Like the other original Runaways, Gertrude "Gert" Yorkes was born after her parents and the other members of the Pride decided to pass on their inheritance from the Gibborim to their children. Gert's parents, Dale and Stacey Yorkes, were time-travelers, and often utilized their 4-D Time Portico to complete the Pride work across multiple eras.
Growing up, Gert was only close with Nico Minoru. Gert was a smart, clever, cynical and sarcastic girl with socialist leanings who was often frank and abrasive with others. Gert began to suspect her parents were secretly evil after Orwell, her pet potbelly pig, mysteriously disappeared.
Along with Alex Wilder, Nico Minoru, and Chase Stein, Gert witnessed her parents and the Pride sacrifice Destiny Gonzales for the Ritual of Blood. She was a vocal proponent for turning the Pride over to the authorities. While searching for evidence and the body in the Yorkes basement, the Runaways stubbled onto a holographic message from her parents, the Pride's Abstract, and a genetically engineered dinosaur from the future with a telepathic link to Gert.
After rescuing Molly, narrowly escaping their parents, and taking refuge in The Hostel, Gert suggested taking on new codenames to start over without the influence of their parents. She chose the codename Arsenic and named her new pet velociraptor Old Lace. The pair were immediately connected, and their bond continued to strengthen with time.
Arsenic was often abrasive to and at odds with other members of the Runaways especially Chase. Arsenic remained vocal about using codenames, avoiding mistakes that would lead to capture, and maintaining a healthy skepticism. Arsenic was suspicious of Topher when he was first brought to the Hostel, hesitant to trust Cloak and Dagger, and leery of following their parents into the Marine Vivarium for a confrontation.
When Chase nearly drowns battling off the defenses of the Marine Vivarium, it was Arsenic who administered CPR and saved his life. This led to the pairs first kiss and the culmination of their romantic tension. When facing off with the Pride, Arsenic had instructed Old Lace to follow Alex's commands if anything happened to her. Unfortunately, after taking down the Deans, Arsenic was incapacitated by Alice Hayes. Luckily, Arsenic and the others were able to escape in the Leapfrog before the Gibborim destroyed the Marine Vivarium killing Alex and all the members of the Pride.
After narrowly escaping the destruction of the Marine Vivarium, the Runaways were immediately apprehended by Captain America and placed into foster care. Additionally, Old Lace was taken away from Arsenic. Weeks later after a text message from Karolina, the Runaways reconvened at the Griffith Observatory. Together, they decided to retrieve Old Lace and the Leapfrog, and run away again.
The Runaways eventually located one of the Pride's old lairs beneath the La Brea Tar Pits, and took up residence there. They also began defending Los Angeles from all of the villains trying to fill the power vacuum left by the absence of the Pride.
After an unsuccessful mission to rescue Excavator from his father and the Wrecking Crew, the team returned to the Hostel to be confronted by a mortally-wounded Heroine, a woman claiming to be Gert's future self and leader of the Avengers. Using the 4-D Time Portico, she narrowly escaped the onslaught of Victorious, with a message to the Runaways: find Victor Mancha and stop him from becoming this deadly super-villain. Heroine then died in Chase's arms. Heroine's body was buried just outside the La Brea Museum.
During the Runaways' attempt to bring Victor to the Hostel, he explained to Gert that Old Lace is actually a Deinonychus, not a Velociraptor as previously assumed. Despite the fact that he may one day kill her, Gert quickly sparked a connection with Victor, whom she viewed as her intellectual equal. Gert friendliness with Victor led to Chase feeling insecure about their relationship despite Gert's reassurances.
During a trip to New York City to help Cloak, Gert and Victor had dinner with Spider-Man while Nico and Chase tracked down Pusher Man resulting in a brief kiss. In their final confrontation with Reginald Mantz, Gert was thrown off a skyscraper ultimately to be saved by Victor much to Chase's annoyance.
Weeks later, when Gert found out about Chase and Nico's kiss while battling a young Geoffrey Wilder and his New Pride, she was furious, and the ensuing argument allowed the New Pride to kidnap Molly. Later, Gert officially ended her relationship with Chase.
Death and Afterlife
During the Runaways' mission to rescue Nico, Xavin, and Molly from the Pride, Chase ran into the burning Griffith Observatory to rescue them. However, they had already escaped, leaving Chase to face off with Geoffrey Wilder. Gert and Old Lace went in after him resulting in Geoffrey throwing a knife directly into Gert's chest. Before she died, she successfully transferred her telepathic connection with Old Lace to Chase.
Gert's body was buried five-and-a-half feet in the ground several meters behind the Hollywood sign.
When Molly began receiving ominous direction from a disembodied voice shortly after Gert's death, she believed it was Gert aiding her from beyond the grave. In fact, it was Alex Wilder trying to redeem himself and escape from Hell.
During their trip to 1907, the Runaways encountered younger versions of the Yorkes with a working portico. Chase Stein stole the machine to travel back in time and save Gert, but saw her younger self and blissfully unaware of their parents' evil, he decided to allow her to remain in the past. However, he did return to his father's workshop to steal a new set of Fistigons and X-Ray Specs.
After the destruction of the Malibu House, Chase left the Runaways to confront his Uncle Hunter. En route to the rendezvous with Hunter, Chase saw a girl who looked eerily similar to Gertrude. While chasing after her, Chase ran into traffic and was hit by a car. Fortunately, Chase later fully recovered.
A few years after her aparent death at Geoffrey Wildler's hands, Chase Stein managed to fix the time machine Heroine had used to warn them about Victor and used it to travel back in time in order to save Gert before she died. He failed from getting in time before she got hurt, but he retrieved her body and took it to the present to Nico. Albeit reluctant at first, she helped Chase save her life. After reuniting with Old Lace, Nico and Chase told her about what happened during the two years she was dead, and how the group drifted apart. Gert resolved to bring the Runaways back together, arguing that they were family. During the recruitment drive, Gert expressed that she felt the world had moved on since her death, and cited the bigger age gap between her and Chase as a reason not to get back together.
Gert struggled with her place in the present, and decided to change her appearance and hair color to brown. While the rest of the team were busy, Victor helped Gert fix the time machine again, and they used it to travel to the late 19th century to observe the migration of a type of butterfly that was extinct in the present. During this time, Victor was only a disembodied head as a result of a traumatic experience during which he accidentally killed his "nephew" Vin. During their trip to the past, Victor opened up to Gert about his trauma. Gert comforted him, and they kissed. Following an encounter between the Runaways and the Seed of the Gibborim, Victor decided to regrow his body to ensure he could protect Gert.
When the Runaways were forced out of the underground Hostel by an inadvertent public drainage work, they were welcomed into the mansion of the local vigilante Doc Justice. Victor was eager to join him in his crime-fighting, and the rest of the Runaways minus Gert followed suit, becoming a new incarnation of Doc Justice's former squad, the J-Team.
The unusually high mortality rate of former members of the J-Team led Gert to become increasingly suspicious of Doc Justice, ultimately discovering that in the fifty years of his career, the hero routinely orchestrated the death of his young protégés to raise his own profile since he thrived off sensationalizing his superhero life. Gert convinced Doc Justice's son and assistant, Matthew Caniglia, to interrupt a staged mission that was intended to end with Karolina's murder. This encounter resulted in Doc Justice's death at the fangs of Old Lace.
Powers and Abilities
Gertrude Yorkes was born human with no metahuman abilities. However, using the 4-D Time Portico to travel to the future in the 87th century, Gert's parents were able to commission a genetically-engineered deinonychus.
- Telepathic and Empathic Link: Gert is telepathically and empathically link to her genetically-engineered deinonychus, Old Lace. This empathic bond with Old Lace enabled Gertrude to mentally command and communicate with Old Lace. Additionally, Old Lace is fiercely loyal to Gert, and has been programmed not to harm any member of the Yorkes immediate family. However, Gert and Old Lace also share the pain any injuries the other sustains.
- Gert is deathly allergic to bees stings.
- Gert requires the use of prescription corrective lenses.
- Gert is 15 years old during her initial appeance in Runaways #1.
- Although Gert is ethnically Jewish, she is openly atheist.
- Gertrude plays the drums.
- According to Leslie Dean, Gert was the one child the Pride always considered expendable. Alice Hayes also mentions having wanted to shut Gert up ever since she was born.
- Gert's codename "Arsenic" and the name of her pet dinosaur "Old Lace" were chosen as a reference to the 1944 dark comedy Arsenic and Old Lace directed by Frank Capra. Based on the play of the same name, the film is about a man that learns on his wedding day that his aunts are homicidal and his family has a history of insanity.
- Prior to running away, Gert wanted to be a U.S. Senator, but has since become very disillusioned with people-in-power.
- Gert died in Chase's arms twice: once as the adult Heroine and once as her adolescent self.
- Gertrude is vegetarian (or more accurately, pescetarian).
- Gert's hair is naturally black, but she colors her hair with Purple Haze dye on a weekly basis to keep her roots from showing.
- In third grade, Gert had a fascination for animals that had gone extinct, arguing that she figured the best animals were "probably the ones that left the planet as soon as people showed up."
- 75 appearance(s) of Gertrude Yorkes (Earth-616)
- 8 minor appearance(s) of Gertrude Yorkes (Earth-616)
- 8 mention(s) of Gertrude Yorkes (Earth-616)
- 151 image(s) of Gertrude Yorkes (Earth-616)
- 16 quotation(s) by or about Gertrude Yorkes (Earth-616)