Alex Wilder and the Abstract.
Artwork by Jo Chen.
|First appearance||Runaways vol. 1 #1 (July, 2003)|
|Created by||Brian K. Vaughan
|Alter ego||Alex Wilder|
|Abilities||Advanced skill with logic and strategy.|
Alex Wilder is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics award-winning series, Runaways. He was created by author Brian K. Vaughan & artist Adrian Alphona, and debuted in Runaways vol. 1 #1 with most of the other main characters. Like every member of the original Runaways, he is the son of evil villains with special abilities; in Alex's case, gang mob bosses. Alex is the team's de facto leader in the title's first volume, temporarily ranking Alex among the list of African-American superhero team leaders. Unlike the rest of the team, Alex does not possess powers of any kind but is a child prodigy in the fields of logic and strategy, both of which assist Alex greatly during his time as leader. Thin, black, and with a signature afro, Alex outed himself as the Runaway's secret mole to their evil parents, and met his tragic demise after being blown into ashes by the Gibborim.
Fictional character biography
The son of Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder, Alex is the first character to be introduced to the series; Alex is the one to initially suggest spying on their parents' supposed charity organization. After witnessing their parents' (who were revealed to be a secret crime ring called "the Pride") murder of an innocent teenage girl, Alex organizes the mass escape from their parents. Alex then obtains the Yorkes' copy of The Abstract, a magical book that records the past, present, and future deeds of the Pride. After a few fights with their parents, Alex and the Runaways escape to Chase's dilapidated mansion hideout called "the Hostel". The group vows to work together and take down their parents' organization. The majority of the group (with the exception of Alex) decide to take superhero codenames for themselves as they begin their new lives as full-time vigilantes.
Alex distances himself emotionally from many of the Runaways, even refusing to take a codename or bond with the rest of the team. Alex spends most of his time deciphering the Abstract, presumably plotting how he will carry out his plan to save his parents from the Dean and Hayes couples. Since he expected that all the other Runaways would die in a few months time, he limited his emotional connection.
As a fugitive/death
Alex eventually deciphers the Abstract and reveals that the Pride works for the Gibborim, three monstrous giants who require the sacrifice of twenty-five innocent souls over twenty-five years to gain enough power to destroy Earth and restore it to the paradise it once was. Alex determines the location for the yearly sacrificial rite and convinces the Runaways that the rite would be the best place to launch an assault. Chase is critically injured, and decides to stay back, and gives Alex his x-ray goggles and Fistigons for the final fight. When Gert is injured during the fight, she gives control of Old Lace to Alex so the dinosaur can remain in the fight, and when Nico is frozen solid, Alex begins to use the Staff of One as well. When the fight is finally finished, only Alex and Karolina remain standing, at which point Alex knocks out Karolina and outs himself as a mole for his parents.
He reveals that he'd known about the Pride for over a year and had learned about the Pride's secret previously. Alex then reveals that the Deans and Hayeses had plotted to kill all the human members of the Pride, and take the six seats in paradise for themselves and their daughters. Alex's master plan was to use his friends to take down the entire Pride as a group but save his own parents, thus securing three seats in the paradise the Gibborim had prophetically promised to the Pride previously for himself and his own parents selfishly, and to give the remaining three seats to Nico and her parents, but Nico refuses and Alex quickly loses control over the situation. Gert wakes up, prompting her to reclaim Old Lace, who steals back Nico's Staff and destroys the Fistigons, leaving Alex with nothing. When Molly awakens, she destroys the Gibborim's newest sacrifice; when the Gibborim arrive, Alex takes full responsibility in place of his father for the soul being gone. While the Gibborim openly respect Alex's honesty, they promptly incinerate him.
Alex was the intended subject of two resurrection spells in the series' second volume. Nico reveals the reason why she couldn't resurrect Gertrude Yorkes' future self was because she had already attempted the spell. She says it didn't work because "even the Staff of One has its limits". Later on, Alex's online role-playing friends also attempted a resurrection when they learned about the Pride. The spell they used killed one of their members, but replaced him with a 1985 version of Geoffrey Wilder, Alex's soon-to-be father.
In volume two, issue twenty-two, Molly began to hear a disembodied voice in her head telling her to go find Chase. She hears it again in volume two, issue twenty-four when it tells her how to repair Victor Mancha. Molly believed that it was Gert's voice, but at the end of the issue, it was revealed it was actually Alex speaking from a white void dimension he shares with the recently killed Gibborim. Alex informs the giants that he helped Molly in order to atone for his past deeds and he intends to earn his way out of the dimension. The Gibborim ask why they and Alex are in the dimension, and Alex whilst explaining how they and himself are very alike for thinking only of their parents previously through their actions (quoting the Pat Benatar song) states "Hell Is for Children".
Alex distances himself emotionally from many of the Runaways, even refusing to take a codename or bond with the rest of the team. Alex did not think very highly of Nico in the years before the series' beginning, but changes upon seeing Nico for the first time in her new goth wardrobe and contact lenses, volume one, issue one. In the first volume, Nico and Alex share a brief relationship. She kisses him for the first time during the Runaways' attempted rescue of Molly Hayes; it's later revealed Alex was Nico's first kiss. She kisses and expresses love for Alex after he saves her from the vampire Topher; it is generally accepted that Nico and Alex are a couple at this point. Despite her professed love for Alex, Nico chooses to side with the Runaways after Alex reveals his plan to bring her to the Gibborim's new world with her parents, firmly establishing her dedication to the team. However, despite the betrayal, Nico demonstrates willingness to forgive when she unsuccessfully tries to resurrect Alex, and states that even though Alex was a traitor, he did not deserve death. It is also revealed that she still loves him and always will.
Alex's relationship with his father is not strained, but also not the closest of relationships. Alex's obsession with superheroes never boded well with Geoffrey. It is revealed in volume one, issue seventeen, that Alex is devoted to his family above all, outing himself as the Pride's mole, a role he undertook solely to show that he is willing to go to great lengths to keep his parents safe. Alex explains in volume two, issue twenty-four, that he committed all of his evil actions to gain his father's approval and love, two things Geoffrey never explicitly demonstrated to Alex during the series.
- Runaways: Volume 1, #1
- Runaways: Volume 2, #2
- Alex Wilder
- Runaways: Volume 1, #2
- Runaways: Volume 1, #3
- Runaways: Volume 1, #6
- Runaways: Volume 1, #7
- Runaways: Volume 1, #17
- Runaways: Volume 1, #13
- Runaways: Volume 1, #15
- Runaways: Volume 1, #16
- Runaways: Volume 2, #14
- Runaways: Volume 2, #22
- Runaways: Volume 2, #24
- Runaways: Volume 1, #5
- Runaways: Volume 1, #10
- MYSTIC ARCANA: SISTER GRIMM #4