from Majesdane, a fact that she only learns after finding out that they are murderers.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: Majesdanians. On the surface they look like normal humans, but their bodies apparently store and then expel solar energy.
  • 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 (such as the treatment of robots). Both are good people despite their flaws.
  • Kiddie Kid: Molly acts younger than her true age, intentionally, because it gets her attention and makes her feel loved. Plus, it gets adults to underestimate her. Which is useful, because if the emphasis is on the "cute" in Cute Bruiser, then people aren't expecting it when the cute little girl tosses them across the block (just ask Wolverine). This did lead to a brief storyline in one run where she wonders if she's doomed herself to always be seen as this by the rest of the group, however, and contemplates whether she should take a friend's Fountain of Youth offer.
  • The Kid with the Remote Control: Gert has telepathic control over Old Lace, a dinosaur.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Obfuscating Disability: In an issue of Runaways, a hostage shouts, "Don't shoot me! I have diabetes!"
  • 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.
  • 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: A major reason why the Runaways are so dysfunctional is because they are an entire team of only children who were forced to become a single family unit when their various families died, and thus they all carry different neuroses that clash with each other.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Previously Overlooked Paramour: Karolina very obviously has a crush on Nico from the very first issue of the series, but Nico remains oblivious until about a quarter of the way through the second series. Alas, by the time she realizes her own feelings for Karolina, Karolina is engaged. They finally become a couple in Runaways (Rainbow Rowell), over a decade later.
  • 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.
  • Rejecting the Inheritance: The Runaways have mostly renounced whatever they inherited from their wealthy parents, as their parents were all supervillains and thus much of their fortunes came from criminal activities. They do hold on to a few of their parents' old homes, though, and Karolina has reluctantly accepted royalties from her parents' old movies and TV shows, which she has used to pay for college and an apartment and to keep her parents' old charity afloat.
  • The Reveal: 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).
  • 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.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: After running away, the kids adopted each other as a new family.
  • Semantic Superpower: 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.
  • Sex for Solace: Nico has a self-admitted tendency to throw herself at the nearest person 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:
    • 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."
    • Molly's affection for Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.
    • At one point in Volume 2, Issue 6 Nico shouts, "Shine on you crazy diamond!"
    • Gert's codename and her dinosaur's name.
    • 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 (1984).
    • 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.
  • Sixth Ranger: After the first volume, the gang adds quite a few new faces to the crew: Victor, Xavin and Klara.
  • 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.
  • Steampunk: The Yorkes are rife with it, at least as far as their technology is concerned.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: A mad scientist named Victor Stein.
  • Supervillain Lair: Multiple Pride lairs have been re-purposed as "Hostels" after the original was destroyed.
  • 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.
  • 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: Gert's parents are time travling criminals.
  • Time Traveler's Dinosaur: Gert Yorkes, the daughter of a pair of time-traveling criminals, has a pet Deinonychus. Surprisingly, Old Lace is not actually from the prehistoric past; she's a genetically-engineered pet from the future.
  • 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.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: None of the kids ever seems to wear the same outfit twice.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: By the frogload.
    Gert: Sexual tension. Gross.
  • Vacation Crossover: The second crossover between Runaways and Young Avengers begins with the Runaways taking a rare trip to New York and getting stuck in the middle of Secret Invasion. After seeing their fellow Skrulls searching for a supposed "false prince", Xavin quickly deduces that they're looking for Hulkling (the half-Skrull son of a princess) and thus ditches their team in order to find and protect him, forcing the other Runaways to go bail Xavin out.
  • 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.
  • Vehicle-Based Characterization: The Leapfrog is a boxy, awkwardly-moving prototype vehicle with a number of neat features that tend to fail or drain the battery if used for more than a few minutes, with the only consistently-functional device being its cloaking system. This is a good reflection on the Runaways themselves, who all have neat but unreliable powers and are best off avoiding fights.
  • 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 dependent on mortals bringing them sacrifices just to sustain themselves. And a direct hit from one of their fire blasts (which disintegrated 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.
  • 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, Wolverine was 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 Worf Effect: Any heavy hitter facing Molly Hayes gets this. She one-punched the Punisher once and Wolverine twice.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Ironically aimed at Joss Whedon, who later ended up writing for the book.

    Volume 1 
  • 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.
  • Abuse Discretion Shot: The first panel with Chase Stein in it is the one where he's getting punched in the face by his father, but this is the last time we actually see him being abused. Similarly, when Klara, another abuse survivor joins the team, we only see her abuser in a single panel, with the artist preferring to show her ordeal via the ever-growing collection of bruises on her face when she talks to Karolina and Molly.
  • 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.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Karolina when the first Hostel is attacked by the LAPD.
  • Arranged Friendship: The kids originally only tolerated each other because their parents were all ostensibly old friends who insisted on all the families gathering together once a year (as a cover for the parents performing an annual blood sacrifice for wealth and power).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: The Gibborim, who set the Pride's plan into motion in order to return to power.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: It's complicated. The Pride are made to appear like a Big Bad Duumvirate, but two of the couples, the Deans and the Hayes family, were planing to betray the others. However, it's revealed that Alex knew of the plan, and manipulated the kids to run away in order to stop it. 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!": 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.
  • Black Republican: All three of the minority couples (Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder, Tina and Robert Minoru, and Dale and Stacey Yorkes) in the Pride were conservatives... because they were all hypocrites, preaching a "pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps" ethos when all three couples gained their wealth and power through a deal with the Gibborim.
  • 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.
  • The Chessmaster: Alex Wilder. His mother mentions early on that Alex is a prodigy when it comes to logic and strategy, and Alex proves the truth of those words when he reveals that he was mapulating his friends from the beginning, all so he and his parents could kill off the rest of the Pride and live forever in Paradise.
  • Children Are Innocent: Played with. The kids had no idea of their parent's activities, but were understandably left fairly bitter by the aftermath.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Defector from Decadence: The kids after finding out that their comfortable lives are based on murder and a plan to destroy the world.
  • Ditto Aliens: Mrs. Dean makes a comment about how all the Skrulls look alike to her.
  • Dr. Fakenstein: Chase's parents, Victor and Janet Stein, are a pair of Mad Scientists.
  • 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.
  • The Elites Jump Ship: The master plan and major plot driven by The Pride. They plan to destroy the world on behalf of a trio of fallen angels, all while ensuring that their own children get to live in the paradise that the angels promised to build in the ruins.
  • 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.
  • Family-Values Villain: While their styles of parenting range from hands off to strict/abusive, the supervillain parents 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.
  • 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.
  • Frame-Up: One of the opening salvos between The Pride and The Runaways is to frame them for all their murders.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hellish L.A.: Los Angeles is the squatting ground for the Gibborim, a trio of fallen angels who intend to wipe out all of humanity. To this end, they installed the Pride, a cult-like criminal organization that performs human sacrifices in exchange for being given the resources to corrupt every significant organization in the city. Even after the Pride are defeated, the city is still a mess, crawling with supervillains and the odd supernatural monster.
  • Horror Hippies: Frank and Leslie Dean initially look like a pair of friendly aging hippies, but are in fact a pair of alien criminals who also happen to be members of the Pride, a combination between a doomsday cult and an organized crime syndicate.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't: Played seriously with Karolina's blood killing Topher in volume one, because she had no idea it would happen and honestly wanted to die.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Mole:
    • A 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.
    • 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.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction: This exchange from #1:
    Molly: Can I ask you a question about girl stuff?
    Gert: Under no circumstances.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: The eponymous characters are a team of Heroes With Bad Publicity, whereas their parents were villains with good publicity.
  • 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.
  • Mad Scientist: The Steins are evil geniuses who built several gadgets.
  • Magic Is Feminine: In the team's first iteration, the only members with powers were Nico (who fought with her family's magical Staff of One), Karolina (who inherited light-based alien powers), and Molly (who had mutant Super-Strength). The other female character, Gert, had a psychic dinosaur, while the two male characters, Chase and Alex, were much more mundane.
  • Mon: Old Lace is an empathically bonded velociraptor genetically engineered from the 87nd century for Gert. She's at her beck and call.
  • Money Dumb: The Runaways, being teenagers who grew up in wealthy families, are terrible at saving money. The only reason they're still afloat is because Karolina still receives royalties from her parents' old movies.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Disease: In the short story "It's Not Lupus", Molly suddenly falls violently ill, and Nico's initial theory is that she caught some sort of old disease from Klara, who hails from the 19th century and thus is unvaccinated. Except that then Chase falls ill, too, despite Nico putting Molly and Klara in quarantine. The actual culprit is Nico herself, who accidentally cast a spell on Molly and Chase after losing her temper.
  • 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".
  • Opposites Attract: Gert and Chase, a nerd and a jock.
  • 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'.
  • Petty Childhood Grudge: Gert Yorkes decided that her parents were irredeemably evil after they got rid of her Vietnamese pot-bellied pig when she was a child. Ironically, they turned out to be actual supervillains.
  • Profanity Police: Issue #1 has Alex Wilder playing an online game about the Hulk, Daredevil and other famous heroes. Playing as Captain America, Alex breaks character to voice his displeasure with the campaign, saying that it's "totally retarded."
    Other player: And just so you know, it's not cool to use "retarded" in a pejorative manner.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: This is invoked when Karolina is threatened at the climax of Volume 1.
  • 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.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Gert with Chase in the first volume. When they get together, it's much warmer.
  • Symbol Swearing: Most notably used by Chase at the penultimate issue of the original series, and by Karolina in the climactic 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!
  • Villainous Parental Instinct: The Pride were initially prepared to sacrifice all life on Earth to the Gibborim for twenty-plus years of obscene riches and power. When they started having kids, however, their modus operandi changed; instead of serving the Gibborim for their own ends, they continued to serve them in order to insure that their kids would be spared when the Gibborim carried out their plan to remake the world.
  • Virtuous Vegetarianism: Zigzagged. Karolina alludes to this trope when she points out her parents can't be evil because they're vegetarian...but they really are both vegetarian and evil. However, Karolina is a straight example as she's also vegetarian, and she's very much The Heart of the team.
  • 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.
  • Wham Episode:
    • 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 abilities. Alex is then quickly dispatched and Molly destroys the vessel for the rite of thunder, leading to the Gibborim destroying the Pride and Alex.
  • White Gangbangers: 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.
  • "With Our Swords" Scene: Given a clever twist when the character who receives the main character's equipment and powers reveals that they've been the mole all along, and deliberately orchestrated the scenario to play out this way.
  • 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 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."

    Volume 2 
  • Actually a Doombot: Played with. We're set up to think that Doctor 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.
  • Adopting the Abused: the team ended up in New York City in 1907, where they intervened in a fire that would have killed an entire factory full of child laborers. Upon finding out that one of the children they saved, Klara, had an abusive home life, Karolina and Molly decided to make a special project of rescuing her, eventually convincing the others to take Klara with them when they returned to the present.
  • Age-Down Romance: In "Dead-End Kids," a series of circumstances cause the team to be sent back in time to 1907, where Victor falls in love with a local girl, Lillie. It's ultimately revealed that the whole sequence of events was set in motion by Lillie's older self, who remembered Victor as the love of her life and thus hoped that he would be convinced to bring her younger self into the present.
  • Alternate Personality Punishment: The second series opens with the Runaways hunting down Victor Mancha because his alternate-future self killed an alternate-future version of Gert. Thankfully, they soon realized how unfair this was and decided to conscript him to their team instead.
  • 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.
  • Arranged Marriage: Xavin and Karolina had one set up by their parents.
  • Artistic License – History: Klara's origins as a factory worker in the 1900's who escaped a factory fire is obviously inspired by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which happened in 1911, four years after the Runaways went back in time. Of course, Comic-Book Time being what it is, the year they went back might now be 1911 rather than 1907.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bigot with a Badge: When the heroes went back in time to 1900's New York City, they encountered a lot of bigoted cops, including the proto-superheroes Daystick and Nightstick, whose sole line in the series is hurling racist abuse at Japanese-American Nico. (Nightstick is shown being torn apart by a werewolf later.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Victor does this on two accounts. The first is the Spanish swearing he manages to sneak in. 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.
  • Bluff Worked Too Well: Early in Volume 2, Nico and Chase con a low-level MGH dealer named Pusher-Man into believing that the Pride is planning to expand to New York in order to dissuade him and his bodyguard from killing them for poking around in his business. In the last arc of Volume 2, this comes back to bite them in the ass when they're summoned to dinner with The Kingpin, who informs them that because of their bluff, Pusher-Man tried to deny Kingpin his cut of his profits, and Kingpin killed him.
  • Bound and Gagged: Chase uses Nico's own staff to tie her to a chair with chains, then later tries to silence her with a "Be quiet!" spell. It only sort of works — Nico can still talk, just not above a whisper.
  • Civil War vs. Armageddon: In the "Dead-End Kids" arc, New York City is embroiled in a gang war between the xenophobic Upward Path and outright criminal Sinners. Meanwhile, a precursor to The Pride intends to wipe out the whole city in order to kill off the Runaways.
  • 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.
  • Coax Them Out of the Closet: Played with in one arc, where openly-gay Karolina becomes concerned about the welfare of a young "Wonder" named Klara, because she realizes that Klara is like her... because Klara has emotion-based powers, like Karolina does, and she and Molly try and get Klara to open up about these powers.
  • 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.
  • 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 [[spoiler:she gets kidnapped by one of her parents' surviving victims.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Molly has an issue revolve around her and some kidnapped children.
  • 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?")
  • Dr. Fakenstein: Victor is named directly after Victor Frankenstein.
  • Dramatic Irony: When Excelsior was discussing the titular team; they assumed that, since his parents were scientists, Chase was the brains behind the group.
  • Early Personality Signs: Played for Laughs where Molly cheerfully reminisces about the time she beat Alex at a board game and he threatened to throw her down a well. She notes that this is a way less funny story since Alex nearly killed them all for messing with his plans.
  • Evil Learns of Outside Context: In the "Dead End Kids" arc, the team gets stranded in 1900's New York, where they are some of the most powerful and technologically-advanced people available. This aggravates things between the two super-powered gangs that are already there, sparking them to a war.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Horrible Housing: At one point, after getting driven out of California, the team ended up being so hard-up for living quarters that they stayed in an actual tenement in 1900's New York City (it's a long story.) They had one room for all six of them, and had to put of a bedsheet to separate the boys and girls.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Implied Rape: Klara was a child bride before the Runaways rescued her, having been subjected to "marital duties". Even Molly, the youngest of the group, quickly figures out what that means.
  • Just a Machine: Xavin initially acted dismissive towards Victor, because they viewed him as merely a robot. Justified due to Skrull attitudes.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The first thing we see in issue #10 is Wolverine, and Iron Man commenting:
    Iron Man: A Wolverine appearance? How novel.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Chase goes off the deep end after Gert dies. He gets better.
  • Miko: The costume of the Witchbreaker, who is Nico's great grandmother is based on that of the miko.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Discussed, while Karolina is mourning Gert 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.
  • More Diverse Sequel: The original series had only two main characters of color, Japanese-American Nico and African-American Alex, and by the end, Nico was the sole person of color left in the cast. The second series added Latino Victor Mancha and genderfluid Xavin, and confirmed Karolina as a lesbian, creating one of the few mainstream superhero teams that wasn't dominated by white male characters (of which only Chase fit).
  • Moving Beyond Bereavement: The last two arcs involve the team learning to move on from the death of their teammate Gert.
  • 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.
  • Nuns Are Spooky: Black Maria, a nun-like superheroine from the time travel storyline.
  • 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.
  • Secretly Gay Activity: During the "Dead Wrong" arc, Molly and Klara have a picnic together, and Klara at one point can be seen watching dreamily as Molly plays on the grass. Note also that at the time, the entire team was under a spell that rendered them mentally incapable of tolerating each other's presence for more than a few minutes unless another emotion interfered with the spell (like Karolina and Xavin's love for each other or Victor's unresolved feelings for Nico...)
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: Molly dodges this the second time the team face the Gibborim. "Put her down..and not, like, down your throat."
  • Unions Suck: Played with in the "Dead-End Kids" arc, in which the Runaways are sent back in time to the 1900's and Victor gets involved in a labor strike. On the one hand, the unions have criminal ties and aren't afraid to throw punches, but on the other hand, the cops and the industrialists are far worse, with the cops being xenophobes who enjoy beating up immigrants and the industrialists allowing their own workers to die in unsafe conditions to save money.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wham Episode:
    • 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 superheroes 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.
  • Wing Shield: Tristan survives a massive non-nuclear explosion thanks to the large metal wings affixed to his back.
  • Wolverine Publicity: The cover of Vol 2. #15 features Ultron, and he does a nightmare Victor was having. Strangely enough, the issues in which he does appear don't feature him on any cover.

    Volume 3 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Dance of Despair: In the "Homeschooling" arc, Karolina and Chase share a slow dance, depressed over the recent losses of their respective partners.
  • 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.
  • Energetic and Soft-Spoken Duo: The third volume paired Motor Mouth Molly with Shrinking Violet Klara.
  • 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.
  • Improvised Imprisonment: Chase's uncle suddenly shows up at the Runaways' house after it's been crushed beneath vines. Since the Runaways as a policy don't trust any adults related to them, they decide to hold him captive while deciding what to do with him, but since there isn't anywhere they can hold him, their makeshift solution is to force him to sit down while Molly holds a large rock over his head.
  • 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.
  • Mundane Utility: Nico using powerful ancient magic to renovate a freakin' condo. "Ocean View!" indeed...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: In the first arc of Volume 3, Karolina's being pursued for her parent's crimes).
  • 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.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: 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.

    Volume 4 

    Volume 5 

"TL;DR: Their parents can definitely beat up your parents."

Alternative Title(s): Runaways 2003