Nico is the daughter of Tina and her husband Robert Minoru. Every year, the couple used to join five other couples in an organization called the Pride. Eventually, Nico was shocked to see her father performing a spell casting scenario in which he was one of those who murdered a girl for their ritual in their organization. Nico made a decision to help the others run from their parents. While running, Nico was shocked to see her mother wielding a staff called the Staff of One. Later, Tina Minoru revealed that she and Robert were secretly dark wizards. Attempting to jam the staff on her daughter's chest, Nico absorbed it.
Following some events, Dale Yorke's Samurai attempted an attack against her with his battle axe, but the Staff of One just merged with her. By saying the word "Freeze", she was able to freeze Stacey Yorkes. The incidents therefore explain the fact that Nico Minoru, like her parents, is actually a witch and whenever she experiences bleeding, the Staff of One merges with her.
To be able to hide her identity as Nico Minoru, she used the name Sister Grimm but it did not last for long. She was then recruited by Alex and became the unofficial leader of the Runaways for a while.
Nico Minoru was created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona and first appeared in Runaways #1 (2003).
Mayor Story Arcs
Against the Pride
During the first volume of the Runaways title, Nico finds herself leading the team in their efforts to prevent their parents from bringing the Gibborim onto Earth. During this period, she becomes engaged in a relationship with fellow Runaway Alex Wilder, but this is broken when Alex ends up betraying the team to the Pride. Despite the resentment she feels at him for betraying her trust (thoughts she articulates by punching him in the face), Nico still grieves his death at the hands of the Gibborim, and wastes a resurrection spell in an effort to bring him back. When the Runaways are separated and each placed into different foster homes at the urging of Captain America, Nico finds herself in Father Flanagan's Home for Unwanted Goth Kids. While initially accepting her place there and trying to forget her past as a Runaway, Nico is soon drawn back into the world of super heroics when she is attacked by the villainous Marie Laveau, who was seeking the Black Mirror, one of the Four Cornerstones of Creation, which Nico's parents had stolen from her. After a lengthy magical confrontation, Nico defeats the sorceress, only for Laveau to escape with the true prize within the Mirror, the last page of the Darkhold. Following this battle, Nico accepts her place as a superhero, and leaves the orphanage to return to the reunited Runaways.
Against Past Geoffry Wilder
When Gert's future self arrives in their time to warn the Runaways about Victor Mancha, she agrees with Gert that he shouldn't be killed. Nico is devastated when Karolina leaves to be wed to Xavin in order to unite their warring planets, particularly since mere moments before, Karolina had revealed her sexual identity and her unrequited love for Nico. Just when she thought her life couldn't get more complicated, a new version of the Pride appears, led by a version of Geoffrey Wilder summoned from the 1980's. Wilder attempts to resurrect his dead family by using Molly as bait to lure Nico to be sacrificed by Gibborim. Although they are able to defeat Wilder and the new Pride with the return of Karolina and Xavin, Gert is killed while attempting to save Chase from being sacrificed instead of Nico. This event greatly distresses her and she begins a physical relationship with Victor Mancha in order to help her cope with Gert's death. During this time, Nico confesses to Victor that she often finds herself seeking out physical comfort in times of great stress and grief.
After an upcoming threat was revealed about Victor Mancha, Nico and her co-Runaways have to abduct Victor to interrogate him about some details despite the murder of his parents. However, this becomes possible after Ultron's defeat. Nico then recruits Victor to the team. Following some events, the Gibborim then attempt to take Nico's soul because of its purity and its availability for the Gibborim to consume. Victor then saves her from the aforementioned villain and leads to a relationship between the two Runaways. After going back to their headquarters, Xavin realizes that she has made their location noticeable for Iron Man and the SHIELD, so to be able to escape, Nico orders her team to relocate.
To be able to escape from the authorities that chase them, and to escape the anxious deal with Kingpin, the Runaways become stuck in 1907 New York City thanks to a faulty time-machine, and are thrust into the middle of a superhuman gang war. During this time, Nico is kidnapped and tortured by a woman known as the " Witchbreaker", in truth Nico's great-grandmother. The Witchbreaker teaches Nico about many things. Nico also learns a lot of improvements to her abilities that increase her potential. Despising her descendant for her supposed frailties, the Witchbreaker inflicts increasingly painful tortures upon the Runaway in order to strengthen her, and allow her to wield the Staff of One to greater effect. Eventually escaping the Witchbreaker (off-panel, and through as yet unknown means), Nico assists her team in returning to the past, breaking up amicably with Victor in the process after the latter fell deeply in love with a girl from that time period.
Nico Minoru, along with the other Runaways, joins forces with the Young Avengers. They are the first to encounter a group of invading Skrulls in New York City, who are easily defeated. The team had just arrived after visiting 1907. Xavin, who is also a Skrull, tried fooling the invading Skrulls but is misinterpreted by Nico and Victor for being a traitor, helping his race to invade. Nico and Victor attack her not knowing her real intentions. Afterwards, the issue is cleared up that Xavin's intention was only to avoid them fighting the Skrulls because of the greater abilities that they possess. Nico then leads the Runaways while joining forces with the Young Avengers. Wiccan then asks the team to leave and promises that they will only have to call them in times of need.
After the Invasion
Following their exploits in the past and the Secret Invasion, The Runaways move into one of the Pride's safehouses on the California beach. Nico displays much greater magical power, but with some unexpected results. While fighting some of the few remaining Majesdanes (Karolina's people), she casts a spell that physically "scatters" her opponents, but emotionally scatters her teammates. After Xavin leaves with the Majesdanes in Karolina's place, the team begins fighting a deranged megalomaniacal Radio DJ. When one of her parents' former associates grabs hold the Staff of One, a security daemon is released from the staff and eats the associate. She is continuing to learn her magicks and attempting to control them more fully.
Runaways Nico and Chase Stein are amongst the 16 superpowered teenagers kidnapped by Arcade and forced to take part in a thirty day-long deathmatch with only one survivor. Some of the teens attacked Arcade in an effort to stop the games anyone could get hurt and even though Chase was among them, Nico chose to stay back and observe. Using new powers, Arcade thoroughly defeats the teens and, to further prove his point, makes the first kill: Avengers Academy student Mettle. She and Chase then set up camp in the beach quadrant, which is also one of the camps hit by the night attacker.
Stressed out and unable to gain any more than a few minutes sleep due to paranoia, Nico and Chase opt to try for an alliance with the remaining Avengers Academy students: Hazmat, Juston Seyfert, Reptil, and X-23. Despite some initial trust issues the two teams agree to an alliance, with the Runaways providing food, courtesy of Nico, and the Academy students providing numbers.
Unfortunately the alliance was short-lived due to Reptil being badly injured by fire one night. X-23, who was first on the scene, blamed Chase for the attack, because of his Fistigons. Hazmat, believing the alliance was a ploy to kill them all, opened fire on Chase, who was saved last minute by Nico's intervention. Not wanting to fight, Nico decided to leave with Chase, offering Jenny and Laura food from her enchanted tree. In vengeful act, Hazmat killed the tree and allowed the two to leave. Unsure of whether or not Chase had actually attacked Reptil, tension developed between the team mates as they returned to their former campsite. On the way their, Chase fell behind and stumbled across the Darkhawk Amulet, which had formerly belonged to Chris Powel (Darkhawk). He decided not to tell Nico this for fear that she would think he'd killed Chris.
When Arcade announced that he had placed a supply crate, full of food, medicine, and weapons, in the desert quadrant safe zone, Nico and Chase began the journey to it. Along the way, they ran into Cammi, whom they saved from an avalanche. The trio then formed an alliance and made for the supply crate and were the first to arrive. However, Cammi suggested that they leave it because "Some prizes aren't worth winning."Instead they watched as Arcade teleported Braddock Academy students Nara, Anachronism, and Bloodstone to the crate, just in time to beat fellow Academy students Apex and Kid Briton, accompanied by non-Academy student Death Locket.
After the fight between the two groups and the death of Kid Briton, Cullen approached Nico and the others and offered to split the crate if they helped to bury Brian. They agreed and the groups allied, minus Katy, who was revealed to be manipulating everyone from the first day, and Death Locket, who had gone chasing after her. Nico attempted to bond with Nara over their mutual experience of bad boyfriends, but was rebuffed.
Later on, after Laura had helped Juston turn the remnants of his sentinel into a battlesuit, Apex, now controlled by someone named Tim, and Rebecca ran into the group. Nico tried to stop Juston but was attacked. This caused Chase to turn into Darkhawk and fight him. The fight was only broken up when Tim created an E.M.P. The group, unsure of Tim's story, tied him up as he explained that he and Katy shared a body and were technopaths. He also revealed that Katy was responsible for the night attacks.
When it came to a vote over whether or not they should kill Tim to protect themselves from Katy, Nico was one of the five teens who voted to spare him, and was also the most vocal about it. When Chase decided to go against the group's decision, Nico forced him from the group with a spell, crying as she did so. Realizing they needed biological powers to watch Katy, Nico took first watch, but was knocked out by a min-controlled Death Locket. Katy escaped, killing Juston and taking both Rebecca and the sentinel as weapons.
Nico awoke the next morning and alerted Laura, who ran after Katy, and the others. Before they could form a solid plan, however, Katy attacked, dumping an unconscious and bloody Laura in their midst. Nico stepped up and distracted Katy while the others ran into the snow quadrant. Nico managed to open a portal to somewhere else in Murder World, despite previous teleportation spells not working, and managed to get everyone through.
Unfortunately, Katy reappeared and broke Nico's leg, preventing her from following the others. In a desperate move, Nico shut the portal to make her stand against Apex, but was interrupted by the arrival of Chase, clade in his Darkhawk armor. Thinking she was saved, Nico apologized for her earlier actions. Sadly, Apex's control of technology extended to alien tech and she used him to mortally wound Nico before breaking her Staff of One and kicking her off a cliff. Nico crawled threw the snow towards her staff, ignoring her injuries. But she was to wounded and only just managed to touch her staff and utter a single word, "Help," before dying, hand still tightly clasped around the staff.
Rest In Peace Nico Minoru, you will be missed.
Luckily, the spell resurrected her and, due to the massive blood sacrifice, equipped her with a new arm, to replace the one she'd lost to Apex, and amplified her powers. Furious, Nico immediately tracked down Katy and engaged her. Viewing the fight from a hidden bunker, Arcade explains that Nico's powers come from the blood magic, and after losing her arm and bleeding out, her powers were amplified and her body rebuit. Arcade also believes that Nico's behavior has changed and that she is much darker now, after her resurrected.
Meanwhile, Nico seems to take an early advantage against Katy, but loses it when she sends Chase to attack her. Not wanting to hurt her friend causes Nico to hold back, resulting in her being knocked down by Katy's robots. Nico manages to destroy what's left of the sentinel and destroys Death Locket's robotic arm, rendering her useless to Katy. However, she still won't kill Chase which Katy uses to batter her until near death, causing her to drop her staff. Katy then picks up the staff and declares herself the winner. Nico then demonstrates her gauntlets ability to cast spells and knocks Chase out with a single magic punch. She also uses the gauntlet to recall the staff to her and casts a final spell which buries Katy and Death Locket alive. Chase, who survived the punch, then comforts Nico who wants to pretend that they aren't trapped in a deathmatch for awhile. Chase agrees and the two sit side by side in silence.
When Arcade floods Murder World with Trigger Scent on Day 29, Laura goes into a frenzy and attacks the other teens and nearly kills Aiden and Nara. This forces Cullen to remove his Bloodstone Ring, which keeps his hidden monster side, a mystical soul parasite called a Glartrox, in check and he begins to attack Laura. However, before the monster can kill her, Reptil, Nico, and Chase appear and push him back. The trio are soon joined by Cammi and Anachronism while Nara searches the nearby water for Cullen's ring. Nico attempts to force the monster back into Cullen with her spells, but it doesn't work.
With things looking dire, Aiden is about to kill Cullen, which would stop the Glartrox, when Nara locates the ring and draws the monster towards her. She manages to touch the ring to its skin, banishing it back into Cullen, but not before it cuts her with its claws. She bleeds out and dies in Aiden's arms, which causes him to lash out at Cullen, swinging his axe into his chest. The alliance the teens previously had shatters, and Nico has Chase punch Reptil into the forest, while she grabs Cullen and flies out over the water.
Nico tries to drown him peacefully, but because of his ring, Cullen survives. She apologizes, claiming that it's not his fault and he deserves better, but that she has to look out for Chase. She promises to make his death quick and as painless as she can, but is interrupted by Cammi, who stole the Darkhawk Amulet from Chase. Cammi berates Nico for succumbing to Arcade's machinations, to which Nico responds by claiming she already has, referring to her early burying of Apex and Death Locket. She expresses remorse for having seemingly killed Death Locket. All of a sudden, she realizes that Cammi has Chase's amulet and believes she has killed him.
The two take flight and attack one another, but stop once Chase, alive but immobilized by a broken leg, draws their attention to Hazmat, who is about to explode and kill them all. Reptil charges forward and gets Jenny into the water where she explodes safely, saving the other kids, who have now stopped fighting. When Apex, now in control of Murder World due to Arcade's escape, sees this, she activates the Island's many death traps and sends them after Nico, Chase, Cammi, and Aiden. The group engages in a losing battle against sand monsters, killer bugs, and a living typhoon.
Below Murder World, Death Locket escapes Katy's control and is forced to end the game by killing Apex with Tim in control. She then goes up to the surface and tells the group that it's over. When she tells them what happened, Nico, relieved that Rebecca lived, goes to thank her, but Rebecca asks her not to. Hazmat then emerges from the water, without her suit and not emitting her usual radiation, and they all agree not to tell anyone what happened during their 30-day absence.
On Day 30, the adults arrive, including Captain Britain, Wolverine, Hank Pym, Abigail Brand, Maria Hill and S.H.I.E.L.D., and the kids were rescued. Chase gave the amulet back to Chris and all the teens left the island. One week later, after news of the story broke, Arcade made his move. In an undisclosed safe house, wrapped in a bathrobe and uncorking a bottle of champagne, Arcade uploaded the footage of what really happened in Murder World to the internet.
- Sister Grimm Height: 5' 4"
- Hair: Black
- Notable Aliases: Sister Grimm
- Place of Birth: unrevealed
- Known Relatives: Witchbreaker (Great Grandmother) Robert Minoru (Father), Tina Minoru (Mother)
Powers and Abilities
She possesses the Staff of One, a mystical artifact that allows her to cast amazing spells. However, a specific spell effect or manifestation can only be invoked once. Attempting to evoke the same effect results in random, often useless, effects. Being untrained in magic, Nico must verbalize the desired effect (directly or indirectly) using normal language. Nico mentioned wanting to expand her vocabulary to increase her versatility with the Staff. The potential power of the Staff is such that it could make even Dormammu afraid (according to Nico's parents), which implies that Nico is only scratching the surface of what the Staff is truly capable of.
Nico must shed her own blood, in ways such as cutting herself, in order to manifest the Staff of One, which emerges from her chest after invoking the words "When blood is shed, let the Staff of One emerge." Once she forced Old Lace to bite her in order to conjure up the Staff. When Nico has her period, she does not have to cut herself. The Staff Of One is reabsorbed into Nico's body after prolonged use.
She has occasionally used minor magic, such as conjuring a small image, without using the staff.
After the Runaway's trip to 1907 New York, Nico's Staff of One transformed in appearance to resemble the Witchbreaker's Staff. It is now more powerful than it's original form. Also, after the Witchbreaker subjected her to a great amount of pain, Nico can now cast some spells without the staff in her possession.
After being resurrected by the Staff of One, it rebuild a new arm for Nico, that looked like a gauntlet. It seems that Nico can cast spells with her new arm without the Staff of One.
List of spells cast
Below is a list of spell that Nico (and in some very rare cases, others) have cast using the Staff of One. By definition, these spells are the spells that Nico can no longer cast, seeing as she cannot use a spell twice.
- "Freeze." Magically froze Gertrude Yorkes' mother for a short period of time.
- "Freeze." Due to this spell already having been used, the Staff of One randomly summoned pelicans.
- "Smoke." Produced a thick cloud of black smoke to cover the Runaways' escape.
- "Away." Teleported Nico away from Alex Wilder.
- "Mud." Summoned a blob of mud that flew right at Karolina Dean.
- "Burst!" Caused two spray-paint cans to explode.
- "Rock and roll." Generated a tremor that resulted in the Hostel caving in on the Runaways and LAPD officers.
- "Waterproof!" Summons a impervious bubble for the team to travel underwater in.
- "Float on." Levitated Chase Stein's powerless parents up to the roof and kept them there for a while.
- (Off-panel). Alex Wilder used the Staff of One to bind Karolina Dean's parents with chains made of the very metal that cancels out their powers.
- "Dance!" (Cast by Alex Wilder) Reanimates a frozen Nico.
- "Bondage." (Cast by Alex Wilder) Ties Karolina up with chains of metal that nullify her powers (this indicates that there may in fact be a way for the Staff of One to overcome it's one-time-per-spell limitation).
- "Hands off!" Caused the Fistigons gauntlets that Alex Wilder had stolen to blow up.
- (Off-panel). Nico unsuccessfully tried to resurrect Alex Wilder
- (Off-panel). Uses a fumigation spell to prevail against an insect-based enemy.
- (Off-panel). Turns Chase Stein into a fish.
- (Off-panel). Ironically uses a Reduction Incantation to make Mole Man even smaller.
- "Deconstruct." Caused a member of the Wrecking Crew to simply fall apart into several pieces, temporarily.
- "Flashback." Allowed Nico to view the last living memories of the Gertrude Yorkes of the future.
- "Rockstars! Fired an energy blast at Victor Mancha.
- "You suck." Caused Turbo's wrist turbines to reverse, causing a vacuum around her.
- "Insulation!" Negates Victor Mancha's electromagnetic powers for a while.
- (Off-panel). Turned the entire team, except for Victor Mancha, invisible.
- "Shine on, you crazy diamond." Encases Ultron in a solid block of diamond.
- "Fumigation!" Cast for the second time, the spell has the unpredicted consequence of teleporting Nico and Karolina into a desert.
- "Acid rain!" Summons a cloud that produced acid rain to cause a few security daemons to melt.
- "Old Lace to Old Yeller!" Turns Old Lace, the team dinosaur, into a small dog, temporarily.
- "Hellfire!" Fires jets of hellfire at Spider-Man.
- "Dreamtime!" Causes Spider-Man to instantly fall asleep.
- (Off-panel). Summoned a flying carpet to transport the team across New York City.
- "Sunburst!" Fires a burst of solar energy at a villain.
- "Detox!" (Cast by Chase Stein) Causes a villain empowered by MGH to vomit the drug he had ingested and lose his powers.
- "Get to work!" Turns Chase's list of things to do when he turns 18 into a wrench.
- "Revelations!" Undoes the illusion cast by Geoffrey Wilder to make himself look like his son.
- "Shut up!" Blasts Chase away in a swirl of energy (it is unknown if Chase retained his ability to speak after this).
- (Off-panel). Casts a muzzle spell on Old Lace after the dinosaur attacked her.
- "Pixies, find the leak!" Successfully summons a dozen pixies to show Nico how the new Pride has been keeping tabs on them.
- "Forget." Erased Geoffrey Wilder's memory of ever coming to the future and sends him back to the 80's, where he was summoned from.
- "Caffeine injection!" Gives an exhausted Molly Hayes a sudden excess of energy to keep her fighting against a gigantic monster.
- "Now here comes the sweet talk." Gives Xavin the voice of the monster's late wife to go along with his shapeshifting into her, convincing the beast to stop destroying buildings.
- (Off-panel). Summons a magical cage of energy to trap the Silver Bullet Gang inside it.
- "Be quiet." (Cast by Chase Stein) Makes Nico unable to speak louder than a whisper.
- "Yeah, pretty soon I'll just be a bad dream." (Cast by Chase Stein) Causes Nico Minoru to suddenly fall asleep.
- "Get Lost" Temporarily blinded Kate Bishop.
- "Chill out." Causes an Artic atmosphere which halts the fighting between the Young Avengers and Runaways.
- "Wake up" A spell used to wake up the other members of the teams, who were knocked out by Noh-Varr.
- "Prodigium Effodio" 'Excavating monster' a red light in the shape of a monster that got the heroes into the Cube through the floor.
- "Going Down" Phasing through the floor of a building to escape the Punisher--Molly calls it 'Shadowcatting'.
- "Crash" Used to knock out ninjas.
- (Off -panel) healing spell Nico used to heal herself.
- (Off -panel) Nico creates costumes for them to wear in1907.
- (Off- panel) fire controlling spell, to help the effort of rescue of the factory fire.
- "Open Sesame" used to open the bank vault.
- (Off-panel) --Witchbreaker's staff-- a Flight spell
- (Off-panel) --Witchbreaker's staff-- a spell which caused water to flow through the streets to extinguish the fires and ,temporaily, the fighting.
- "Vegan" --Witchbreaker's staff-- Stops Maneater.
- "The show must go on." --Witchbreaker's staff--Neutralizing the Yorkes ,and making them unable of changing future events such as; Gert's death ,and their own.
- "Pop" After Xavin holds the Runaways in forcefield bubbles, Nico uses this spell to explode them before the Skrulls invade
- "Stone Cold" - This was used in "What if the Runaways became the Young Avengers?" so it's not canon, but the spell froze a member of the Wrecking Crew.
- "Clot" - This was used in "What if the Runaways became the Young Avengers?" so it's not canon, but the spell attempted to stop Chase's bleeding
- "Canopener" - This was used in "What if the Runaways became the Young Avengers?" so it's not canon, but the spell opened the Iron Lad armor.
- "Rubber Soul" - This was used in "What if the Runaways became the Young Avengers?" so it's not canon, but the spell bounced Victorious' energy back to himself.
- "Applause" - This was used in "What if the Runaways became the Young Avengers?" so it's not canon, but two large red hands clapped themselves around Victorious.
- "Scatter" Nico's infamous spell that was meant to scatter the villainous Majesdanians over Earth, but it also emotionally scattered the Runaways.
- "Ocean View" After the Majesdanians break the Runaways' new kitchen, Nico uses this spell to repair it.
- "Xavin! Here! Now!" Nico uses this spell to magically pull Xavin through the air, pronto.
- "Wings" Gives Nico brilliantly large wings to fly
- "Suck eggs, skunkhead" Nico used this spell to shoot out eggs at a Majesdanian's face with the force of bullets
- "Balloons" Nico used this spell to magically attach air balloons to Cadie McDonnogh's falling helicopter
- "Zombie Not" Nico's spell attempted to turn plastic-surgery zombies normal, although since she can't "reverse magic", it causes them to form into one large zombie. It's later revealed the reason is because her magic took control of itself; it thought she said "zombie knot".
- "Oily" Nico's spell to break apart the zombies backfires again and spills oil through the streets of Los Angeles.
- "Cocoon" Wraps up Val Rhymin once and for all in a cocoon.
- "Wardrobe Malfunction" Nico causes Marie robe to turn against her
- "Deflector Shield" Reflecting magic lightning blast back towards Marie
Nico's role as the defacto leader of the Runaways usually means that she is frequently charged with making the hard decisions. Because of this Nico has had to mature the fastest in comparison to her friends, but she still maintains a positive outlook on life and looks to her friends as her family, so she also is the maternal figure of the group. But because Nico guards her friends so closely, she takes a loss much worse than they do, such as when she expressed survivor's guilt over Gert's death. Nico also shows quick thinking and ingenuity when using her spells.