In the superhero universes that we know and love, literally anything can happen -- gods walking amongst us isn’t even the most bizarre thing when you have magic, mutants and multiple dimensions to contend with. Coupled with the fact that heroes and villains are often super-human in their own right, and gods are practically mundane. With so many immortal deities wandering the Earth, it makes sense that we’d start seeing families form, and looking at this list, one thing is clear: If you think you have overbearing parents, trying being the child of an actual god.
That’s a lot of pressure for a child to live up to when their parents are cosmic beings that live on a higher plane than mere mortals, some being worshipped with their own religions, how can you possibly meet those expectations? It’s probably why, when it comes to characters with gods for parents (and there are more than you think), the burden of responsibility weighs heavy on their shoulders, with writers using these unique circumstances to explore what it means to have to support a family legacy. Here at CBR, we’ve taken a dive into the divine, to bring you a list of all the superheroes and supervillains with gods for parents!
Perhaps the single most well-known child of a god on this list, the mighty Thor Odinson is exactly what his name suggests: the son of Odin. Odin the Allfather is the patriarchal deity of the Norse and Germanic mythology, and in the Marvel universe, he is the Lord of the Ten Realms, sitting upon his throne in the mighty halls of Asgard.
Thor’s entire existence seems to be because of, and often in spite of his father. Even the version of Thor we see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has daddy issues, often coming to blows with Odin over the proper use of his powers, and most of Thor’s early adventures deal with the burden of Legacy in one form or another. Odinson is destined to lead Asgard one day, but following in his father’s footsteps hasn’t been a smooth journey.
While his comic book counterpart is decidedly mortal -- being born of a human mother and Spartaxian father -- the movie version of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord seen in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 has a very different origin. The central plot of the blockbuster sequel explores the fallout from the revelation that Peter’s father is the cosmic god, the living planet known as Ego.
Ego has long been a part of the Marvel cosmic universe in the comics, but he’s never been connected to a character in this way before. In the movie, Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians discover that Ego assumes human form in order to travel to hundreds of planets, quite literally to “plant his seed” and spread his influence throughout the galaxy. He wants Peter to take his rightful place by his side, and it takes everything he has to resist.
14 MISTER MIRACLE
Jack Kirby’s "Fourth World" saga is an epic cosmic masterpiece that has stood the test of time in the 40 years since its release. Part of the reason for that is the sweeping operatic drama of two worlds in conflict and two fathers forming an uneasy and dangerous truce to change history. When Highfather, ruler of New Genesis, and Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips, sought an end to the war between their worlds, they made a pact, one that saw them exchange and raise each other’s sons in order to maintain the peace between their planets.
Highfather gave his son (and heir to the throne of New Genesis) over to the tyrant Darkseid, and Scott Free spent his life in the terror orphanages of Granny Goodness in the fiery pits of Apokolips. Despite that, evil could never overwhelm him and he escaped the hellish life to become a superhero.
Not only are there gods in the heavens, but there are equally powerful demons in hell, and despite their evil leanings they’re still immortal beings looking for love. Such was the case with interdimensional demon Trigon, who came to Gotham and fell in love with human Angela Roth. The conception of their union grew up to become the DC comics superhero and Teen Titans member Raven.
It was feared during her youth that if Raven couldn’t control her emotions, she’d be overwhelmed by her father’s demonic energy that dwells inside her, even though it was that same energy that imbued her with the power of chaos magic, telepathy and telekinesis. When she was refused help by the Justice League because of her demonic presence, she helped to form the New Teen Titans to help fight her father and has been a vital part of the time ever since.
Loki Laufeyson, the Trickster, the God of Mischief and adopted brother of Thor Odinson, was a major villain and antagonist to not only his brother but the Avengers for decades, even being responsible for the team’s initial formation. Since then, though, he’s sacrificed himself to save the world and fought on multiple planes of existence against his older, evil self in order to maintain his new life as, well, if not "good" then at least Chaotic Neutral.
Loki is the son of the Frost Giant Laufey, king of Jotunheim, who was rescued as a baby by Odin following a battle in his realm that saw Loki abandoned. Despite this seeming act of mercy, Loki found he could never live up to his older brother Thor, who was always destined to rule Asgard. This led to Loki following a darker path for hundreds of years, until very recently.
As a figure of Greek and Roman myth, Hercules -- much like Thor and Loki -- has a history that goes far beyond Marvel comics. You may remember the character too from the TV series starring Kevin Sorbo, but wherever you know him from, his story is always pretty much the same.
Hercules is a demigod, meaning he’s the product of a union between a god and a mortal. Derived from the Greek myths of Heracles, Hercules is the son of Zeus and human Alcmene, placing him firmly in the Olympian pantheon. His legacy involving the 12 labors is one of the greatest tales of ancient myth, one that’s been adapted and retold for centuries. In the Marvel universe, Hercules spent years as a prominent and vital member of the Avengers, as well as becoming a fun, larger than life character in his own right.
10 WONDER WOMAN
Power, grace, wisdom, wonder. Thanks to the highly successful 2017 movie, Diana Prince’s star has never been higher. Since her inception in the early ‘40s, Wonder Woman has been an important part of DC Comics, and while her origins have been changed and rebooted over the years she’s always been a child of gods.
Her current continuity places her as a daughter of Themyscira and the child conceived between Queen Hippolyta and the Greek God Zeus. When the human Steve Trevor landed on the island of Themyscira, it sparked a journey for Diana that led her to the wider world and to become the Superhero Wonder Woman, as well as a formative member of the Justice League and one of the most beloved heroes of all time. She is also, of course, the star of the most successful DC movie of its new shared universe.
The God of War, Ares joins a list of heroes and villains that derive their history in ancient myth. The son of Zeus and Hera, Ares is the God of War and one of the twelve Olympians in the Greek pantheon. Despite his prominent place, he was never embraced by the Greeks, with Zeus even going so far as to denounce him as the god most hateful to him.
Ares straddles both Marvel and DC comics and has a place in both universes. In Marvel comics history, he began as a villain to Thor and Hercules, only being reimagined in 2006 as more of an antihero with a strict moral code. In DC Comics, his history is somewhat more clear cut. Also known as Mars, Ares has long been a supervillain to Wonder Woman, becoming the villain of her 2017 movie, slaughtering all his fellow gods and corrupting mankind.
When Highfather, King of New Genesis, formed an uneasy truce with his evil opposite Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips, they agreed to exchange their first-born sons in order to maintain this uneasy alliance. Scott Free, son of Highfather grew up in the fiery pits of Apokolips, but the son of Darkseid and heir of the twisted hellscape was Orion, who grew up as a hero of New Genesis.
The cosmic pact between the two fathers is one of the most operatic in comics history, as it proves that when it comes to the battle between good and evil, evil never stands a chance. Highfather’s son Scott was raised and infected with demonic, twisted darkness and still rose to become a hero. Meanwhile, Orion, his equal and opposite, never let his dark legacy overwhelm him, becoming the hero of New Genesis and proving that evil will never prosper.
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy has fast become one of the biggest comic book characters of all time, and certainly a huge hit for both Dark Horse comics and his creator, spawning a huge following and an entire world (or “Mignolaverse”) around him. He’s also been the star of two hit movies from legendary director Guillermo Del Toro, and the focus of a new movie starring Stranger Things’ David Harbour.
Hellboy, aka Anung Un Rama, was the child of a human witch named Sarah Hughes and the demon duke of Hell, Azzael. Azzeal stole his child away when his mother lay on her deathbed, replacing his son’s right hand with the “Right Hand of Doom” to secure his legacy. When his presence in Hell was discovered, Azzeal sent his son away, only to be discovered on the battlefields of World War II, beginning his life as a hero for the BPRD.
6 DAIMON HELLSTROM
With a tagline as the “Son Of Satan,” there was no chance of him not making this list. Daimon Hellstrom came about in the early ‘70s Marvel horror line, thanks to the success of other books like Tomb of Dracula and Ghost Rider. There were early reservations about creating a book about Satan himself, so they went with his son instead, using the name Daimon Hellstrom, aka Hellstorm.
Daimon and his sister Satana were the product of a union between the Devil and a human woman Victoria Wingate. It was later retconned that he wasn’t the son Satan but of a lesser demon, who transpired to be the biblical Lucifer, making his origins a lot more complex. Either way, he has close ties with Ghost Rider, as well as the rest of the original Defenders, which consisted of Dr. Strange, Hulk and Silver Surfer.
Yet another demigod that originates in ancient myth, Phobos is the son of Ares, God of War and appeared in Marvel comics, most prominently in the Secret Warriors series from the late 2000s. In Greek mythology, Ares wasn’t as beloved as the rest of the Pantheon, and that was due in part to the fact that a God of War comes with all the negative parts of War as well as the pride of a victory in battle.
Phobos represented part of that negativity, as he was imagined as a God of Fear along with his brother Deimos who was the God of Terror. In the Marvel comics, Phobos is Ares’ son Alexander was recruited by Daisy Johnson to be a part of Nick Fury’s Secret Warriors, who at the time were formed in order to fight the Skrull’s Secret Invasion of Earth.
4 CAPTAIN MARVEL/SHAZAM
Billy Batson was a homeless boy who was led via a magical subway station to the throne room of the wizard Shazam. He tells Billy that he has been chosen as his successor to embody the powers of the gods -- Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury -- and, by shouting the magic word Shazam he would become the superhero Captain Marvel.
With his origins in Fawcett comics of the 1940’s, Captain Marvel has undergone significant changes over the years, most notably a name change to Shazam thanks to a legal battle between Marvel comics and his new owner DC. He became a member of the Justice League during the New 52 era, and is still a part of the DC Universe today, embodying the power of those seven ancient gods.
He is the Revelation, the Tiger-Force at the core of all things! When you cry out in your dreams -- it is Darkseid that you see. The tyrannical ruler of the fiery hellscape of Apokolips, Darkseid is one of the scariest and most popular creations from Jack Kirby’s "Fourth World" saga. He’s become a prominent DC Comics villain and is the puppeteer behind the scenes of the DC cinematic universe, being name-dropped as recently as 2017’s Justice League.
His constant quest for the Anti-Life Equation -- the elimination of all free will and gifts the bearer with the power to conquer the universe -- has seen him become a god-like being in his own right. His birth name is Prince Uxas, son of King Yuga Khan and Queen Heggra, and when he was younger he claimed the power of the fabled Omega Force, transforming him into the villainous Darkseid.
2 INFINITY MAN
Also originating in Jack Kirby’s "Fourth World" saga, Infinity Man is the superhero name given to Darkseid’s brother, Drax. Drax was rescued from death by the powerful warrior Astorr, who first gave him the powers of the Infinity Man. Since then he became a protector of New Genesis, working with the Forever People.
The Forever People were a group of New Gods that traveled to Earth in order to protect the planet from the evil of Darkseid. Using the powers of the Mother Box -- a supercomputer that harnesses the power of the Source of the universe -- they can combine their energies in order to summon Infinity Man to fight the battles to great for them to handle alone. His origins and powers have evolved and changed over the years, but in his original guise, he’s very much the son of gods.
1 WONDER GIRL (CASSANDRA SANDSMARK)
There have been multiple Wonder Girls over the years, in an attempt to create a young character in the vein of Robin or Superboy, one that can embody the spirit of Wonder Woman but for a teen superhero team. Originally, much like Superboy, Wonder Girl was the teen version of the adult hero, in this case, Diana Prince. That presented some continuity problems down the line that resulted in numerous attempts to retcon or reimagine the character.
One such attempt was Cassandra Sandsmark. Cassie was created by John Byrne in the late ‘90s as the sidekick to Wonder Woman. Originally she was the daughter of an archaeologist who uncovered mystical artifacts that gave Cassie powers. In the years since, it has been revealed that she is, in fact, Wonder Woman’s niece and the granddaughter of Zeus, making her a demigoddess in her own right.