Imagine every time Mother’s Day and Father’s Day came around, instead of dropping a card into a mailbox, you need to look up to the heavens or even into another dimension to send your warm, loving thoughts. For many characters in the Marvel comic book universe, that’s exactly how it is. A fair chunk of the superhero (and supervillain) pantheon in those pages are, in fact, the offspring of deities, with many of those being obvious and well-known.
This one may seem controversial at first since Man-Thing wasn’t “born” in the traditional sense and his “parents” weren’t precisely a personified entity. But, the origins of this spooky soul definitely stem from another plane.
Man-Thing is the semi-sentient fusion of a human mind with the Nexus of All Realities – a gateway that leads to all possible dimensions. Scientist Ted Sallis, injecting himself with the Captain America super-soldier serum, has his car sabotaged, sending him to his end in a Louisiana swamp. It is there that the Nexus resides and reanimates the figure with its magic. And so arises the Man-Thing, protector of the Nexus, one with its properties as well as the bayou that comprises his body. Not a man, not a thing, he is unique in all the cosmos, with only this ethereal gateway as a creator.
Alpha Flight is one of the most off-center superhero teams in the Marvel Universe. First of all, they are from Canada, which by no coincidence is John Byrne’s country of origin (he created the team). The mysticism of these northern reaches are greatly interwoven into several members. Snowbird, the shapeshifter who can take on the shape of many wild beasts, counts the Inuit goddess Nelvana as her mother.
Although her father was a human being, this still keeps half of the lady’s lineage as being divine. Her birth was so important, that fellow Alpha Flight teammate Shaman, a powerful mystic, served as midwife at her birth, raised her, and protects her. So, her pedigree has even afforded her protection in the high clergy of her own pantheon.
Hold on a minute – isn’t Nightcrawler a mutant? Obviously, since everybody’s favorite “elf” is a member of the X-Men, he must be. When he first appeared in the comics, that’s exactly what he was, but as his origin story evolved, things became… complicated. Yes, his mother Mystique is a fellow mutant and he inherited some of her genetic tendencies to be “different.”
But, as it turns out, his dad is Azazel, a demon from the underworld, which is an unfortunate thing for poor Kurt Wagner to contend with as he is also deeply religious and has pledged his own soul to God. Talk about rebelling against the family line! Of course, this makes Nightcrawler all the more impressive not only as a superhero, but as a person dedicated to the cause of good.
Demonic lineage in the Marvel Universe is not merely confined to the traditional notions of “hell” as classic literature has defined it. While those comics pages have drawn from that fictional well, the original run of Dr. Strange conjured up The Dark Dimension, a place ruled by the powerful, sinister mage, Dormammu.
Earth’s mystic protector has had to take on the Dark One to prevent him from taking over our reality on many occasions. But, he also encountered a woman named Clea. Rescuing her from Dormammu’s clutches, she became not only an ally, but Strange’s life partner. A powerful mage in her own right, she also happens to be the daughter of the Dark One, which makes her commitment to fighting against wicked forces all the more impressive.
The future is a weird place in comics. Some of them come true and some of them don’t. And yet, multiple timelines with alternative outcomes seem to coexist regardless of events. It’s all pretty hard to keep on top of, but in the world of X-Men, such conundrums have created some amazing characters. One of those is Cable, the mutant born into a future, post-apocalyptic Earth.
Nathan Summers is a telekinetic/telepath whose parents are Scott Summers (a.k.a Cyclops) and Madelyn Pryor – who also happened to possess the Phoenix force: the star-consuming natural force is a personification of stellar-level hunger, and in its own way, is a god unto itself. When fused with a human host, that divine fire intermingles with more mundane biological properties. Cable comes from that lineage, meaning in a way, he has three parents, one of which is a higher being.
15 Ghost Rider
Johnny Blaze isn’t just a cool motorcycle stunt driver, he’s the Ghost Rider, a semi-demonic warrior with a biker ethos and a whole lot of supernatural powers. So, how did this very strange good guy come into being?
When Blaze, under the best of his intentions, decided to offer up his soul to Marvel’s resident devil, Mephisto, the result became Ghost Rider, who is, in fact, a hybrid of Johnny’s soul and the seed of the “father” demon’s unholy attributes. Much to Mephisto’s disappointment, this creation ends up serving the forces of good… most of the time. Ghost Rider has undergone a lot of different versions, sometimes not exactly fighting on the side of the angels; but in any case, he is a being that’s half human soul, half demonic infusion, and his dad is a god, albeit not a good one.
Ever wonder how in the heck Thanos was able to so easily take out The Hulk in Avengers: Infinity War? As did a whole lot of fans, and while the MCU version might not make his origins clear, in the comics, we know who his parents are, and that makes his power easier to understand.
Thanos is the child of A'lars and Sui-San, Eternals who are themselves the offspring of a race of space gods. Thing is, he carries a recessive “deviant” gene, which kind of made him sinister at a very early age. He was such a dark young lad that it drove his mother bonkers, even driving her to try and get rid of him once and for all. Regardless of the unfortunate direction of his life, Thanos is in turn, pretty much a cosmic deity himself, as the product of some stellar DNA.
13 Daimon Hellstrom
Geeks may notice that this entry uses the “proper name” of the character rather than his superhero code name. That’s because Daimon Hellstrom is also known as “The Son of Satan,” and that would instantly give the whole surprise away!
Yes, this trident-wielding cape is indeed the offspring of the devil himself. He even has a pentangle branded on his chest as a birthmark. This fiery semi-demon actually had a human mother, and was somehow raised in a Jesuit-run orphanage, so he clung to his human roots on the good side, mostly fighting against his dad. That said, notice he even has “hell” in his name, too? Maybe the creators of this character overdid it just a bit...
Wait, wait, wait, we thought that Venom was actually an alien symbiote who grafts himself onto human hosts? So, how in the world is he of divine lineage? Well, as it turns out, the entire race of symbiotes, known as the Klyntar, were created by a wicked god named Knull.
Basically, Knull was worried about another group of gods (The Celestials) encroaching on his territory. So, he crafted a species of super-tough warriors and waged war on his rival cosmic deities. The very first one, known as All-Black, was even able to take out a few of the Celestials by its own power. Since the symbiote we know as Venom is one of these creatures, his “father” is by definition, a god.
11 The Eternals
While many MCU fans (the ones who don’t actually read the comics) may not know about The Eternals, that’s going to change in the coming years. It’s been announced that this race of super-beings will in fact be joining the big screen with other formally lesser-known characters like Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy (yes, few people knew those guys before the movies, hard as that may be to believe).
The space-faring cosmic gods known as The Celestials created this species ages ago while they visited Earth and tinkered with human DNA. Yep, these are genetically-modified people and the mad lab scientists were in fact intergalactic deities. They’ve been living among us for centuries, and now, they are about to make themselves known – at the box office!
It’s pretty obvious from her name, isn’t it? Satana is the daughter of Aquaman and Wonder Woman! Just kidding! As all but the last letter clearly spell out, she is in fact part of the happy Satan family! Daimon Hellstrom is her brother, and like him, she is half human.
However, unlike him, she was totally into working the family business early on in her life. But, she has since switched to the side of good… and switched back again. Clearly, this is one conflicted semi-demon. Like Hellboy, she’s always got the lure of her lineage tugging at the better part of her nature. May her soul eventually find peace.
Early on in the Marvel superhero explosion, it was a little iffy to showcase the devil as a character in your pantheon. In the wake of the ludicrous 1950s anti-comics crusade in America, Funnybooks had to be very careful with what they published, lest they face de facto censorship. So, when the time came that such a dark enemy made sense to set up in the Marvel Universe, Mephisto was created.
He was obviously a stand-in for Satan (who was later introduced as a character in the continuity after the hysteria settled down). As such, he, along with his fellow hosts, was created by “the supreme being,” otherwise known as God! So, anybody wanting to contradict the divine lineage of this ultimate supervillain will have to take it up with a higher authority than us!
The In-Betweener is one of those true oddball entities in the greater cosmos of the Marvel Universe. Getting it out of the way, his “parents” are Lord Chaos and Master Order, who are themselves the divine personification of their respective name-traits. His function is to serve as the nexus of all duality, which, as his name implies, always has him standing in the middle of, well, everything!
When he tinkers with his own mission, the entirety of universal balance can be affected, so his penchant for defying his de-facto mom and dad is often seen as acts of wrongdoing. Most of the time, he takes on magic and space-based heroes like Dr. Strange and Adam Warlock, and in the end, of course, he finds himself right in between the good guys and bad guys all over again.
Beware the consumer of worlds! When Galactus first faced the Fantastic Four, it was easy to see him as just another bad guy, albeit one on a level the world had never seen before. But, the giant cosmic glutton was quickly established as a force of nature whose appetite for global destruction served the purpose of keeping the universe’s population of planers in check, just like a shark culls the populations of other fish to keep oceanic environments in balance.
Technically, the creation of Galactus was a result of the Big Bang, or the great cosmic oneness at the center of the universe’ origin. However you want to look at it, this isn’t a chicken and egg question as his was a divine birth indeed.
Who watches the Watchmen? No wait – we mean the Watchers! This strange race of super-advanced beings became so god-like, they found themselves able to meddle in the destinies of entire planets and every species populating them. They were so worried by some of the consequences of their abilities that they chose to forever withdraw from the events of others and just… watch.
It’s kind of like the Prime Directive in the world of Star Trek, but on a cosmic scale. Uatu is the Watcher who’s job is to observe Earth and the local region of space. Through sheer evolution, his kind attained a sort of godhood, and so, he was in fact, born of “gods.”
If you think the world-eating entity Galactus was spooky, check out his sort-of-cousin Abraxas. Like the big G, this malevolent cosmic being has a thing for consuming not only worlds, but universes, alternative realities, and well, just about anything that can be imagined.
But, it’s not just about the hunger for him. It’s the ultimate force of destruction just for the thrill of it, as if he were a trophy hunter. As with Galactus, Abraxas was the product of the Big Bang, and was even “incubated” inside of another Marvel cosmic deity: Eternity. So, while we can’t look at his “parents” the way we could at Odin or Zeus, he is definitely a child of a far higher being than mere mortals.
Let’s face it, once you have the powers of omnipotence, things can start getting a little dull. The Beyonder, a member of an extra-dimensional race, was studying the Earth when he decided to play around with its super-powered beings (heroes and villains alike) to duke it out on a planet he created as a fighting arena, Battleworld.
This led to the Secret Wars storyline, where friends and foes alike were forced to fight until one side fell, permanently. So, who is this Beyonder guy? As noted, a whole race of basically all-powerful entities from another reality. And by definition, being all-powerful and able to alter reality on a whim pretty much makes one a god.
One of the absolute weirdest-looking cosmic entities in all of the Marvel Universe is the floating mass of giant eyeballs, faces, and arms known as Eon. He has some very odd powers, chiefly among them being possession of a “cosmic awareness” that lets him know all the events in the larger span of reality.
Additionally, he crafted powerful weapons for humanoid “Protectors of the Universe” to use. His agents have included such luminaries as Captain Marvel, Quasar, and Photon. He is another offspring of Eternity, one of the chief “gods” of the greater pantheon of deities in the pages of Marvel Comics. And while he looks pretty darn strange, he is not to be underestimated. After all, he can listen in on whatever you’re doing with his cosmic awareness, sort of like a Santa Clause from space!
2 Scarlet Witch
Okay, everybody, hold the phone! We all know that Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a Scarlet Witch, is a mutant, just like her brother Quicksilver, right? Not only that, we know her parents were none other than the supervillain Magneto and his wife Magda, right? Not so fast.
As it turns out, she had a third “parent” tinker with the core of her being. The Elder God, Chthon, intervened in Wanda’s birth, bestowing upon her the power of chaos magic in addition to her reality-altering mutant powers. Without these additional attributes, Scarlet Witch is not the unbelievably powerful metahuman she has come to be. So, yeah, Chthon’s lineage counts here and therefore, Wanda has a god in her DNA.
For this entry, we will be adding some distance between the Marvel Comics version of Star-Lord and the Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance of Peter Quill. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Quill is revealed to have a human mother and a very un-human father. The nature of this father is definitely god-like, even if some may quibble on that count.
Ego, the living planet, is the personification of a living world, one which he can utterly control from the geology to the biology and all in between. Don’t ask us how a whole planet sired a child with a human mom, but that’s the story and we’re sticking to it! Once we know that Quill’s dad was a “god,” it kind of makes sense why he’s such an arrogant jerk half the time!
Do you remember any other Marvel characters that have gods for parents? Let us know in the comments!