Art by Chris Bachalo
|First appearance||Runaways, volume 1, #1 (July, 2003)|
|Created by||Brian K. Vaughan
|Alter ego||Karolina Dean|
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Notable aliases||Lucy in the Sky|
Solar light manipulation
Karolina Dean (// kair-ROH-lee-nə), also briefly known as Lucy in the Sky, or L.S.D., is a fictional character, a superhero in the Marvel Comics series Runaways. She was created by author Brian K. Vaughan & artist Adrian Alphona, and debuted in Runaways #1 (April 2003) with most of the other main characters. 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 reradiates it in the form of the colors of the rainbow. She is often called "Kar" or "K" for short, and is known for her free spirit and kind nature. She is a vegan and peace keeper, and once mentioned as being a protester.
Karolina is the group's only lesbian character. She is the only extraterrestrial in the group, except for a period of time when her Skrull fiancee, 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.
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 of the same name.
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 fiancee 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.
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.
Relationships with other Runaways
Karolina gets along well with the other Runaways, and the only time she had ever got into an argument with them was after Nico questions 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 Runaways volume 1 that Karolina had a crush on Nico, but Karolina did not make her feelings explicitly known until volume 2, #7 when she attempted to kiss Nico. When Nico refused, Karolina was distressed, having just gotten over the isolation of being the team's sole alien and now was outed as the team's only lesbian. Merely an hour later, Karolina was taken away by Xavin to be wed, and left her medic alert bracelet with Nico as a token of remembrance. When Karolina returned to Earth, she accidentally confessed to Xavin (whom she thought to be Nico at the time) that she was still in love with Nico, saying that she cares for Nico "more than she will ever know." Karolina remains staunch in her devotion to Xavin, and thus her feelings for and attraction to Nico occasionally put a strain on their friendship.
Karolina met Xavin after suffering rejection from Nico, her crush for many months. She initially rejected Xavin when he told her that Karolina was promised to be his bride, but after hearing that the marriage would be part of a peace treaty between her world and Xavin's, Karolina felt more inclined to accept the proposal. She accepted fully when Xavin expressed no concern of changing physical appearance from male to female to please her. Xavin once took the form of Nico in order to please Karolina, but Karolina rejected her as Nico and reassured Xavin that she loves her as she is. Later on, during an argument, Xavin subconsciously reverted to female human form, which both surprised and pleased Karolina, who had earlier expressed some lingering doubts about Xavin's true gender.
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 are 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, as opposed to famous actors. It was Molly's parents that were meant to be famous, but were redesigned as doctors instead.
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 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.
- 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, ISBN 0-7851-4076-X) (2010)
- Avengers Arena #13
- Avengers Undercover #4
- Runaways: Volume 2, #23
- Chase had lost Gert, and Victor had lost Lillie
- K. Vaughan, Brian; Adrian Alphona (2005-08-10). Runaways, Vol. 1 HC. Runaways 1. Takeshi Miyazawa. Marvel. p. 448. ISBN 0-7851-1876-4. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- House of M: Avengers #4