Mothers are beloved figures throughout the world, and are quite rightly seen as being superhuman individuals for their divine levels of love and support. Not to knock our real moms at all, but superhero mothers arguably would have an even harder job, offering love, nurturing and moral guidance to youngsters who could destroy the world if they went bad, and protection to kids who, on the daily, must face some or another kind of apocalypse.
Okay sure, it helps that they can protect their charges with superior power and fighting skills, but the normally her-culean task of being a mom is that much more dangerous if you’ve got superpowers involved. Saying that, the moms without powers in comics, like May Parker and Ma Hunkel, have it even harder! Luckily, they usually have hears of gold, not to mention spines of solid steel! Then there are the mothers on the other side of the equation, villains who have caused their children nothing but grief, pain and even death. yes, much like the real world, the comic book one runs the range of mothers, moms, mamas and mummies, and we are here to rank the most iconic moms of all, from worst to best!
15. THE SCARLET WITCH
The reality-warping powers of the Scarlet Witch accomplished a true marvel: a pregnancy with the synthezoid The Vision. Wanda Maximoff first appeared in “Uncanny X-Men” #4 (March 1964) as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The Scarlet Witch has been associated with the X-Men and with the Avengers, where she developed a courtship with The Vision, marrying him in “Giant-Size Avengers” #4 (June 1975). With magic, Wanda conceives in “The Vision and the Scarlet Witch” (Vol. 2) #3 (December 1985), and has twin sons in issue #12 (September 1986).
However, the children were revealed to be mystical constructs, formed from pieces of Mephisto’s soul, in “Avengers West Coast” #52 (December 1989). The loss of her children makes Wanda unstable. The problem festers until “Avengers” #500 (September 2004), when Wanda, under the influence of a cosmic entity, destroys Avengers Mansion, causing the deaths of Jack of Hearts and Hawkeye, as well as the demise of the Vision in the “Avengers Disassembled” storyline. Wanda goes even further in the 2005 “House of M” storyline, reordering reality and wiping away nearly all the world’s mutants. But her sons were revived, after a fashion, as Wiccan and Speed of the Young Avengers.
14. VANESSA FISK
Vanessa Fisk was the love of Wilson Fisk’s life, but she had no great love for his role as The Kingpin of New York’s criminal underworld. She first appeared in “Amazing Spider-Man” #70 (March 1969), in a story written by Stan Lee, with breakdowns by John Romita and finishes by Jim Mooney. The Kingpin’s criminal empire always took priority over her and their son, Richard. In “Amazing Spider-Man” #197 (October 1979), she gives The Kingpin an ultimatum: Leave crime or I’ll leave you. After The Kingpin spends his last night as a crime boss beating up on Spider-Man, the Fisks retire to Japan, but return years later.
In the meantime, their son Richard grew up bitter and resentful that his father was a crime-lord. He becomes the villain the Schemer, and later secretly becomes The Rose, in both guises working to undermine the Kingpin’s criminal organization. He works with childhood friend Silke and several Kingpin underlings to trigger a gang war and assassinate his father. But Vanessa uses her resources to defeat the uprising, have the defectors murdered and spirit The Kingpin to safety in Europe. Vanessa confronts Richard in “Daredevil” (Vol. 2) #31 (May 2002), and shoots him dead.
Ursa is one of a trio of Kryptonians — General Zod and Non being the others — banished to the Phantom Zone for their bid to overthrow the planet’s ruling council just ahead of Krypton’s destruction. She first appeared in comics in “Action Comics” #845 (January 2007), although a similar character had appeared in the movies “Superman” (1978) and “Superman II” (1980). Ursa has a pronounced hatred of males, yet becomes Zod’s lover and spouse during their imprisonment in the Zone. Their son, Lor-Zod, had abnormal development in the alien Zone environment. As he was weaker than other Kryptonians under a yellow sun, he became a target for Ursa’s abuse. He also has growth spurts that cause him to age rapidly; when Superman finds him, he is physically similar to a 10-year-old.
The boy escapes the Zone in “Action Comics” #844 (December 2006), in the “Last Son” storyline written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner and drawn by Adam Kubert. Superman and Lois Lane take the boy in, under the guise “Christopher Kent.” During his time on Earth, Christopher rejects his Kryptonian background, which widens the rift between him and Ursa.
The shape-shifting, blue-skinned Mystique is a mutant terrorist. She has taken multiple guises in her lifetime, which spans more than 100 years, and has established a Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. She first appeared in “Ms. Marvel” #16 (April 1978), using the name Raven Darkhölme, with her name Mystique coming two issues later.
She is the mother of X-Men member Nightcrawler, when she was in the guise of a Bavarian baroness. She also is the mother of Graydon Creed after a fling with Sabretooth, while he was posing as Victor Creed and she was posing as German spy Leni Zauber, and both were out to assassinate a scientist. Graydon Creed, who is a normal human, grew up with a bitter, lifelong hatred of mutants after learning about both of his parents, who left him in an orphanage. Creed established the anti-mutant terror group Friends of Humanity and became a presidential candidate on a platform to curtail mutant rights. He was murdered right before Election Day by Mystique, time traveling from the future, in revenge for a Friends of Humanity attack on her lover’s grandson. Yeah, our brain hurts, too.
11. TALIA AL GHUL
Talia is the second-most prominent rival for Batman’s affections after Catwoman. She first appeared in “Detective Comics” #411 (May 1971), in a story written by Dennis O’Neil and drawn by Bob Brown and Dick Giordano. Talia’s father, Ra’s al-Ghul, tested Batman as a suitable mate for his daughter and successor for his leadership in the League of Assassins. They were married, after a fashion, in “DC Special Series” #15 (Summer 1978). In the 1987 graphic novel “Batman: Son of the Demon” by Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham, initially considered non-canon, Talia becomes pregnant without telling Batman.
The boy born in that story was introduced into canon by writer Grant Morrison in “Batman” #655 (September 2006), with the explanation that he was genetically enhanced and raised by the League of Assassins to become their leader. Having kept Damian away from his father for 10 years, Talia turns him over to Batman. Later, Talia has a device implanted in Damian to control his body, intending for him to kill Dick Grayson, then in the Batman guise. She also created a Damian clone to have a son obedient to her and her alone, revealed in “Batman and Robin” #11-#12 (April-May 2010).
Cheshire first appeared in 1983’s “New Teen Titans Annual” #2, created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez. She is a ruthless international terrorist who once proved her mettle by exploding a nuke on the Middle Eastern nation of Qurac, in “Deathstroke” #19 (Feburary 1993). She is a top martial artist and specializes in murder through exotic poisons and toxins. Cheshire had a relationship with Roy Harper, also known as Teen Titans member Speedy. However, Cheshire did not know this because Harper was working undercover for Checkmate at the time. Having developed feelings for her, Harper chose not to turn her in but left her instead, unaware Cheshire was pregnant. Harper later obtained custody of their daughter, Lian, as Cheshire continued her life as a terrrorist. Lian was killed when Star City was destroyed in “Justice League: Cry for Justice” #6 (March 2010).
Cheshire later was recruited under duress into the Secret Six, and had a liaison with team leader Thomas Blake, also known as Catman. Cheshire became pregnant with a boy, who later is kidnapped by one of Cheshire’s victims and given to a childless couple. Believing the baby to be better off, Catman tells Cheshire he died.
The alluring cat burglar Selina Kyle, created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, first appeared as “The Cat” in “Batman” #1 (Spring 1940). From the first, Batman was smitten with her. Over the years, Catwoman and Batman have engaged in an on-again, off-again relationship. But on Earth-Two, they married and had a daughter, who grew up to be The Huntress. Helena Wayne debuted in “All-Star Comics” #69 (December 1977), created by writer Paul Levitz and artists Joe Staton and Bob Layton. But she was removed from existence by the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The “One Year Later” storyline revealed Catwoman had a daughter and retired from adventuring. The baby’s father was a mystery, but was revealed to be Sam Bradley Jr., son of detective Slam Bradley. Catwoman had a brief foray after baby Helena’s birth, but that led to villains Film Freak and Angle Man deducing her whereabouts and attacking. After defeating them, Catwoman has Batman help fake her and the baby’s deaths. Catwoman concludes that still won’t ensure the baby’s safety, and has her put up for adoption. This transpired through “Catwoman” #53-#72 (May 2006-December 2007), written by Will Pfeifer and drawn by David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez.
8. QUEEN HIPPOLYTA
Wonder Woman’s mother, Hippolyta, has been a part of the series from her introductory tale in “All-Star Comics” #8 (December 1941), written by William Moulton Marston and drawn by Harry G. Peter. Hippolyta was the only woman on Themyscira, the homeland of the Amazons also known as Paradise Island, who was a mother; in the original origin, Hippolyta formed her daughter Diana from the clay of Paradise Island. This was changed in the New 52; “Wonder Woman” (Vol. 4) #3 (January 2012) revealed that Hippolyta had Diana after a dalliance with Zeus.
Hippolyta groomed Diana to be the new leader of the Amazons, but that changed with the arrival of Steve Trevor, a U.S. Army intelligence officer whose airplane crash-lands on Paradise Island during World War II. This draws the Amazons into the war, and a contest is held to determine which of them will be an ambassador to “man’s world” — a contest Diana wins. Over the years, Hippolyta’s focus has shifted between the responsibility of leading her nation and protecting her daughter.
7. MA HUNKEL
Abigail “Ma” Hunkel has no superpowers other than a big heart and the drive to protect her neighborhood and children, but that was enough to make her an honorary member of the Justice Society of America — and the first female costumed hero. Created by Sheldon Mayer, Ma Hunkel first appeared as herself in “All-American Comics” #3 (June 1939). She took up the hero guise of Red Tornado in issue #20 (November 1940), after daughter and a friend are kidnapped by gangsters, and her son tells her of the costumed hero Green Lantern. Hunkel scraps together a costume of red longjohns, a yellow sweatshirt and shoes, green shorts, a black cape and gray gloves, with a cooking pot as a helmet. She fights off the gangsters and the police chief, who claims credit for the bust.
Hunkel appeared at the first meeting of the Justice Society in “All-Star Comics” #3 (Winter 1940) but had a wardrobe malfunction: She ripped her longjohns climbing in the window. She goes back to defending her neighborhood. Hunkel spends years in the Witness Protection Program after testifying against a gang, but is hired to be caretaker of the Justice Society’s museum.
Aquaman’s wife Mera first appeared in comics in “Aquaman” #11 (September 1963), in a story written by Jack Miller and drawn by Nick Cardy. Mera was the queen of Dimension Aqua, the alternate name for the Atlantean penal colony Xebel. In her first appearance, Mera was chased out of Xebel to Earth-One by Leron, leader of a revolt against the throne. Mera encountered Aquaman and Aqualad, and they team up against Leron. Mera stays on Earth with Aquaman, and eventually becomes his wife, in “Aquaman” #18 (November 1964). The “Blackest Night” storyline retconned Mera’s beginnings so that she left Xebel on a mission to infiltrate and assassinate the Atlantean king, but abandoned the mission after she fell in love with him.
In any case, Mera and Aquaman married, in “Aquaman” #18 (November 1964) and had a son, Aquababy, in “Aquaman” #23 (September 1965). But their happiness was cut short when Aquababy was kidnapped in “Aquaman” #451 by Black Manta and killed the next issue by suffocation. Mera went on a quest back to Xebel to acquire an invention to revive the baby, but wound up battling Leron and did not return in time.
5. JESSICA JONES
Jessica Jones has had a troubled history as a superhero. First appearing in “Alias” #1 (November 2001), created by Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos, Jones is a retired superhero turned private detective. She also is an alcoholic suffering from post-traumatic stress stemming from months-long captivity in the thrall of Killgrave, the Purple Man, and the various degradations he put her thorough — and the knowledge that few people noticed she was missing. Jones had a casual relationship with Luke Cage, and became pregnant. Jones and Cage resolved to become a couple in “Alias” #28 (January 2004), and their daughter Danielle was born in “The Pulse” #13 (March 2006). They marry in “New Avengers Annual” #1 (June 2006) — with Stan Lee officiating.
After Danielle is born, Jessica returns to costumed superheroing, taking back her old guise of Jewel for a while, and later taking the name Power Woman after her husband. She hires Squirrel Girl to be her daughter’s nanny, but she finds it difficult to navigate the dangers of being a superhero and an Avenger while protecting her child. Luckily, her daughter has a great future ahead; in one future, Danielle Cage becomes Captain America.
4. MAY PARKER
May and Ben Parker took in their nephew Peter after his parents Richard and Mary were killed in a plane crash. Parker was widowed when an anonymous burglar shot her husband to death. May and Peter supported each other ever since. May has had frail health, including more than one heart attack. She seemingly died in “Amazing Spider-Man” #400 (April 1995), although that was revealed to be a hoax perpetrated Norman Osborn.
In later years, May Parker has been a stronger character. In “Amazing Spider-Man” (Vol. 2) #35 (November 2001), she finds a badly beaten Spider-Man, and his costume. They have a heart-to-heart conversation, in which May tells Peter she blames herself for Ben’s death, and lets Peter know his fear that she couldn’t handle the secret is unfounded. Afterward, she works to boost Spider-Man’s reputation. May was shot in “Amazing Spider-Man” #538 (February 2007) after Peter publicly revealed his identity during the “Civil War” storyline, but was healed after Mephisto reordered reality in the “Brand New Day” storyline.
3. MARTHA KENT
Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the kindly Martha Kent has been the guiding star for Superman his entire life. She and husband Jonathan found the space rocket that brought baby Kal-El to Earth in “Superman” #1 (Summer 1939) — contradicting “Action Comics” #1 (June 1938), which states “a passing motorist, discovering the sleeping babe within, turned the child over to an orphanage.” But in “Superman” #1, the Kents turn over the child to the orphanage but return within days. “We’ve come to adopt him if you’ll permit us,” Martha Kent says, although in that story she is named “Mary.”
Over Kal-El’s childhood, Martha Kent — who gains that name in “Superman” #74 (January-February 1952) — was a loving, nurturing presence. It was she who created the Superman costume, unraveling blankets found in the space rocket and weaving them into the suit. She and husband Jonathan helped develop the Clark Kent persona, supported his Superboy career, and offered him moral instruction. Before Crisis on Infinite Earths, Martha and Jonathan Kent died from a rare disease within hours of each other; in the reboot, they were a presence in Clark’s life well into his Superman career.
2. SUE STORM
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in “Fantastic Four” #1 (November 1961), Sue Storm got an early start on caring for others after her mother Mary was badly injured in a car crash and her surgeon father, Franklin, could not save her. Franklin Storm became an alcoholic, lost his practice, and went to prison after causing a loan shark’s death. Sue pretty much raised younger brother Johnny after that. During that time, Sue first met Reed Richards and Ben Grimm; years later, the four of them would take the ill-fated spaceflight that transformed them into the Fantastic Four.
Sue and Reed were married in “Fantastic Four Annual” #3 (1965), and they learn she is pregnant in “FF Annual” #5 (1967). The pregnancy and delivery were difficult, and their son Franklin was born a powerful mutant in “FF Annual” #6 (1968). A second pregnancy ends in a stillbirth (“Fantastic Four” #267, June 1984). But an adventure involving the cosmic being Abraxas revealed that Marvel Girl, who had come from the future, was the baby Sue had lost, rescued by Franklin’s powers. Defeating Abraxas restored Sue’s pregnancy, and the team called on arch-nemesis Dr. Doom to ensure a healthy delivery.
1. SPIDER-WOMAN (JESSICA DREW)
“Spider-Woman” (Vol. 6) #1 (November 2015) has a bold image on the cover: A profile of a very pregnant Jessica Drew in a new, modern costume, flexing her bicep. Spider-Woman has had many changes of fortune since she debuted in “Marvel Spotlight” #32 (February 1977), just so Marvel could prevent other publishers from using the name. Over the years, Spider-Woman has gone from headliner to supporting character, was off the canvas for a while, and has been replaced by a Skrull. But she returned in “New Avengers” in 2010 and regained her own series in 2014.
Her latest series, written by Dennis Hopeless and drawn by Javier Rodriguez, follows her travails as a single woman through the late months of her pregnancy and as a single mother and bounty hunter. One of those adventures — in “Spider-Woman” (Vol. 6) #4 (April 2016) — included leading a revolt of expectant mothers in an intergalactic hospital and fighting off Skrulls, before and after going into labor. Son Gerry was born in issue #5 (May 2016).
Who is your favorite (or least favorite) super-mom? Let us know in the momments… er… comments!
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