While the worlds of Marvel and DC Comics might delight audiences of all ages, comic book universes are not good places to raise kids. On top of all of the worries a regular parent has, there’s all of the concerns about whether or not their child could be a mutant or kidnapped by the Joker. While the children of superheroes can have it pretty tough, supervillains’ kids have it even harder. While a handful of villains commit crimes to take care of their families, most villain parents don’t have the healthiest relationship with their kids. While villains try to shape their children to reflect their own twisted image, others have far more distant, even non-existent, relationships with their progeny.
Regardless of how they were raised, the children of supervillains can grow up in some very divergent ways. CBR takes a look at some of the kids of supervillain who grew up to be good, decent people, and some who turned out to be more evil than their parents. In this hardly comprehensive list, we’ll be looking at the biological offspring of villains as well as adopted children. We’ll also be examining how their parents’ influence, or the lack thereof, shaped their dynamic comic book lives.
17. MORE EVIL: GREEN GOBLIN (HARRY OSBORN)
In a lot of ways, Harry Osborn has spent his life dealing with the legacy of his father, Norman Osborn. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1965’s Amazing Spider-Man #31, Harry and Peter became best friends in college. After his father, the original Green Goblin, died fighting Spider-Man, an unhinged Harry became the second Green Goblin.
Since then, Harry has struggled to keep his darker urges in check. In his more villainous days, he took a more potent version of the formula that gave his father the Green Goblin’s powers. As the Goblin, he stalked Peter and ordered the creation of robotic duplicates of Peter’s dead parents to torment his former friend. After faking his death, Harry abandoned his son Normie while he hid out in Europe. While Harry recently re-entered Peter’s life as a friend once more, the shadow of his villainous past still hovers over him.
16. GOOD: BATGIRL (CASSANDRA CAIN)
Although she’s not the most famous Batgirl, Cassandra Cain held the mantle for the better part of a decade in the early 2000s. Originally created by Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott in 1999’s Batman #567, she became Batgirl during the crossover “No Man’s Land,” where Gotham City was left in ruins after a massive earthquake.
Years before that, Cassandra was born to assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva. In order to create the ideal bodyguard for Ra’s al Ghul, the elder Cain trained his daughter to be an expert in various martial arts. Despite severe communication impediments, she ran away from her father and eventually found the Bat Family. Throughout the 2000s, Cassandra starred in a solo series, Batgirl, which lasted for over 70 issues. After a brief stint as a brainwashed villain, Cassandra returned to Batman’s side as Black Bat and, more recently, Orphan.
15. MORE EVIL: KRAVEN THE HUNTER
While Kraven the Hunter is a relatively simple character in theory, Spider-Man comics have explored his weirdly large extended family for decades. One of his sons, Alexei “Alyosha” Kravinoff, emerged as a new Kraven the Hunter in 1997’s Spectacular Spider-Man #237, by J.M. DeMatteis and Luke Ross. Although he barely knew his father, this Kraven had mutant abilities that replicated his dad’s powers.
After his father’s death, this Kraven hunted Spider-Man, Black Panther, Venom and the Punisher. He killed the villain Calypso and many of his dad’s followers. After a failed stint as a Hollywood producer, he operated a shop that trafficked in the hides of deceased, animal-themed superheroes and villains. After being driven mad by the chemicals that gave his dad powers, he created a superhuman zoo where he put other animal-themed characters on display. In 2012, he was killed by his half-sister Ana, a new Kraven the Hunter.
14. GOOD: ROGUE
Despite her mother’s status as one of the world’s most dangerous mutants, some of Mystique’s children became first class X-Men. After sending a boy named Cody into a coma, a young Rogue ran away from her Mississippi home. At the urging of her precognitive partner Destiny, Mystique eventually found the young mutant and took her in as her adopted daughter.
As seen in 1981’s Avengers Annual #10, by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden, Rogue was indoctrinated into Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. After absorbing the life-force of Carol Danvers, who’s now known as Captain Marvel, Rogue reformed and joined the X-Men. Although she initially had a rocky relationship with the rest of team, she quickly became a valued member and led her own X-squads on more than a few occasions. In more recent years, Rogue left the X-Men to take on a leadership role in the Uncanny Avengers.
13. GOOD: NIGHTCRAWLER
Despite two supervillain parents, Mystique’s biological son Nightcrawler grew up to become one of Marvel’s friendliest mutants. Although he was created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum in 1975’s Giant-Size X-Men #1, the full story of Nightcrawler’s origins wouldn’t be revealed for decades. In his initial origin, the teleporter was abandoned at birth and taken in by Margali Szardos, who raised him in a traveling circus.
Although Chris Claremont hinted at a deeper connection between Nightcrawler and Mystique, their relationship wasn’t confirmed until 1994’s X-Men Unlimited #4, by Scott Lobdell and Richard Bennett. In 2003, Nightcrawler’s father was revealed to be the teleporting demonic villain Azazel in Chuck Austen, Sean Phillips and Phillip Tan’s controversial Uncanny X-Men story “The Draco.” While this explained Nightcrawler’s demonic appearance, it left some fans of the easy-going, religious character feeling cold. Despite this revised origin, Nightcrawler has remained the joyful heart of the X-Men.
12. MORE EVIL: GRAYDON CREED
Unlike his other half-siblings, Mystique’s son, Graydon Creed, grew up to be one of the most spiteful characters in the Marvel Universe. Created by Scott Lobdell and Brandon Peterson in 1993’s Uncanny X-Men #299, Creed was the human biological child of Mystique and Sabretooth. After Mystique gave him up for adoption, Creed grew up to hate all mutants for being cast aside by his parents.
As one of the founders of the Friends of Humanity, Creed tried to spread his anti-mutant hatred across the Marvel Universe. In addition to killing 147 mutants and launching several other attacks, Creed was also a member of the Upstarts, a group of young mutant-hunting villains. After that group fell apart, Creed launched a presidential campaign and was killed by a mysterious assassin. Eventually, it was revealed that he was killed in retaliation for his attacks on mutants by a time-traveling version of his mother, Mystique.
11. GOOD: QUAKE
Even though she’s been the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Quake hasn’t had the most prominent role in the Marvel Universe. Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell’Otto in 2004’s Secret War #2, Daisy Johnson was introduced as the trusted protégé of Nick Fury. As the child of the Marvel villain Mister Hyde and an Inhuman woman, she had immense seismic abilities that Fury helped her control.
As one of Fury’s most trusted agents, she assembled the Secret Warriors, a team of young heroes who inherited powers from their parents. After that team’s comic ran for a few years, Quake joined the Avengers and briefly served as the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Although she broke off ties with S.H.I.E.L.D. for a time, she has since rejoined the spy agency. Despite her relatively minor comic history, Chloe Bennet’s version of the character has been one of the main characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10. MORE EVIL: BARON ZEMO
Even though Baron Zemo accidentally glued his mask onto his head, he was one of Marvel’s deadliest World War II-era villains and sent Captain America into the icy depths of the Atlantic. After his death, his son, Helmut Zemo, carried on his father’s legacy as the new Baron Zemo. Created by Roy Thomas, Tony Isabella and Sal Buscema in 1973’s Captain America #168, the younger Zemo’s face was horribly scarred when he fell into a vat of his father’s Adhesive X.
Since then, Zemo has been one of Marvel’s more effective villains. He formed a new Masters of Evil that successfully laid siege to Avengers Mansion. When the Avengers were thought dead, he and several other villains posed as heroes to form the Thunderbolts. After his time as the almost heroic Citizen V, Zemo eventually returned to full-on villainy and has been a key player in the ongoing crossover Secret Empire.
9. GOOD: SPOILER
Although she recently took on a slightly more antagonistic role, the vigilante Spoiler has been a fan-favorite member of Batman’s extended family for years. Created by Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle in 1992’s Detective Comics #647, Stephanie Brown helped “spoil” the plans of her father, the Cluemaster, in her debut.
As the Spoiler, she became a frequent ally and occasional love interest to the third Robin, Tim Drake. When he was inactive, she even became Robin for a little while. Although she seemingly died in 2004’s controversial “War Games” crossover, she re-emerged a few years later alive and well. In 2009, she became the new Batgirl and starred in a well-regarded Batgirl series by Bryan Q. Miller, Lee Garbett, Dustin Nguyen and others. Although her history was undone by the New 52 reboot, Brown became the Spoiler once again in 2014, and has served on Batman’s team in Detective Comics.
8. MORE EVIL: CARNAGE
Unlike every other entry on this list, the Carnage symbiote only has one parent, Venom. While its human host, Eddie Brock, was in prison, his Venom symbiote procreated. It bonded with Brock’s cellmate, the insane killer Cletus Kasady, who was created by David Michelinie and Erik Larsen in 1991’s Amazing Spider-Man #344. Originally conceived of as a darker version of Venom, Carnage took control of Kasady and made his full debut in 1992’s Amazing Spider-Man #361, by Michelinie and Mark Bagley.
While Venom was dedicated to protecting the innocent, Carnage dedicated himself to spreading fear and chaos through gruesome murder and random violence. In 1993, he gave Spider-Man one of the biggest challenges of his life in the fan-favorite crossover “Maximum Carnage.” Although he was later ripped in half by the Superman-esque Sentry, Carnage had a more heroic child, Toxin, and has carved a bloody path through the Marvel Universe.
7. GOOD: POLARIS
While Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were thought to be Magneto’s children for years, they’re not biologically related to the Master of Magnetism, for now at least. Despite that, Magneto still has a child who’s been a longtime member of the X-Men, Polaris. Created by Arnold Drake and Don Heck in 1968’s X-Men #49, Lorna was born after her mother had an affair with Magneto. When her step-father confronted her mom about the affair, Lorna’s magnetic powers manifested with a pulse that crashed the plane they were in.
After altering her memories of the event, Magneto kept his distance from Polaris while she joined the X-Men. After a few stints with the X-Men and X-Factor, she grew close to Magneto and discovered their true relation. She turned against the X-Men on a few occasions, but she was usually brainwashed or otherwise influenced by some kind of powerful psychic entity.
6. MORE EVIL: PROMETHEUS
The DC villain Prometheus is essentially the opposite of Batman. After being raised by two murderers, his parents were killed by cops in front of him. Created by Grant Morrison and Arnie Jorgensen in 1998’s New Year’s Evil: Prometheus, the villain vowed to destroy the forces of justice. After traveling the world to train in the criminal arts, he established a base in the Phantom Zone and planned an all-out assault on the Justice League.
Although he was defeated with a single well-placed crack of Catwoman’s whip, Prometheus attacked the Justice League again with Lex Luthor’s Injustice Gang. In James Robinson and Mauro Cascioli’s 2009 story Justice League: Cry for Justice, Prometheus launched a series of attacks that killed minor heroes like the Tasmanian Devil. After he tore off Red Arrow’s arm, he blew up half of Star City, killing millions. Although Green Arrow killed him, Prometheus remerged in 2015.
5. GOOD: RAVEN
While several Teen Titans have had to deal with the legacies of their super-powered parents, Raven formed the New Teen Titans to keep her father from taking over her home. Created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in 1980’s DC Comics Presents #26, Raven is the daughter of Trigon the Terrible. After being born in the peaceful dimension Azarath, she grew up learning how to use her powerful mystical abilities and suppress her evil urges thanks to peaceful monks.
When Trigon threatened that world, she formed the New Teen Titans to combat the threat. While she became a core member of the New Teen Titans, Raven continued to battle Trigon’s influence over her, and occasionally turned into a villain when she failed to do so. After being reincarnated as a teenager named Rachel Roth, her history was reset by DC’s reboots, and she joined a new generation of Teen Titans.
SPOILER WARNING: The following entry contains spoilers for the first volume of Marvel’s Runaways, which may spoil plotlines in the upcoming Hulu series, Marvel’s Runaways.
4. MORE EVIL: ALEX WILDER
Alex Wilder made his debut in 2003’s Runaways #1, where he seemed set to be one of the main stars of Marvel’s new teen hero comic. Like the rest of Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s team, Wilder was the child of two previously unseen supervillains who were members of a cult called the Pride.
While Alex seemingly used his strategic genius to help the other Runaways fight their parents, he betrayed the team in an effort to save his parents and his teammate Nico from Earth’s destruction. Although he was killed by the beings the Pride worshipped, he was resurrected and joined the Young Masters, a young villains’ team. More recently, he started a new incarnation of the Pride in Harlem, New York, where he’s recruited Luke Cage villains like Cottonmouth. Rheny Feliz is set to star in Marvel’s Runaways, set to debut on Hulu on November 21, 2017.
3. GOOD: GAMORA
Although the biological descendants of Thanos have carved a path of destruction throughout the Marvel Universe, he adopted his most famous child, Gamora, after her home universe was destroyed. Created by Jim Starlin in 1975’s Strange Tales #180, Thanos found the last Zen-Whoberian and raised her to be his weapon. Often called “the deadliest woman in the universe,” she aided Thanos in his plans until she defected to help Captain Marvel and the Avengers battle her adoptive father.
After helping defeat Thanos in 1991’s The Infinity Gauntlet, Gamora was given custody of the Time Gem as a member of Adam Warlock’s Infinity Watch. Several years later, she re-emerged as the leader of a planet of warrior women and held a powerful sword called the Godslayer. Like Zoe Saldana’s Marvel Cinematic Universe character, she joined the modern Guardians of the Galaxy, where she has continued to protect the universe from Thanos.
2. MORE EVIL: TALIA AL GHUL
Despite her frequently romantic relationship with Batman, Talia al Ghul inherited many of her father’s most terrifying qualities. Created by Denny O’Neil and Bob Brown in 1971’s Detective Comics #411, the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul helped her father run the League of Assassins and the rest of his criminal enterprises. Although she remained loyal to her father, she also aided her beloved Batman on more than one occasion.
Since Marion Cotillard played Talia in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, the character has become more of a full-on supervillain in the DC Universe. After the introduction of her and Batman’s son, Damian, Talia formed Leviathan, a splinter group from the League of Assassins, and tormented Batman and his allies. Talia also destroyed Wayne Tower, put a $500 million dollar bounty out on Damian’s head, and created a clone of Damian that eventually killed her son for a brief time.
1. GOOD: ROBIN (DAMIAN WAYNE)
Even with a villain like Talia al Ghul as a parent, Damian Wayne has developed into a harsh but well-meaning hero under the tutelage of his father, Batman. Created by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert in 2006’s Batman #655, Damian was genetically modified and grown in an artificial womb. After his birth, his early years were spent training to be a killer by Talia and the League of Assassins.
Damian eventually traveled to Gotham City to become Robin and help his father in his war on crime. Despite some initial friction, Batman eventually embraced his role as Damian’s father. After training extensively under Dick Grayson, Damian was killed in battle with Talia’s adult, cloned version of himself. After his resurrection, Damian continued training with Batman, started working with Superman’s son Jon, and formed a new incarnation of the Teen Titans to battle the League of Assassins once more.
Keep it locked to CBR for all the latest in comic book news. Let us know who your favorite supervillain kid is in the comments!
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