The long-awaited adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s 2003 comic series Runaways arrives on Hulu on Tuesday. The drama follows the title characters — Alex Wilder (Rhezy Feliz), Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), Gertrude “Gert” Yorkes (Ariela Barer), Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin) and Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta) — as they discover that their parents are members of the Pride, a villainous group masquerading as a charity organization. After witnessing the Pride sacrifice a young woman, the teens must grapple with the ramifications, and with what they should do next.
If you haven’t read the beloved Marvel comics yet, this guide will get you caught up on the show’s central characters. Although the trailers look faithful to the source material, there are a number of changes between the comic and the TV series.
Although he’s somewhat aloof, Alex is the group’s de-facto leader, possessing a genius-level intellect and a thorough knowledge of strategy and logic. It’s through Alex’s handiwork that he and the other children of the Pride discover the group’s true intentions and villainous ways. Despite his fascination with superheroes in the comics, he never takes on a code name like the other Runaways. In both the comics and on the TV adaptation, Alex also harbors romantic feelings for Nico Minoru.
Nico Minoru, who in the comics assumes the code name Sister Grimm, possess, like her parents, an aptitude for magic. She wields the “Staff of One,” a powerful magical item her mother claims made even Doctor Strange foe Dormammu tremble. Using words or short phrases causes the staff to cast a corresponding spell, but users can’t repeat the same spell. If users attempt to employ a spell a second time, the effects are unpredictable and often dangerous.
The staff materializes from Nico’s body when she bleeds. While in the comics Nico often cuts herself in order to summon the staff, the TV series will not depict her engaging in self-harm. The television series will feature a change to Nico’s backstory, adding the apparent suicide of her sister Amy Minoru, which drove she and the other would-be Runaways apart, and created a fracture within her own family.
Styled after a stereotypical “popular girl,” Karolina Dean shows depth throughout the comics, especially after learning she’s a Majesdanian, a bioluminescent alien race capable of manipulating solar energy. As a result of her abilities, she adopts the code name Lucy in the Sky, in reference to The Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
Parts of Karolina’s backstory change on the Hulu drama, where her mother is the head of the Scientology-like Church of Gibborim and her father is a fading former child star. Karolina is sort of the millennial brand ambassador for the New Age movement. In the comics, a fake medical alert bracelet suppresses Karolina’s powers, and she only finds out about her alien heritage when she takes it off. However, the show will address the revelation differently, with a bracelet from the Church of Gibborim serving as a stand-in.
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