Image: Marvel Comics

Molly Hayes is one of the cutest characters in superhero comics. She wears adorable animal hats, takes naps after she uses her super strength, and has a sunny, optimistic disposition that makes her stand out next to serious adult heroes. But Molly is growing up, and she doesn’t know how she’s going to change in the throes of puberty. She won’t have to find out if she takes her best friend up on her offer of staying 13 forever, and this choice has forced Molly to consider her place in the world and how she’s perceived by others. Runaways has always been a series rooted in adolescent struggles, and now that half of the team has entered adulthood, Molly is stepping in with the teenage identity issues. Writer Rainbow Rowell and artist Kris Anka have done outstanding work building on the tone and style of the original series in this current run, and they’ve been given the freedom to take it easy and really let readers get to know these characters and where they are in their lives right now.

This exclusive preview of next week’s Runaways #9 focuses on Molly’s dilemma, and she’s learning that some friends show their true colors when you don’t go along with their unreasonable demands. This excerpt also spotlights how Molly’s relationship with Chase has changed, and the team’s lovable doofus has taken on new responsibility as he steps into a paternal role, trying his best to keep this family unit strong and secure. But Molly doesn’t need protection. She just needs people who will be supportive of her during a major period of change. Next week’s issue welcomes back a member of the original Runaways art team as inker Craig Yeung joins the series, and he maintains the crisp, expressive lines that have made Anka’s work so compelling. Colorist Triona Farrell has filled in for Matthew Wilson on the last two issues, but the transition has been seamless thanks to Farrell’s soft rendering and vibrant palette. This series gets deeper and more affecting with every chapter, and this art team is fully tapped into the emotional core of Rowell’s story.

Cover by Kris Anka
Image: Marvel Comics
Image: Marvel Comics
Image: Marvel Comics

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Image: Marvel Comics
Image: Marvel Comics