When you’re a superhero family, there tends to be a lot of drama. We’re talking way more drama than your weird Uncle yelling insensitive things at the most recent holiday gathering. Superhero family dynamics tend to make the storylines in Soap Operas look like child’s play. However, it’s that sort of storytelling that draws comic book fans back every month. As the superhero family drama ramps up, stories tend to get more salacious and exciting, and thus, sales will tend to go up. And boy, superhero comics cover the gamut of family drama.
While there are plenty of familial relationships in comic books that include the normal bickering, the families that make it on this list go a little further. The one below are prone to the occasional extremely violent brawl. We have included siblings that like more than just your typical family hug. There are aliens, clones, time-travel, demons and of course, your garden-variety attempted sororicide while still in the womb. The one thing that brings these stories together is the bond of blood, or in one case, robotic parts. Let’s take a look at 15 of the most questionable families in comics, and then call your own family and thank them for not being as horrible as these characters.
15 QUICKSILVER/SCARLET WITCH
It is said that twins share a special bond. We’ve seen real-life examples of twins almost having a sixth sense in regards to each other. The relationship is something you can’t even begin to understand, unless you happen to be a twin yourself. Now, when you talk about Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, particularly in Marvel’s Ultimates 3, the twin dynamic is taken to a rather… icky place.
Throughout the Ultimate Universe’s story, Wanda and Pietro were always close, and there were implications that maybe their closeness included something intimate. However, in Ultimates 3, the intimacy was no longer implied. No, it was full-on confirmed. Readers saw the twins hideaway to have alone time, as Wolverine was watching from the bushes. In his own words, he goes on to describe exactly what he saw, describing the carnal act as “creepy.”
14 HANK PYM/JANET VAN DYNE
In the history of the Marvel Universe, there’s perhaps no one more unlikeable than Hank Pym. No matter if we’re talking about the 616 Marvel Universe or the Ultimate Universe, Pym was routinely shown to be a jerk, to put it lightly. The main reason for his unlikability was his relationship with his wife, Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp.
The story of Pym’s domestic violence was so legendary in the early years of the Avengers, creators Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch brought that issue to the forefront of their early run on The Ultimates. Whereas, the violence was shown briefly in the original Avengers issue, Millar and Hitch created a story that included a brutal fight between the spouses that ended with Janet shrinking in size and being overtaken by ants that were controlled by Hank. It’s disturbing and sickening.
The relationship between a superhero and his/her parents is one of the foundations of any good origin story. In the origins of Batman and Spider-Man, for example, the death of parents or a parental figure is the impetus for the heroes wanting to change the world. But what do you do if you’re a superhero and you find out that your dad is a homicidal maniac?
That’s the question that is presented in Invincible. Our hero, Mark Grayson, aka Invincible, upon developing superpowers of his own, desperately wants to follow in the footsteps of his Superman-esque father, Omni-Man. Unfortunately, Mark discovers that his dad was hiding some dark secrets, including world domination, for starters. What transpires is one of the most violent and heartbreaking fights in all of comics, between teenage Mark and his father. Think of it as Spider-Man, if Peter Parker got into a horribly violent brawl with Uncle Ben.
12 BATMAN/TALIA AL GHUL/DAMIAN
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Bruce Wayne isn’t the world’s greatest dad. The guy is “daddy issues” personified. However, when it comes to his de facto family with Talia al Ghul and their son, Damian, there’s really no excuse for the dysfunction at play. During Grant Morrison’s great run on Batman, he introduced the idea of Batman being a dad, and the origin of this family is just nuts.
According to the series, Batman and Talia al Ghul, daughter of one his greatest enemies, had a little tryst that involved Batman being drugged and having an affair with Talia. The result was their son Damian. Readers meet Damian as a preteen who is spoiled, bratty, and murderous. What does Batman decide is the best course of action for his own flesh and blood child? Put him in danger constantly as his new Robin, obviously. Unsurprisingly, this results in Damian dying. Yes, eventually he comes back, but it just shows that Batman really is a horrible father figure and has no right having a family.
11 CHARLES XAVIER/CASSANDRA NOVA
Sibling rivalry can’t even begin to describe the relationship between Charles Xavier and Cassandra Nova. The leader of the X-Men, confined to a wheelchair, doesn’t present himself to be much of an intimidating figure. However, when he was in the womb, and noticed that he was sharing his mother’s body with a potentially evil twin, Xavier did what any hero would do, try to murder her.
Yes, that’s literally the origin story of Cassandra Nova. Well, there’s more to it than that, and it involves being a parasite that can replicate human bodies and whatnot, but we don’t have time to go into those crazy details. Needless to say, being pregnant with twins is tough. What would make it even harder is if your twins are fighting to the death in the womb. As a reader, you can almost understand why Nova hates her brother so much.
10 THE MARVEL FAMILY
To readers nowadays, he’s known as Shazam. However, it wasn’t that long ago that DC readers knew Shazam as Captain Marvel, member of the Marvel Family of heroes. But how much do you actually know about this “family?” While they may seem wholesome from the outside, going on fun adventures in matching costumes, the Marvel Family is one of the oddest groups in comic book history.
First off, it’s important to know that Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. were the superhero names of young kids Billy Batson, Mary Batson, and Freddy Freeman, respectively. These three children turned into adults with superpowers by uttering the right word. That’s a little odd, as it is. But wait until you hear about Uncle Marvel. Uncle Marvel is the name of Dudley H. Dudley, a creepy old man that basically stalked Mary Marvel and convinced the Marvels to let him hang out with them. He had a superhero outfit and everything, but none of the powers. Dudley was just an old guy that liked hanging out with little kids. Nothing weird about that, right?
9 THE VISIONS
You may wonder how a family of super-powered robots could come into existence. How could The Vision, a synthezoid member of the Avengers, get married, have kids, and live the idyllic suburban life? Well, if you’re Vision, you take your ex’s brainwaves, create a synthezoid copy of her, then use the combined brainwaves to create kids. Easy peasy. Then just move to a DC suburb and live the American Dream.
All joking aside, the idea that Vision created his own family using the brainwaves of Scarlet Witch is really disturbing. However, the story is handled incredibly well in the Marvel series Vision, by creators Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. After you get past the slightly creepy origin, you begin to really relate to the characters and think of them as actual people, and not some group of Frankenstein’s Monsters.
8 THE WOLVERINES
Talk show host Maury Povich has made a career out of surprise DNA tests showing that men are the fathers of illegitimate children. If he had Wolverine on his show, let’s just say that Povich could have another 20 seasons of television. Wolverine’s DNA is part of so many children and clones that it’s almost laughable. Wolverine’s “family,” if you can call it that, is a selection of the most wild and deranged killers in the Marvel Universe. Like father, like son, daughter, clones and clones-of-clones.
Perhaps Wolverine’s most famous child is Daken. Daken is the son of Wolverine and his then-wife Itsu. Daken was ripped out of his mother’s dying body and raised to be an incredibly lethal warrior. As is a theme with many of Wolverine’s “children,” Daken meets Wolverine and immediately tries to kill him. After Daken, you have X-23, aka Laura, who is just a clone. Then there are clones of her. All told, Wolverine probably has DNA shared with a couple dozen or more people in the Marvel Universe.
7 THE KRYPTONIANS
You would think that it would be weird for a superhero who is the last of his race to be featured on a list about families, especially considering that the family he has now -- a son and a wife -- are shining examples of quality comic book families. That is all true, except that it seems like Kal-El, aka Superman, is forever finding new, crazy family members that he never knew existed. The Superman Family now consists of his son and wife, along with multiple clones, a couple cousins, a long-lost father, and his family dog.
Throw a rock in the DC Universe and you might hit another Superman relative or clone. Throughout the decades, DC’s answer to creating a shocking Superman story is to introduce a new relative. This has led to one of the most confusing family trees in all of comics, with numerous retcons and retcons-of-retcons. Even the most well-versed Superman fan would pull their hair out trying to piece it all together.
6 BIG DADDY AND HIT-GIRL
We’re sure if you Googled how to be a great father, there would be the qualification that you can’t raise your pre-teen daughter to become an unstoppable killing machine. Clearly, if your little girl is murdering people with swords and guns, you’ve done something wrong, right? Don’t tell that to Big Daddy and Hit-Girl from Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.’s Kick-Ass.
Big Daddy is a guy who is Batman, if Bruce Wayne was 10 times crazier, who has a daughter that he wants to raise right. He does this by training her to be an assassin. Hit-Girl turns into a foul-mouthed murderer that has some really messed up ideas of what makes a good family. There’s a way to read their origin story and think that it’s a little sweet, but honestly, it’s one of the most ridiculous father/daughter relationships ever seen in comics.
5 THE RUNAWAYS
When you think of bad family units, look no further than the members of the Runaways. The children that make up this group of heroes all came together under the common purpose – to take down their parents. That’s right, the Runaways are all children of people that made up an evil crime syndicate, known as The Pride.
One minute, you’re an everyday, normal teen living in California, and then before you know it, you are on the run with a group of teens, trying to escape the clutches of your murderous parents. That’s enough to make any teen super angsty. Luckily, there’s another way to create a family, and that’s through friendship. Even with horribly evil parents, the Runaways have made a family of their own. At least this traumatic story has a silver lining!
4 SILK SPECTRE/SILK SPECTRE II
The relationship between Sally Jupiter and her daughter Laurie is one of the most fascinating parts of the Alan Moore classic Watchmen. During her childhood, Laurie never really wanted to follow in the footsteps of her superhero mother. Sally pushed her daughter to become a superhero, even at a young age, dressing her in an inappropriate costume. Sally was the comic book equivalent of a “stage mom.” But the real drama between the two is far more sad and infuriating than that.
It wasn’t until Laurie was a kid that she realized the person she thought was her dad wasn’t actually her father. After realizing that Sally’s husband wasn’t her father, Laurie assumed her dad was the hero known as Hooded Justice. If only it was that easy. Laurie’s father ended up being the Comedian, someone Laurie absolutely hated. Sally was assaulted by the Comedian, but actually had a brief fling with him many years later, resulting in the pregnancy and desire to hide Laurie’s true father. Who said comics weren’t soap operas?
3 CAROL DANVERS AND HER SON
Avengers #200 is one of the most insane issues of any comic in history. The famous issue features the incredibly perverse story of Carol Danvers, known at the time as Ms. Marvel but now Captain Marvel, and her son, Marcus. Marcus was a being who was stuck in Limbo. Devising a plan to escape, he used a mind-control device to convince Carol Danvers to get in his bed, because she looked exactly like his mother.
She then was impregnated and had an accelerated pregnancy, which led to her baby being born after only several days. That baby, named Marcus, grew up at an accelerated rate, to look like the man who impregnated her against her will. Worst of all, the issue ends with Carol admitting that she might have feelings for her child, who is the reincarnated version of the man who put her under a spell and slept with her. If you’re confused, don’t worry, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
2 THE SUMMERS CLAN
Where do you even begin with the twisted Summers family tree? First you have the crazy origin story, which includes Scott and Alex Summers being thrown from a plane by their dad, who would go on to become a space pirate. From there the Summers boys start to develop a pattern of insane relationships.
Scott would go on to meet Jean Grey. The two were madly in love when she was tragically killed. He would then go on to fall in love and marry Jean’s clone Madelyne Pryor. Scott and Madelyne have a kid and live together in Alaska. Then Jean is found alive, so Scott literally abandons his family to be with her. This would lead to so much craziness that we can’t even summarize it here. Eventually, we are introduced to The Summers family is one of the most confusing in all of the Marvel Universe.
The fact that Raven’s father, Trigon, is a demon really is just the tip of the iceberg when describing the crazy family. Raven’s mother Arella was a mentally unstable woman who joined a cult, whose mission was to kill the demon Trigon. Trigon infiltrated the cult as a human man. He married Arella and impregnated her. Upon learning about his true nature, Arella was distraught and on the verge of suicide when Raven was born.
Knowing the story of her conception and parentage, Raven grew up having to control her emotions because she couldn’t let her demonic side out. She also had to devote her life to stopping her father from entering our dimension and taking over. And you thought your relationship with your father was strained? Nothing can compare to the story of Raven and Trigon.