What would you do if you discovered that your parents really were evil? What if you learned that they were actually super-villains? That's the premise behind Marvel's Runaways, based on a legendary comic book run by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona back in 2003.
Now, as part of #NYCC2017, Marvel has given us our first glimpse of the series, set to premiere on Hulu. With the first trailer available to watch, it's time to ask that critical question: Just how comic book-accurate will this series be?
An Intriguing Adaptation From The First Issue
The trailer is beautifully shot, artistically reminiscent of Runaways creator Adrian Alphona's style. Fans will recognize every single character at a glance, faithfully reproduced from page to screen. Rhenzy Feliz's Alex Wilder is set up as our entry point into the series (just as he was in Runaways #1), with dialogue establishing the close relationship between Alex and his father Geoffrey, played by Ryan Sands. In the original comics, Alex ultimately betrayed the team because of his love for his parents. Most of the trailer is clearly taken from the first issue, and it plays out in subtly different ways to the comics.
We recently learned that the series will still feature the extra-dimensional race known as the Gibborim, who promised the Pride wealth and power in return for regular human sacrifices. In the #MCU version though, the Gibborim seem to have spawned a dangerous cult known as the Church of the Gibborim. We can assume that's how the Pride gather their sacrifices.
The whole sacrificial arc plays out very differently. The scarlet robes are an intriguing new element, reinforcing recent hints that the Pride would essentially be cultists. In the original comics, only Tina and Robert Minoru wore robes. Meanwhile, the girl's death seems to take place after she's placed within a futuristic device. That contrasts with a simple stab to the heart in Runaways #1.
It looks as though the teens' arc is subtly adapted, too. They don't appear to know that their parents were gathered at the Wilder estate. Notably, Alex appears to stumble on the secret passageway during that fateful night. In the comics, he'd found it months ago when he was snooping for Christmas presents.
The Overarching Narrative
For all the subtle changes that have been made, so far the plot of Runaways seems roughly the same. The teens wind up on the run from their own parents (disturbingly, there's a scene hinting that Karolina will be captured and tortured), but they soon learn they inherited their parents' gifts. We briefly see Gregg Sulkin's Chase toying with tech that looks very familiar; he seems to be working on his Fistigons, weaponized gauntlets that can shoot fire.
Nico retrieves the Staff of One, a mystic artifact that can be used to perform any spell once. The Staff of One already briefly appeared in Doctor Strange, wielded by Linda Louise Duan. Given the design of this Staff is subtly different, we can assume Duan's character has been retconned as a different sorceress, and there are at least two of these Staffs in the wider MCU. You'll also see a beautiful light show revealing Karolina's powerset. Her parents come from the planet Majesdane, and her race has been locked in war with the Skrulls for millennia. The effects are stunning, and visually reminiscent of the comics. Colorist Christina Strain, who created the visuals, is delighted.
You can almost miss it, but there's a brief glimpse of Old Lace, a genetically-engineered dinosaur who bonds with Ariela Barer's Gert Yorkes. Fans are particularly eager to see more of Old Lace, who's become a real fan-favorite.
The great news is, we're less than a month from the official release of #Marvel's #Runaways. The series will begin streaming on November 21st, meaning we'll soon be seeing the Marvel Universe expand to the West Coast. I, for one, couldn't be happier about it. In the wake of Spider-Man: Homecoming, it's definitely time we added some more youth to the MCU!