Parents and kids don’t always get along, whether it’s father and son, granddaughter and grandfather – that’s pretty much a constant of life, and the primary reason ice cream was invented. Throw in some superheroics and vengeance-seeking bad guys, and things can escalate pretty fast. It’s no wonder so many superheroes have come into conflict with their own kids.
For the purposes of this list, “fighting” doesn’t necessarily mean coming to blows with one another. Yes, watching two spandexed super-beings pummel each other is good, clean fun for everyone involved, but sometimes parents and children find new and different ways to hurt each other. Once “I hate you, dad!” transforms into a transdimensional kidnapping, proceedings have a tendency to become something far uglier. So, fair warning, some of the later entries in this list get super dark. All the ice cream in the world can’t fix them.
Here are 15 Superheroes Who Fought Their Own Children.
After the love of Scott Summers‘ life, Jean Grey, is possessed by the planet-destroying Phoenix entity and kills herself to save the galaxy, Scott finds himself romantically entangled with Madelyne Pryor, a clone of Jean Grey. Together they have a baby, Nathan, whom Scott quickly abandons, then rescues, then sends to the future because Apocalypse has infected the baby with a techno-organic virus. Meanwhile, that baby has already come back to the present as the fully-grown cyborg, Cable.
Understandably, Cable and Cyclops haven’t always gotten along, often arguing the merits of their particular viewpoints with one another. They only seem to come to blows when one or the other is possessed by a supervillain – which isn’t exactly uncommon in their line of work.
But their bad blood isn’t confined solely to them: After Cyclops became possessed by the Phoenix Force, Cable’s adopted future-daughter Hope Summers was hidden away from her grandfather, before eventually chaos-punching Scott to the moon.
Odin is the All-Father of Norse mythology; the regular father of Thor, God of Thunder; and the adoptive father of Loki, God of Being a Tool. All three of them have tangled with each other at some point in time, because being a god demands a certain amount of drama and fisticuffs.
Odin and Thor are at odds almost constantly, shouting Shakespearean insults at one other, until Odin has enough, takes away Thor’s powers, and sends him to his room. Even more often, though, Odin reinstates Thor’s powers or gives him new, enchanted, snake-killing armor, because, ultimately, Odin loves his son and wants to see him thrive.
Loki, meanwhile, just keeps trying to kill Odin so he can usurp the throne of Asgard, even going so far as to raising and army and trying to instigate Ragnarok.
13. Justice Society of America
The Justice Society of America is the Golden Age equivalent of the Justice League, featuring a rotating cast of superheroes, at one time including Hawkman, Wonder Woman, The Atom, and Green Lantern, among others.
Infinity, Inc., meanwhile, was basically the precursor to the Teen Titans, except comprised almost entirely of the JSA’s (later retconned) children: Hawkman’s son Silver Scarab, Wonder Woman’s daughter Fury, Atom’s son Nuklon, and Green Lantern’s kids Jade and Obsidian, as well as Superman’s cousin, Power Girl, and Batman and Catwoman’s daughter, Huntress.
Almost as soon as Infinity, Inc. is formed, the Ultra-Humanite – a giant, genius monkey-man, and, somehow, the primary supervillain of Superman before Lex Luthor came to town – brainwashes the JSA, forcing the young’uns to step up and go toe-to-toe with their own parents. (Except for Batman and Huntress. This wasn’t their fight.)
The Hulk is a green rage-monster and the alter-ego of Bruce Banner. Skaar is his son, First appearing in a What If … title and later made canon through the magic of comics, because you can never have too many Hulks.
Born on the planet Sakaar and raised to be a killer, we meet young Skaar when he shows up on Earth and straight-up tries to assassinate his father. Except it turns out the Hulk he was fighting wasn’t his papa, so Skaar moves on.
Tracking the Hulk to Latveria, Skaar tries again, only for Dr. Doom to reveal that that Hulk still isn’t his daddy and is, in fact, a robot.
The third time’s the charm, though, and, upon finally finding the real Hulk, Skaar begins to immediately put the beatdown on him, only to witness the Hulk saving bystanders in the middle of their brawl. Moved by this, the jade giants hug, instantly forgetting about the abandonment and the murder attempts.
Superman is Superman, and if you need more of an introduction than that, we’re not really sure why you’re reading, well, anything on this website, really.
Ignoring the somehow-not-the-worst Superman movie, Superman Returns, Supes has only recently been father to a superpowered son, and, as yet, they haven’t tangled. But there’s more than one way to have a kid if you’re a comic book character! Unbeknownst to Supes, at some point he had his DNA stolen, then mixed with Lex Luthor’s to create a clone, and suddenly he had a pseudo-child, the aptly named Superboy.
These two have argued a bunch, about abandonment and responsibility and fun, breezy subjects like that. They’ve also gone at it a few times — though one of them is generally brainwashed in some fashion. Superman would never willingly punch his own son.
10. Reed & Sue Richards
Reed and Sue Richards, or, as they’re more commonly known, Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, are actually some of the better parents you’ll find in comicdom. Unfortunately for everyone involved, though, their son, Franklin Richards, is quite possibly the world’s most powerful mutant, and has waaay too many enemies for a baby. Or a teenager? A man? He can travel through time and change ages at will. Also, he’s best buds with Galactus.
Anyway, shortly after Franklin was born, Annhilus kidnapped him in order to steal his power, accidentally unleashing the baby’s full, reality-breaking powers on the world. Mr. Fantastic was forced to turn off Franklin’s brain, putting his newborn baby into a coma.
Later, Franklin conjured an alternate reality sister, Valeria Richards, before turning her into a fetus and placing her inside his mother’s womb. When Valeria was born, again, Dr. Doom placed a curse on her, causing Valeria to be his familiar, like a witch’s black cat. The Richards, of course, had to put a stop to that, thankfully without causing an infant’s brain-death this time.
Omni-Man is an alien from the planet Viltrum who arrived on Earth in the ’80s and became a superhero, claiming that he had been sent to share technology and protect the planet. He even married a human woman and had a son, Mark Grayson. Mark, unsurprisingly, also had his father’s alien superpowers, and took on the mantle of Invincible, fighting bad guys just like his dear old dad.
Except, plot twist, it turns out that dad was the bad guy! He was actually sent to Earth as a conquering warlord, to scout the planet out for the impending Viltrumite invasion and maybe subdue it a little in the process. Invincible took issue with this, confronted his father, and was beaten mostly to death for his troubles. Then, while his son was lying there bleeding, Omni-Man fled the planet like a punk. Not exactly a contender for Father of the Year here.
A short time in the future, the supervillains have won and taken over the United States, laying waste to vast swaths of the country. Worse yet, there’s no one left to stop them: All the superheroes are dead, except for the functionally immortal Wolverine and … Hawkeye? The normal guy who shoots arrows good? Of all the crazy things going on in the “Old Man Logan” story, this might be the most nuts.
Anyway, Logan and a now-blind Clint Barton are out on their totally-not-a-sneaky-attempt-to-kickstart-the-Avengers road trip when they run into Ashley Barton, aka Spider-Girl, Hawkeye’s daughter with Peter Parker’s youngest daughter, Tonya. Ew. Gross. Ashley apparently thought so too, because within moments of decapitating the new Kingpin and usurping his territory, she immediately goes after Papa Barton with the same bloodied pipe. Thankfully, Logan showed up just in time to save his arrow-shooting butt from getting patricided, and the two disappear back into the Moloid-ravaged wastelands. Fun times.
7. Green Arrow
Green Arrow is DC’s billionaire Robin Hood, fighting crime and helping the little guys by shooting people with arrows. In the 1940s, he adopted a sidekick, Speedy, who would eventually evolve into a hero in his own right, going by both Arsenal and Red Arrow at different times.
Before he got to all that do-gooding, though, Roy Harper was a drug addict. And when Oliver Queen found out his adopted son was addicted to heroin, he did what every good dad in the ’70s did: He punched his son in the face and threw him to the curb. Things didn’t exactly get better from there.
The two have had what could politely be called a contentious relationship, arguing and fighting pretty much whenever they’re within eyesight of each other. Roy even adopted the Red Arrow moniker specifically to spite Oliver and prove he was as good as his father/mentor.
Aquaman, everyone’s favorite fish-friending punchline, had a baby with Queen Mera. The rather unimaginatively named Aquababy was summarily kidnapped by Black Manta, then placed inside of a sphere that was slowly draining of water and filling with air. Being an Atlantean, this was a problem for the infant.
Black Manta forces Aquaman to fight his sidekick/pseudo-son, Aqualad, to the death, for the life of the baby. Seeing no other option, Aquaman tries to kill Aqualad, nearly gutting him, before realizing that, oh, wait, there actually is another option.
Using his seafood-telekinesis, Aquaman tells an octopus to smash Black Manta’s controller, then hurls his own trident into the sphere, shattering the glass. Unfortunately, Aquaman was too late. Aquababy was dead. Adding insult to injury, Aqualad quits as his sidekick, not super appreciative about almost getting murdered.
5. The Spectre
The partner of Renee Montoya and a recurring Detective Comics supporting character, Crispus Allen was a GCPD detective, shot in cold blood by a corrupt policeman and forced to wander the streets of Gotham City as a disembodied spirit. Eventually, the bored and lonely vengeance spirit known as the Spectre found Crispus and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Well, OK, he did refuse, but after a year of thinking about it, he changed his mind.
Wanting vengeance on Corrigan, the cop who murdered him, Crispus accepts the Spectre’s offer to become his host. In a dark, terrible, “Monkey’s Paw”-style twist, though, Crispus doesn’t get to kill Corrigan. No, he has to watch his son Mal kill Corrigan and then, because he’s now God’s vessel for swift retribution, Crispus has to kill his own son.
4. Ms. Marvel
We know the last entry had a dad killing his own son, but, trust us, this one’s even more messed up.
Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel, woke up pregnant one day, more than a little confused by the situation. Three days later, she gave birth to a fully-grown man.
Turns out Carol had been kidnapped by Marcus Immortus, one of the sons of Kang the Conquerer and a Limbo-dwelling jerk who wanted to be a real boy. Marcus mind-controlled, raped, and impregnated Ms. Marvel, so that she would give birth – to him – in the real world.
For some reason, none of the Avengers saw a problem with this and waved bye-bye, letting Carol go back to Limbo with Marcus, the, we repeat, incestuous a-hole that had kidnapped and raped her.
Obviously, no one was OK with this. In fact, this story was handled so unfathomably poorly that Ms. Marvel was actually written out of the Marvel books for a while, so readers might forget. Marcus, meanwhile, was killed off-panel and, to this day, the incident has never been brought up in-continuity. Ugh.
Wolverine is the angriest, furriest Canadian to ever walk the Earth. Daken is his vengeance-filled child. While it could very well be a case of “like father, like son,” it actually turns out that Wolverine doesn’t even know he has a kid. Back in the ’40s, Logan was married to a woman named Itsu, only for her to get murdered like the rest of Logan’s love interests. Unlike the others, though, she was pregnant, and that child was raised by Romulus to hate Wolverine.
Though Wolverine wished otherwise, Daken proved impossible to redeem and, after tons of bloody clashes, Logan eventually had to drown his son.
Wolverine has had much better success with his cloned daughter Laura, or X-23 – although she has also tried to kill him at least once. Although, honestly, that should really be expected from Wolverine’s kids.
2. Professor X
For a dude who runs a school, Professor Charles Xavier is pretty terrible to his own children, both his biological son David “Legion” Haller and his all-but-legally-adopted son Scott “Cyclops” Summers.
Legion is a beautiful mess of a character, but all you need to know here is that he’s Charles Xavier’s kid and unbelievably powerful. The prof and his son have fought a couple times, once when David was possessed by the Shadow King, and once when he went insane and time traveled backwards in time to murder Magneto. Legion killed Charles instead, creating an entirely new reality. Later, Legion erased himself from existence, because even he was having a hard time keeping track of things.
Cyclops and Professor X, meanwhile, have clashed about ideals at times, but have mostly been pretty great to one another. One might even call them the ideal father and son. At least until Cyke was imbued with the Phoenix Force and murdered Charles in cold blood.
Dick Grayson is Bruce Wayne’s adopted ward/sidekick, the first Robin. They’ve had a long and involved relationship, and are more than familiar with the business end of each other’s fists. Eventually, Dick has enough of Bruce and sets out on his own as Nightwing, though he’s filled in as Batman when needed. Presumably, he still calls Bruce on Father’s Day, too.
Jason Todd was Bruce’s second Robin, right up until he was brutally murdered by the Joker and a sociopathic phone poll. He came back later, after Superboy-Prime punched reality until it broke, and tried to get revenge on Batman for letting him die. Eventually, though, Jason stops trying to murder Bruce and becomes the anti-hero Red Hood instead.
Damian Wayne is the son of Bruce and Talia al Ghul, and Batman’s only biological child (if you don’t count the pre-Crisis Huntress). Damian is, like Daken and Skaar before him, raised as an assassin without Bruce even knowing he exists. And even though Talia dumps the angry young man on Batman with the intent of throwing off his life, Damian’s since taken on the mantle of (the fifth) Robin.
We know Batman’s supposed to be the best at everything, but “having your kids hate you” probably shouldn’t be on that list.
There you go. Anyone we missed? Let us know in the comments.