When superheroes first came about back in the 1930s, they were usually depicted as lone people on the outskirts of society who either wanted to fit in with regular people or stay away from them entirely. As the genre developed and these characters evolved, more were added to establish what ultimately became super-powered families. If you go back and read through your library of books, you will probably identify dozens of super-powered families spread throughout Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse and other publishing houses. In many cases, these families of super-powered characters make up some of the most dangerous and powerful beings in their respective universes, which only adds to their intrigue.
For this list, we are focusing primarily on biological relationships, but are also delving into marriages between super-powered beings and even some powered-up people with regular folks. It's reasonable to assume we missed some of your favorites as this list is only limited to 20 of our top picks, so please sound off in the comments with any super-powered families we may have missed! Even if they are somewhat dysfunctional or fight among themselves from time to time, here are The 20 Most Dangerous Super-Powered Families in all of comic book history!
19 THANOS' FAMILY
Anyone who has been keeping up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe has likely picked up on the fact that Thanos has a family. In the MCU, it is well-established that Thanos has two adopted daughters: Nebula and Gamora, but over in the pages of Marvel Comics, there are a few more people who share some DNA with the Mad Titan. His father, Mentor (A'lars), was the leader of the colony on Titan, but he was also a member of the Eternals who had existed for eons. His mother, Sui-San, was also a member of the Eternals, though her story is a sad one. Thanos performed a vivisection on her in an attempt to learn why he was different from the other members of the Eternals race. The act resulted in her rather painful death.
Thanos' brother, Eros of Titan, aka, Starfox, has been a member of the Avengers and is also a member of the Eternals. The two brothers stand in direct opposition of one another, but most of the Universe opposes Thanos. Thanos also has a son named Thane, an Inhuman/Eternal hybrid Thanos fathered in secret. The last member of Thanos' family no longer exists, though she was created by Thanos in Infinity Gauntlet #3, written by Jim Starlin with pencils by George Pérez and Ron Lim, via the Gauntlet itself. Terraxia, as she was known, was removed from existence only three issues later, so many fans have similarly forgotten of her existence in the Marvel Universe.
18 THE MARVEL FAMILY
Readers who are relatively new to comics may be scratching their heads wondering why there is a group of DC characters called the Marvel Family with none other than Shazam at its center. The reason why you may not be familiar with this family of superheroes has to do with the strange way licensing and rights transferred to DC after it purchased the now defunct Fawcett Comics. Without getting into the legal mumbo-jumbo, DC stopped calling its character Captain Marvel thanks to Marvel Comics' creation of a character of the same name.
Before Marvel mucked things up, DC had the makings of a rather fine family of superheroes.
This family found its roots all the way back to 1942 with the publication of Captain Marvel Adventures #18, written by Otto Binder and penciled by Marc Swayze. This DC book was the first to feature the joint-appearance of Captain Marvel, his sister Mary Marvel and their similarly-named pal, Captain Marvel, Jr. Over the years, DC threw a few more family members into the mix by adding some foster siblings. Eugene Choi, Pedro Peña and Darla Dudley all joined over the years while some members came and went, including the Lieutenant Marvels, all named Billy Batson, but nicknamed Tall Billy, Fat Billy and the rather obvious, Hill Billy.
17 THE GRAYSONS
Marvel and DC don't hold the monopoly on superhero families even if their combined 163+ years of publication history does afford them a plethora of characters. Over at Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment, a little book called Invincible has created a whole world of characters centered around one of the most destructive and interesting superhero/villain families ever conceived. The Nolan family is at the center of Invincible with Mark Grayson being the titular hero. His father, Nolan, aka Omni-Man, begins the series as a spy for the Viltrumite race who is only on Earth to infiltrate and test the compatibility of his biology with that of Earthlings. His compatibility theories are proven true when Mark manifests powers, which sets the whole story in motion.
Mark's mother, Deborah, doesn't have any superpowers of her own, but Mark ends up marrying a lovely young superheroine named Atom Eve. The two eventually have a child of their own, all the while passing Viltrumite DNA down the line. At one point in the books, Mark had a half-brother named Oliver. He was the product of Nolan and an insectoid alien whose lifespan was comparatively short to humans. This resulted in Oliver's accelerated maturation, which enabled his Vilturmite DNA to take hold at a young age and bring him into the super-powered fold. Invincible is written by the series creator, Robert Kirkman, and penciled by Cory Walker, who co-created the series through issue #7 and Ryan Ottley who took over pencils on issue #8.
16 THE VISIONS
It's not unusual for two superpowered folks to meet up in the pages of the comics and form a family. When that happened with Scarlet Witch and Vision, hardly anyone batted an eye other than to point out that Vision was an android, but let's not nitpick the anatomy of a character who can phase through solid matter, fly and fire energy blasts. In the MCU, the relationship between the pair has been only briefly explored with some clear indications of their budding romance shown at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. In the books, their relationship is well-established such that they not only were married, they had a couple of rugrats as well.
Vision and Scarlet Witch were married all the way back in 1975 in the pages of Giant-Size Avengers #4, written by Steve Englehart and penciled by Don Heck. Since then, they went on to build their family, which included twin sons, Thomas and William. Both kids grew up to be the superheroes Speed and Wiccan respectively, but their origin is far more fascinating than how they ended up. Both of them were created by their mother's reality-warping powers via a fragment of Mephisto's soul. Wanda essentially imagined she had twin sons and her powers enabled her to create them without having to undergo the inconvenience of pregnancy and delivery, making this a rather unorthodox family.
15 THE GUTHRIES
In the Marvel Comics X-Men series of books, there exists a number of family groups encompassing large numbers of mutants. It makes sense when you think about it: mutation in one family member somewhat indicates that other members of the family may share the Mutant Gene. The largest of these families, which seems to just farm out kids with the Mutant Gene, is the Guthrie family. This group of Mutants include Lila Cheney and Samuel Guthrie, aka Cannonball, and their son Thomas Zebulon Guthrie, his wife Lucinda Guthrie, and their ten children: Samuel, Paige, Joshua, Melody, Jebediah (Jeb), Joelle, Elizabeth, Lewis, Cissie, Ray Jr. (who was adopted) and another daughter whose name has never been revealed. Samuel even had a kid named Josiah with Isabel Kane, aka Smasher.
If that ridiculously long list of characters has you confused, it's easiest to focus on the prominent members of the group, who have had some impact on the Marvel Universe as a whole. Those are Cannonball, a member of the X-Men at various times, and his sister Paige, who is also known as Husk. Meanwhile, Melody strapped on spandex to become Aero while their other brother Jay is also known as Icarus. Jeb possesses the ability to fire out electrical plasma from his eyes, but still goes by the name Jeb, presumably because the name Cyclops was already taken.
14 THE FLASH FAMILY
In the DC Universe, the Flash Family is a name given to members of the same biological family who all possess the ability to tap into the Speed Force and run really... really fast, but it also includes characters within the same power-set who aren't related. The first member of this family is Jay Garrick, the first Flash from the 1940s. Of course, most people today think of Flash as being Barry Allen, who first appeared in Showcase #4, written by Robert Kanigher and penciled by Carmine Infantino in 1956.
Since that time, Barry has lived, died and run across the universe to build a nice family of speedsters.
Barry married Ira West and the two had twins named Don and Dawn though they were conceived in the 30th century and born after Barry died... before he came back. they inherited a fraction of their father's speed and became known as the Tornado Twins. Through unions of their own, they had more speedster kids, filling the Flash Family ranks with Bart Allen and Jenni Ognats. Iris' brother, Rudolph, had a kid named Wally who became the Flash after Barry died. His kids, Iris West II and Jai West, also threw on the spandex and joined the family business. There are also some bad-guys thrown into the mix, but the full extended Flash family deserves a list of its own.
13 THE PARRS
Across this list of 20 superhero families, only one without origins in the pages of comic books has made the cut and chances are, even the most casual of moviegoers know the Parr family from the movie The Incredibles. They have since made their way onto the printed page thanks to a number of talented artists and writers at BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics and Marvel, but they got their start on the silver screen. The family is headed by Robert "Bob" Parr, aka Mr. Incredible and his wife Helen, who once roamed the city as the crimefighter, Elastigirl. Bob is incredibly strong and durable with enhanced senses, but put on a little weight when he went into retirement.
Helen maintained her stretchy figure and even had a few children with her husband after the pair retired and moved to the suburbs. Their oldest, Violet, can turn herself invisible and create force fields, which she can use to move objects. Dashell "Dash" Robert Parr is the middle-child who can never sit still. This is primarily due to his Flash-like ability to run at incredible speeds. The youngest child, John Jackson "Jack-Jack" is only an infant, but he appears to possess the ability to shapeshift into anything imaginable. The family is finally returning to the big screen after a 12 year absence with The Incredibles 2 in 2018.
12 THE HOWLETT FAMILY
James Howlett, aka Wolverine/Logan, has been kicking around the Marvel Universe since sometime in the 1880s. Over the years, he has had more than a few relationships, but he has always been careful... if you get our meaning. He did have a half-brother who was affectionately named Dog whom many fans believe to be the true identity of Sabretooth, though this was refuted with the publication of X-Men Origins: Sabretooth. Logan eventually married a Japanese woman named Itsu and the two had a child they named Akihiro. When this child grew up, he took on the name Daken and became a member of the Dark Avengers thanks to his powers being similar to his father's.
Logan also has a daughter... of sorts.
Laura Kinney, who is best known by her superhero name, X-23, is a clone of Wolverine though she is somewhat more feminine than her "father." Like Logan, she possesses a healing factor and adamantium-laced claws. The difference between Laura and her pop is the location and number of claws she has. Laura has only two claws on her hands, like Daken (he has a third claw in his wrist), but also a single one that shoots out from the center of her foot. She has shown deadly prowess in using all of her claws with her own unique fighting-style.
11 THE NEW GODS
In the DC Universe, there exists an entire planet of people called the New Gods. Actually, it's two planets, but they began as one and split into two distinct and opposite worlds. One is called Apokolips and the other, New Genesis. The New Gods are an entire society of super-powered beings who aren't necessarily related, but there are some families of note within the group we wanted to focus on. On New Genesis, Highfather, also called Izaya, is the King of New Genesis who married Avia I and fathered Scott Free. He is also the father-in-law of Big Barda and the adopted father of Orion.
Apokolips is run by Darkseid, who had a brother named Drax. Darkseid married Tigra and had a son called Orion who was switched with Scott Free on New Genesis to keep the peace between both worlds. Darkseid is one of the most significant villains in the DC Universe and is usually found battling the likes of Superman and the Justice League. Thanks to various continuity reboots, the New Gods have been killed off and brought back a couple of times. At present, many remain alive from what has come to be called "Jack Kirby's Fourth World."
The family of Max Eisenhardt is one of Marvel Comics' most dysfunctional. Max, better known these days as Magneto, has been everything from a ruthless supervillain to a rogue anti-hero since he first debuted all the way back in The X-Men #1, written by Stan Lee and penciled by Jack Kirby in 1963. He has one of the most tragic backstories in all of Marvel Comics thanks to his being a Holocaust survivor who escaped from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camps with his wife, Magda. The pair welcomed a daughter named Anya into the world only to see her burned to death in their home after an angry mob attacked them.
Enraged, Max's powers manifested fully and he killed the mob, which pushed Magda to run away.
Magda was able to give birth to twins, a daughter and son before she passed away. Those kids grew up to become Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, otherwise known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Wanda went on to form a family of her own with Vision, and Pietro did the same. Pietro forms a relationship with the Inhuman, Crystal, and the two have a daughter they name Luna. The parentage of Wanda and Pietro have been retconned and changed a number of times over the years, but they are still widely recognized as the children of Magneto.
10 THE SCOTTS
When most people think of the Green Lantern these days, they picture the likes of John Stewart, Guy Gardner or Hal Jordan, but it all started with one man: Alan Scott. Scott made his first appearance in All-American Comics #16, written by Bill Finger and penciled by Martin Nodell in 1940. While he did wear a ring, could fly and had the ability to create constructs, he was unable to affect wood and his powers were based on the mystical green flame energy derived from a meteor that was crafted into his ring and lantern. Years later, DC changed the mythology to create the Green Lantern Corps, but Scott is still around and he is still a major player in the DC Universe.
Scott was married to Rose Canton, who was once his nemesis who went by the names Rose and Thorn (she had a split personality disorder). They had two children, twins named Todd James Rice who became Obsidian and Jennifer-Lynn Hayden, aka Jade. Both of the children manifested powers somewhat based off of Scott's though Obsidian is able to create shadow energy constructs and merge his body with his own shadow, which gives him enhanced strength. Jade went on to become a member of the Green Lantern Corps and also inherited her mother's ability to control plant life.
9 THE XAVIER FAMILY
If your only exposure to Professor Charles Xavier comes from the films, you may not realize he is a member of an extensive family of immensely powerful characters. Starting with Xavier, he is the most powerful telepath on the planet, capable of insurmountable mental feats. So you can imagine how powerful other members of his family are. He has a stepbrother named Cain Marko who is none other than the unstoppable Juggernaut. While Marko derives his powers from mystical sources and isn't himself a mutant, his association with Charles has brought him into conflict with the X-Men on numerous occasions.
Romantically, Charles has gotten involved with the powerful Princess Lilandra from the Shi'ar Empire. Later, he becomes involved with a Holocaust survivor named Gabrielle Haller and she becomes pregnant though the couple break up before Charles learns of the pregnancy. The child, David Charles Haller, grows up to become the antihero Legion whose complicated form of dissociative identity disorder enables him to tap into numerous alternate personas, each with their own forms of superpowers, including the ability to warp reality, teleport and manipulate other Omega-level powers. Legion is easily one of the most powerful, most chaotic, characters in the Marvel Universe.
8 THE VENOM FAMILY
In the Marvel Universe, the Symbiotes come from a race of extraterrestrials called the Klyntar. They first appeared in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8, written by Jim Shooter and penciled by Mike Zeck in 1984. Since that time, the costume Spider-Man picked up during the events of the Secret Wars evolved into the character we know as Venom. When we are talking about the Venom Family, we don't mean the symbiote got freaky with someone and had a baby; the Klyntar reproduce in an entirely different way. This can happen at any time when the symbiote determines it wants to procreate by simply leaving a portion of itself behind. This is how Cletus Kasady became the first of Venom's "children" when Venom broke Eddie Brock out of prison.
Since that time, there have been a large number of symbiotes who can be traced back to Venom.
Toxin was spawned from Carnage and became a hero while Anti-Venom came from the remnants of the Venom symbiote and Eddie Brock's body when the two were combined with Brock's white blood cells. Other symbiotes in the family include Scream, Dreadface, Lasher, Phage, Riot, Agony, Hybrid and many more. In a future alternate reality, the Venom Symbiote was bonded with a Tyrannosaurus-Rex, which was certainly its deadliest form.
7 THE HULKS
The Hulk family from the future is a bit more disturbing that you might think when looking at it from the surface. It's a huge family, which is certainly what you would expect from the likes of the Incredible Hulk, but its origins are a bit taboo and... well, it's nasty. In the Old Man Logan storyline, the Hulk has gone a bit insane and after determining that the only woman capable of carrying his children is She-Hulk. For those of you who don't know, She-Hulk is Bruce Banner's cousin, making the union a bit on the risky side. Over the years, the pair had more children than we can truly identify, though they all grew up green and with enhanced strength and durability similar to their father.
Perhaps due to their nature, the spawn of the Hulk are depicted as... let's say, less than intelligent, but they are brutish thugs who extort money from the good folks living on their land in a sort of protection racket. One of the people in question is Wolverine, who has grown old and doesn't want to pop his claws any longer. He takes their abuse right up until they kill his family, which sends him into a rage where he goes about killing each and every one of the Hulk's children. He even goes so far as to kill the Hulk, but stops himself from killing the infant pictured (above-center) so he can raise him to be a good little Hulkling.
6 FANTASTIC FOUR
The Fantastic Four is often called the First Family of Marvel and that's got a lot to do with how the team formed, who is in it and how Marvel marketed the group of superheroes. They made their collective debut with the publication of The Fantastic Four #1, written by Stan Lee and penciled by Jack Kirby in 1961. The group of four heroes came together when they were exposed to strange Cosmic Rays while on a mission in space. They crash-landed their rocket ship and all arose to have strange and mysterious powers! Reed Richards gained the ability to stretch and extend his body in any way imaginable while Susan Storm could turn herself invisible and create invisible Forcefields. Her brother, Johnny Storm, could turn into a human fireball and project flames while the ship's pilot, Ben Grimm, turned into a monstrous, orange Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing!
Since the series first premiered, the team has had replacement members from time to time, including Peter Parker, aka, Spider-Man, She-Hulk, Storm, Ant-Man and many others. Reed and Sue eventually married and had a couple of kids, who inherited their parents' superhuman qualities with powers of their own. Their son, Franklin, gained the Mutant ability to alter reality in any way he can conceive while their daughter, Valeria, could travel through time, become invulnerable, project energy blasts and had limited mental abilities including telepathy and empathic powers.
5 THE SUMMERS
Ask anyone on the street to name some of the X-Men and invariably, you will hear the name Scott Summers, aka Cyclops. As one of the founding members of the team, Scott has been around since the beginning and he has left a lasting impression on readers and the Marvel Universe as a whole. Scott has a brother named Alex who possesses the power to channel energy like his brother, but isn't limited to shooting them from his eyes. Havok has been a member of various X-Teams, but has also been a bad guy at times having also been a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants. Throughout most of his publication history, Scott has been romantically linked with Jean Grey, an immensely powerful Mutant in her own right.
In an alternate future timeline, Scott had a baby with Madelyne Pryor, Jean Grey's clone, and their child grew up to be the time-traveling superhero Cable, otherwise known as Nathan Summers. Cable possesses several mental abilities including telepathy, telekinesis and technopathy. He is also cybernetically enhanced and can often be seen in the comics teaming up with the likes of Deadpool. Scott and Alex's father, Christopher Summers, is also a superhero, though he lives off-world as the leader of the Starjammers, going by the name Corsair.
4 GREEK PANTHEON
While both Marvel and DC publish characters from the Greek Pantheons, the one who does it best has always been DC. Not only have creators there cooked up some amazing characters based off of ancient mythology, they were able to weave a rich backstory together to create one of the most successful and enduring comic book characters of all time: Wonder Woman. Princess Diana made her first appearance in the comics back in All-Star Comics #8, written by William Moulton Marston and penciled by Harry G. Peter in 1941. Since that time, her story has revealed a truly noble lineage. Originally, she was said to have been sculpted from clay by Queen Hippolyta, her mother, but given life by the goddess Aphrodite. DC made some changes by altering this in recent years.
We now know that her mother's identity remains the same, but her father is none other than Zeus, the king of the gods.
Being the daughter of Zeus means her family tree opened up significantly and DC created a number of characters from the Greek pantheon to join her. In addition to Zeus, she often battles Ares, the God of War, and has dealt with Artemis, Deimos, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eros, Hades, Hephaestus and dozens more.
3 THE ASGARDIAN ROYAL FAMILY
In pretty much the same way DC created a family of characters related to the Greek Pantheon, Marvel did the same with the Norse Gods centered around Odin, The All Father and his mystical realm of Asgard. When it comes to approximating the mythology in a respectful manner, Marvel did an amazing job by intertwining the various locations, people and lore into a cogent series of books and characters. The principal character in the family is, of course, Thor Odinson, the God of Thunder. Thor has made his appearance in the MCU a number of times since his first film debuted in 2011, but he first popped up in the comics in Journey Into Mystery #83, written by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber with pencils by Jack Kirby in 1962.
Thor's adopted brother is Loki, the God of Mischief, who is more often than not a villain to his brother though he has evolved into something of an antihero over the years. Unlike Thor, Loki is a member of the Jötunn, the species of Frost Giants found in Jotunheim. Thor's mother is the Elder goddess Gaea, who, unlike his father Odin, was based off Greek Mythology instead of Norse. Thor is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe and while his identity has changed a few times over the years to include the likes of Beta Ray Bill and Jane Foster, he is best known as the son of Odin and the God of Thunder.
2 THE HOUSE OF EL
When it comes to the archetype of the superhero, you don't have to look much further than the cape-wearing Kryptonian from Kansas, Clark Kent/Superman/Kal-El, who first appeared in Action Comics #1, written by Jerry Siegel and penciled by Joe Shuster in 1938. It's the last name that lands the Man of Steel on this list and the family that is associated with it may be small, but when you have the likes of Superman on your team, you don't need much more. Kal-El is the last son of Krypton, but more accurately, he is the son of Jor-El and Lora, though he was raised on Earth by Jonathan and Martha Kent.
Not many survived the destruction of Krypton, but Kara Zor-El/Cara Danvers/Supergirl made it to Earth where she took up the spandex outfit and became a superhero herself. Over the years, there have been a number of characters associated with both characters including Power Girl, Superboy and even Cyborg Superman, but the core members of the family who remain are Kal-El and Kara Zor-El. Superman does have a son named Jonathan Samuel Kent who is the product of his and Lois Lane's union. Jonathan Samuel Kent is currently running around as Superboy. He made his debut appearance recently in Convergence: Superman #2, written and penciled by Dan Jurgens in 2015.
1 THE BAT-FAMILY
We know what you're thinking... you clicked on an article describing super-powered families and we went ahead and threw the Bat-Family at you, which consists of a group of people who are not only not related, but who also have no superpowers! Well, you're correct about that, but there was no way we would feature a list of superhero families and leave off one of the most prominent of them all! Leading the group, we have Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, who first appeared in Detective Comics #27, written by Bill Finger and penciled by Bob Kane in 1939.
Batman is one of the longest-lasting comic book characters in publication history , and he has expanded his "family" to include a great many characters.
You couldn't have Batman without Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's butler and chief enabler. Alfred raised Bruce after his parents were killed and made him the man he is today. Another constant companion is Robin, which became a title passed down from one person to another having been held by five individuals, one of whom, Dick Grayson, went on to become Nightwing. Rounding out the family, we also have Batgirl, which is another superhero name given to multiple women over the years.