Art by Chris Bachalo
|First appearance||Runaways, volume 1, #1 (July, 2003)|
Brian K. Vaughan (writer)|
Adrian Alphona (artist)
|Alter ego||Karolina Dean|
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Notable aliases||Lucy in the Sky (L.S.D.)|
Solar light manipulation
Karolina Dean (// ), also briefly known as Lucy in the Sky, or L.S.D., is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in the series Runaways. Like every member of the original Runaways, she is the daughter of evil super-powered criminals; while searching through her parents' home, Karolina inadvertently discovers that her parents were Majesdanian invaders. Majesdanians are an alien race that absorbs solar energy and re-radiates it in the form of the colors of the rainbow. She is often called "Kar," “Karo,” or "K" for short, and is known for her free spirit and kind nature.
Karolina is the only extraterrestrial in the group, except for a period of time when her Skrull fiancée, Xavin, becomes part of the team. Runaways creator Brian K. Vaughan played a significant role in the character's subsequent development as well as artist/writer Adrian Alphona, both of whom spent most of the first volume of the series hinting that Karolina was romantically attracted to fellow member Nico Minoru. By Runaways's fourth relaunch, Karolina's storyline picks up with her relationship with Lightspeed of Power Pack referenced in Avengers Academy.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Powers and abilities
- 5 Conceptual changes
- 6 Other versions
- 7 In other media
- 8 References
Karolina Dean was created by author Brian K. Vaughan & artist Adrian Alphona and debuted in Runaways #1.
Fictional character biography
Karolina is the daughter of renowned Hollywood actors Frank and Leslie Dean and is the only older Runaway who didn't witness their parents murder an innocent girl as a sacrifice. Karolina denies the entire situation primarily, but finally believes the group soon after discovering she is an alien. The kids decide to go for a massive ransack, and leave home; before leaving for good, they decide to put their parents to justice by collecting certain evidence from their homes. When arriving at the Dean mansion, they find Karolina's parent's last will and testament; Karolina is given a piece of paper with the circular "no symbol" covering the Caduceus. Alex convinces her to remove her medic alert bracelet because it is emblazoned with the symbol. Karolina angrily concedes, thinking that she only wears the bracelet because she's allergic to penicillin, and her skin immediately glows with a fluid, rainbow-like light. Remembering something they heard from the Pride's sacrifice, the group assumes Karolina is an alien and the bracelet is an anchor to hide her powers; Leslie Dean later confirms these theories for Karolina. After escaping their parents, Karolina takes the name Lucy in the Sky, a reference to the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
Early in the series, Karolina constantly struggled with her alien heritage, feeling that she is a "freak" amongst the group, the only one who needs to actively hide her true form. Another insecurity was of her speculated homosexuality. Her insecurities even prompt Karolina to offer her life to the vampire Topher, as Karolina expresses little desire to live. After her first near-death experience at the hands of Alex Wilder, Karolina overcomes her death wish and helps the Runaways escape the rampaging Gibborim as the Pride fight their former benefactors. After the Pride's defeat, Karolina is sent to live with foster parents, but she organizes a secret reunion for the Runaways, after which they run away again, this time to the Pride's old lair beneath the La Brea Tar Pits. Karolina is portrayed as having a wide, free spirit, notably when she discovers she can fly. But she is also shown as being quite sensitive, often crying at her pain and misfortune, as well as the pain and misfortune of others.
As a fugitive
In the early issues of Runaways, volume 2, Karolina fights under the command of de facto leader Nico. Karolina expresses more comfort with being an extraterrestrial and makes strong hints at being a lesbian, especially as she stops to compliment Julie Power on her beauty during a battle with Excelsior over the custody of Victor Mancha and later even agrees to go on a date with her following a joint Avengers Academy/Runaways mission (and would eventually become romantically involved). Soon after Victor joins the team, Karolina "comes out" to Nico with an attempted kiss, which Nico rejects outright. Karolina's "outcast" insecurities resurface when her Skrull fiancée Xavin comes to Earth in search for her. Unbeknownst to her, Karolina's parents arranged Xavin's and Karolina's marriage as part of a peaceweaving effort between the Skrull and Majesdanian (her species) homeworlds. Karolina leaves with Xavin, much to Nico's distress.
While on her home planet Majesdane, Karolina learns to control the shift between her Majesdanian and humanoid forms and how to further control her solar powers. However, the wedding does not go as planned and the couple flees towards Earth as their homeworlds reignite the old war. They crash land near the Hostel and return in time to assist in the rescue of Molly Hayes. Karolina has a dream of her parents tearing her apart. Karolina remains with the team and Xavin becomes accepted as a member after Gertrude Yorkes' death, and they both join the Runaways in defeating the Gibborim for good. When the Runaways are accidentally displaced in 1907, Karolina meets Klara Prast, and convinces everyone to accept her on the team.
Deportation and other activities
In S.W.O.R.D. #2, Karolina is one of the aliens kidnapped by Henry Gyrich in his "aliens go home" policy. He uses pheromones to target Karolina's Majesdanian physiology and leads her away from the Runaways and kidnaps her without difficulty. She was eventually freed along with the other aliens. She assists in saving the Earth from a fleet of murder-happy aliens. Abigail Brand, now the sole head of S.W.O.R.D., returns all the aliens to Earth, reassuring them they will have their freedom and they are each owed one favor. In Avengers Arena, Karolina and Molly sought out Hank Pym for help when Nico and Chase go missing. Karolina dismissed Molly's concerns that somebody took their friends instead she believed they ran off to be together. Karolina later appears in the pages of Avengers Undercover where she and Molly visit Nico and Chase in the S.H.I.E.L.D. detention center after Hazmat allegedly killed Arcade. Karolina entered a relationship with Julie Power of Power Pack.
After the Runaways disbanded for some time, Karolina has moved on to a happy new life in college and left behind her anxieties over her old life with the help of therapy; thus, declined the invitation to reunite even with the return of undead Gert. Karolina reasoned she had grown up and changed from their time as scared kids on the run. She also felt it didn't make sense for them to get back together because they were never a team, like the Avengers, or had a mission, other than staying alive and not becoming their parents. Nico agreed with Karolina's assessment, but it still left her riddled with guilt. Karolina dropped by Nico's apartment to reconsider the reunion when Nico attempted to kiss Karolina but is rejected due to having a girlfriend and dismissed it as Nico's habit of seeking comfort at times of stress. The Runaways banded together to rescue Gert and Molly from Molly's mad scientist grandmother's house. Karolina avoided hurting Molly's grandmother and her genetically engineered creations; however, once Nico was struck by a telepathic attack, Karolina blasted the house and put an end to it. Battered but finding solace together as a makeshift family, they all decided to go home.
The Runaways resettled into their old hideout, the Hostel. Karolina is fitting in like she never left like her friendship with Nico hasn't missed a beat, but she struggles to give equal attention to her classes and girlfriend. When Julie's eagerly awaited visit is interrupted by Doctor Doom's attack on the hostel, Karolina and Julie don't see eye-to-eye on how Runaways improvise-styled battle plan and their functionality as a super-hero family team works. Julie expressed frustration of Karolina not opening up in their relationship, especially about her past that's now her present. To drown her sorrows in sugar over Karolina ignoring her once again, Julie unknowingly ate an enchanted cupcake that transformed her back to a thirteen year old forever.  The Runaways eventually reverse the spell, but Julie still broke up with Karolina as she felt Karolina placed her membership in the Runaways on a higher priority. While Nico and Karolina bonded over lost loves, Karolina admitted she had been neglecting Julie which, perhaps, made their breakup inevitable. Following the break-up, Karolina invited Nico to attend her parents’ legitimate children's charity ball with her. While there, Nico confessed her feelings asking Karolina for a second chance. Karolina was surprised and scared. After some hesitation that left Karolina feeling rejected again, Nico finally seized her chance and the two kissed, beginning a relationship.
Karolina gets along well with the other Runaways, and the only time she had ever got into an argument with them was after they questioned her about Xavin's gender. She has an older-sister type relationship with Molly, but a caring relationship with both Chase and Victor, whom she had both comforted after they lost loved ones.
It was subtly hinted throughout the first volume of Runaways that Karolina had harbored a longtime crush on Nico. Much later, Karolina attempted to kiss Nico, but was rejected. Karolina then came out to Nico as a lesbian, admitting her feelings for Nico. After deciding to leave Earth to marry Xavin, Karolina left her medical alert bracelet with Nico as a token of remembrance. When Karolina later returned to Earth, she accidentally confessed to Xavin (who had taken on the form of Nico) that she was still in love with Nico. Despite this, Karolina remained staunch in her devotion to Xavin, and thus her feelings for and attraction to Nico occasionally put a strain on their friendship.
When the Runaways re-banded some time later, Nico made possible romantic overtures towards Karolina, ultimately attempting to kiss her. However, Karolina rejected Nico out of faithfulness to Julie and dismissed it as Nico's habit of seeking comfort in times of stress. Following Julie and Karolina's break-up, Karolina invited Nico to attend her parents’ legitimate foundation's a charity ball with her. While there, Karolina's usual nervousness was replaced by newfound confidence because of Nico's support as she's felt Nico had “always seen the real” her. Nico confessed she was confused about herself for so long she couldn't see her clearly. Nico knows who and what she wants now and asks Karolina for a second chance. Karolina was surprised and scared, which exacerbated her old feelings of rejection when Nico pulled away. But Nico seized her chance and the two kissed, beginning a relationship.
Xavin came to Earth to marry Karolina, revealing that their parents had arranged a marriage between the two of them in order to keep Earth safe from Skrull attacks. Karolina initially rejected Xavin; Xavin attempted to persuade her, explaining that the marriage would be part of a peace treaty. Karolina still refused, stating that it would be a "lie" for her to marry a man. Xavin then revealed that Skrulls had the ability to shapeshift into different sexes, prompting Karolina to decide to accept the marriage proposal. However, they were later unable to get married when war broke out again between the Skrulls and Majesdanians. They escaped to Earth and re-joined the Runaways. Throughout their relationship, Karolina apparently fully accepted Xavin's continued changing between male and female appearances. However, she secretly expressed confusion and doubts over Xavin's true gender. However, during an argument, Xavin subconsciously reverted to female human form, which pleased Karolina. Their relationship ended when Xavin left Earth with a remaining group of Majesdanians, sacrificing themself for Karolina.
Karolina flirted with and later began dating Julie Power, after a trip to Avengers Academy; this resulted in long-term relationship. Julie attempted to convince Karolina to move to New York so they could be together full-time after the past year apart, though Karolina was resistant to this. After visiting Karolina in Los Angeles, Julie broke up with her, believing that she and Karolina were too incompatible and that Karolina's first priority would always be to the Runaways.
Powers and abilities
Like all Majesdanians, Karolina's natural form is luminous, iridescent, and visually fluid, often depicted with waves of rainbow-like light floating off her body (Chase described her as "a burning painting") though body structure is essentially humanoid. Originally, Karolina required a custom made medic alert bracelet constructed of an unspecified alien metal to revert to humanoid form. However, after spending many months on Majesdane, Karolina learned to control the change and can make it at will. In her Majesdanian form, Karolina is able to manipulate solar energy absorbed by her body to generate large concussive blasts, fine laser-like beams and force fields capable of stopping cave-ins, gunfire and explosions. Like her parents, Karolina learned the ability to bind people, binding a New Pride in a colorful sphere. Karolina's Majesdanian form also grants her the ability to fly. During an encounter with the vampire Topher, it is revealed that Karolina's blood also harbors solar energy-based properties, because drinking her blood caused Topher to combust.
The drawback to Karolina's powers is that they have a finite charge. If she is in her Majesdanian form too long or exerts her powers too much, her glow will start to fade and revert her to human form until she uses the sun's rays to recharge. The only time she entirely lost her powers was when the Runaways battled the Gibborim to prevent Chase from sacrificing himself. Leslie Dean stated early in the series that Majesdanians' abilities do not affect one another.
In Brian K. Vaughan's original pitch for the series, Karolina Dean was originally called Leslie. This name would eventually be given to the character's mother. Her parents were originally real estate agents, rather than famous actors. Karolina's Majesdanian form has been colored in two distinct styles. Brian Reber, the first colorist of Runaways, colored Karolina with many different colors of the visible spectrum from panel to panel. Christina Strain, the second colorist for Runaways, colors Karolina in lighter tones, using primarily blue, yellow, and pink with a glitter-like effect.
House of M
Marvel Zombies Halloween
A zombie Karolina Dean is attacking Kitty Pryde and her son Peter in Marvel Zombies Halloween. She is stopped by Mephisto.
In other media
- Karolina Dean appears in the Hulu television series, Runaways portrayed by Virginia Gardner. Karolina's power dampening bracelet is still intact, but her fear of removing it comes from her mother's religious-like background. She is mocked at school by her peers who view her as being brainwashed by her cult-like religion called the Church of Gibborim founded by her grandfather and a benefactor named Jonah. Throughout the course of the first season, she slowly learns more about her true form and her supernatural powers. She later kisses Nico, revealing her feelings, and the two then begin a relationship. In season two, she learns and embraces her dual identity of human and alien. Instead of being Majesdanian, she is half-human and half-Gibborim from a family of exiled Royal Magistrates.
- Karolina Dean appears as a playable character in Playdom's video game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Karolina Dean is a collectible miniature playing piece in Heroclix, Wizkids game of Super Hero table top combat.
- Karolina Dean is a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. She appears in the "Runaways" DLC.
- Brian K. Vaughan (w), Adrian Alphona (p), Craig Yeung (i). "Pride & Joy" Runaways 6 (September 2003), Marvel Comics
- Issue 11 page 19 panel 5 Chase Stein aka Talkback says "L.S.D. you take tall dark and ugly" (referring to Cloak (comics)
- Karolina Dean
- Runaways: Volume 1, #1
- Runaways: Volume 1, #3
- Runaways: Volume 1, #6
- Runaways: Volume 1, #12
- Runaways: Volume 1, #17
- Runaways: Volume 2, #1
- Runaways vol. 2 #3
- Avengers Academy #28
- Avengers Academy #39
- Runaways: Volume 2, #7
- Runaways: Volume 2, #8
- Runaways: Volume 2, #16
- Runaways: Volume 2, #17
- Runaways: Volume 2, #30
- S.W.O.R.D. #2
- S.W.O.R.D. Volume 1: No Time To Breathe (120 pages, July 2010, 0-7851-4076-X) (2010)
- Avengers Arena #13
- Avengers Undercover #4
- Rainbow Rowell (w), Kris Anka (p), Matt Wilson (col). "Finding Your Way Home" Runaways v5, 3 (November 8, 2017), Marvel Comics
- Rainbow Rowell (w), Kris Anka (p), Matt Wilson (col). "Finding Your Way Home" Runaways v5, 5 (January 10, 2018), Marvel Comics
- Rainbow Rowell (w), Kris Anka (p), Matt Wilson (col). "Finding Your Way Home" Runaways v5, 6 (February 7, 2018), Marvel Comics
- Rainbow Rowell (w), Kris Anka (p), Matt Wilson (col). "Best Friends Forever" Runaways v5, 7 (March 21, 2018), Marvel Comics
- Rainbow Rowell (w), Kris Anka (p), Matt Wilson (col). "Best Friends Forever" Runaways v5, 8 (April 4, 2018), Marvel Comics
- Rainbow Rowell (w), Kris Anka (p), Matt Wilson (col). "Best Friends Forever" Runaways v5, 9 (May 9, 2018), Marvel Comics
- Rainbow Rowell (w), Kris Anka (p), Matt Wilson (col). "Best Friends Forever" Runaways v5, 10 (June 20, 2018), Marvel Comics
- Rainbow Rowell (w), Kris Anka (p), Matt Wilson (col). "Best Friends Forever: Am I the Same Girl You Used to Know" Runaways v5, 11 (July 18, 2018), Marvel Comics
- Rainbow Rowell (w), Kris Anka (p), Matt Wilson (col). "Best Friends Forever: Time After Time" Runaways v5, 12 (August 29, 2018), Marvel Comics
- Rowell, Rainbow (10 September 2018). "Rainbow Rowell's script for the Nico/Karolina kiss". Twitter.com. https://twitter.com/rainbowrowell/status/1039231428821766144. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- Runaways: Volume 2, #23
- Chase had lost Gert, and Victor had lost Lillie
- Brian K. Vaughan (w), Adrian Alphona (p). "Parental Guidance" Runaways v2, 17 (June 2006), Marvel Comics
- Terry Moore (w), Humberto Ramos (p). "Dead Wrong" Runaways v3, 6 (January 2009), Marvel Comics
- K. Vaughan, Brian; Adrian Alphona (2005-08-10). Runaways, Vol. 1 HC. Runaways. 1. Takeshi Miyazawa. Marvel. pp. 448. ISBN 0-7851-1876-4. https://archive.org/details/runawaysvol10000vaug/page/448. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- House of M: Avengers #4
- Strom, Marc (February 2, 2017). "'Marvel's Runaways' Finds Its Cast". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. https://www.webcitation.org/6nz9EbsJq?url=https://news.marvel.com/tv/59021/marvels-runaways-finds-cast/. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Morgen, Brett (director); Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (writer) (November 21, 2017). "Reunion". Marvel's Runaways. Season 1. Episode 1. Hulu.
- Webb, Jeremy (director); Jiehae Park & Kendall Rogers (writer) (January 2, 2018). "Doomsday". Marvel's Runaways. Season 1. Episode 9. Hulu.
- Jobst, Marc (director); Quinton Peeples (writer) (January 9, 2018). "Hostile". Marvel's Runaways. Season 1. Episode 10. Hulu.
- Stephen Surjik (director); Warren Hsu Leonard (writer) (December 21, 2018). "Earth Angel". Marvel's Runaways. Season 2. Episode 12. Hulu.
- Webb, Jeremy (director); Quinton Peeples (writer) (December 21, 2018). "Split Up". Marvel's Runaways. Season 2. Episode 13. Hulu.