Writer Rainbow Rowell details Karolina's headspace in the new series.
We’re coming up to the three-issue mark of Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Carry On) and Kris Anka’s (ALL-NEW X-MEN, CAPTAIN MARVEL) RUNAWAYS series and things are only becoming more trying for our favorite band of young heroes. They’re not the tight-knit family they once were with some of them (cough Karolina cough) just wanting to live normal lives away from all that world-saving stuff. They’re the same characters, but definitely not the same people. What does that mean exactly? Marvel.com caught up with super Runaways fan and writer Rainbow Rowell to discuss the answer to that very question and much, much more.
Marvel.com: So we’re nearly three issues into your debut Marvel series. What’s it been like so far?
Rainbow Rowell: EXCITING. I’ve been working on RUNAWAYS for almost a year now and it‘s been such a long wait to actually share this story. All those months knowing the kids were coming back and not being able to tell anyone… It feels so good to finally be able to talk to other RUNAWAYS fans! That’s one weird thing – being a fan and also the writer. Like, obviously, as a fan, I wanted Gert back. But, as the writer, it was my responsibility to bring her back in a way that felt right and real.
Marvel.com: In Issue #3 itself, we find a Karolina Dean who is complacent with just being a college student. What’s her journey been like since discovering her extraterrestrial origins to now?
Rainbow Rowell: Well, I wouldn’t call her complacent! I think she’s the only Runaway with any direction at the beginning of this arc. She’s in school, she’s in therapy, and she’s in a healthy relationship. Karolina has always been so generous, so willing to sacrifice herself. But her good intentions have backfired on her. She rushed into an arranged marriage to save her home planet –and then her wedding led to her planet’s destruction. That’s a lot of guilt and shame to carry. Someone else might bury those feelings and let them fester. But Karolina wants to process them. She wants to be a good person – a functioning person.
Marvel.com: What kind of arguments can we expect the other Runaways to make to convince her to join them?
Rainbow Rowell: I mean the biggest argument is just, “We’re a family.” Gert especially doesn’t understand how Karolina – or any of the other kids – could walk away from the Runaways.
Marvel.com: Can you describe the thing keeping the Runaways together at this point and the headspace they’re at when one of them just wants to live a normal life without responsibilities?
Rainbow Rowell: Well, I think Karolina is in many ways the most responsible. Gert wants something that doesn’t exist anymore; she wants her gang back. She wants it to be us-against-the-world again. And Chase wants whatever Gert wants. He wants a do-over where she never died at all. Until Issue #3, Nico’s motivation is less clear. She seems unwilling to burst Gert’s bubble. I think Karolina comes in as the voice of reason: Things have changed, we’ve grown up, we can’t go backward.
Marvel.com: I gotta ask: What the heck is Chase keeping in his backpack and what are the Avengers gonna do about it?
Rainbow Rowell: What does Chase have in his backpack? My heart. This is a MAJOR SPOILER for anyone who hasn’t read Issue #2….At the end of that issue, the gang realized that the Avengers had sent Chase a box with Victor Mancha’s head inside. (Victor was killed in the VISION series by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, which you should read right now if you haven’t already. Victor is one of my favorite Marvel characters. He’s smart and kind and humble. He has this wonderful dry sense of humor. I was so hyped for him to be in this book that I went to the comic shop as soon it opened that Wednesday morning, just to see Victor’s face in print. And of course, in Kris Anka’s hands – with color by Matt Wilson – Victor looks breathtaking. Not just handsome – but real. I’m in awe of how good all these characters look. Somehow Kris makes them look exactly like themselves and also better than ever.