The Gibborim are an ancient and powerful race of giants, said to be children themselves despite their advanced age. Claiming that Earth was once a paradise, the Gibborim forge together a group called The Pride in 1985 to help them restore the planet. They augment their wealth and power, and in return receive a yearly blood sacrifice. They mark one of the more fantastical aspects of Runaways in the comics, so it makes sense they’re changed for the show.
We don’t know the full extent of the Gibborim in the series, but their name is more out in the open. Rather than aliens posing as actors, the Deans run a Scientology-like church using Gibborim as the namesake. Or rather, Leslie runs the church while her husband Frank remains an actor and is oblivious to what’s really going on.
Housed in Leslie’s meditation room is what looks like an incredibly old man hooked up to an alien looking breathing apparatus. Whether this is one of the Gibborim or the grandfather of Karolina that’s said to have founded the church, it’s unclear. He does, however, seem to feed off of the sacrifice the Pride provides each year. And given that the whole group views this as a necessity, some version of their power and influence must come from the mysterious being.
Even without knowing where the plot is headed, it’s already a sizable departure from the comics. But it does mark a more grounded and sustainable approach than the comics. It also has the potential for plenty of story resonance, and it’s certainly not a stretch for actors to be part of a high-profile cult.
Even more than their children, The Pride undergo a number of changes as individuals. The group, however, remains fairly faithful to the comics outside of the Gibborim connection. Posing as a charity group, The Pride (which stands for “Promoting Resilience, Independence, Dedication & Excellence” in the show) controls the criminal underworld of Los Angeles. Most of this is done through the Wilders, who are akin to Norman Osborn or Kingpin in their grip on crime. The show changes this to make Geoffrey Wilder a former member of the Crips and current real estate mogul. His wife, meanwhile, works for the court.
This trend continues with the other parents to an extent. The Deans we’ve discussed, but the Minorus are changed from wizards to tech entrepreneurs who run a company called Wizard. Essentially the Apple of the MCU, Tina is the brains and Robert seems to run the business. Tina does, however, maintain the magical Staff of One last seen in Doctor Strange. In the film, it was in the possession of a younger Tina Minoru played by a different actor, marking one of the bigger continuity flaws in the MCU. Still, it’s hard to complain when Runaways shows us more of what the Staff of One can do. Unlike the comics, it doesn’t operate on spoken commands, though, which led to some creativity on the page as an exact word or phrase could never be used twice. How the show will restrict its reality-altering powers is yet to be seen.
Victor Stein remains a gifted inventor (though his wife loses this trait), but his status as a mad scientist is shifted to the Yorkes. In the comics, Gert’s parents are actually time-travelers, which is where Old Lace comes from. Here, they’re geneticists who run a company called Synnergy and seem to have created their own raptor.
The final group of parents, the telepathic Hayes/Hernandezes, are one of the remaining mysteries. It’s clear they were part of The Pride until their death in a fire 10 years before the show. Along with a connection between the Yorkes’ memory serum and Frank Dean as well as the Church of Gibborim, the Hernandezes’ death looks to be one of the central mysteries of the show.
Though a number of big changes to key characters and backstory take place in Runaways’ jump from page to screen, the series is still remarkably faithful to the tone and themes of the comics. The core attributes and powers of the teens all look to be intact, and The Pride have become far more fleshed out in three episodes than they’ve been in the whole of their time in Marvel Comics. We’ll have to wait to see how some of the plot changes play out, but Runaways is both faithful to the comics and an improvement on the source material.