Runaways (2nd series) #26 - 30
Wilson Fisk, the self-styled Kingpin of New York, had a specialized job that needed doing. To this end, he had an assistant check into the Runaways. They explained the kid's backgrounds; how one was the daughter of dark wizards, how Molly was a mutant with the strength to go with it and how Karolina Dean had some sort of alien energy power. They were still looking into that. They then explained that since their parent's deaths, they'd picked up two more recruits; Victor Mancha and Xavin. For reasons known only to the runaways, they'd contacted Fisk who was interested in meeting with them.
The runaways arrived at a restaurant and were seated by a window with a view overlooking New York City. Nico wanted to meet with Fisk, but some of the others were quite resistant to this, and more than a little wary of Fisk's reputation. The big man duly arrived and took a seat at the table. He took a few jokes about his weight like a man, and told them that he admired the Pride. They never tried muscling in on his city, and vice-versa. He asked if they were representing the Pride's interests now. Nico replies that they were representing their own interests. Fisk asked if she expected them to conflict with his own. Nico said they hadn't decided, but they wanted to spend some time in New York, and they'd prefer to do it without the interference of the Avengers or anybody else. They chose Fisk because he dealt with their parents.
When Xavin (in her more 'intimidating' male form) started getting a little frisky, the Kingpin pulled out a few photographs to show them. They were of Pusher Man. Fisk had him killed, and not in a nice way. He warned them that if they tried anything, they would end up the same way. He would go where they would not. He agreed to offer them somewhere to stay, but only in return for them retrieving an object for him. Later, they arrived at their new digs. Because they'd already voted to help Fisk get what he wanted, they knew they had to go through with it.
Meanwhile, an old lady sat in a dark room with a large, scarred man. She was waiting for the runaways. The runaways soon headed into action - taking the Leapfrog to a rooftop opposite the building they were targeting. Xavin stretched herself across but couldn't quite make it. Molly hit upon the idea of Xavin using her invisible forcefield powers instead. Good point. They were soon across to the building and standing in front of a large safe, with Chase and Old Lace standing guard outside.
Old Lace sensed something was amiss and Chase used his binoculars to see what the problem was. Once they were to his eyes, he saw a man on top of another building firing a RPG at them. He quickly leapt off the roof followed by Old Lace, screaming has he plummeted towards the ground. Old Lace grabbed him by the pants and used her claws to dig into the side of the building. She managed to stop their descent, but that didn't stop Chase from blowing chunks. Having retrieved the object for Fisk, the runaways made their exit, only to hear the explosion above. Once outside, with Chase nowhere to be seen, they were faced with the Punisher who was aiming two guns right at them. Unknown to the Punisher, the scarred guy, Tristan, also revealed to be sporting metallic wings, was right behind him and about to slice his head off.
Fortunately for Frank Castle, he noticed Tristan just in time and ducked. Witnessing a fight between a psychotic vigilante and an unknown beefy guy with wings and a large sword, Nico figured the best plan would be to run away. When they reached the edge of the building, however, Tristan appeared before them and warned them that he would eat their dripping hearts (nice). Vic immediately blasted him and the Punisher told them all to freeze. Nico wasn't having any of it, and she phased them through the roof to the floor below, leaving Frank to look after himself against the big guy. They headed to the Leapfrog, remembering that they still didn't know where Chase and Old Lace were. They looked across to the building that they had come from and saw it still on fire. They feared the worst. Karolina flew over to take a look, but while she was gone, Chase appeared being carried by Old Lace. The kids were delighted to see him alive and well, especially Molly who had earlier described their miraculous escape to a tee.
With the object in their hands and their two assailants fighting amongst themselves, they thought they were home free, but Frank appeared right behind Molly and warned them that theft was a criminal act. Molly thumped him in the stomach, leaving Frank winded, dazed, and probably a little embarrassed. The kids climbed aboard the Leapfrog and leapt across the city. During the flight, Chase showed them something that they hadn't seen before. He opened a slot in the cockpit which the stolen object fitted into perfectly. He explained that he and Gert discovered a bunch of things in there that he didn't know how to use yet.
They soon arrived back at their digs, but waiting for them was Wilson Fisk and a small army of small ninjas. Nico and Chase were grabbed straight away, but when Karolina stormed in after them, Xavin took the two ninjas out and a fight erupted. Victor, meanwhile, was grabbed by Tristan. Tristan had an important message to give to Victor, and made sure he listened well. Back inside the apartment, a ninja cut Nico and her Staff of One emerged from her chest. She put them all to sleep with a spell and they ran for the Leapfrog. Once everyone was inside, they flew off, only to be pursued by a nasty-looking Stark-designed robot that fired several rockets at the Leapfrog. Chase quickly slotted the stolen object, which he called the Overdrive, into the slot provided and the Leapfrog disappeared into time and space, coming to a halt in New York City... 1907.
The runaways soon discovered that they were really back in new York City a hundred years ago, confirmed by the date in a newspaper. Xavin was eager to return home, but the others weren't so keen to return to a time where they were being fired at by missiles. Chase told them it wasn't really an issue, as the Overdrive Device was blown. They weren't going anywhere. As they chatted, Victor inadvertently activated the Leapfrog's holographic display, and events played out before them of a time when the Steins were putting the Leapfrog together. They were building it for the Yorkes, and handed over the Overdrive Device to Stacey. Gertrude appeared, and Chase asked the Leapfrog to turn it off. He was visibly upset by seeing Gert again. The kids wondered where they might get another Overdrive from. Xavin figured it would be in Los Angeles, but Vic pointed out that there was nothing of note in Los Angeles in 1907. Karolina reckoned the one they used could be sitting there in New York as they spoke. They needed to get their hands on it.
They were soon dressed like children of their time, courtesy of a Nico spell. They left Old Lace behind with the Leapfrog. They passed a demonstration by people complaining about the conditions in the sweat shops. An explosion high above them caused them to look up and sprint into action. Nico called the shots, ordering force fields up on the people affected. She asked Chase to get Molly to make some exits and help with the debris, and for Victor to secure any collapsing metal. She summoned her Staff of One and opted to talk to the fire. The runaways were organized and coordinated, and using their skills as they should. They were formidable. Victor created a ramp with Molly's help, and trapped children slid down it to safety. Karolina entered the building to look for any survivors, but only discovered a little girl running from the scene. It appeared that she had used flowers to make her escape. This perplexed Karolina.
After their exertions, they began walking away from the scene, but were met by a young man who introduced himself as Eddie Gunman, also known as the Swell. He mentioned some others that were like them, known as Wonders. He reckoned he could help them find what they were looking for. Meanwhile, a stranger named the Adjudicator, a member of a crime-fighting organization called the Upward Path, attended the scene of the explosion and realized someone new was in town.
The runaways walked with the Swell to a courtyard where they were introduced to Lillie McGurty, a young woman who could dance on air. Also present were Jacob, Creeper, Hoyden, the Yellow Kid, Dead George Pelham, and a young good-looking guy with metallic wings named Tristan. They recognized him from the future, despite his change in appearance. These were the Street Arabs. The runaways were shown to their accommodation, and Karolina immediately headed off for a look around. Nico and Vic chatted about the message Tristan gave him back in 2007. He said Vic would know who to give it to. Nico had picked up on the chemistry between Vic and Lillie when she appeared. Vic didn't do himself any favors in his response to her comments. Karolina, walking through town, was approached by an older man and ushered into an alleyway. It took about two seconds for Karolina to blast him right across the street and into a vendor's cart. She spotted some roses that looked just like the ones she saw earlier. She flew up to the side of a building and saw the little girl through a window across from her. She was being chastised by someone who looked like her father, but who turned out to be her husband. Karolina was not impressed.
Meanwhile, the Swell visited a huge carnivorous guy called Mr. Maneater. He was part of a group named the Sinners. Others in attendance on their mobile headquarter included Morphine, Kid Twist and Forget-Me-Not. Eddie told Maneater about the new kids in town, figuring he could use them for his team. Eddie wanted a finder's fee plus additional benefits from any job they pulled. Eddie warned Maneater that if there really was a war coming, the kids would tip the scales. Maneater told his employers about the new Wonders; Dale and Stacey Yorkes who were back in 1907 up to no good. They asked him to recruit them.
The next morning, Eddie took the runaways some food. He told them that if the object they were after was so important, the Merchant's Trust probably had it. If they didn't open their vaults then they should try the Mineola. He didn't know the names of the people who employed the Sinners, but they were powerful. As they chatted, Lillie came tumbling through the window. Vic's blushes didn't go unnoticed by Nico. Nico told them to split up in order to find the Overdrive. Lillie mentioned Professor Duck, so Nico paired Vic up with her to go see him. She asked Chase and Xavin to check out the Mineola whilst she visited the Merchant's trust. Karolina and Molly decided to do some sightseeing.
Karolina took Molly by way of the young girl's apartment and found her outside. They told Klara that they were Wonders, just like her. They asked her if she fancied joining them. She didn't want to stick around with her mean old father, did she? Klara surprised them both by informing them that Mr. Prast wasn't her father... he was her husband.
Elsewhere, Vic and Lillie came across a fight between striking workers and strike-breakers. Lillie took flight as soon as she heard singing, and Victor was impressed. Over at the Merchant's Trust, Nico used a magic spell to have the employees open their vaults, but no Overdrive came out. As she watched a parade of people carrying boxes, she was confronted by four members of the Upward Path; the Difference Engine, Black Maria, Daystick and Nightstick. Before they could ascertain her identity, the Adjudicator turned up and pistol-whipped Nico, knocking her unconscious. They took her to another of their group - the Witchbreaker, who turned out to be one of Nico's ancestors. Chase and Xavin traveled to the Mineola, led by Eddie Gunman, and encountered Mr. Maneater. Eddie asked them to show Maneater their powers, but Chase replied that he didn't do tricks. His cheek annoyed Maneater, and he stood up to fight, but Xavin created a fist like the Thing's and battered him with it. It actually hurt Xavin's fist. The commotion outside brought out Maneater's employers - Dale and Stacey Yorkes. Chase was aghast, as were the Yorkes'.
Without hesitation, Stacey switched on some kind of holographic display and Dale asked why he was older. Chase realized they must have come from a while before they died. Stacey asked if Gertrude was with them, but he informed her through gritted teeth that she was dead. Dale attacked Chase, but Xavin created a forcefield and told him they had to go. Stacey made a move for their 4D Portico, but Chase asked Xavin to make a hole for him. Xavin pushed Dale Yorkes and Maneater to the wall and Chase ran through it after Stacey. While she pressed a few switches, Chase came up behind her and put her down with a wrench. He then looked back at Xavin, almost apologetically, and disappeared in time.
Back in the city, Lillie rested after enjoying the dance. She then took Victor into the air, dancing on the music of love (really...). Watching from afar was Tristan, and he didn't look too happy about it. Nearby, Karolina and Molly took Klara to a cafe where they talked. Klara explained that she could somehow talk to roses. Her mother thought it was unnatural, so she was married to Mr. Prast and ended up in America.
Nico, meanwhile, woke up to find herself tied up in the presence of an older woman who possessed a Staff of One similar to her own. She was the Witchbreaker, and she told Nico that she was a great disappointment to her ancestors. Back on the Mineola, Maneater formulated a plan of attack. He told Morphine to brew something powerful up so they could take on the new gang as well as the Street Arabs. He asked Forget-Me-Not to use her powers to drive the men crazy. They could tear themselves apart before they went in. Finally, he told Kid Twist he could have the Swell and the Arabs. He wanted the shapeshifter, Xavin, for himself. Kid Twist warned him that these actions would bring the Upward Path down on them, but Maneater wasn't afraid of them. Further up the train, Dale comforted his wife. Chase's comments had left them wondering about Gertrude and Chase's intentions. Dale told her that the Street Arabs and all the kids in that time and place would die for Gert's pain. Then they would go back and put things right.
Later, Xavin informed Karolina and Molly that Chase had gone. Nearby, the Street Arabs were chatting about the runaways. Eddie Gunman thought they had adversely affected their standing with the Sinners, but Hoyden thought they'd been in their black books before. Eddie was concerned that the runaways had a beef with the Sinner's bosses, and Maneater would probably kill him for even seeing them. He needed to keep the kids close until he could find Maneater in a less-maneating mood. Eddie thought he might be able to make a deal. Little Klara overheard Xavin and Karolina discussing her. Xavin didn't think they should be picking up strays, but Karolina knew what the girl had been through. As they argued, Xavin lost control of her form and changed from a male to a female. Karolina was impressed that she changed unconsciously into her female form. When they kissed, Klara was shocked as this type of behavior was seldom seen publicly in 1907. She ran away, and Molly ran after her, telling her that she'd hoped that Klara could join them. Klara thought the two females kissing was disgusting, but Molly thought what her husband did to her was just as bad. She left Klara to think about what she wanted to do.
Meanwhile, Vic and Lillie visited Professor Duck but that was a waste of time. Their old Overdrive was broken and he couldn't fix it without a futuristic power source. Vic and Lillie chatted about Tristan. Lillie told Vic that she thought of Tristan as a brother, and the two of them kissed. Back on the Mineola, the Yorkes had pushed the schedule forward for their war. The Yorkes let him get on with it. They were too busy building something that would kill everyone, including their faithful servant. Hoyden and Creeper wandered through the streets and were cornered by Kid Twist, Morphine and Forget-Me-Not. They tried to run, but were both killed by Kid Twist's direction-changing bullets. The war had begun.
Nico wasn't having much better a time at the hands of the Witchbreaker. The old lady informed Nico that if she wanted to learn more about her powers and how to control the Staff of One, she would have to suffer. Nico was determined to do whatever it took. As Xavin, Karolina, Molly and Vic talked about Nico's disappearance, Forget-Me-Not used her powers to get the men in the streets fighting. Victor was also affected by her power and joined in. As a huge fight broke out, the Sinners arrived with a few more in tow. Also arriving on the scene was the Upward Path. The war then really began, with the two sides fighting and the runaways caught in the middle. During the fight, Vic became separated from the group as Tristan swooped down and grabbed him. He warned Vic that Lillie was his girl, and tossed Vic onto a rooftop. There, Vic banged his head against the device that the Yorkes were building earlier. It was a massive bomb and the countdown had already begun.
This was real bad. With only seconds to go, Vic was unable to do anything as the components weren't comprised of metal. Tristan took things into his own hands and grabbed the bomb, flying high into the air with it. Vic quickly descended to ground level and told Karolina that they needed cover. She and Xavin meshed their shields together, creating a huge dome over everyone. They concentrated hard and maintained it, and it protected everyone below as the bomb exploded, seriously injuring Tristan. The fighting, nevertheless, continued with Dead George Pelham killing Kid Twist. The fighting continued until the return of Nico. She was flying under her own volition and cast a spell flooding the area, dousing the flames that had been caused by the explosion. The battle stopped, and Nico turned Maneater into a vegan with a spell. She had an idea to get them back to their own time. They were also picking up a stray, meaning Lillie. She asked Vic to give her the message Tristan asked him to deliver in 2007.
They then headed to the Leapfrog, knowing that now Old Lace was free, having joined them, the Yorkes had control of it. They found them trying to figure out why their Overdrive wouldn't work. Chase appeared wearing a couple of new gauntlets. He zapped them with the gloves and Dale fell unconscious. It was Chase that had disabled the Overdrive Device. Xavin knocked Stacey Yorkes out cold and Nico cast a spell, making the Yorkes remember everything, including the death of Gert and their own deaths, but be unable to do anything about it. Klara then appeared looking worse for wear. Her husband had beaten her. Karolina said they would take her with them. Vic then turned to Lillie who, afraid of what the future would hold, despite her hearing her own message to herself, declined the offer. Soon after, the runaways traveled back to 2007 to the point at which they left. Chase destroyed the missiles heading their way and they headed into the night, not knowing that a Skrull invasion was about to hit New York.
Note: Runaways/Young Avengers #1 - 3 and then Runaways (3rd series) #1 follows this arc.