Artwork by Adrian Alphona.
|First appearance||Runaways vol. 1, #1 (July, 2003) (July, 2003)|
|Created by||Brian K. Vaughan
|Alter ego||Molly Hayes|
|Notable aliases||Bruiser, Princess Powerful|
Invulnerability and weak psychic powers that occasionally allow her to talk to the dead
Molly Hayes (also briefly known as Princess Powerful or Bruiser) is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics award-winning 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 villains with special abilities; after the other older Runaways learn more about themselves, they raid Molly's home to find out her mutant abilities had already manifested. Often called "Mol" for short, Molly is the youngest Runaway and her innocence often serves as humor in the series, but she has demonstrated great insight at critical moments.
Molly was originally the team's sole mutant; despite having telepathic mutant parents, Molly's mutant powers are superhuman strength and invulnerability. She used to be the youngest member of the team, but after inviting fellow mutant Klara Prast to join, Molly takes comfort in having another mutant and someone her own age. She is extremely proud of her mutant heritage and admires the X-Men. Runaways creator Brian K. Vaughan played a significant role in the character's subsequent development as well as artist/writer Adrian Alphona. Molly was named after Runaways creator Brian K. Vaughan's younger sister, Molly Hayes Vaughan. Her trademark is an expansive lineup of hats displayed throughout the series. In 2009, Molly was named the fourth (out of ten) toughest females in the Marvel Universe, after Rogue, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel.
Molly was one of the few Runaways to actually keep the name she had in Brian K. Vaughan's original proposal; she is named after Vaughan's younger sister, Molly Hayes Vaughan. However, in the original pitch for the series, Molly's parents were Hollywood actors. This would eventually become the cover story of Karolina's parents. Also, Molly's sibling-like relationship with Chase was originally supposed to be with Gert. Molly was supposed to be thirteen years old in the original pitch instead of eleven.
Fictional character biography
Molly is with friends Alex Wilder, Karolina Dean, Gertrude Yorkes, Chase Stein, and Nico Minoru when they observe their parents calling themselves The Pride and preparing the ritual sacrifice of a young girl. Molly is preemptively escorted away by Karolina while the older children watch the sacrifice commence. They inform Karolina and decide to run away from their homes that very night. After discovering their powers and gifts, the older five kids rescue Molly from her home. Molly awakes from a psychically-induced slumber during the runaways' rescue and sees her mother being threatened by Nico. Molly's mutant powers manifest at that moment in a display of glowing pink hair and eyes. However, Molly first uses her strength to knock Leslie Dean out of the sky, saving Gert. Molly promptly falls asleep from exhaustion and the Runaways take her to their new hideout, a dilapidated mansion called "the Hostel."[volume & issue needed]
Throughout the first volume of the series, Molly is skeptical that her parents were accomplices to murder and is unsure why the group ran away in the first place. However, she is excited at the prospect of becoming a superhero and enthusiastically takes the codename "Princess Powerful," while her teammates dub her "Bruiser." Shortly after their "superhero" careers begin, the Runaways take in fellow runaway Topher, who turns out to be a vampire. He dies by ingesting Karolina's solar-irradiated blood and when Molly witnesses Topher's death, she realizes that the superhero life is not a game, and cries for her mother.[volume & issue needed]
Alex later deciphers a text kept by his parents called the Abstract, and informs the Runaways about their parents' activities as The Pride, their ties to the Gibborim (the Pride's Biblical benefactors), and their ultimate goal of exterminating all human life save for the six most loyal Pride members. Molly expresses disinterest in the Pride's motivations, but is excited when Alex plots to disrupt the Pride's ritual sacrifice to the Gibborim. When the Runaways encounter the Pride, Molly witnesses first-hand why she and her friends have been in hiding for months and destroys the sacrifice prepared for the Gibborim. She escapes with the Runaways when the Gibborim attack the Pride for losing the sacrifice. After the Pride's demise, Molly is sent to X-Corp for foster care, but breaks out with Gert's help and runs away with the rest of the team.[volume & issue needed]
In the second volume, Molly fights under Nico's command and witnesses the future Gert die in Chase's arms as she warns the Runaways about the future supervillain named Victor Mancha. Molly participates in the search, and during the second fight with Excelsior, Molly discerns Chamber's fake accent; he is later revealed to be Geoffrey Wilder in disguise.[volume & issue needed]
After Victor joins the team, Molly accompanies him on group shopping trips under Nico's orders because she believes that Molly is the only individual member of the Runaways capable of bringing Victor down should he betray the team. During the runaways' trip to New York City to exonerate Cloak, Molly meets her idol and childish crush Wolverine, but he scares her and she hurls him out of a church, thereafter maintaining a severe dislike of him. After the Runaways solve the case, they return to Los Angeles, but Wolverine and the X-Men follow them, looking to enroll Molly in Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters. After a short altercation, the X-Men leave Molly alone, realizing that it would be unfair to force her to enroll.[volume & issue needed]
During one mission, Molly gets separated from the team and the Provost abducts her. He coerces Molly and other children into robbing banks for him. Molly rallies the children to stage a coup, and she finds her way back to the Runaways.[volume & issue needed]
Molly is abducted in a battle with a second incarnation of the Pride, made up of Alex's MMORPG friends and led by a younger version of Alex's father, Geoffrey. Nico rescues Molly with Xavin's aid, but Gert dies covering their escape. After Gert's death, Molly asks the Leapfrog, the group's transport, if Gert went to Heaven, but it cannot reply since Heaven is not on any of the maps in its database. Soon afterwards, Molly begins hearing a disembodied voice she believes is Gert's, and follows its instructions to help revive Victor. She helps Victor rescue Nico from the Gibborim and subsequently joins the team on their cross-country trek to evade Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. The voice Molly heard is later revealed to have been Alex's.[volume & issue needed]
Molly is referenced in New X-Men #42 (November 2007): when Mercury researches for the youngest mutant in the world, Hellion asks about Molly, who he believes to be five years-old. The Stepford Cuckoos inform Julian he is incorrect.
In Runaways #10, the Runaways travel to San Francisco after Molly receives Emma Frost's psychic message inviting all mutants to a new safe Haven. Molly's non-stop chatter quickly annoys several of the X-Men and Wolverine gives her a tour of the X-Men's new base of operations. Molly begins to annoy Wolverine and the two argue until he insults Molly's parents and calls her a brat, causing her to throw him through the roof.
Wolverine is urged by Cyclops and Emma Frost to take Molly outside, and complies. The two tour San Francisco before they are kidnapped by a villain that was an enemy of the Pride. The villain and his soldiers had attempted to claim a portion of Los Angeles, although the Hayes stopped him, massacring his men and putting him in a traumatizing seven-year coma where he could not close his eyes, all for their own sadistic enjoyment. He recovered and seeks revenge against them by telling Molly her parents were evil and sadistic, having killed innocent people and children. He calls them far worse than any super villain, and ultimately plans on killing her as his final act of revenge. Wolverine and Molly manage to defeat him, though Molly realizes she'll never think of her parents the same way again. She is, however, comforted by Wolverine, who says that despite their villainous ways, her parents must have genuinely loved her in order to "raise a kid as good as her."
In Uncanny X-Men: The Heroic Age #1 Beast is waiting for Abigail Brand at what seems to be an outdoor exhibition of fossil animals - as it turns out, it's the La Brea Tar Pits. Brand doesn't show up, and instead it's Molly who walks by. Molly tells him "the guys" have given her homework and asks him to tell her about extinction, but it's clear she actually wants to talk about the Decimation of mutants. She's heard about the Five Lights and clings to the hope, whereas Beast tries to talk her out of getting her expectations too high, until she finally punches him and runs away. He follows and manages to calm her down by telling her that mutant extinction does not mean that they would die any earlier than usually, but just that their children and grandchildren would be normal people. So, he tells her, all they could do was make the best of their lives so that, after all the mutants would be extinct, they would be remembered as having been worthy of their gifts.
Molly inexplicably makes a cameo appearance in New Avengers #7, as one of the applicants Luke Cage and Jessica Jones interview as a possible nanny. Molly begins by saying she knows she's underage, but she is cut off. When Daken, the psychopathic son of Wolverine seeks the Runaways in Los Angeles, Molly pins him down and angrily asks why he's invaded their home.
As part of the Marvel NOW! event, Molly Hayes is the only one to notice that Nico and Chase are missing and turns to Henry Pym for help. The rest of the Marvel Universe, for whatever reason, does not think twice about the mass disappearances.
Powers and abilities
Originally, Molly's mutant power was superhuman strength, with which she has toppled a giant monster bigger than skyscrapers, tunneled through miles of rock, and broken solid objects over her head. However, Molly was only able to use her powers for a limited amount of time before she became fatigued and fell asleep. When she first used her powers, Molly fell asleep after only throwing one punch, but as the series continued, Molly has been able to use her powers for increasingly longer periods of time and to greater extremes without tiring. Nico once used the Staff of One to give Molly a caffeine rush while fighting a giant monster to keep her awake longer.
Molly was later revealed to have invulnerability as well, as evident when a member of the Wrecking Crew smashes his enchanted shovel over Molly's head, causing the shovel to crack into pieces. Despite the fact Molly's mutation is entirely different from her telepathic parents, her eyes still glow a violet-pink when using her powers, just like her parents.
Molly's strength has failed her on two occasions - she wasn't able to punch the adamantium armor of a Doctor Doombot, and she wasn't able to get out of Leslie Dean's unbreakable Majesdanian bonds. However she has also been threatened with a gun.
It is possible that Molly's powers are in fact a type or telekinesis that allows her to make herself as strong as she wants to be.
In 2009, Molly was named the fourth (out of ten) toughest female in the Marvel Universe, after Rogue, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel. In 2008, Marvel.com's list of ten best teen heroes featured Molly as a hypothetical number eleven, citing her too-young age as the reason she could not be on the regular list. In 2007, the Runaways made the list at number five of ten for best teams, citing the best Runaway's moment was when Molly and Victor made their version of the X-Men's "Fastball Special".
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
Although Molly enjoys being independent and a superhero, she is still a pre-adolescent girl who wants to have fun. Most of her close relationships are based on who is willing to spend the most time playing with her. Molly also has a tendency throughout the series to gravitate towards people that she can look up to as a big sibling.
In the beginning of the series, Molly and Chase engage in a big brother/little sister relationship: they bicker, call each other names, and horse around. Chase always stands up to protect Molly. As the series progresses, Chase and Molly grow apart, primarily due to his romantic involvement with Gert. In issues #18-#24 of volume 2, Chase distances himself from Molly and the rest of the Runaways to deal with his grief over Gert's death. However, in the Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways miniseries, Chase expresses jealousy over Molly's growing attachment to Speed. Though they are not as close as before, Chase and Molly's relationship seems to have been repaired after Chase moved past grieving for Gert.
Molly meets Victor when the Runaways abduct him from his high school, hoping to preempt the prophecy that Victor will one day kill the Earth's heroes. Molly adjusts rather quickly to Victor's addition to the team; she spends more time off the battlefield with Victor than most, playing board games with him and pairing up to go shopping. During one of their trips, it's revealed that Nico has ordered Molly to "babysit" Victor, because she is the only individual member strong enough to take Victor down if he goes haywire. Molly tells Victor that she's not particularly scared of him, and is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt regarding his supposed future. Victor surmises that Molly is simply using flattery to get him to buy her favorite cereal, but since she treats him as an equal and consistently spends time with him, he concludes that Molly was not just "sucking up." As Molly's relationship with Chase deteriorated, her relationship with Victor grew stronger.
Though Xavin was initially hostile towards all the Runaways (except Karolina) she has shown a great amount of concern for Molly's well-being. She returned to Earth with Karolina after their failed wedding as the Runaways were attempting to locate Molly after she was abducted by the second Pride; Xavin immediately volunteered to help the search efforts to locate "the hatchling." Xavin is another one of Molly's frequent board game partners; during one of their gaming sessions, Molly expressed her discomfort with Xavin constantly shifting between forms and said that most of the team felt the same way. Despite this, Xavin still fought the Gibborim without hesitation to protect the team, after which Molly admitted that Xavin's consistent selflessness more than makes up for the shapeshifting. The two now share a close camaraderie.
During the series, Gert was a quasi-role model for Molly. Gert was usually the one that Molly asked most of her questions to and they were normally paired together to guard the Hostel and their getaway car. When Gert was killed at the hands of Geoffrey Wilder, Molly spent time sitting in front of a photo of Gert in the new Hostel's photo wall. Molly would talk to Gert as if she were really there. She also asked the Leapfrog if Gert went to Heaven (although it was unable to answer because "Heaven" was not on any of the Leapfrog's maps). In at least one instance, Molly seems to gain specific information from an unknown voice only she can hear, which she assumed to be the voice of Gert; in reality it was the voice of Alex Wilder, in an attempt to redeem himself and escape Limbo.
When they travel to the past, Karolina introduced Molly to a girl in distress named Klara, to help reach out to her because they are closer in age. Molly invites her to join the team, and together they manage to convince her to come with them to escape her tragic fate of being married to an abusive husband (the graver physically and possibly sexually abusive aspects of which Molly does not fully seem to understand due to her comparatively sheltered life). When Klara is upset by Karolina's seemingly interracial lesbian relationship, it causes a rift between her and Molly, as Molly defends Karolina and cannot relate to Klara's homophobic and racist attitudes, a result of her upbringing. Klara is visibly saddened by the confrontation (her emotions reflected in her roses) and leaves. Later, she returns, beaten by her husband, and the team accepts her back. While the two girls have very different personalities, with Molly feeling young compared to Klara who has weathered a lot of difficulties in her life, they remain close.
Battle of the Atom
An adult version of Molly Hayes appears as a member of a future team of X-Men in the X-Men 50th Anniversary crossover, Battle of the Atom. Led by Kate Pryde, these X-Men arrive from their time to inform the present day X-Men that the original five X-Men must return to their proper place in time, as their presence in the current timeline will result in disastrous consequences for mutantkind. This team is eventually revealed, following the arrival of their era's true team of X-Men, to be, in actuality, their timeline's version of the Brotherhood of Mutants, with Kate Pryde revealed to actually be Raze, the shapeshifting son of Wolverine and Mystique. As an adult, Molly has grown into a tall, muscular woman and appears to have outgrown the chronic fatigue she formerly exhibited after using her powers. She also harbors a grudge against her timeline's Colossus as a result of the event which originally splintered the two teams. Following the Brotherhood's defeat, Molly remains at large in the current timeline with the surviving members of her team.
- Brian K. Vaughan (w), Adrian Alphona (p), Craig Yeung (i). "Pride & Joy" Runaways 6 (September 2003), Marvel Comics
- 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.
- "Take 10: Girl Power". Marvel. 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
- "Runaways #10". Retrieved 2009-02-18.
- "New X-Men (2nd series) #42". Uncanny X-Men.net. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
- Runaways #10 (May 2009)
- New Avengers #7
- Daken: Dark Wolverine #17
- Avengers Arena #13
- Morse, Ben (2008-06-05). "Take 10: Teen Heroes". Marvel. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
- Morse, Ben (2008-06-05). "Take 10: 2007's Top Teams". Marvel. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
- X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 Brian Michael Bendis (w), Frank Cho and Stuart Immonen (p), Frank Cho and Wade von Grawbadger (i). "Battle of the Atom, Chapter 1" X-Men: Battle of the Atom 1 (November 2013), Marvel Comics
- X-Men (Vol. 4) #6 Brian Wood (w), David Lopez (p). "Battle of the Atom, Chapter 7" X-Men v4, 6 (December 2013), Marvel Comics
- Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 3) #13 Brian Michael Bendis (w), Chris Bachalo (p). "Battle of the Atom, Chapter 8" Uncanny X-Men v3, 13 (December 2013), Marvel Comics
- X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2 Jason Aaron (w), Esad Ribic and Giuseppe Camuncoli (p). "Battle of the Atom, Chapter 10" X-Men: Battle of the Atom 2 (December 2013), Marvel Comics