For mighty heroes, some comic book characters seem to have pretty thin skin. Nobody is about to call the Incredible Hulk or Wolverine special snowflakes to their faces, but fans are bound to smirk when confronted with their pet peeves in a comic. Watching your favorite hero sulk or snap about an annoyance while confronting life-or-death situations may provide comic relief, but it also connects us to the character. It’s yet another reminder of how human our heroes can be, no matter their genetic makeup, powers or training. In fact, it is often our heroes’ pet peeves that drive them into action, whether it hurts or helps.
The things that annoy our favorite superheroes range from the complicated to the mundane. While some comic book heroes’ pet peeves are much darker than others, odds are that many of them resonate with readers. Here are 15 Comic Book Heroes’ Biggest Pet Peeves.
15. Spider-Man – Shady Journalism
Spidey cracks jokes and whines like your average teenager, but there’s something about him that stands out from other youth: Spider-Man hates dishonest journalism with a passion. He may be willing to take superhero selfies in order to pay the bills and dishonestly hand them over as his alter ego, but he sure hates it when journalists lie– especially about him.
Yes, we know that Peter Parker believes that “with great power comes great responsibility,” so there’s likely some moral slant to why Spidey thinks the news should be nothing but truth-telling. Plenty of people would agree with him. But what if it simply stems from his own anger at himself for lying about his photos? Or maybe the pet peeve makes Peter feel as if he is somehow inadequate if the news prints falsehoods about him? Of course, since Peter is so young, we can give him a pass and say that it’s just hormones.
14. Marko – Violence
Arguably the hottest hero with horns among the pages of comics, Marko is known as the Romeo of Image Comics. In Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga comic, Marko’s species is constantly at war against his wife’s species and all the pair want is to live a quiet life together with their daughter (and spend quality time together without their daughter). A former soldier with incredible skills, Marko refuses to resort to violence and finds himself highly annoyed whenever his wife requests it of him.
Even when he is forced to resort to violence, Marko reminds Alana, his wife, “Remember, no killing.” Alana tells him that she’ll make no promises, but it is Marko who ultimately surprises himself with his rage killing every time that it happens. Marko’s outrage over violence may stem from his own inner war. Readers know that he’s acted genocidal toward the people of Landfall, and he’s even shoved his wife once out of anger.
14. Wolverine: Tagalongs
“I work alone!” is the standard mantra for several different comic book characters, and the theme of the lone wolf is used so often that Disney even wove it into their homage to superheroes, The Incredibles. One of the most easily identifiable lone wolves who has been in comics for many decades is, of course, Wolverine. Anytime anyone attempts to tag along, whether it’s a wise-cracking, energetic Spider-Man or Logan’s own lover Storm, Wolverine snarls for the person to just go away with more scorn than a teen who’s just slammed their bedroom door.
It has to really drive Wolvie mad that nobody seems to listen to him when he puts on his sassy pants, but maybe that’s why it bothers him so much to begin with: it destroys his street cred when all of his coworkers refuse to listen to him, making him look far less scary than he tries to be.
12. Captain America – Swearing
Before the whole “Hail Hydra” story line, Steve Rogers had a squeaky clean superhero image going on. Fresh-faced and glowing with pure patriotism, he made it difficult for any other Avenger– or Marvel character, for that matter– to shine as brightly as him. Cap has been one of the most beloved characters for the longest time, thrilling audiences since his 1941 debut. The man was even born on Independence Day, for crying out loud.
With all of that said, Captain America still has his annoyances. One of his pet peeves is the simple use of foul language, a feeling he demonstrates while warning his teammates, “Language!” While it was a running joke in Age of Ultron, the fact remains that Cap is so earnest that he’d wash his own mouth out with soap before tainting the image of America with something as crass as a swear word. Even so, Cap’s reaction to his pet peeve remains as mild as the annoyance itself.
11. The Hulk – Pronouns
Sure, it’s tongue in cheek, but writers have confirmed that the Hulk abhors personal pronouns in Peter David and Jorge Lucas’s Incredible Hulk #86 in which the mutant clearly states, “Hulk… hates… personal… pronouns.” It was a moment that had every fan laughing uproariously, possibly beginning the trend to ROFL (roll on the floor laughing). All joking aside, we know that the Hulk never speaks in first person, so it’s fair to say that he is at least mildly annoyed by pronouns.
Of course, nothing about the Hulk is mild (at least, not while he is transformed), so one could argue that as angry as he gets, everything is the big guy’s pet peeve while he’s a big, green fighting machine– especially being attacked by anyone after a transformation. Given that injuries and stress both have the power to trigger Bruce’s transformations, perhaps those things, in addition to anything else that makes the man’s heart rate race, are Banner’s own pet peeves.
10. Tank Girl – Order
She may technically be a protagonist, and loosely a hero, but Tank Girl absolutely despises order of any kind. Whereas most heroes strive to maintain peace and justice, Tank Girl might as well be Eris, the Greek goddess of discord (but with nuke boobs). She is not only a complete anarchist, but she’s also an absurdist character who has a kangaroo for a boyfriend. It’s ironic that Tank Girl started out as an ad when she evolved into a foul-mouthed, counterculture radical who destroys anything having to do with order of any kind. Although the delightful movie starring Lori Petty attempted to water her down a bit, Rebecca Buck will always be the irreverant tank pilot and bounty hunter whose self-proclaimed first words were, “cauliflower penis.”
9. Agent May – Her Nickname
Being called “The Cavalry” might make some people blush with pride. After all, whenever reinforcements arrive to save the heroes from eminent doom, someone often remarks, “Here come the cavalry!” It’s a compliment, right? To Agent Melinda May of S.H.I.E.L.D., however, the nickname is anything but flattering.
Like Nyphadora Tonks of Harry Potter fame, May’s nickname outrages her when she hears it. Unlike Tonks, May despises being called “The Cavalry” for a much darker reason: it reminds her of a mission during which she was forced to kill a child to save lives, an incident that left her emotionally damaged and, in her own words, unfit for any further field work. In fact, May did not even earn the title; the dozens of dead bodies that agents attributed to her work were results of the dangerous child’s work instead.
Although May has proven time and time again that she indeed remains capable of rescuing people, kicking villain butt, and working in the field, the reason she hates her nickname is understandable as it brings back such tragic memories for the agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
8. Jessica Jones – Lying
Oh man, does Jessica Jones hate the lies and the lying liars who tell them. Crack open any issue of Alias and you’re bound to catch her giving clients, suspects, and anyone else feeding her false information one of her trademark stink-eye glares. (We pity Luke Cage being on the receiving end of that glare over breakfast if he claims that he slept through the baby crying!) Her disbelieving stares are so iconic that several pages in the Alias comics depict nothing but her dishing out that stoic, knowing stare as someone backpedals over the truth in several panels.
Of course, we know that Jones has plenty of other pet peeves, too. They range from clients not paying her (who would begrudge her of that annoyance?), to cops being jerks to her when she tries to help with a crime, to just generally being annoyed by superheroes in the first place, which is why we love her. She’s sort of the Daria of the Marvel universe.
7. Hellboy – Stares
Nobody likes being stared at, but when you’re pretty much the son of Satan, it can be extra awkward, to say the least. One of the things that really gets Hellboy’s goat (and we’re not talking about his own legs here) is when people openly goggle at his horns, which he files down to fit in. HB doesn’t seem to mind as much, however, when the ladies stare, so long as it’s not at the horns.
In addition to staring, Hellboy is also annoyed by people who are mean to cats (in the film, at least), regeneration, his own comic books, being told what to do, people tagging along on missions, change… eh, Red has a lot of pet peeves, but they make him all the more interesting. Wouldn’t you have a laundry list of grumpiness inciters if you were born in Hell?
Besides, HB has been known to be hypocritical on occasion, saying he never sleeps in one issue, only to fall asleep on a mission in another, so perhaps minor annoyances like sidekicks aren’t as bothersome as they may seem to the demon.
6. Luke Cage – Disrespect
When it comes to Luke Cage, you’ve got either a walking paradox or the best of both worlds, depending on how you look at it. Cage is a calm, cool, and collected presence, and as reluctant as he is to be a hero, he’s an easy one to accept. He makes people feel safer. This smooth personality is packaged, however, in an indestructible body, and Luke isn’t afraid to use it when it comes to cleaning up Harlem. You might think that would make authorities feel a bit grateful, considering the alternative and what he has the potential to do as a villain, but if you’ve watched Luke Cage on Netflix, you know there’s no thanks for an ex-con, even if he is innocent.
While Cage does not feel obligated to take out the criminal trash, for the most part, he does get offended by disrespect. Whether it’s people refusing to be civil to one another or people of any color using derogatory language, Cage just won’t have it and he uses his muscle to shut his annoyances up. In the MCU show, Luke’s employer and mentor, Pop, uses a swear jar, which implies that Luke shares the man’s values.
5. Winchester Brothers – Each Other
Did you forget that Supernatural‘s Sam and Dean have their own comic series as well as anime episodes, a TV show, and book adaptations? While the Brothers Winchester aren’t superheroes by any means, they are comic heroes that take out bad guys on a regular basis. Their baddies just happen to usually be dead already. While both Winchesters have their own annoyances to deal with in terms of their father, their job, and different monsters (remember Sam’s clown episode? or the many episode of Dean v. witches?), their biggest pet peeves seem to be each other.
Dean Winchester constantly tells his brother to lay off the sappy bro feelings while Sam is routinely disgusted by Dean’s sloppiness and general mess-making. The two couldn’t be any more opposite one another if they tried, a point made clear in the hilarious 2007 trickster episode, “Tall Tales,” often cited as one of the funniest episodes of all time due to the brothers’ mocking one another.
4. Iron Man – Being Questioned
A lifetime of wealth and power have made Tony Stark accustomed to living a pretty affluent lifestyle. Even after the humbling experiences that he has endured, from being kidnapped and becoming Iron Man to his heart attacks, Iron Man still has his pet peeves, including being questioned and government interference of any kind. South Park’s Cartman may have coined the phrase “Respect mah authoritah!” but it’s really Tony Stark who embodies the message every waking moment.
Stark openly scoffs at, ridicules, and humiliates government officials and is nearly turned down by S.H.I.E.L.D. due to his own hubris. Of course, his pet peeves aren’t the only things that make him behave badly. From starting the Civil War in the comics to being a jerk to both friend and foe, Iron Man isn’t known as a bad boy for nothing. (What other superhero would align himself with Bullseye?) Still,
3. Loki – Being Compared To Thor
No, Loki isn’t always a hero. In fact, he’s usually pretty ambiguous at best, making readers wonder where he truly stands in any given issue. Recently, he put his own mother in a coma-like state, and though there is evidence to support that it being for her own good, fans remain baffled as to why.
Even when Loki sports a gold star for being a good boy for the day, he still harbors a bitter grudge against his brother, Thor. This sore spot stems from the same thing that human brothers squabble over: simple sibling rivalry. Thor’s like the family quarterback that Odin pats on the back. Loki is the president of the A/V Club, making him the child that Odin scorns and pretends doesn’t exist.
Of course, Thor being the true son of Odin has a big part of the constant feuding between the brothers as well, but it is Loki who usually has it out for Thor, while his brother would often like to simply make amends. In fact, Thor’s constant forgiveness of Loki’s crimes is sometimes a pet peeve of the Marvel audience itself.
2. Batman – Killing Villains
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind!” and “We kill people to show people that killing people is wrong!” are two quotes that are not and will never be attributed to Bruce Wayne, but Batman does live by a similar code. One of Batman’s worst pet peeves is killing people and he’ll frown on anyone who does it in the name of justice or anything else.
That doesn’t mean The Batman doesn’t knock people around, break their bones and send them to the hospital–all of which can have a huge, even catastrophic impact on a person’s life. That doesn’t even mean that Batman has never killed. On the contrary, he is responsible for some of the most brutal murders in comic history. He simply tries to draw a line at ending a person’s life whenever possible.
1. Cyclops – Breaking Rules
While Captain America may be the goody two-shoes of the Marvel universe, Cyclops comes in a close second and stands as the X-Men’s golden boy. Granted, Cyke has a much shadier history than Cap (near genocide, anyone?) but rule breaking in general ruffles the laser-beamed boy’s feathers.
Remember that kid in second grade who always whined, “But Teacher said…!” every time you so much as twitched? You know, the one who was always picked as hall monitor because he’d break his own leg before he ever broke a rule? That’s Cyclops, only Teacher is replaced with, “The professor!”
In addition to Scott’s rule-breaking pet peeve, he also hates anybody looking at Jean, which turns out to be ironic, depending on which narrative you’re reading. He may not be as vocal about it, but there’s no mistaking the disdain emanating from beneath that beam shield, whether you can see it or not.
Which comic character pet peeves did we miss? Share your favorites in the comments.