The Runaways’ resident magic user makes her mark on the mobile game!

Can’t get enough Runaways? The new TV series on “Hulu” and the new comic series by Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka not enough to scratch your itch? Have no fear friends, “Marvel Puzzle Quest” has got you covered! Nico Minoru, the original orphaned gothic sorceress, makes her “Puzzle Quest” debut and we talked to D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about all her awesome abilities.

Marvel.com: Nico’s showing off her Staff of One in “MPQ.” Why was she the right Runaway for the game?

Josh Austin: We are super excited about “Marvel’s Runaways” [on Hulu]! Each of the Runaways have something interesting to offer, but Nico Minoru’s abilities are really intriguing for “Marvel Puzzle Quest.” She’s a fun 4-star character that will add some depth and was fun to design for the team. For this character, we had to get a list of powers approved by Marvel since her power changes names throughout the course of the match if she receives damage, which is something new for an “MPQ” character.

Marvel.com: Sister Grimm’s staff lends her some seriously sorcerous abilities that allow her to do just about anything. How did you make those powers make sense for the game?

Josh Austin: We made a special tile called the Staff of One that’s a Countdown tile; when it’s on the board the tile alters her powers. What this means for the player is Nico’s powers get more powerful whenever she uses her Staff of One and the name of each power changes. Then each power has variations and name changes but it mostly focuses on a freeze ability that stuns, a Try not to Die ability that brings out Protect tiles, and a Heal ability that’s a true heal for each Protect tile on the board [with a] max of six protect tiles. There is a Passive Purple ability that increases the power of the Attack, Strike, and Protect tiles and finally a Trifecta power that creates Attack, Strike, and Protect tiles.

Marvel.com: And just how will Nico be shaking up the board?

Josh Austin: This is going to be a little tricky, so I’m going to write it out under each color:

Her first ability is called When Blood is Shed and it’s a Passive Blue ability. Nico creates a Countdown tile when she takes damage. While the Countdown tile is active it replaces all of Nico’s powers with a new set of powers. Her second Blue ability stuns enemies, removes Countdown tiles, and also increases the stun for each Countdown tile removed.

Her Yellow ability creates Protect tiles and contains a Passive ability that increases the strength of friendly Protect tiles, but Protect tiles have no effect on Nico. Her other Yellow ability is a True Heal for each Protect tile on the board to a maximum of six.

Her first purple ability increases the power of Attack, Strike, or Protect tiles if you have more than the enemy. Her second Purple ability creates a Strike, Protect, and Attack tile. The power also has a passive component that increases the power of your Attack, Strike, or Protect tiles if you have more than the enemy.

Marvel.com: Nico feels like a true support character. From what you told us, it doesn’t appear that she does any direct damage at all.

Josh Austin: She is a great support character; the player should add anyone that creates Special tiles and she’s strong with characters that increase the strength of special tiles.

Marvel.com: And it seems she might be tricky to get the most out of; you need to hurt her so the Staff of One emerges, but she’s a little more vulnerable as Protect tiles don’t mitigate damage for her. What’s her general play pattern?

Josh Austin: She is a bit of a glass cannon, so you will want a protector to help stop her from getting damage as she boosts the team. That and adding someone that can heal with her is a good idea—someone like Medusa (Inhuman Queen) for example!

Marvel.com: Let’s talk teammates. Who does Nico fight best with?

Josh Austin: The team suggests characters that create Special tiles like Thor (Gladiator), Carnage (Cletus Kasady), and War Machine (James Rhodes). She’s also strong with characters that increase the strength of Special tiles like Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) and Medusa (Inhuman Queen).

Marvel.com: And when does she enter the game?

Josh Austin: Nico Minoru enters the game on November 30 via rewards in S.H.I.E.L.D. Training and Honor Among Thieves. Her featured event will be Simulator starting on December 4 and you can play her Versus Tournament, Staff Appreciation Day, starting on December 3. Or you can find her in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Training Store Available on November 30 or Nico and Friends Store available on December 3.

Try out Nico’s sorcerous abilities here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews, plus follow us on Twitter @MarvelGames!

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Watch 'Marvel's Runaways' on Hulu November 21!

See the acclaimed comic RUNAWAYS by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona be brought to life when “Marvel’s Runaways” premieres next week on Hulu. RUNAWAYS follows six teens who find out their parents are part of a villainous cult called the Pride. One of these families are the Minorus, dark wizards who wield the powerful Staff of One.

Marvel.com talked to Lyrica Okano, who plays Nico Minoru, and the Minoru parents, Tina, played by Brittany Ishibashi, and Robert, played by James Yaegashi. We found out about the competitive mother-daughter relationship, and the complications of shutting down your emotions. The Minoru family dynamic is definitely a complicated one.

When tragedy occurs, relationships become strained. Yaegashi talked about the impact it has on the Minorus. “Whenever you have a family tragedy, it affects everybody. It’s the storm that’s spinning around us that we have to find our bearings in, both in terms of our relationship, as well as our relationship with Nico. When we find at the onset of the story, she’s on the verge of really kind of getting out of reach for us. There’s a heightened sense of like, we really have to do something.”

As the co-founders of Wizard, the Minorus’ expertise in tech make them an essential part of Pride. This tech-like, logical outlook is the same approach that Tina Minoru uses when it comes to parenting. Ishibashi explained, “From Tina’s perspective, Nico is handling this hardship inappropriately. It’s not an efficient way to live if you’re just stuck in all this emotion. And she just wears it so outwardly. You just look at her and you’re like ‘obviously you’re going through some stuff.’ I just wish that she would maybe contain it a little bit more and move on with her life.”

Ignoring emotions never ends well, and Okano puts Nico’s feelings into perspective. “Nico, she sees her mom as overbearing and very secretive and not a lot of great things. So that really does push her to group up with the Runaways, with each other. Basically, she doesn’t want to be at home. She doesn’t want to have to stay at home and do this alone anymore.”

The Staff of One is a powerful iconic weapon from the comics and will make its debut appearance in “Marvel’s Runaways.” Ishibashi talked about the relevance of the item to the Minorus. “We really get to see it’s evolution, what’s going to be exciting for people to see with the Staff of One is that that mother and daughter are both able to use it. That’s a really loaded dynamic. I know that as a mother, and in Tina’s relationship with Nico, there is an element that’s almost competitive. That thing of when you feel like you’re being outseated or replaced or someone is doing something just as good as, or even better than you. But it is cool. To be able to see Nico discover the Staff in this first season and kind of see what that opens up for her, as a person and the world, is really cool.”

“The thing with the Runaways that’s so cool is that we’re all so different,” said Okano. “You don’t expect a beautiful, perfect Church girl to be the superhero that she is. And for a Japanese-American goth girl to be the superhero that she is. It allows every girl out there to be like ‘no, I relate to that character! I relate to that character!’ We all have our own strengths and weaknesses that people can relate to and I think it means a lot.”

For Okano, she realized that their powers stemmed from their weaknesses. “It’s like that in real life. Once we get in touch with what our weaknesses are, we can probably find strength out of them too.”

Get ready to run and learn more about the Minorus when “Marvel’s Runaways” premieres its first three episodes exclusively on Hulu November 21! Be sure to follow @Runaways on Twitter and like the official “Marvel’s Runaways” Facebook page!

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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.

Check out Runaways #3 from Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka on November 8! And don’t miss “Marvel’s Runaways” debutting on Hulu this November 21!

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Writer Kelly Thompson checks in on choosing sides for Civil War II!

As CIVIL WAR II #3 prepares to roll out this week, more heroes make the decision to stand alongside either Captain Marvel or Tony Stark. And while some choices seem obvious, others may prove more difficult to discern.

Looking at the lineup of A-Force, we spoke with Kelly Thompson to help us figure out where each member of the team would land, and in some cases, whether they would remain loyal to that side! For more, be sure to pick up A-FORCE #8 on August 10.

Marvel.com: Kelly, before we attempt to look into the future and determine the actions of the members of A-Force, I have to ask: what sort of challenge/s do you find in writing characters who serve as fundamental pillars to the entire Civil War II event?

Kelly Thompson: I think writing A-FORCE, which is obviously not the core of Civil War II but stars some of the characters most heavily featured in the event, is indeed a challenge. I felt our task was to tell a really emotional and engaging story in our book that felt true to the relationships and development of our team, but that also addressed the ideas at the heart of Civil War II in a way that made sense for our heroes. It’s challenging to tell an important story that has real meaning and feels important while also making sure to stay out of the way of the larger narrative—to not step on that narrative’s toes, I guess. It was a tough mix but I hope we’ve pulled it off!

Marvel.com: Obviously, Captain Marvel and She-Hulk in particular play integral parts in your series. What went through your head when you found out the roles Brian Michael Bendis had in mind for them when you were brought in for Civil War II?

Kelly Thompson: Devastated! [Laughs] No, I was excited that Carol was getting to step forward onto such a large stage and in such a complex way, obviously, but I was seriously worried about She-Hulk as she’s a favorite of mine. A-FORCE is a book where most the characters also feature prominently elsewhere, so I’ve always had to be mindful of what others are doing with “my” characters, but this was definitely a whole new level. At the same time, the very nature of Civil War II is about breaking apart families and we had created this beautiful family, and so there’s something fascinating about seeing them torn apart; seeing what that brings to the surface. As a writer, it’s a great chance to see who these characters really are.

Marvel.com: Did you find that affected the direction of where you were planning to take A-FORCE?

Kelly Thompson: It was a definitely a swerve, I’ll say that! But it kept things interesting and brought up a bunch of issues for our ladies that are exciting to explore both in the immediate storyline and going forward. Of course, I had to put a hold on the story about our characters jaunting off to an alien planet where it turns out Dazzler was a badass celebrated queen for some time—while MIA from Marvel Universe stories—so that was a bummer, but maybe we’ll still get a chance to tell that story. I certainly hope so!  

Marvel.com: Now, to get a little personal here, what side would you say you fall on in terms of Civil War II: Tony and his anti-profiling stance or Carol and her pre-crime prevention platform?

Kelly Thompson: As much as I want to be on Carol’s side—always!—I personally have to go with Team Tony on this one. I understand Carol’s position, especially as someone that approaches things with a more military mindset—minimizing casualties as priority one—but the ends cannot justify the means for me. I have the luxury of thinking of the story in a more philosophical way; it’s easy to say that the ends cannot justify the means, it’s harder to back up that idea when you’re seeing people being killed and you believe you have an asset that can prevent that, or at least minimize it. You cannot erode rights—even for the good and protection of all—without ending up in a very dangerous place; the slipperiest of slopes. But I see how and why Carol gets there and it’s hard to imagine disagreeing with her if this were real life—and real lives—and not fiction.

Marvel.com: With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the members of A-Force and see which side they’d choose and why. We’ll start with the easy ones first!

Nico Minoru: “Nico is a Runaway first and foremost. She always will be. She’s anti-establishment at her core and she doesn’t trust in others who think they know best in making decisions for her or others. She would be with Tony all the way on this one, even if she prefers Carol.”

Singularity: “This kind of complexity—many shades of grey—is pretty new to Singularity, who is still much like an innocent child. She has trouble parsing the complexities of the situation and is more focused on seeing her family torn apart and what that means, how she can help put it back together.”

Dazzler: “Dazzler is one of our most interesting character questions for me. Because on the face of it, after what’s she’s been through in recent months/years at the hands of Mystique and even recent events in A-FORCE, she’d be inclined to go with Carol. Stopping horrible things before they come to pass would appeal to her very much right now. However, because of how this issue comes up for A-Force, she’s able to see it from a whole other perspective that sort of instantly changes her mind and shows her what madness it is to approach a problem this way.”

Marvel.com: Okay, now the next three are going to be a little trickier, so let’s begin with Medusa. Obviously, she wants to protect her subjects, and she’s seems to have consented to Carol’s request to access Ulysses’ abilities, but do you think her mind would change if Ulysses effectively set Carol and her heroes against another Inhuman?

Medusa: “Like Carol, Medusa approaches this as a leader would. She’s not likely to change her mind as that’s not a position of strength. She’s a Queen and she’s used to making tough decisions for her people and used to being a politician. As a politician, she knows that there is no plan without a downside and that every decision a leader makes, best of intentions be damned, will hurt someone. She’s also highly motivated by Ulysses being an Inhuman, so she’s going to back him and his power since he’s one of her own.”

Marvel.com: Continuing to up the ante here, let’s play Devil’s Advocate for our final two members of A-Force. Do you think either of these characters will change their minds? If so, why or why not?

Captain Marvel: “I think Carol can’t afford to change her mind even if she wanted to—not that she does. She’s committed to the position that she thinks will keep the maximum number of people safe and will do the most good. And as a leader, she can’t falter in that resolve.”

She-Hulk: “Well, this is potentially controversial of me, but my belief, and a belief we explore a bit in our [Civil War II] arc is that She-Hulk didn’t actually make a decision of what side to stand on in the Tony v. Carol civil war. In my opinion, Bendis, in his infinite comic book wisdom, left that a bit vague and up for debate. Carol has her interpretation of things which she absolutely believes is true, but that’s not necessarily reality. In my opinion, all evidence we have of She-Hulk as a person is that she would not actually support pre-crime prevention. She’s a lawyer. Girl believes in due process.”

A-FORCE #8 divides the team on August 10!

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The all-new story arc begins here!

A-Force is back with a brand new story arc and they’re bringing a brand new creative team along for the ride! Marvel is pleased to present A-FORCE #5, the first chapter of “Rage, Rage Against The Dying of the Light!”

Kelly Thompson and Ben Caldwell join forces to bring you the next chapter of Marvel’s mightiest women! The battle with Antimatter may be over but A-Force is just getting started. When a massive dragon attacks a small coastal town, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, Medusa, Dazzler, Nico Minoru and new member Singularity spring into action! But this giant beast is more than she seems and she’s got her sights set squarely on A-Force!

Oh – did we mention one of the team is keeping a secret…one that might tear A-Force apart? Now is the perfect time to jump on board the smash hit series that is a force to be reckoned with! Be there as Thompson and Caldwell take the reins when
A-FORCE #5 comes to comic shops and digital devices this May!


A-FORCE #5 (MAR160757)
Written by KELLY THOMPSON
Art & Cover by BEN CALDWELL
Variant Cover by KRIS ANKA (MAR160758)
Story Thus Far Variant by MEGHAN HETRICK (MAR160759)
Classic Variant by COLEEN DORAN (MAR160760)
FOC – 04/11/16, On-Sale – 05/27/15

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A new team of Avengers assembles during Secret Wars!

An all-new era begins this May as Marvel’s Mightiest Mavens assemble for an explosive new series launching during Secret Wars! Marvel is pleased to present A-FORCE #1 – from the creative team of G. Willow Wilson (MS. MARVEL), Marguerite Bennett (ANGELA: ASGARD’S ASSASSIN, JAMES PATTERSON’S MAX RIDE: FIRST FLIGHT) and Jorge Molina (X-MEN)!

As the Secret Wars begin, the Avengers as you know them are no more – and a new team will lead the way! In a secluded corner of Battleworld lies Arcadia, an island nation fiercely protected by a team of Avengers the likes of which has never been seen before!

So who are the Marvel powerhouses taking center stage?

“She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru and other fan favorites, will take charge,” says series co-writer G. Willow Wilson. “We’ve purposefully assembled a team composed of different characters from disparate parts of the Marvel U, with very different power sets, identities and ideologies.”

And there came a day unlike any other, when Earth’s Mightiest Heroines found themselves united against a common threat. Fighting to protect the small sliver of their world that’s left, they stand tall, shoulder-to-shoulder, ready to take on the horde. Ushering in a new day with a rallying cry heard across Battleworld: A-FORCE ASSEMBLE!

Heed the call, and don’t miss the start of a comic series that will have the world talking when A-FORCE #1 hits comic shops and digital devices this May! 

A-FORCE #1 (MAR150665)
Written by G. WILLOW WILSON & MARGUERITE BENNETT
Art by JORGE MOLINA
Inhumans 50th Anniversary Variant by ADAM HUGES (MAR150666)
Variant Covers by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN (MAR150667) STEPHANIE HANS (MAR150668)
JORGE MOLINA (MAR150669) and SKOTTIE YOUNG (MAR150670)
Blank Variant Also Available (MAR150671)
On-Sale – 05/20/15

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Join the latest Spec Op for the hit Facebook game to win Nico Minoru & Moonstone for your team!

“Marvel: Avengers Alliance,” the hit Facebook game, has launched its latest Spec Op, and this time the villainous Arcade as stolen the show!

Nico Minoru character model from Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Nico Minoru character model from Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Arcade has used powerful nanotech to turn half of New York into his own private playground…and we’re his toys! He’s arranged a game of heroes versus former villains, and your Agent will have to choose which side to join in this all-new split Spec Op!

Complete the Spec Op to unlock the Runaway Nico Minoru as the latest addition to your team, plus face off against Arcade as the all-new group boss and collect Psycho Lockboxes to unlock Moonstone for your roster!

Join the millions of social gamers and Marvel fans who have already joined S.H.I.E.L.D. by playing “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” at: http://www.facebook.com/avengersalliance. The game is one of the top rated games in Facebook’s App Center. Fans can also play “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” at www.playdom.com.

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