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Problem Children: 22 Superhero Parents Who Had To Stop Their Wild Kids

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Some children of superheroes are also superheroes. Some are just super... bad. Follow any comic book long enough and eventually offspring tend to, well, spring up. Either from a happy marriage (where in the multiverse are Reed and Sue?) or morally questionable motives (Talia Al Ghul, looking at you), children are inevitable in the long-run universes of comics. So the question becomes, how do you make them interesting? Some grow up in the family business. Others take a more... circuitous route to fame, or indeed, infamy! Either way, kids tend to get out of hand at one point or another.

The image of a stern parent floating down from the heavens makes for a good splash page cliffhanger. Readers take an involuntary gulp to think of Superman himself saying he’s not mad, just disappointed. With the superhero trend of working out feelings through fists, family squabbles will eventually get out of hand and inevitably, things spiral into family crises that can be nothing short of existence-threatening. Including everything from the light-hearted slap-on-the-wrist, kids-will-be-kids moments to the more literal stories of “I brought you into this world, I can take you out!” are here in all of their tense familial glory!

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22 ZATARA & ZATANNA

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Zatanna Zatara, daughter of the Great (but usually relegated to the past) Giovanni Zatara, appears on several major teams, including the early Justice League. However, only recently have we learned more about her relationship with her father, who was once a superhero himself. In the recent miniseries Mystik U, Zatanna, in a fit of teen rage aimed at her father, opens a portal to hell with her nascent powers. Giovanni quickly intervenes to take his daughter’s place and closes the portal, with himself trapped on the other side!

Zatanna shares a special bond with her father’s spirit in recent stories like Zatanna and Black Canary: Bloodspell. The latest Justice League Dark shows that John Constantine was largely responsible for Giovanni’s eventual hellish demise.

21 SCARLET WITCH, WICCAN & SPEED

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The story of Wanda Maximoff’s children is complicated, even for comics. After Wanda lost her sanity and destroys the Avengers (more on that later), Billy “William” Kaplan finds his seeming twin, Tommy “Thomas” Shepherd and learns from teen Vision that they are the lost children of the Scarlet Witch, recreated after the House of M.

In Avengers: Children’s Crusade, Billy convinces Tommy, along with the rest of the Young Avengers, to track down Wanda. While they do find her and eventually restore her memories as the Scarlet Witch, Wanda regrets their actions as she still feels guilt over her near-eradication of mutants.

20 S.T.R.I.P.E. & STARGIRL

Pat Dugan started his superhero career early as Stripesy alongside the original Star-Spangled Kid, Sylvester Pemberton. Years later, he went on to marry Barbara Whitmore and become step-father to Courtney Whitmore. When she came across Pemberton’s Cosmic Converter Belt, Courtney decided to annoy Pat by becomes the new Star-Spangled Kid. When she was attacked by Dragon King, Pat used his newly-built S.T.R.I.P.E. armor to stop the fight.

They went on to fight crime together as a duo, helping the Young Justice team stop an alien invasion. Later, when Starman gifted his Cosmic Staff to Courtney, she decided to take the name Stargirl.

19 ANT-MAN & STATURE/STINGER

Ant-Man

Scott Lang became Ant-Man when he stole Hank Pym’s suit to save the life of his daughter, Cassie. Exposure to Pym Particles (that she stole from her father) gave her size-changing abilities, but Scott died before he found out. When Cassie returned to the past with the Young Avengers, she brought her father back to the present, alive.

Originally Scott was elated to see his daughter in action, but after she was slain by Doom and returned to life without her powers, he became more protective. During a fight with her father, Cassie went to the Power Broker and took up the name Stinger. When she was captured by Cross, Scott had to come to her rescue.

18 HIPPOLYTA & WONDER WOMAN

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Hippolyta spent time as Wonder Woman in the Justice Society of America, before Diana, her daughter, took the role. Depending on the continuity, Diana stole the Wonder Woman suit, including the famed Lasso of Truth, from her mother to adventure into Man’s World.

In Grant Morrison’s retelling, Wonder Woman: Earth One, Diana argues with her mother after the Amazon’s annual Festival of Diana (for the Moon goddess of the hunt). Diana comes across Steve Trevor on the beach and takes her lover’s plane to Man’s World to save Trevor. Diana later surrenders herself to the other Amazons to return to Hippolyta for judgement. The queen of the Amazons is not pleased with her daughter’s actions and her exposure to Man’s World.

17 MR. FANTASTIC & VALERIA RICHARDS

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The second child of Sue and Reed Richards had a hard time adapting to the world. Originally thought stillborn, Val was transported by her older brother, Franklin, to an alternate dimension where she grew up as the daughter of Sue and a heroic Dr. Doom. When she returned to her native reality, Val butted heads with her biological father.

Later, after Franklin lost his powers, Val was born as a child in the main Marvel timeline. When Val was a baby, Doom revealed his connection to the child and used it to attack the Fantastic Four. Val grew to show intelligence like her father, and after the events of “Death of the Invisible Woman,” she chose to live with her “Uncle Doom.”

16 BATMAN & ROBIN

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Batman was initially unaware of his son, as Talia Al Ghul grew Damian in an artificial womb. In “Batman and Son,” however, Talia leaves Damian to live with Bruce, hoping to disrupt his actions as Batman. Damian wants to be the next Robin over Tim Drake, but Bruce admits to Tim that he finds his son to be too reckless and dangerous. The father-son duo continue to disagree over Damian’s savage methods, even after he becomes Robin.

This conflict marks Damian’s appearance in the animated movie Son of Batman and continues as Damian joins the Teen Titans in Teen Titans vs. Justice League, where Robin’s aggressive actions prompt Batman to send him to the Teen Titans so he can learn to work with a team.

15 CYCLOPS & CABLE

Scott Summers was bound to have trouble with his son Nathan when he sent the boy to be raised in the future. Nathan returned to Scott’s time as Cable, grown older than his father.

During the events of X-Sanction, Cable travels to a future when the Avengers attack the X-Men. Returning to the present, Cable takes preemptive action against the Avengers, defeating several of the team. Cable is only stopped when his father arrives to defeat him. Cyclops takes Cable to Utopia where Hope is finally able to cure Nathan of the techno-organic virus that plagued him for so long.

14 HULK & SKAAR

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After the Illuminati launched the Hulk into space, he crash-landed on the planet Sakaar, a place of savage gladiatorial games. Of course Hulk was right at home and came to rule the planet with Caiera the Oldstrong, his wife. When the shuttle that brought Hulk to Sakaar exploded, Caiera was a victim. Hulk flew into a rage and left for Earth.

Unknown to him, Caiera gave birth via cocoon to a son in her final moments: that son's name was Skaar. Raised in violence on his home planet, Skaar was exiled by the spirit of his mother and came to Earth, where he fought to destroy his father before finally having his gamma powers taken from him by a calculating version of the Hulk.

13 BLUE MARVEL & DR. POSITRON

Adam Brashear became the hero Blue Marvel after an accident with a Negative Reactor the US government was using to tap into the Negative Zone for sustainable energy. During a battle with Dr. Skorpion, Adam’s son Kevin was left in the Neutral Zone. Adam’s other son Max became resentful and distanced himself from the family.

Later, Max returned as the villain Dr. Positron and lured his father and the Mighty Avengers to his island base, where he activated a portal to the Neutral Zone. Kevin began to emerge, giant and deformed. Blue Marvel was forced to send his first son back to the Neutral Zone before stopping Max.

12 ODIN, FRIGGA & LOKI

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As the God of Mischief, Loki never had an easy relationship with his Asgardian family. Born to frost giants, Loki was adopted into the royal family of Asgard, Odin taking him in on the battlefield. Odin soon found himself defending Asgard and Midgard both from Loki’s schemes.

After Loki died in Siege, he returned as a child unaware of his previous life. But being Loki, this young body was taken over by a ghost of the former Loki. Eventually coming to feel guilty over his actions, this new-old Loki sought to form a new story for himself in Loki: Agent of Asgard by helping the All-Mothers. But they exiled him when they learned of his true nature, which inevitably finds a way to shine through.

11 MAGNETO & SCARLET WITCH

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Magneto first appeared with his children, Wanda and Pietro, in his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but they didn’t come to be a family until after the twins had become Avengers. Magneto split his time between hero and villain for years, his relationship with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver becoming close or strained.

But after Wanda lost her mind and attacked the Avengers during “Disassembled,” Magneto descended from the sky to take back his unconscious daughter. He took her to Genosha where his friend Charles Xavier worked to repair her mind. While the Avengers and X-Men discussed Wanda’s fate, her brother Pietro convinced the unstable Wanda to create the House of M reality.

10 PROFESSOR X & LEGION

Charles Xavier had practice trying to repair minds before he took on Wanda. Xavier had tried to help his own son, David Haller, when the boy’s vast mutant abilities and mental instability manifested. David’s mother sent him to Moira MacTaggert, which is where Xavier first encountered him with the New Mutants and had their first psychic battle.

David would go on to become one of the most powerful mutants in existence as he absorbed psyches and gained new powers with each. Xavier made multiple attempts to rehabilitate David and his host of personalities. Only after Legion returned from “no-time” as a part of Magik’s plan to stop the Elder Gods was Xavier able to work with his son to structure David’s mind.

9 ARES & PHOBOS

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Ares of the Marvel Universe had a son named Aaron that the God of War left to be raised as a mortal. But the boy was captured and brainwashed by the Chaos King to attack Olympus. Zeus and Ares were able to stop Aaron and clear his mind of the Chaos King’s influence. This also rid Aaron of the fighting skills he learned under the Chaos King.

Aaron later returned with Nick Fury’s Secret Warriors as Phobos, God of Fear. During the events of Siege, Nick Fury denied Phobos joining the mission to Asgardia as Ares was leading Norman Osborn’s attack force.

8 KYLE RAYNER, SORANIK NATU & SARKO

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During his time as part of the Green Lantern Corps, Kyle Rayner fell in love with Soranik Natu, daughter of Sinestro, the leader of the Yellow Lanterns. Soranik disagreed with her father’s use of fear and had become a Green Lantern instead. The couple went on many missions together as a part of their duties with the Green Lantern Corps.

But recently, Kyle and Soranik were confronted by their son from the future, Sarko. Sarko had travelled back in time in an attempt to preserve his grandfather’s Sinestro Corps. He believed the Green Lanterns had failed and the future needed the Sinestro Corps. Kyle was forced to permanently stop his son, causing an irreparable rift between his parents.

7 EMMA FROST & THE STEPFORD CUCKOOS

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The Stepford Cuckoos were introduced as a part of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run, and have been firm fan favorites ever since. Psychic quintuplets with a hive mind, they were quickly taken under Emma Frost’s wing. Emma made it clear that she saw herself in the girls and sought to mold them into versions of herself. If only she had known...

In Phoenix: Warsong, the Cuckoos are revealed to be clones of Emme Frost made by John Sublime in The World. After the girls manifest the Phoenix, the X-Men follow them to The World and find thousands of Cuckoos, grown by Sublime to destroy mutants. Eventually, Emma, along with the main Cuckoos, is forced to destroy The World with her clone daughters.

6 MYSTIQUE & GRAYDON CREED

At one point in her long and storied life, Mystique posed as a German spy and seduced Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth, and had a son. She put up Graydon for adoption but kept an eye on the boy. After Graydon learned of his true parentage -- that he was the son of two mutants who abandoned him -- he grew resentful of all mutants.

As an adult, Graydon formed the Friends of Humanity, a hate group dedicated to eradicating mutants through violent means. Graydon continued on his campaign of hate with a presidential run until he was taken out by a sniper who turned out to be a future version of Mystique. She had returned to seek revenge on Graydon for the death of Destiny’s grandson.

5 SENTINEL & OBSIDIAN

The original Green Lantern (without connection to the Corps), Alan Scott had twins with the supervillain Thorn. Alan gave the kids, Jennie-Lyn and Todd, up for adoption. Todd was raised by an abusive family, but despite this began his career as a superhero when he found Jennie. As Jade and Obsidian, they founded Infinity, Inc. Todd went on to work with a number of superhero teams, including the Justice League.

When Todd’s mental state began to suffer, because of both schizophrenia inherited from his mother and his connection to the Shadowlands, he began to seek revenge on his biological and adopted fathers. During a long fight, Todd’s adopted father sacrificed himself and Alan Scott, as Sentinel, stopped the conflict.

4 MOIRA MACTAGGERT & PROTEUS

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Before Moira MacTaggert assisted Charles Xavier with his son David, she went through her own offspring ordeal with her son, Kevin. A powerful reality-warping mutant, Kevin burned through physical bodies, so Moira protected him in a cell on Muir Island. When a fight between Magneto and the X-Men damaged his cell, Kevin was freed as Proteus, quickly burning through the remainder of his body.

Proteus went on a rampage across Scotland to find his father. In his conflict with the X-Men, Proteus overtook and discarded numerous host bodies before taking over his own father. As he battled Moira and the X-Men, Proteus burned through his father’s body and was left exposed as an energy form vulnerable to a final blow from Colossus’ metal form.

3 DEATHSTROKE & JERICHO

During his career as a hired gun, Slade Wilson came into conflict with The Jackal, who held Slade’s son, Joseph, ransom. When Slade refused to give up the information, Joseph’s throat was deeply cut before Slade could rescue him, leaving Joseph mute. For this, Adeline, Slade’s wife, left him and took their son.

Joseph’s power to possess others didn’t appear until later, when Joseph stopped men attacking his mother. After stopping his father from a job against the Teen Titans, Joseph joined their ranks as Jericho. Shortly after, the lost souls of Azarath, influenced by Trigon, came to possess Jericho. When he attacked the Titans, Slade was forced to stop his son to spare Jericho’s suffering.

2 CAPTAIN AMERICA & RED SKULL (ULTIMATE)

The Marvel Ultimate Universe took a much darker approach to storytelling. In this universe, Steve Rogers spent a night with his girlfriend Gail Richards before being lost during the war. Gail gave birth to a son, and the US government decided to raise the boy as a super-soldier like his father. Learning well, he became more ruthless than his father, eventually escaping the government and taking a knife to his head to literally become Red Skull.

Red Skull later resurfaced to steal a Cosmic Cube. The Avengers, including his father, arrived to stop him, but Red Skull was already too powerful. Captain America defeated Red Skull by teleporting a jet into him.

1 WOLVERINE & DAKEN

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While living in Japan in the '40s, Logan had a son with his wife Itsu. After an attack on Itsu, the boy was stolen by Romulus and raised by a young Japanese couple. After Daken’s powers activated during an altercation with his adopted parents, Romulus came to Daken and told him of his true father. However, Romulus lied, and told him that it was Wolverine who attacked Itsu. Daken sought revenge.

Years later, Daken formed a version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to attack his father and turn Evan Sabahnur into Apocalypse. Daken forced Evan to watch as he drowned Wolverine. Logan escaped and took the fight to Daken, finally drowning him in one of the most emotionally brutal scenes put to comics page.

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