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See Rainbow Rowell's Runaways for tropes on the 2017 relaunch by Rainbow Rowell.

    The Old Series 
  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Hoo boy, Vaughan has something against characters wearing glasses. First, there's Victor Stein who looks like a douche right off the bat for abusing Chase, and this was before being revealed to be a supervillain alongside the other parents. Then there's Alex betraying the team and dying minutes later. Next there was Pusher-man, a pimp and drug dealer who initially intended to kill Chase and make a sex-slave out of Nico. Then there was Lotus, an unwitting pawn to Geoffry Wilder, who then later becomes a captive to an angry Chase. Then there was an elderly shopkeeper named Walters who turns into a giant red demon monster smashing up dozens of buildings. The only glasses wearing character who is wholly good is Gert, and she dies!
    • For Whedon, it's the Punisher; it's blatantly clear he utterly dislikes the character, to the point that Frank's characterization borders on Flanderization. Frank might be a ruthless killer of criminals, but Whedon amended that to him having no problem with murdering teenagers (including a twelve year old), under the assumption that they were as bad as their parents.
  • Bizarro Episode:
    • The vampire arc features Nico and Karolina both being seduced by a creepy vampire boy for no other reason than to make fun of the notion of teenage girls fighting vampires. It ends on an uncomfortable note with Karolina begging the vampire to drink her blood, only to accidentally kill the vampire when her blood turns out to be loaded with sunlight, and then none of it is ever mentioned again except for one line in the second series about how "the last boy we recruited tried to eat us."
    • The "Rock Zombies" arc features the kids fighting an army of zombies raised by Chase's evil boss. Out of Character moments abound, the ending is rushed, and aside from one line in the story "Mollifest Destiny", none of the events are mentioned again.
  • Broken Base:
    • The Reveal at the end of Volume 1 that Alex was The Mole and his subsequent death caused a significant number of the series' early fans to denounce it. New fans came along in Volume 2, and it seemed like the fans who had left were just going to leave the rest of the fandom alone... and then Avengers Undercover brought Alex back, reviving the debate.
    • The inclusion of Chase and Nico in Avengers Arena broke the fandom in two. One side hates the idea that their favorite characters were sent to a Battle Royale rip-off and Demoted to Extra for a bunch of new characters. The other side, however, are glad they're in anything at all. Whenever or not they're even written in character in this series had sparked some heated debates as well. That they later appeared in the sequel only made things worse.
    • Runaways (2015) was similarly divisive - many fans are unhappy that the new In Name Only miniseries featured an almost entirely new lineup made up of characters like Bucky and Amadeus Cho, who could have easily supported their own series, with Molly Hayes as the only announced holdover from the original series, while other fans defend the reboot as being perfectly good in its own right.
    • Similar to the above, A-Force, in which Nico is a regular cast member, has also created a schism in the fandom. On the one side are fans who are happy that much-hated magical prosthetic Witch Arm was replaced with a more realistic prosthetic arm and hope that the series will rehabilitate her image after Avengers Undercover. On the other hand, there are many fans who worry that Nico is only being used as a token minority character, and that the other Runaways will simply fade into further obscurity. These fears have not been helped by A-Force starting out with Nico having become separated from the other Runaways.
    • Victor's appearance in The Vision has drawn controversy for its blatant retcon of Victor's history with the Runaways, saying that he developed a secret addiction to vibranium almost immediately after joining the team as a way of coping with the loss of his mother and chronic pain caused by his powers and superhero battles. Defenders insist that it's the kind of story that would fit in BKV's run, had he come up with it, and that Victor couldn't know he even can get addicted to vibranium. Meanwhile detractors argue that it's entirely out of character for Victor and doesn't fit in with previous continuity. Then there are people who claim he's been out of character since BKV left and are open to explaining it with the effect of the addiction.
    • The 2017 series has become a source of contention. On the one hand, many fans are happy that the old team is getting back together and that the first announced arc will involve the return of Gert. On the other hand, the announcement comes on the heels of Victor's death and Alex's relocation to New York City, and several fans have uncovered some extremely unflattering excerpts from Rainbow Rowell's previous works that raise questions about her ability to write minority characters.
  • Contested Sequel: Avengers Arena is theoretically a continuation of the Runaways' adventures after their visit to Avengers Academy, but many fans have complained that Dennis Hopeless' characterization of Chase and Nico in the series only makes sense if one assumes that the events of the post-Vaughan arcs, and the character development that Chase and Nico received therein, never happened.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: It can feel like the team only goes through one dismal loss after another, with little being accomplished. Common for BKV works.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Several. Some like to pretend Runaways ended when Vaughan left, others at the end of Whedon's run, some discontinue everything from the start of Vol. 3 (to the point that there have been instances of people skipping it and calling Battleworld series and 2017 series third and fourth Runaways volumes) and a pretty large part would like to pretend there is no such thing as Avengers Arena.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Pusher Man wears a pimp outfit with cape, pair of huge golden gloves and belt with golden PM initials on it.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Fans of Young Avengers, New X-Men, Avengers Academy And Runaways fans tend to get along quite well. Half of the reason is attributed to friendly relationships formed whenever the Runaways meet any of those three teams, half to a big overlap in the fandoms.
    • Through they didn't meet, recently All-New Ghost Rider and Ms. Marvel joined in.
    • While owned by different companies, Gotham Academy has picked up some Runaways fans, due to sharing several themes. Now that Gotham Academy has ended, they're heading back to Runaways.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The last issue written by Vaughan and drawn by Alphona has entire staff working on the book answering the question of where they think the Runaways will be ten years from now. One of the comments was that at this rate they'll be all dead, except for Molly. It's been over 10 years since then, and it seems the Runaways are often treated as C-List Fodder, considering later events.
    • After possible future supervillain Victor joins the team in the second series, Nico assures Chase that if Victor turns out to be evil, they can always just rip his heart out. Fast forward to The Vision (2015), where Victor has his heart ripped out by his sister-in-law Virginia.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: On the other hand, everybody's jokes about how in ten years Molly or Victor will assemble a new team and the rest of the Runaways will be on some sort of Avengers team have become pretty funny, when in 2013, Victor actually did joined Avengers A.I.. Adrian Alphona even joked that one of the members will be a Security Daemon in search of the meaning of life. Victor's team has Doombot with exactly that motivation.
    • Also, the jokes about adult Molly leading a superhero team, with Craig Yeung even providing her design for Runaways #150 cover, are pretty funny, since a grown-up Molly seemingly did join the X-Men in Battle of the Atom. Swerves back into Harsher in Hindsight once it's revealed that she's not on the future X-Men, she's on the future Brotherhood of Mutants instead.
    • Whedon got it wrong became this after Whedon took over Runaways and Vaughan went on to write Buffy comics.
      • It became even funnier after Buffy alum James Marsters was announced as a member of the Runaways TV cast.
    • When the Runaways look up supervillains who could be Victor's father, they consider Galactus. Four years later we meet Galacta.
    • Nico also considers Electro, saying he doesn't fit the "pure evil" description, but who knows what a guy could do in the next ten years. Since then Electro Took a Level in Badass at least twice.
    • The series starts off with Alex playing an MMORPG starring Marvel characters. Fast forward to 2013...
    • Ultron was sure that the Avengers would ask Victor (who's hispanic) to join them to counter their overall lack of ethnic diversity. One of the main complaints about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is exactly that (as well as lack of female characters)
    • Victor has a nightmare of Ultron brainwashing him and comparing them to Pinocchio and Gepetto. Fast-forward to the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie and Ultron himself is compared to Pinocchio.
  • Ho Yay: Chase and Victor have a few moments:
    Chase: Vic's still got one member of his harem. And this one's got a big honkin' laser.
    • Then there's the time they had a heart-to-heart while Vic was naked...after Chase shrieked about how Victor's nudity was "gratuitous."
    "You're an electric chair with legs! Only, you know, instead of four legs, you've got, uh...three."
    • And the time they danced together.
    You're looking lovely tonight, Queer Eye.
    Hands where I can see em.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Gert, when drawn by anyone other than Adrian Alphona.
  • I Am Not Shazam: "Runaways" was NOT originally the name of the team. During Vaghun's run, the book was called Runaways because they are runaways. The kids themselves did not have an official team name, usually being referred to as either "The Pride's kids" or "Those kids in L.A.," depending on the character. Later writers retconned this into making it their team name.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • A fully Justified Trope in the case of the original series - both the Runaways and the Pride make some very dumb mistakes because they're fighting their family.
    • The plot of "Homeschooling" could have been averted entirely if Victor hadn't decided to hack some stranger's computer. And most of the subsequent drama could have been avoided if the Runaways had kept Chase and Klara separated until one or the other had calmed down. It's even highlighted in the TPB, which has a back-up story where Molly suffers a concussion and the first decision the team makes is to isolate her.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Intentionally or not, Xavin can come across as particularly mean. But, on there very first appearance it's heavily implied that their parents never let them have any friends and then when they get to Earth they face a whole other plethora of issues, including a gender identity crisis, before eventually being hauled of to space jail in the place of their lover. Poor Xavin.
  • One True Threesome:
    • Nico/Karolina/Xavin brings together Nico and K's on-again, off-again tension and Karolina and Xavin's Official Couple status. The closest the actual series gets to this is Xavin offering to shapeshift into Nico for Karolina.
    • Some fans have started to float the idea of Karolina having a three-way relationship with Xavin and Julie Power, her most recent girlfriend.
    • Other go one step futher and put Karolina with all 3 love interests Xavin, Julie Power and Nico
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: The post-Vaughan/Alphona stories have not been as well received.
  • Rainbow Lens:
    • In the original series, Karolina's grappling with the discovery that she is an alien was a not-at-all subtle metaphor for her growing realization that she's a lesbian. The second series decided to stop beating around the bush and had her come out to her friends.
    • Klara's Green Thumb abilities are weak when she is still a self-hating homophobe, and then get exponentially stronger as she learns to value herself and as her Romantic Two-Girl Friendship with Molly develops, with some of her more impressive displays of power occurring when she wants to protect Molly from danger. It's also worth noting that her power usually manifests itself in the form of red roses, which are traditionally a symbol of intense romantic love.
  • The Scrappy: Topher, the vampire from the original miniseries, who is almost universally reviled by the fandom for manipulating Karolina into sacrificing herself, and who only existed because Vaughan knew that Joss Whedon was a fan of the series and wanted to troll him a little by having a vampire nearly kill one of his favorite characters.
  • Seasonal Rot: Pretty much everything after Vaughn left the book.
  • Squick: 12-year-old Klara is married to a middle-aged man when the kids find her. And he abuses her. And when she says that she does not enjoy her "marital duties". At one point, Klara comments that a misogynist idiot holding a radio studio hostage reminds her of her husband. Molly doesn't miss the implications on that one.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Karolina Dean and Xavin. The entire basis for their relationship was that she was a lonely, depressed teenage lesbian, and Xavin was able to assume a female form, and also, they had an Arranged Marriage that had to be consummated or else three different worlds would be destroyed, the result of Karolina's evil parents' machination. Later on, Terry Moore put Xavin on a bus.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: How some people felt about the shuffled lineup compared to the original, specifically having Alex revealed to be evil and dying while Gert ultimately gets killed off. Their places were effectively filled in by Victor and Xavin, who do have a good amount of fans (especially the former), but for those following it since the beginning it was hard to take in.
  • Tough Act to Follow: After Brian K. Vaughan, there was Joss Whedon, whose run is divisive. Terry Moore followed afterwards and started with a Whole Plot Reference to an earlier Young Avengers story to kick off Volume 3. It's like he knew he was doomed following in those footprints.
  • Toy Ship: Molly and Klara are really close to each other and they're nearly inseparable.
  • Values Dissonance: If one accepts that Xavin is genderfluid, Karolina and the others' need to make them take on a definite gender is at best insensitive and at worst oppressive.
  • The Woobie: Just about all of the kids could qualify. A brief summary:
    • Nico grew up in a strict Christian household, only to find out that her parents were secretly dark magicians. To defeat them, she had to take up dark magic herself, and using it requires her to hurt herself regularly. As if this weren't bad enough, her first boyfriend turned out to be working for the Pride. And then he got horribly killed. And then she gets stuck as the leader for a group of traumatized kids, during which time she watches as one of them leaves and another dies, and in a desperate bid to regain a sense of control over her life, she allowed her evil ancestor to torture her in exchange for more power, which cost her the love of her second boyfriend. And then she and Chase got kidnapped by a supervillain and forced to compete in a Battle Royale rip-off, during which she got her arm blown off. And then, while she was trying to put her life back together, she got drafted into A-Force, which led to her getting stuck in the middle of Civil War II and accused of murder.
    • Chase was abused by his parents to the point where he has repressed memories, and he may have accidentally run someone over with his van. With the Runaways, he got a girlfriend, but she was fated to be horribly killed in the future, which led to some strain in their relationship. And then his girlfriend died, sending him into a downward spiral that nearly ended with him being killed by godlike beings. He almost recovered from this, only to lose his beloved pet dinosaur, the only memento he had left of his girlfriend. He eventually got his pet back, but then he got kidnapped and forced to compete in a battle with other superheroes, during which he got stuck with an evil artifact that briefly caused him to go bad.
    • Karolina's movie-star parents never wanted her, and were in fact alien thieves who secretly plotted to sell her into marriage to alien warlords when she came of age. She didn't learn about the whole "sell into marriage" thing until after she realized that she was gay, which was accompanied by her facing a painful rejection from her crush. And then her fiancee showed up, and depressed and bewildered, she agreed to follow her new fiancee back to space, spending months isolated from her friends. The wedding was a disaster, resulting in the destruction of two planets and she had to return to Earth with her fiancee, who seemed to go out of their way to annoy her friends. Things got better for a while, but then her parent's people showed up and accused her of being an accessory to genocide, and to save her life, her fiancee offered themselves to her accusers.
    • Victor was created by Ultron to become a mass-murdering supervillain. Thanks to the Runaways' intervention, he avoided this, but watched as his mother was burned alive in front of him. He developed feelings for Gert, but this brought him into conflict with Chase. They got over this, but then Gert died, and Victor ended up in a relationship with Nico which fell apart when she decided that he was compromising her ability to lead the team. He turned to drugs to cope, which eventually caused him to leave the team and sent him on a downward spiral that culminated in him accidentally murdering his nephew and then being murdered in turn by his sister-in-law.
    • Xavin was forced to become a Child Soldier to fight in a war started by their warlord parents. In a bid to end the war, they travelled to Earth to fulfill an old marriage contract that they thought might encourage their people to sue for peace. But their intended bride, Karolina, was not attracted to their natural form, and they had to adopt a new form to keep the marriage pact from falling apart. The marriage almost succeeded, but last-minute hostilities caused the war to flare up again, and this time Xavin's homeworld was destroyed, forcing them to follow Karolina back to Earth, where they struggled to fit in. And then, just when things were starting to go well, Karolina's people returned, demanding her arrest for her role in the destruction of their world, and to save her, Xavin impersonated her and handed themselves over, knowing that this would mean losing Karolina.
    • Klara was pushed into a marriage with an older, alcoholic man who physically and sexually abused her. She joined the Runaways, but was not really psychologically equipped for dealing with the lifestyle of a fledgling superhero and, combined with her previous trauma, she ended up with PTSD. And the kicker? She's only twelve years old.
    The 2017 Series 
  • Abandon Shipping: The nascent Molly/Abigail ship died a quick death after it was revealed that Abigail is way older than she looks.
  • Broken Base:
    • The series' treatment of the second-generation Runaways has created some controversy:
      • The revelation of Victor's fate post-Vision (reduced to a mere disembodied head in a box) angered a lot of fans who were already pissed off over his previous treatment. On the other hand, the very next issue revealed that Chase intends to rebuild him, which has annoyed some Vision fans because it undermines a major plot point from that series.
      • Klara is revealed to have been sent off to foster care sometime after the events of Avengers Arena. Some fans are fine with this, as it leaves her open to be used elsewhere, while other fans are wondering why the Runaways don't seem to be in any particular hurry to rescue her, given that she's consistently been characterized as the most vulnerable member of the team, and thus the least likely to thrive in the foster care system. Issue #7 made fans a lot angrier with the revelation that Nico could have shielded Klara from foster care but didn't, and with its assertion that Molly "never had a best friend before", suggesting that she and Klara never became close.
      • Xavin's absence has long been a sore spot for fans. Things have grown considerably more contentious in the new series, as it's clear that Rowell favors pairing Karolina with someone else, and Karolina's first appearance in the new series has her repeating a series of affirmations that suggest that she now views her betrothal to Xavin as a mistake, which is a direct contradiction to earlier issues that very clearly express Karolina does love Xavin (for example, how Karolina behaved in the Young Avengers/Runaways Civil War crossover when she thought Xavin was dead). Naturally, those who ship Karolina with Xavin are less than pleased about this, but those who ship Karolina with either Nico or Julie Power are quite happy.
    • The revelation that Nico is "running out" of spells has annoyed a number of her fans, especially after it's been previously established that she can get around the Staff of One's nominal "one spell per effect" limitations by rewording spells. On the other hand, other fans hope that the new limitations will help reverse the blatant Power Creep that Nico has experienced ever since the events of Avengers Arena.
  • Character Shilling: Many believe Gert is getting this treatment, due to the series playing her up as The Heart of the Runaways which many fans believe make far more sense for Chase or Molly to be described, and it doesn't help of the original Runaways she's the easily least popular with many feeling her death was probably the most memorable thing about her.
  • The Chris Carter Effect: This has started to set in with issue #11. With little sign of anything resembling a Big Bad or a Myth Arc on the horizon, a lot of fans are questioning whether Rowell actually has a direction for the series, and with Rowell's persistent claims that the series is always on the verge of cancellation, fans aren't entirely sure that any new arc introduced after this point will get a satisfactory conclusion. This has dissipated somewhat with the introduction of the Seed and confirmation that the series will last beyond 18 issues.
  • Die for Our Ship: There are an alarming number of fans who want Julie Power to die so that Karolina will be free to either be reunited with Xavin or get together with Nico.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Molly's grandma to a degree, as many readers have felt she makes for a much more interesting and sympathetic antagonist and character than the members of the Pride were, due to her deceptive nature and her well-intentioned but ultimately twisted desire to have her family back.
  • Epileptic Trees: Molly's grandmother insists that Chase has powers, despite him never being shown to have any. This has lead to rampant speculation on what exactly Chase is, and what his powers might be, if he has any. Given that Dr. Hayes is a geneticist, this might suggest that he's a mutant or something similar.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In A-Force, Nico seemed to be getting her life back together after the events of Arena. This series reveals a dark side to her personal recovery; in her absence, the team lost custody of Klara and Molly and fell apart, and it's clear that this did a number on Karolina's self-confidence, as she was the one left holding the bag when things collapsed.
    • Klara being condemned to foster care seems like a far less benign fate in light of recent reports about the children of undocumented immigrants being lost in the US foster care system. Downplayed when it's revealed that Klara ended up with a loving family to the point where she doesn't want to abandon them.
  • Idiot Plot: The entire plot of the "Best Friends Forever" arc hinges on Molly being so impossibly stupid that she would not only take an explicitly-enchanted cupcake, but she would then just leave it lying around where anyone could take it.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Gert has genuinely suffered hardships, as her unexpected resurrection has left her watching as most of her friends have grown up, and Chase is now too old to resume their relationship. On the other hand, her method of coping with these changes has been to subconsciously drag her teammates down with her, pushing them to reunite, even though they had little reason to and even though it has cost Molly nearly every friendship she had outside of the Runaways and Karolina her perfectly healthy relationship with Julie.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Nobody believed that Julie would remain de-aged forever.
  • Narm: The characters and narration referring to the events of 2005-2006 Runaways vol.2 to have happened just two years ago. Usually ends with quite few fans making jokes how many disasters and alien invasions happened in Marvel Universe in such a short amount of time.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Abigail. Rowell wanted her to be seen as Molly's first "real" friend. Most fans see her as a creepy, manipulative bully and are baffled that Molly hasn't just told her off.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: There's been a particularly ugly fight brewing between Deanoru shippers and Karolina/Julie shippers, as it is clear that the creative team favors pairing Karolina with Nico. Those who pair Karolina with Julie insist that the relationship between Nico and Karolina seems extremely forced and that the creative team is only pushing it for the sake of synergy with the Hulu series. Deanoru shippers argue that Karolina's relationship with Julie was also forced. Further complicating matters is that Xavolina shippers have gotten involved on both sides, with some siding with Deanoru shippers because they resent Julie for "stealing" Xavin's fiancee, while others side with the Julie fans because they fear that Deanoru becoming canon in the comics means that Xavin will never come back. Comments from the creative team (which is backed up by the official summary of the ninth issue) that Julie will suffer "a fate worse than death" have not helped matters at all.
  • Squick: In Issue #5 it's revealed that Molly's parents are adopted siblings.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: A common complaint about Issue #11 is that it finally moves Klara beyond her reputation as the token homophobe and Broken Bird, and even gave her the series' only gay couple as foster parents, only to write her out of the series permanently.
  • Toy Ship:
    • Molly and Abigail, her new BFF in the middle school, seriously. At least until The Reveal.
    • While Molly and Klara's relationship is not quite as close as it was in the old series, their reunion does end with Klara giving Molly an absurdly large bouquet of roses, and Molly takes it very hard when Klara declines to return to the team.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Iron Man, without even showing up, got this hard once it turns out he has sent Victor's head to Chase in the mail after the events of The Vision (2015). It was probably supposed to be with good intentions, to give Victor's friends a chance to revive him, or just to bury him, but it comes out as Tony being just an insensitive douche.
  • The Woobie:
    • Gert was resurrected unexpectedly, and now finds herself in a world where all her friends grew up and have their own lives. She feels horribly out of place and can't even take comfort in being reunited with Chase because he's now too old for her.
    • Klara, through no fault of her own, was put in foster care. She got adopted into a loving family and tried to make a new life for herself... and then the Runaways showed up, tried to convince her to return, baselessly accused her foster dads of being evil, and disowned her.
    • Molly was taken away from the team by her grandmother, who spent months performing medical experiments on her and guilt-tripping her over her abusive parents' deaths, while also spoiling her so that she would convince herself that she was in a loving environment. And then the Runaways showed up, and Gert invited herself to live with Molly and Dr. Hayes, forcing Molly to confront her grandmother in order to protect Gert from being experimented on. And then she discovers that her grandmother was cloning her parents, leading to Molly having to watch as her friends fight a clone of her mother, and resulting in Molly having to go on the run again. And then the effort to recruit Klara goes wrong. And then Molly's new friend turns out to be evil... Molly is having a rough year.


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