Runaways (2nd series) #12

Issue Date: 
March 2006
Story Title: 
East Coast/West Coast conclusion

Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Adrian Alphona (penciler), Craig Yeung (inker), Christina Strain (colorist), Deborah Weinstein (production), Virtual Calligraphy’s Randy Gentile (letterer), James Jean (cover artist), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mackenzie Cadenhead (editor), Joe Quesada (chief), Dan Buckley (publisher) with special thanks to C.B Cebulski

Runaways created by Vaughan & Alphona with thanks to Stan Lee

Brief Description: 

The runaways head to the hospital to confront Dagger’s assailant, Reginald Mantz. He’s been using Mutant Growth Hormone drugs to recreate Cloak’s powers to get close to her. He’s a little unhinged. Meanwhile, Molly remains at the cathedral, but is being confronted by Wolverine. Little does he know she’s a super-strong mutant, and he finds this out the hard way. Before any further action can ensue, Cloak appears and says he’s the one the three Avengers want. As Captain America speaks to him, Iron Man receives a priority call, saying Cloak has been spotted inside Dagger’s room. Cloak then takes Molly and disappears, heading for the hospital. There, Luke Cage and Spider-Woman confront Reginald, but he takes them out quickly before heading to the roof. There, he discovers the runaways waiting for him. He manages to knock Gert and Old Lace off the roof, and puts Nico down for the count. Vic saves Gert, whilst Chase uses the Staff of One himself and removes Reginald’s powers with it. With the police on their way, Cloak takes the runaways back to Los Angeles, whilst the new Pride watch them using an eye-spy cauldron. Their leader swears that, before the year is up, one of them is going to die!

Full Summary: 

(New York City)

The runaways are traveling by magic carpet over the streets of New York. Nico is using the Staff of One to transport her friends, and Chase is wondering why she couldn’t have summoned an enchanted helicopter for them instead. Nico informs him that, for her staff to work, she first has to conjure painful memories. Anything that makes her feel guilty does the trick, and whatever it is she thinks about, something convenient just kinda pops out. She can’t control what.

Gert asks, whilst they’re speaking of the dark arts, whether she could evolve Old Lace into something more prehistoric and less adorable before they go into battle. Nico replies that her incantation will wear off by itself soon enough. Chase wonders what happens if their magic carpet ride suddenly hits its expiration date, but Vic doesn’t think it’ll be a problem, considering they’re going the wrong way. He’s been studying Manhattan since the day he was born, and their cathedral is uptown. Nico informs him that they’re not going to the cathedral. Chase reminds him that they’re going to see Reginald Mantz. He’s the orderly at St. Vincent’s pretending to be Cloak. It’s the same hospital where Dagger is laid up.

Vic wonders if they should go back to home base and tell the real Cloak that they found out who attacked his partner, but Gert says there’s no time. Who knows what this pervy addict is doing to Dagger while she’s in her coma. Vic enquires about Molly. Shouldn’t the whole team be together when handing a new villain? Nico thinks they can handle it, and besides, Molly deserves a night off.

(St. Patrick’s cathedral)

Molly’s screaming has caused Wolverine to take a step backwards, and Captain America asks her to please stop screaming. They aren’t going to hurt her. They just wanted to have a few words with a wanted man named… Molly continues screaming, and Wolverine holds his head, asking her if she’s ever heard of heightened senses. He gives her exactly three seconds to stop drilling a hole in his brain, and begins his countdown.

After two seconds, Wolverine is smashed unceremoniously through the church door and into a pile of snow outside. He lays face down, feeling the after effects of the kind of punch only a mutant eleven year-old girl can deliver. “Only 198 mutants left on the stinkin’ planet, and that girl’s gotta be one of ‘em,” he grumbles.

Cap lifts his shield and asks Iron Man to position himself for maneuver epsilon and to wait for his word. Molly tells Iron Man that, if he touches her, she’ll punch his face off. She mistakes him for Ultron. Father Lantom says that Molly is only a child. This is madness. Cloak then appears, and says the father is correct. He is the one they want. Molly calls for him to run while she holds these dork-faces off, but he thanks her, saying he’s tired of running.

Cap says that’s a wise decision, and asks him to remove his cloak. Just then, Iron Man receives a priority one transmission from L.C. and S.W. They say they just spotted Cloak inside Dagger’s hospital room!

Molly wishes to go and kick the fake’s butt, and so Cloak envelops her in his cloak and vanishes, leaving Cap sprawling on the floor after trying to get him to wait. Wolverine reappears and asks if they can make a deal. He won’t tell anybody about tonight if they don’t.

(St. Vincent’s Hospital, New York City)

Reginald Mantz, in his Cloak form, prevents Tandy from screaming, and asks her to go back to sleep. He doesn’t know how much of her light power he can absorb without killing her. Luke Cage then enters the room and orders him to back up. He asks who he is. Reginald turns to see who is speaking, and recognizes Luke as being Power Man. He knows Luke teamed up with Dagger to fight Tombstone three years ago. He still has the article in his scrapbook. He stretches his cloak to grab Luke and lift him from the ground. Spider-Woman also arrives, and says she doesn’t know who he is, but his mother should never have let him out of the basement.

Reginald warns her to stop trying to seduce him with her pheromones. Dagger’s the only girl he’ll love. Luke asks Jessica to be cool, adding that Reginald doesn’t want to hurt him. He tells Reginald that he isn’t Power Man any more. He’s Luke Cage and he’s got a kid. He wouldn’t hurt a dad, would he? Reginald replies coldly that his old man ran off when he was just a baby. What does he care about fathers? He hurls Luke at Jessica, and they both crash through a window, several stories up.

He then picks up Dagger in his cloak and phases them both through the ceiling and onto the hospital roof. Why do people always tell him what to do? he whines. He’s a grown man. As he appears on the roof, the runaways are waiting for him. Gert says that the evil ones usually are. Reginald doesn’t recognize them from the official handbook of heroes. Are they new? Nico points her Staff of One at him. “Please,” she replies, “New York, New Wave, New Avengers… ‘new’ is just another way of saying old. Sunburst!”

Her staff’s power creates a somewhat disappointing burst of light that causes Reginald to fall over, but nothing more. He stands and informs her that he absorbs light. It only makes him stronger. He uses the cloak to reach out and push the runaways away from him. Gert and Old Yeller are shoved to the edge of the roof and over, but Victor suddenly takes to the air, manipulates the fire escape using his electromagnetic powers, and carefully catches her.

Chase is impressed that he can fly. Vic picks Gert up and asks if she thinks Chase will stop calling him names now. Gert thinks not, but she’ll stop flicking paper clips at his face while he’s asleep. “That was you?” he replies. Old Yeller suddenly transforms back into Old Lace, and growls at the rooftop high above them. Gert hopes this doesn’t mean Nico is dead.

On the roof, Chase warns Reginald that, if his girl is so much as bruised down there, he will destroy him. Reginald responds by saying he hates stupid jocks always bragging about having a girlfriend. Well, he has one, too, and she’s a lot prettier than his fat chick. Chase picks up the Staff of One from the snow and replies that he hopes his health insurance sucks. He utters a few useless magic words, which fail to snap the staff into action. Reginald asks if forgot to read the manual. He might as well give up. As long as his body’s pumped full of the best MGH in the city, he can’t touch him.

Chase thanks him for the tip. “Detox!” he cries. The staff glows, and its mysterious energies hit Reginald full in the chest. His body suddenly rejects the drugs in his system, and he regurgitates what’s left onto the roof. Chase holds his mouth. “Must… not… sympathy puke…”

Nico recovers, and asks Chase how he did that. Chase picks her up and replies that he doesn’t know, but he’s never doing it again. Seriously, he adds. The fruity guy who got eaten by his own tiger will go back to magic before he does. Dagger also comes round and asks where she is. Nico places her jacket over Tandy’s shoulders, and tells her it’s over. That’s all that matters.

The real Cloak then arrives with Molly in tow. Victor uses his powers to raise himself, Gert and Old Lace to the roof, and everyone is back together again. Gert thinks that they should vamoose. A dozen squad cars just pulled up downstairs. Tandy asks Ty who these people are, and he replies that they’re friends. He’ll explain everything later, but for now, he owes them a return trip. He asks her to remain there and relax. The Avengers will handle her assailant.

Molly leads Victor to Cloak and says that Wolverine and Mister America will probably be there soon. Vic asks if she met those guys. Molly replies that she did, but they were stupid. Super heroes are for little kids. She’ll teach him all about it on the way home.

Before entering Ty’s cloak, Gert says no offense, but his town may be a nice place to live, but it’s a lousy place to visit. Ty admits that he believes it might be time for Cloak and Dagger to find a new city in need of their protection. Nico asks Chase to hold up as they approach Cloak. She hopes her little slip of the tongue isn’t going to go any further. Chase tells her that as long as she doesn’t repeat what he said back in Pusher Man’s joint, then his lips are sealed.

Dagger suddenly remembers the runaways. She says they’re the Pride’s kids, right, from Los Angeles? She asks where their leader, Alex, is. Nico informs her that he’s gone, just like their parents. Tandy apologizes, but Nico says it’s all right. When your team is made up of a bunch of runaways, you can’t expect them all to stick around forever.


This conversation is being watched by the new Pride. A female uses a cauldron to create an image of the scene so everyone can watch. She thinks it looks like the Stein’s book was right again. Her eye-spy cauldron, which they lifted from the old Minoru place, shows that their enemy clan is heading back to the City of Angels as they speak. Her companion, who is playing a video game, replies that the Stein’s tome isn’t just some book. It’s the Abstract. Each copy breaks down the past and future of the Pride. A third guy, eating a burger, asks what tomorrow holds for them. Their leader replies that tomorrow they rest, but before the year is up, one of them is going to die!

Characters Involved: 

Molly Hayes, Victor Mancha, Nico Minoru, Chase Stein, Gertrude Yorkes (all Runaways)

Old Lace/Old Yeller

Luke Cage, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Woman, Wolverine (all Avengers)

Party revelers

Father Lantom

Cloak and Dagger

Reginald Mantz

Four members of the new Pride

(as an eye-spy cauldron image)

Nico Minoru

Story Notes: 

The cover shows Cloak and Molly climbing the Atlas Statue in New York City.

L.C. is Luke Cage and S.W. is Spider-Woman. Spider-Woman has seduction powers due to pheromones, though it isn’t entirely clear how these work.

Luke Cage mentions that he’s a dad. His daughter was born in The Pulse #13. With his invulnerability and Jessica’s flight abilities, it is unlikely they would have suffered any damage in the fall from the hospital ward.

Nico’s comments about ‘new’ being another way of saying old is probably an in-joke regarding several Marvel titles that recently appeared, such as New X-Men, New Avengers, New Invaders, New Excalibur and New Thunderbolts, all of which used existing characters.

The “fruity guy who got eaten by his own tiger” is Roy Horn, of the double act, Siegfried and Roy. In 2003 he was attacked by their seven year-old white tiger at the Mirage hotel-casino and suffered serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

Nico kissed Chase in the Pusher Man’s lair in Runaways (2nd series) #11.

The Abstract is shown at the end of the issue. It is quite a thick book with a dark cover with a red footprint on it.

Issue Information: 
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