The life of royalty seems like it would be pretty boring. Day in and day out, you're busy meeting diplomats, posing for pictures and desperately trying to avoid ending up in the tabloids. But there are plenty of super-powered royals running around that prove juggling super heroics and royal duties is no easy task. There are also just as many who have turned their backs on their royal traditions in order to better protect humanity.
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Be it kings of war-torn alien planets or princes of small European countries, there are plenty of superhero (and supervillain) characters out there with royal backgrounds, some being descended from royalty, while others flat-out are members of royal families. With that in mind, here are 15 superheroes who are members of royalty.
Batman’s specialized team of misfit heroes known as the Outsiders has had its fair share of interesting members, but only one bonafide prince: Geo-Force. Prince Brion Markov, better known by his alter ego Geo-Force, first appeared in “The Brave and the Bold” #200, featuring a story by Mike W. Barr and pencils from Dave Gibbons, as a member of the Outsiders, using his powerful control over the Earth to battle the forces of evil. While Geo-Force stays busy with his heroics, he splits his time as a member of the royal family of the small European country of Markovia.
While little is known of Markovia, the country is primarily ruled by King Markov, with Geo-Force preferring to spend his time in the United States. Markovia has undergone attempted coups, Nazi occupation, vampire attacks, and war with the bordering Republic of Jalib, but remains ruled by Markov’s royal family. While Geo-Force’s family uses authoritarian means of keeping control over the country, Geo-Force has distanced himself from his family, opting to focus on helping others with his powers.
There’s complicated and then there’s "Royal Asgardian Family” complicated. Whether it’s a son attempting to murder his father or a brother turning his brother into a frog, the royal family of the mythical realm known as Asgard manages to stay busy. And with a father that occasionally lapses into jealous madness and a brother that will take any opportunity to ruin his life, poor Thor is the one who has to deal with it all.
First appearing in “Journey Into Mystery” #83, with a story from Stan Lee and art from Jack Kirby, Thor Odinson has battled away his across the Marvel galaxy innumerable times, taking on all manner of comers with his trusty hammer Mjolnir and with a hearty cry of “Have at thee!” While the likes of the Avengers and the God Squad have counted Thor as a member, it isn’t just superheroics that keeps the musclebound Asgardian occupied; as a member of the royal family of Asgard, Thor clashes with his father Odin and trades blows with his trickster half-brother Loki, all while ensuring that the occupants of Asgard can live out their days in peace. While Thor often prefers using his fists instead of his words, the Odinson has stepped up the plate and helped his revered father to look after the realm.
Starfire definitely doesn’t fit the mold of your standard princess; in fact, this orange skinned, energy blasting alien is anything but normal. But despite her unusual appearance and complicated royal lineage, the alien known as Starfire remains chipper, strong willed, and downright weird.
Born Koriand’r, Starfire, first appearing in a story written by the legendary Marv Wolfman with pencils provided by the equally infamous George Perez in “DC Comics Presents” #26, is the crown princess of the planet Tamaran, a peaceful planet found in the Vegan system. A capable warrior, Starfire would rather spend her time fighting alongside her friends then engaging in stuffy diplomatic meetings. Starfire’s flippancy towards her princess duties has drawn the ire of her older sister Komand’r, also known as Blackfire, leading to the sisters clashing over the throne. While Starfire remains loyal to her home planet and royal family, Starfire doesn’t see a life of leisure in her future; rather, she’s happiest when she has the chance to fight for those she cares for.
Since he first appeared in “The Incredible Hulk” #1 (written by Stan Lee with pencils from Jack Kirby), Bruce Banner, better known as his alter ego The Hulk, has proven to be both a help and a hinderance to the people of Earth. Thus, after one too many city destroying rampages, the decision was made by The Illuminati, composed of some of the most brilliant minds in the Marvel Universe (including Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic), to launch the Jade Giant into space.
While the grand plan was to have Hulk land on a peaceful planet to live out his days, a wayward wormhole ended up transporting the Hulk to the Sakaar, where the brutal Red King oversaw gladiatorial combat, where warriors fought and died for the King’s amusement. With the help of his warbound, Hulk eventually bests the Red King in one-on-one combat, becoming the new king of Sakaar. Joined by his pursuer turned queen, Caiera, Hulk vowed to rule as a just king, but an unexpected explosion of the warp core in the ship that brought him to Sakaar would lead to the destruction of Sakaar, the death of Caiera, and a newfound rage for Hulk. Though Hulk’s rule as king was short lived, the Jade Giant never forgot his time on Sakaar.
Ororo Munroe, better known by her alias Storm, was born to a tribal princess from Kenya, but never had a chance to enjoy the life of royalty, as her childhood was spent fending for herself in the slums of Harlem and Cairo. With her strong will, keen mind and determination, Storm was able to rise through the ranks of the X-Men and become a respected leader in the Mutant community, but her role as queen of Wakanda was uncharted territory for the tough as nails mutant.
First appearing in “Giant Size X-Men” #1, with a story from Len Wein and pencils provided by Dave Cockrum, it wasn’t until much later in her tenure as a member of the X-Men that she tied the knot with T’Challa, better known as the Black Panther. The two longtime heroes ruled Wakanda together, and even temporarily joined the Fantastic Four together. While Storm managed to juggle her time with the X-Men with her duties as Queen, unfortunately, the marriage was not to last, as Black Panther would later annul the marriage. While Storm and Black Panther have remained civil, it seems as though the marriage is done for good. While Storm’s time as queen of Wakanda was short lived, Storm has managed to stay busy with her duties as a senior X-Man.
Even with a family that counts a space pirate for a father and a murderous mutant messiah for a brother, Gabriel Summers, a.k.a. Vulcan, still manages to be the black sheep. But despite his murder-happy ways, the super-powered Vulcan is still the only Summers family member who can lay claim to being a bonafide space emperor.
First introduced in “X-Men: Deadly Genesis” #1, with a story from Ed Brubaker and pencils provided by Trevor Hairsine, Vulcan was a member of Professor Xavier’s long-forgotten second X-Men team, believed killed by the living island Krakoa in an attempt to rescue the original X-Men squad. Turns out, Vulcan not only lived, but after being jettisoned into space with the rest of Krakoa, he returned very, very upset. Using his energy absorption powers, Vulcan managed to not only run through the X-Men, but would eventually assume the throne of the mighty Shi’ar empire. Vulcan would rule as a cruel, manipulative emperor, preferring violence to diplomacy. Last X-Fans heard, Vulcan was dead, seemingly killed by Black Bolt, but Vulcan’s fate remains up in the air. It is possible that the lost Summers brother may one day return to rule the bloodthirsty Shi’ar Empire once more.
9 BLACK BOLT
Black Bolt gives a whole new meaning to “silent but deadly.” Blackagar Boltagan, the stoic king of the reclusive Inhumans, is a man of few words, but even with the power to move mountains with just his voice, he tends to let his actions speak for him. First appearing in the classic “Fantastic Four” #45, with story by Stan Lee and pencils by Jack Kirby, Black Bolt has served faithfully as the leader of the genetically altered race of superhumans known as the inhumans, protecting his people as they live out their days in the city of Antillan on the blue area of the moon.
Together with the Inhuman Royal Family, including the likes of the martial artist Karnak and the king’s mad brother Maximus, Black Bolt has proven to be both an ally and a hinderance to Earth, working with teams such as the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, while also clashing with heroes such as the X-Men on occasion. Preferring to let his wife and queen Medusa speak for him, Black Bolt isn’t scared to let loose with a word or two from his sonically enhanced voice if it means protecting his people.
While King Black Bolt is the face of the Inhuman Royal Family, Queen Medusa is the voice. Making her first appearance in “Fantastic Four” #36, with story by Stan Lee and art by Jack Kirby, Medusalith Amaquelin initially crossed paths as the amnesiac Madam Medusa, a member of the Wizard’s Frightful Member. Her tenure on the team was short lived, as Medusa would go on to regain her memory and would once again take her place as the Queen of the Inhumans. With the ability to control her fiery red hair using a psionic field of sorts, Medusa makes for an imposing Queen, but the outspoken woman prefers a kind approach to battle.
But Medusa is not satisfied simply playing the role of Black Bolt’s mouthpiece. Medusa serves as a member of A-Force, has briefly joined the Fantastic Four (then known as the Future Foundation), lead peace talks with the Kree, and has even assumed the throne when Black Bolt briefly died. While Medusa is no stranger to the battlefield, the Queen prefers to spend time with the Inhuman Royal Family, leading her subjects with her husband and overseeing the future of her race.
Since first appearing in “Marvel Preview” #4, written by Steve Englehart with pencils provided by Steve Gan, Peter Quill, better known as Star-Lord, has journeyed across the Marvel universe, battling galaxy threatening foes, before going on to lead the ragtag band of galactic misfits known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. While Star-Lord would rather spend his time fighting alongside the likes of Rocket Raccoon and Drax, his royal lineage keeps coming back to mess with his life.
Star-Lord, son of King J’son, is considered the prince of the Spartax planetary system, a title that he despises. Star-Lord’s ruthless father J’son controlled his empire through murder and intimidation, before ultimately having his corrupt ways exposed by Star-Lord and his fellow Guardians, leading to the entire Spartax empire turning against their own time king. Star-Lord would eventually ascend to the throne, briefly becoming the new king of Spartax, but the widespread destruction of Spartax under Quill’s watch would lead to accusations that the roguish outlaw was an unfit leader. Quill would later abdicate his throne, resuming his duties as the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but Star-Lord won’t be able to outrun his royal background forever.
6 WONDER WOMAN
While normal princesses would be satisfied whiling away their time flirting with would-be suitors or learning the ins and outs of ballroom dancing, Princess Diana of Themyscira is anything but “normal.” Daughter of Queen Hipployta, leader of the ancient society of all-female Amazons that inhabit Paradise Island, Wonder Woman uses her strength, tact and guile to rule the battlefield and lead her people.
First appearing in “All Star Comics” #8, written by William Moulton Marston with art provided by Harry G. Peter, Wonder Woman was formed from the soil of the isle of Themyscira, with life given to her by the breath of Athena. Mystically imbued with superhuman strength, speed, and reflexes, Wonder Woman struck off to the world of men to fight for truth and justice. She would eventually count herself as a founding member of the prestigious Justice League of America, all while finding time to undertake her own adventures. While Diana has occasionally butted heads with her Queen mother, she will always remain true to her Amazonian subjects.
5 BLACK ADAM
Ever since his first appearance in “The Marvel Family” #1, with a story from Otto Binder and art from C.C. Beck, the man known as Black Adam has built a legacy on cruel and cunning. After overthrowing the cruel dictator Asim Muhunnad, Teth-Adam, better known a Black Adam, assumed control over the Middle Eastern country of Kahndaq, dubbing himself its King. While his legendary battles with Captain Marvel have cemented his reputation for cruelty and cunning, the people of Kahndaq see him as a kind leader who will do anything for the country.
Ruling from the capital city of Shiruta (named after Black Adam’s deceased first wife), Black Adam is fiercely protective of his country, both from the inside and out, favoring the usage of draconian laws such as public executions to keep the people of Khandaq in line. At one time, Black Adam ruled the country with the help of his beloved Queen Isis, with the assistance of her younger brother Osiris, but Isis would later fall victim to acid rain brought on by the Four Horsemen, while Osiris would be devoured by the alligator man Sobek. In his ensuing rage, Black Adam nearly destroyed the neighboring country of Bialya single handedly, but not before being stopped by the JSA. A brilliant tactician with unmatched power, Black Adam will do anything to protect his home country.
Namor the Sub-Mariner is a not known for his friendly disposition. The serious seafarer has managed to butt heads with just about everyone in the Marvel U, and while he hasn’t gotten much better at making friends after all this time, there is one thing Namor does, and he does well: rule the underwater kingdom of Atlantis.
First appearing in the first ever Marvel comic, the aptly titled “Marvel Comics” #1, with a story from Ben Thompson and art provided by Frank Paul, Namor, the son of a human sea captain and the princess of Atlantis, has been slugging it out with nefarious sorts since World War II. He’s been a member of more superhero teams then he can count, but Namor does not seek out the spotlight with his superheroics. The glum water breather prefers to spend his time ruling the kingdom of Atlantis, working to ensure that Atlantis stays as far removed from the squabbles of the world of the land dwellers as possible. Many would label Namor’s approach to ruling his kingdom as “isolationist,” but Namor will always put the safety and security of his people before anything else.
3 DR. DOOM
There are rags to riches stories, and then there is the life of Dr. Doom. Born to humble Gypsy travelers in the small European nation of Latveria, Victor Von Doom would rise to mercilessly rule Latveria with an iron fist (literally.) First appearing in “Fantastic Four” #5, written by the legendary Stan Lee and penciled by the unmatched Jack Kirby, Dr. Doom uses his keen scientific mind and mastery over the mystic arts to wage war against his longtime rival, Mr. Fantastic (a.k.a Reed Richards) and the rest of the Fantastic Four.
When Dr. Doom isn’t busy blasting buildings into space or teaming with Dr. Strange to battle the devil himself, he finds time to lord over his home country, calling the shots from his castle in the nation’s capital of Doomstadt. Doom has faced numerous coups, but he always manages to win back his throne. Doom holds absolute power over Latveria, inventing holidays (such as the constantly changing Doom’s Day, which is held on a day of Doom’s choice whenever Doom feels like it) and naming towns after himself (with names such as Doomwood, Doomsburg, and Doomsdale). A merciless and cruel monarch, Doom still takes his role as the king of Latveria deadly serious.
Batman may run a multi-million dollar company and Superman may cover the news as a reporter, but there’s only one certified King on the JLA roster: Aquaman. Born Arthur Curry, Aquaman rules beneath the watery depths, protecting the ancient kingdom of Atlantis from dangers both inside and out. First debuting in “More Fun Comics” #73, written by Mort Weisinger with pencils from Paul Norris, Aquaman has found himself the butt of jokes for decades, but his keen tactical mind and variety of Atlantean super powers makes this King no punchline.
Ruling over Atlantis with his wife and queen Mera, Aquaman has faced coups, attempts to destroy Atlantis and all manner of troubles in his long tenure as king. Aquaman is known to his subjects as a thoughtful and level-headed king, preferring to avoid battle when possible. Aquaman would rather focus on altruistic and diplomatic issues, spending his time improving Atlantis’s relations with the surface world. But Aquaman is no pushover: when push comes to shove, Aquaman will do whatever he has to to protect his kingdom.
1 BLACK PANTHER
While many superheroes struggle to hold part-time jobs, Black Panther manages to juggle heroics with ruling over an entire country. King T’Challa, as he is known to the African nation of Wakanda, is the latest in a long line of rulers bearing the Black Panther title. First introduced in “Fantastic Four” #52, created by, you guessed it, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, T’Challa serves as the valiant protector and ruler of the highly advanced nation of Wakanda, relying upon his razor sharp mind, highly tuned reflexes and acrobatic skills to battle all manner of foes.
Black Panther stays busy protecting his people and ruling his country, but he still finds time to join the likes of the Avengers. T’Challa is highly protective of his people and of his home country’s largest resource, the highly sought after metal, Vibranium. Wakanda has seen civil wars, raids from neighboring countries and attempted destruction, but Black Panther always manages to keep his home country safe and his subjects happy.
Are there any other comic book members of royalty we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments!