‘Runaways’ Could Be Making Some Big Changes To Karolina & Nico’s Comics Relationship

Paul Sarkis

Runaways may be a superhero show, but it's still a teen drama at heart, and it has the dramatic teenage romances to show for it. It seems that Alex and Nico have begun pairing up, as have Chase and Karolina. But fans may be curious whether Nico and Karolina date in the Runaways comics, because after the Dec. 12 episode, it looks like Karolina's interest is not in Chase, but in Nico.

Karolina Dean has been learning a lot about herself in Season 1 of Runaways. She's discovered her mother belongs to an evil organization that is murdering teenagers, and found out soon after that she has superpowers. While learning about evil parents and possessing the ability to fly could throw off any teenager, one of the biggest revelations of Karolina's life is also the most relatable. Karolina is in the process of discovering that she's attracted to women. However, if the comic is any indication, Karolina's relationship with Nico is doomed to fail... at first.

Things are extremely confusing for all of the Runaways, as they seem to be discovering feelings for each other at the same time as they're discovering the truth about their parents. SPOILERS FOR THE RUNAWAYS COMICS. However, if they're going to date while trying to save the world there is no denying that Karolina, who comes out as gay in the comics, would be much happier dating someone she's actually attracted to instead of trying to want to be with Chase. In the Runaways show, Gert confronts Karolina about her crush on Nico, which Karolina swiftly denies, accusing Gert of making that claim because she's jealous of Chase and Karolina's "relationship." While Gert is, indeed, jealous of Karolina and is absolutely harboring a crush on Chase, she's also not far off with her estimation of Karolina's true feelings. Karolina's journey in discovering her own sexual identity is explored through a crush on Nico in the comics, but fans have to be hoping that the adaptation makes some changes to that storyline.

After Nico and Alex have a "falling out" in the comics, effectively ending their friendship, Karolina hears Nico claim that she's done with men. Karolina takes this as a sign, and finally acts on a long-standing crush she's had on Nico. However, Nico explains to Karolina that she isn't gay, dashing Karolina's hopes of being together. While Karolina eventually does find a romantic partner with a genderfluid alien named Xavin, it takes her a while to fully get over Nico's rejection. Karolina eventually leaves Earth with Xavin, leaving Nico and the Runaways behind. It currently seems like the show could go down a similar path, with Karolina's crush on Nico remaining unrequited, but a possible change coming to the Runaways comics could affect the trajectory of the show and veer away from the comics.

The Runaways comics, which ended its initial run in 2010, has been revived by acclaimed YA author Rainbow Rowell. In the latest story, the members of the original Runaways have been split up for two years, having gone on their own adventures. A few members set out to get everyone back together, leading to a fairly tense encounter between Nico and Karolina. While their history has been complicated, the comics indicate that they could not only be friends again, but that they could possibly be more.

A promotion for the revival describes Nico as someone who "only kisses the wrong people — or the right person at the wrong time." Perhaps Nico wasn't ready to pursue a relationship with Karolina earlier, but a lot can change in two years. The comics seem to be on track to have Nico and Karolina date eventually, and the show could end up following the example of the revival instead of the original comics. There's still hope for Nico/Karolina 'shippers, no matter what happened when Karoline first put herself out there in the comics.