Superheroes are powerful pinnacles of popular culture nowadays and, where there are superheroes, there are sidekicks. Secondary characters are often the glue that holds the narrative together, though in many instances sidekicks have stepped out of the shadow of their mentor and, sometimes, surpassed them.
10 Sam Wilson AKA Falcon
Wilson has starred in a multitude of comic book series as Falcon and has also donned the Captain America mantle in Steve Rogers' wake. Given Cap's farewell scene in Avengers: Endgame, it looks as though fans will see Wilson don the shield in live-action for Phase 4 of the popular film franchise.
9 Cletus Kasady AKA Carnage
Surpassing Venom's vicious level of villainy is a tough task, but Carnage has shown through his many comic book incarnations that he is a brutal killer on a different level than Eddie Brock's symbiotic alter ego. Cletus Kasady was already imprisoned for murder when the symbiote fused with him, and the stronger bond between Kasady and the alien entity means Carnage is more powerful than Spider-Man and Venom.
Admittedly Carnage is more of an adversary to Venom than a sidekick, but his character is a prime example of a brutal killer surpassing an established villain. Kasady had a cameo in 2018's Venom, where he was played by Woody Harrelson.
8 Wally West AKA Kid Flash
The nephew of Barry Allen, Wally West debuted in DC Comics in 1959 as a sidekick to The Flash. Kid Flash possessed the same abilities of superhuman speed and was one of the founding members of the Teen Titans.
West has been depicted in the comics as faster than his uncle, as he can travel through time via the Speed Force unassisted and possesses the ability to pass through objects and cause them to explode. He was the third character to don the mantle of The Flash until his uncle returned in The Flash: Rebirth.
7 Laura Kinney AKA X-23
Being the daughter and successor of Wolverine is not easy, but X-23 has proved herself as a capable character in the comics as well as popular with comic book fans. Cloned from Logan's DNA, Laura has the same powers as her biological father with added advantages.
Laura has two claws per hand as well as an extra claw on each foot, but she is also faster due to the adamantium coating only her claws as opposed to her whole skeleton. However, Laura is also sent into a frenzy by a trigger scent that causes her to attack even her father.
6 Damien Wayne AKA Robin
As the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, Damien Wayne has an impressive lineage. The current Robin has demonstrated that he has all of his father's skill as well as a ruthless, blood-thirsty streak inherited from his mother's side of the family.
Damien is currently young in the comics and displays a youthful carelessness that is often a detriment. However, considering his training and background time will only tell how far Damien will surpass Batman in the future.
5 James "Rhodey" Rhodes AKA War Machine
James "Rhodey" Rhodes is a popular character who is an integral part of the Iron Man universe, in the comics as well as the MCU, where he is played by Don Cheadle. Rhodey has also donned the Iron Man suit in the past, during Tony Stark's struggle with alcohol addiction.
The character first appeared in the Iron Man comics in 1979. With Tony Stark's heartbreaking death in Avengers: Endgame, Rhodey could also take up his fallen friend's alter ego in the cinematic universe.
4 Abe Sapien
Abe Sapien is portrayed in the Hellboy comics as Hellboy's more logical and restrained partner, balancing the scale between caution and chaos. A mainstay character in the Hellboy series, Abe has also featured in his own comics which have proved popular with fans.
Abe's character was also adapted for live-action, featuring in the 2004 film Hellboy and it's 2008 sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army, where he was played by Doug Jones.
3 Roy Harper AKA Arsenal
Roy Harper originally debuted as Speedy in the 1940s comics as a teenage sidekick to Green Arrow. Like Wally West, he is also one of the founding members of the Teen Titans as well as a skilled marksman and an expert with a multitude of weapons.
Roy adopted the moniker of Arsenal in his adult years to distance himself from Green Arrow and his reputation as a sidekick. He has featured in several comic book series, notably Red Hood and the Outlaws alongside Jason Todd and Starfire. His versatility with weapons makes his skills surpass that of his mentor, whose proficiency lies in archery.
2 Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier
Bucky Barnes originally debuted in the Captain America comics in 1941 as a teenage sidekick to Captain America. The character perished in the comics, before being brought back as brainwashed Russian weapon The Winter Soldier and later donning the Captain America mantle after his former mentor Steve Rogers.
Along with Uncle Ben and Jason Todd, Bucky's death is one of few deaths in comics to remain unreversed and was used as an example as to why the Marvel heroes did not employ young sidekicks due to the danger of the superhero lifestyle.
1 Dick Grayson AKA Dick Grayson
Dick Grayson is another founding member of the Teen Titans and has featured as the renown incarnation of Robin in popular culture. The original Robin, Dick underwent a drastic character change as he distanced himself from Batman following his departure from Gotham, donning the mantle of Nightwing and enjoying many successful series' of his own.
The original Robin debuted in 1940 and has become synonymous with the Batman universe and DC Comics.