Runaways Hides a Marvel Comics Easter Egg in Plain Sight

Marvel's Runaways Tsunami episode

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of Marvel's Runaways, "Tsunami," streaming now on Hulu.

The nine members of Pride typically act as if they'd rather be anywhere but with each other on Marvel's Runaways, but a single-word text message can cause them to drop whatever they're doing and come together in one place. That text has only been sent twice: first, when the Hernandezes died under "mysteries" circumstances, and then, in this week's episode, after Janet Stein shot her abusive husband to protect their son.

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That word, "Tsunami," provides the episode with its title, and suggests a seismic event; a disaster. The shooting of Victor Stein (James Marsters) certainly qualifies as that. When the Wilders respond to the call, Geoffrey (Ryan Sands) comes armed, surmising whatever happened, it somehow involves Tina Minoru (Brittany Ishibashi). "We don't know the situation here," Catherine Wilder (Angel Parker) tells her husband. "It's just one text, one word."

"That's enough," he responds. "The last time we got a text with that message, the Hernandezes were found in pieces." That's a clue to return to at a later date, as the last we knew, Molly's parents died in a mysterious fire, one probably started by Tina.

But back to "Tsunami," which has yet another meaning: It's the name of the short-lived Marvel Comics imprint that launched Runaways in 2003.

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Envisioned has a home for comics that would appeal to manga readers -- manga was exploding in North America at the time -- Tsunami published Runaways, by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, along with such titles as Sentinel, Human Torch, Venom, Inhumans, Mystique, New Mutants and Namor. There was no unifying theme beyond the intended target audience, and most of the comics didn't make it through their first year. Runaways was one of the few exceptions, running for 18 issues under the Tsunami umbrella before relaunching in 2005 as part of Marvel's primary line of comics. The rest, as they say, is history.

The first season of Marvel's Runaways is at least loosely based on those 18 issues published by the Tsunami imprint, which introduced the six kids who discover their parents are actually evil and unite to stop them. Of course, as we've seen on the Hulu drama, the adults aren't outright "evil," but instead operate somewhere in a gray area (albeit one where human sacrifice is A-OK), and the kids are far from united about what to do about them.

Now streaming on Hulu, Marvel’s Runaways stars Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, Allegra Acosta, Ryan Sands, Angel Parker, Brittany Ishibashi, James Yaegashi, Kevin Weisman, Brigid Brannagh, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, James Marsters and Ever Carradine.

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