Molly Hayes (Princess Powerful)

Finally, we arrived to the last character from Runaways‘ main cast, who’s also the one who suffered the biggest changes: Molly Hernandez, portrayed by Allegra Acosta. She’ll be the youngest member of the team, characterised by an always positive attitude…but as young as she can be, she’s remarkably older than her comicbook counterpart, who’s only eleven years old. Plus, there’s no “Hernandez” in the comics, and she’s called Molly Hayes, but her name has been changed along with her ethnicity in order to include Latin Americans in the already racially diverse team. Another thing that would most likely be changed is Molly’s nature, as in the comics she’s a mutant, but Fox still has the exclusive over them, so she’ll probably become something else. There’s no sign also of her trademark impossible hats, quite a distinctive trait for the comics’ Molly. All these changes, her age especially, are quite a pity, considering how tough and hilarious the original young heroine is. Let’s meet her together.

Molly Hayes was born in Los AngelesCalifornia, the only daughter of doctor Gene Hayes and his wife, therapist Alice Hayes. She lived her first eleven years as a perfectly normal girl, with the only peculiar things in her life being her parents constantly making unspecified tests on her (unbeknownst to her, they were looking for signs of the X-Gene in her DNA, since they were both mutants), and an annual meeting her family attended to with five other families. Even among the other families’ children Molly was the youngest, and the others mostly acted as babysitters to her, never really bonding; the only ecception was Karolina Dean, the daughter of her parents’ best friends, who acted as an older sister to her. It was during one of these meetings that Molly’s life changed forever: one of the other kids, Alex Wilder, convinced the others to follow him down a secret passage, at the end of which they found their parents dressed in strange robes. Just as things were about the get really weird, Karolina took Molly away, letting the others witness what happened next: as they told the girls, their parents had killed a young woman in cold blood as part of a strange ritual. Molly refused to believe what they were saying, and so did Karolina, but the latter later met with the others at Griffin Observatory, where she was convinced to join them in running away from home and find evidence to incriminate their parents…everything while Molly was peacefully sleeping in her own bed, oblivious to everything. Knowing she was too young to sneak out of home, the other kids went to the Hayes’ place to “save” her, but their parents were already there, knowing their children were planning something. The battle that ensued awoke Molly: still sleepy, the girl looked out of her window, just in time to see her mom under attack…something that shocked her to the point of activating her mutant powers for the first time. Without thinking, Molly jumped down and reached her friends, knocking Leslie Dean out of the sky and saving Gert Yorkes in the process. Then, exhausted from the enormous amount of strength she had used, she fell asleep.

When she woke up, Molly had been taken by her friends to their newest refuge, The Hostel, an abandoned house hidden underground that now belonged to one of them, Chase Stein. When she was told what had happened, she still had doubts about her parents’ evil nature, but all her doubts faded as soon as Gert proposed they changed names, adopting monikers…something that the girl immediately interpreted as “becoming superheroes”, something that thrilled her enough to make her forget she was away from home for the first time in her life. Molly chose for herself the name “Princess Powerful“, but Chase insisted of calling her “Bruiser“…albeit he quit with it when the girl remarked her choice by punching through a wall. As an “official” mutant superhero, Molly announced she would have grown up to join the X-Men and marry Wolverine, in the meanwhile planning all her future adventures…thus making clear it was all just a game for her. Soon after, however, the group took in another runaway, Topher, who turned out to be vampire: Topher was incinerated when he tried to drink the solar-charged blood of Karolina, and died right in front of Molly’s eyes. For the first time since everything began, the girl understood being a superhero was no game, and she started crying, calling for her mom. Molly started missing her parents, and she had to be constantly reminded that they were supervillains, mainly by Alex, who explained to her and to everyone else what was written in The Abstract, the magical book he had stolen from the adults: their parents were The Pride, a sect devoted to the ancient gods Gibborim, who was harvesting soul to prepare their return to Earth. Molly wasn’t exactly interested on who her parents were and why they were doing what they were doing, but she agreed enthusiastically when Alex suggested to intercept them in the Marine Vivarium and interrupt their new sacrifice. Once on the place, Molly used her super-strength to destroy the Pride’s sacrifice container, thus freeing the souls in it, but she passed out once again due to exhaustion. When she woke up, her life was about to change drastically once again…

Molly Hayes is an enthusiastic and naive girl, happy to be a superhero and proud to be a mutant, but often quite unaware of the deep implications of what’s happening around her. As Princess Powerful, she has quite a formidable strength, that makes her capable of impossible deeds such as ripping Cloak‘s mantle from him (a feat that not even a god can achieve), and she’s also nearly invulnerable, as she emerged unscathed even from hits coming from the godly Wrecking Crew; all this power, however, fatigues her, and she deeply falls asleep immediately after using her immense strength. Quite short-tempered (as Wolverine, PunisherBeast and other heroes she’s beaten the crap out of have realised) but with a heart of gold, Molly is the Runaways‘ super-powerful mascotte, a girl who’s growing into a sensitive and careful girl, always ready to give a (super-strong) hand to her friends.

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