There's enough malevolence in the world of comics without supervillains passing down their evil genes to the next generation of would-be tyrants and despots, but that doesn't stop them from doing so. The terrifying thing is when a supervillain's offspring manages to be more brutal, cunning, and malicious than their parent. The bar is set high, but they leap over it. These are the bad seeds born into the world hating the hero that their mom or dad fought, determined to increase the sum total of violence and destruction in the world. They're the villain worshipers that mastermind the crises that push our heroes to the brink.
On the other hand, sometimes a miracle happens. Instead of giving birth to a spitting image of themselves, the supervillain has a kid that turns out heroic. More often than not, these characters are raised to be like their parents, and briefly follow in their footsteps. But then something happens. An epiphany -- a sudden awareness of morality. They reform, go head-to-head with their parent and come out on top. They join super-teams and make super-friends. Against the odds, they overcome their past. Here are eight supervillain kids more evil than their parents and seven that are more heroic.
15 WORSE: TALIA AL GHUL
For most of her run in comics, Talia Al Ghul has played second fiddle to her evil father, Ra's Al Ghul. While her father and his League of Assassins conspired to take down Batman, she was intent on seducing Bruce Wayne into the family and use his genes to create the ultimate offspring. However, in recent years, Talia has proved to be more monstrous than her dad.
In the hands of writer Grant Morrison, Talia headed the international criminal organization known as Leviathan, which clashed with Batman's own global initiative. Upon seeing that Damian was firmly attached to his father's side, Talia decided to create an army of Damian clones. Then she placed a half-a-billion dollar bounty on her ten-year-old son that got him killed (temporarily, of course). Yep -- that's evil.
14 HEROIC: QUICKSILVER
Though his father, Magneto, has allied with the X-Men in recent years, Quicksilver has displayed noble behavior much more consistently. That isn't to say Quicksilver has never posed a threat to the X-Men. He did, as part of the first iteration of the Brotherhood of Evil. But just over a year after his villainous debut, Quicksilver reformed and joined the Avengers -- way back before reforming and joining the Avengers was cool.
Since then, Quicksilver has been all over the place, including playing a vital role in House of M. In fact, Quicksilver was partly responsible for "House of M" -- though his intentions were good. To prevent an insane Scarlet Witch from harming others and the Avengers from euthanizing her, he suggested that she create a world where everybody gets what they want. It didn't work out, but at least his intentions were noble.
13 WORSE: KALIBAK
Kalibak, son of and second-in-command to Darkseid, is considerably more brutal than his father. Kalibak's utter subservience to Darkseid makes him a ruthless force for his father, and a terrifying enemy for anyone who dares defy the will of Darkseid. Because of this, he frequently clashes with the likes of Orion and Superman.
Kalibak's brutality spans the multiverse. Perhaps the best example of his merciless exploits comes from his Earth-2 counterpart. In the story Earth 2: World's End, Kalibak fights for Apokolips in its war on Earth. Kalibak leads the army of Apokolips against the last survivors of Earth, leaving carnage in his wake. Darkseid's favorite son is responsible for their victory. At the story's end, he stands by his father's side as the last defenders of Earth are extinguished.
12 HEROIC: THANE
First introduced in Infinity, Thane is the Inhuman son of Thanos. The story featured Thanos and his legions scouring the galaxy for his long-lost son who was hiding on Earth. Eventually, with the aid of a member of Thanos' Black Order, Ebony Maw, Thane confronted Thanos. Things didn't end well for the mad titan. Thane trapped him in an amber construct, leaving him in a state described as a living death.
Thane made strides to be a more noble version of his father. Shortly after his people on the planet Brennan-7 were murdered, Ebony Maw convinced him to embrace his destiny as the ruler of the universe. During his conquest, Thane inevitably ran into Thanos again who he tried to overthrow. This time, the tables were turned, and it was Thane that was left imprisoned.
11 WORSE: CARNAGE
Carnage is the offspring of the symbiote known as Venom. The Venom symbiote isn't a peaceful creature. Whoever bonds with it experiences an increase in aggression and hunger for battle. But it's arguable whether or not the venom symbiote is evil. In the case of carnage, if you couldn't tell by the name, there's no question.
Out of all the people on Earth, the one guy that Carnage keeps slithering back to and bonding with is the serial killer Cletus Kasady. They're a match made in heaven. Ever since Venom gave birth to the symbiote in the '90s and it bonded with Kasady, the pair has been up to all kinds of no-good. Recently, in Carnage U.S.A., Carnage took an entire town hostage, plus some of the Avengers for good measure.
10 HEROIC: NIGHTWING (LOR-ZOD)
Lor-Zod is the adopted son of Superman -- and the blood son of Kryptonian villains General Zod and Ursa. Lor-Zod, otherwise known as Christopher Kent, proved his alliance to Superman when General Zod and an army of Phantom Zone Kryptonians tried to invade Earth.
Chris aged at an accelerated rate. He adopted the codename of Nightwing (apparently unaware of a vastly more popular character by the same name) and took up a life of fighting crime alongside a Kandorian by the codename of Flamebird. Among his heroic exploits, he stopped his vengeful mother Ursa, a Kryptonian sleeper-agent named Jax-Ur, and other rogue Kryptonians. Last we saw of Chris, he sacrificed himself by throwing himself into the Phantom Zone along with Zod. While there, he returned to being a young boy.
9 WORSE: SIN
Sinthea Shmidt, aka Sin, is the psychotic daughter of the Red Skull. Introduced under the codename Mother Superior, Sin led a group of brainwashed and psionically enhanced women known as the Sisters of Sin to carry out her father's wishes to kill Captain America. Then for a time, she hooked up with Crossbones, and the two wreaked carnage before she finally met back up with the Red Skull.
Sin played a pivotal role in her father's masterplan that manifested in the "The Death of Captain America" arc. Among her duties, Sin told Sharon Carter that Carter had been the one that killed Captain America, freed Crossbones from jail and attempted to assassinate the presidential candidates. Fortunately, Bucky donned the Captain America costume in time to stop her.
8 HEROIC: MAGNI
In an alternate universe, on Earth-3515, Thor and Enchantress had a son named Magni. The timeline was set into motion by Thor who established New Asgard, an Asgard built from the remains of New York City. Earthlings didn't take kindly to Asgardians taking land in New York. A war erupted, culminating in Thor creating and ruling over a global utopia.
Magni grew troubled with the ways of his parents and his uncle, Loki. In addition to witnessing Asgardians violently suppressing human rebellions, Magni fell in love with a human woman. Loki found out and imprisoned her and her family. Fed up with the Asgardians and his father's tyrannical leadership, Magni confronted Thor. The Destroyer interfered, and chaos was unleashed -- but in the end, Thor realized he'd gone morally astray.
7 WORSE: GRAY GOBLIN
Yep - -we went there. The Gray Goblin was introduced in "Sins Past", probably the most hated Spider-Man story of all time. Hate doesn't even cover it. When fans read it, they were repulsed and shocked in the worst possible way. The story revealed that Norman Osborn had kids with Peter Parker's one and only, Gwen Stacy.
One of these kids was Gabriel Stacy, who injected himself with Goblin formula and donned the Gray Goblin costume to kill Spider-Man. He believed Spider-Man to be his father and was outraged that he'd abandoned them. Later he found out the truth of his origin -- but that didn't exactly calm him down. Years later, Gabriel took on the American Son persona and became committed to ruining Harry Osborn's life.
6 HEROIC: CABLE
Cable's existence is mainly the result of Mr. Sinister's creepy obsession with the Summers family. Sinister's idea was that Cyclops and Jean Grey would give birth to an alpha mutant, which Sinister could use to defeat his nemesis, Apocalypse. While Jean was occupied with the Phoenix Force, Sinister created an evil clone of her named Madelyne Pryor who seduced Cyclops. Fast-forward a few years, and you have Cable -- the time-traveling, techno-organic, gun-happy friend of Deadpool.
While it hasn't always been clear why Cable does what he does, we can trust that what he's doing is for the greater good. The same can't be said of his mother. Madelyne sometimes goes by the codename Goblin Queen and helps in demonic invasions. So, whatever anti-hero stuff Cable might get up to, we think he's more heroic than Madelyne.
5 WORSE: MONGUL (II)
Mongul couldn't be happier that his father named him after himself. Ever since he was a child, Mongul was inspired by his ruthless father and his battles with the Justice League. When he got older, he was roped into helping Superman in the Imperiex War. But don't mistake this for a jump to the good side. Months later, Mongul resolved to settle a family dispute with his sibling, Mongal -- which ended with Mongal's decapitation.
Mongul's most notable escapades occurred after the "Sinestro Corps War". He got his hands on a Yellow Power Ring and departed on a campaign to take over the Sinestro Corps. Sinestro wasn't too happy about this when he returned. The two battled it out until Sinestro edged out a victory.
4 HEROIC: SUPERBOY
Superboy is the second entry on this list to have one parent as a superhero, and the other as a supervillain. Not to mention, the guy was created in a lab. Superboy is a clone of Superman -- with a mix Lex Luthor DNA for good measure.
Although Luthor has had a surprisingly long run as a hero in recent years, he'll never live up to the heroism of his son. In Infinite Crisis, Superboy stole the show and broke the hearts of fans that didn't even know they cared about Superboy. During the story, he and Nightwing made the long trek through the multitude of cataclysms affecting the planet to confront Alexander Luthor and Superboy-Prime. Superboy went toe-to-toe with his much more powerful counterpart and ended up sacrificing himself in the process.
3 WORSE: ALEXANDER LUTHOR JR.
Earth 3's Lex Luthor and Lois Lane had a son name named Alexander Luthor Jr. -- and he was a bad apple. Alexander reached a caliber of evil genius that would shame Earth 1's Lex Luthor. Lex Luthor's done some mean things, but Alexander and his buddy Superboy-Prime orchestrated the events of Infinite Crisis.
How? Leading up to Infinite Crisis, Alexander was busy. He impersonated Lex Luthor to start a new Society of Super-Villains, set in motion the events that culminated in Shazam's death and the elimination of magic, took control of Batman's Brother Eye, allowing him access to the OMACs, and did a bunch of other evil mastermind-y stuff. It takes a lot to throw together a crisis. Alexander was right when he told Lex Luthor in Infinite Crisis #3, "I'm you. Only better."
2 HEROIC: ORION
Like Kalibak, Orion is a son of Darkseid. Unlike Kalibak, he's utterly opposed to his father. Not only is Orion vastly more heroic than Darkseid, but he's also Darkseid's worst nightmare. Nobody can consistently defeat Darkseid like Orion does -- including Superman.
There's no stronger evidence of Orion's nobility than how he handled the Anti-Life Equation -- the same thing that Darkseid sought so he could tyrannize the universe. Rather than exploit the Anti-Life Equation for evil, Orion tried to use it for good by creating a utopia on Earth. However, this act disrupted the balance of the universe, as well as infringed upon the free-will of earthlings. Rather than tyrannically hold onto the Anti-Life Equation, he humbly admitted his mistake and gave up the power.
1 WORSE: JERICHO
Jericho was a staple of the popular new teen titans team from the '80s. He was a mute metahuman with the ability to astral project and possess the bodies of others. Nobody would've suspected the peaceful Jericho to be behind one of the most violent teen titans stories of all time, "Titans Hunt". Then again, the guy is the son of Deathstroke.
In "Titans Hunt", Jericho is revealed to be the mastermind pulling the strings of the Wildebeest Society that was hunting down members of the Titans. Although at the time it was explained that Jericho's actions had been the result of his soul being corrupted by the demon Trigon, he hasn't exactly returned to his good old self in recent years. Rather, Jericho continually finds reasons to try to kill the Titans. Whether he's mentally unstable, possessed, or just plain evil is still unclear.