Runaways: The Most Memorable Staff of One Moments
Running through 6 of Nico’s biggest stories!
If you’re clamoring for more Runaways news, you’re in luck! Let’s take some time to introspectively hyperventilate and look back—perhaps with new eyes—at some landmark moments in the life of Nico Minoru and the Staff of One that got us to this moment...
RUNAWAYS Vol. 1 #4 and #5
In RUNAWAYS #4, Nico and her friends are on the run from their parents who the gang had just discovered to be Super Villains. When they reencounter their parents, Nico’s mother wields the Staff of One against her daughter and is shocked as Nico’s body begins to absorb the Staff into itself. In the next issue, Nico discovers that the Staff is summoned out of her whenever she sheds blood. She also learns that spells can be conjured from any words she chooses, but she can only use that word or combination of words once or else the Staff will misfire in dangerous or inconvenient ways.
RUNAWAYS Vol. 2 #25-30
When the Runaways end up displaced in time—1907 New York, to be precise—Nico is then kidnapped and tortured by a woman called the Witchbreaker. The Witchbreaker claims to be Nico’s great-grandmother and wants to teach Nico how to better use her powers. She claims that through torture, she can strengthen Nico’s pain tolerance and make her a more powerful sorceress. While the rest of the team is caught in the middle of a superhuman gang war, Nico’s abilities improve significantly, and by the time they are all reunited Nico has gained significant improvements to the power she can exercise with the Staff of One.
RUNAWAYS Vol. 3
After her run-in with the Witchbreaker, Nico’s magical abilities are nearly beyond her control. When Nico uses a seemingly simple spell to scatter a group of attacking Majesdanians all over the planet, the spell also emotionally scatters the Runaways and nearly breaks up the group for good. The enchantment is broken but Nico’s loss of control pops up again when she uses the spell “Zombie Not” to banish some zombies—only for the spell to backfire and turn the hoard of brain-eaters into a giant knot of zombies on the attack. Further, Val Rhymin’s magician is killed upon trying to steal the Staff of One. Nico grimly retrieves the Staff and tells the other Runaways not to try wielding it (in the past, Alex and Chase had had occasion to take the Staff) or to even touch it anymore for their own safety.
As part of the Marvel NOW! event, Nico and Chase are among the 16 superpowered teens to be abducted by the villainous Arcade. The group is placed on an island version of Murderworld and are forced to take part in a 30-day deathmatch. Nico, though her Staff’s power is drastically reduced in the new environs, mounts an attack on Apex and Juston Seyfert’s Sentinel. When Apex takes over Chase’s Darkhawk armor and forces him to critically attack Nico and break her Staff in half, Nico is just able to crawl to her Staff before succumbing to her injuries. Luckily, the massive blood loss (she is a blood magician, after all!) coupled with the single word she was able to say before passing—“Help”—revived Nico tenfold.
Despite the loss of her left arm, she uses her freshly supercharged powers to disarm Deathlocket, destroy the Darkhawk armor and free Chase, and then subdue Apex by trapping her underground. The freed Chase helps Nico and Reptil to fight the possessed Cullen and it quickly devolves into a violent free-for-all, and Nico barely averts going to the point of multiple murder. Apex returns and attacks with bugs, sentient typhoons, and weaponized sand before being killed by Deathlocket. The surviving teens are then able to escape Murderworld, haunted by their harrowing experiences. Nico is especially affected, and her behavior seems to have become far darker after her Staff resurrection.
At the end of AVENGERS ARENA, Arcade posted footage of the events of Murderworld onto the internet for the whole world to see. In AVENGERS UNDERCOVER, the survivors are infamous and thoroughly traumatized from their experience. Nico has gained new Staff powers after her resurrection—teleportation, floating, and cloaking spells—and she now sports a magical Staff arm in the place of the one Chase unwillingly took. His actions on Murderworld plus his choice to talk publicly about their time on the island cause deep tensions between Nico and Chase. When she finds herself in Bagalia, a city of villains, Daimon Hellstrom offers to tutor her in her new, darker powers. When a group of them decide to kill Arcade for all the things he did to them, Nico joins. Arcade is killed, but some security cameras capture the whole thing and S.H.I.E.L.D. arrests them for first-degree murder.
Daimon teleports the group to Bagalia and they are offered entrance to the Masters of Evil by Baron Zemo. To sweeten the deal, Zemo resurrects the long-dead Alex Wilder who trains Nico in her powers while the two rekindle their fraught relationship. Before returning to Hell, Alex reveals that Zemo had put Nico and the survivors into a trap and she turns against Daimon and the Masters of Evil. Upon S.H.I.E.L.D. finding out that Arcade survived, Nico and Chase are also no longer responsible for a murder.
RUNAWAYS Vol. 5
After their ordeals in AVENGERS ARENA and AVENGERS UNDERCOVER, Nico and Chase decide to try going back to normal lives. With the other Runaways disbanded, the two live together as roommates. But Chase still grieves for Gert and starts using his parents’ time machine to try and save her. Bringing a wounded Gert back to the present, Nico is able to save her in time. Gert spurs Nico and Chase to reunite the team—Nico agrees partly because she feels her Staff leading her down a dark path and wants her friends back to help her come back from it.
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