Not including their additional 20 years as Timely and Atlas comics, Marvel has pumped out a broad array of comic books, in particular superheroes stories, for over 50 years. Considering that characters like the Hulk and Thor have been consistently in print since the 1960s and Steve Rogers has been kicking Nazi butt since 1941 (before Pearl Harbor, mind you), it's somewhat understandable that the House of Ideas has tried to infuse fresh blood into their classic heroes from time to time. Reboots like Secret Wars, retconned backstory, and legacy characters are all ways to keep fans guessing about what come next and draw in new audiences.
In fact, legacy characters have a legacy of their own, stretching back at least to the 1930s, when popular hero The Phantom's heroism was a family tradition. Numerous comic book heroes, including classic Captain America Steve Rogers, The Human Torch's Jim Hammond (first set ablaze in 1939), and the Superman and Bat families at DC all managed to keep readers (and writers) from rehashing the same-old same old material over the years. The trick is, Marvel has a number of legacies simultaneously running around with their classic superheroes. While retaining classic heroes keeps longtime fans of Thor or Captain Marvel happy, figuring out which Beast is which (tip: one is blue and furry; the other is not) can make things more than a little confusing.
Fear not, true believers and neophytes alike. We’re here to keep things nice and sparkling clear in the Marvel Universe.
Note: this guide only focuses on characters who currently share the same superhero name and are active under that name (e.g. Amadeus Cho's Hulk and Jennifer Walters' Hulk), because just about every Marvel hero has at least one legacy character. Be aware, though, Marvel Comics SPOILERS ahead.
When it comes to gamma radiation research and good old-fashioned smashing, nobody beats the Incredible Hulk. Springing to life from the fertile minds of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962), Bruce Banner was a brilliant scientist working on an experimental gamma bomb. Rescuing an errant teen, Rick Jones, who'd wandered onto the blast site, Banner soaks up vast amounts of radiation, becoming his own one-man bomb, the Hulk. Five decades later, the Emerald Giant is still considered one of the most powerful mortal characters in the Marvel Universe and one of the most popular superheroes in the comic book world. Unfortunately, his recent death during Civil War II and subsequent rebirth (and re-death) leaves Bruce’s green-eyed monster temporarily out of the running.
In his absence, there are others out there willing to carry on his good work – and, naturally, his smashing.
Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters gained her powers after being shot by a crime lord’s flunkies. Near death, she required a blood transfusion from someone with her blood type, and seeing that Bruce was in town and the only one available, he reluctantly donated his gamma-irradiated blood to save her life. As a result, the snarky wit and occasional fourth-wall breaking of She-Hulk was born from the minds of Stan Lee and John Buscema (in the pages of Savage She-Hulk #1 (1980)). Often more a caricature of her masculine counterpart, in recent years, Jen has come into her own as a successful lawyer – in addition to her superheroics – and recently landed a starring role in the latest pronoun-free Hulk comic. Technically a separate or related character, rather than a legacy, Jen warrants a mention due to the gray area and because she's a major bad-ass.
Serving with the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and the Defenders, among others, hasn’t been without its own risks, though, and Jennifer had her own brush with death during Civil War II. Fortunately, she pulled through. Even if she hadn’t, though, Marvel still has one more Hulk to count on.
Amadeus Cho started life as a regular boy (genius that is) in the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15 (2006). Created by Grek Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa, his heroic life began after he won a genius contest. The contest's sponsor discovered his impressive mind and, sort of decided to blow up his house and kill his parents in order to manipulate the young man for his own ends (villains, right?). A frequent collaborator with the Hulk, Hercules, and She-Hulk, Cho used his intellect to help restart the new Heroic Age and was recruited into the Illuminati, the Young Avengers, and S.H.I.E.L.D. at one point. After Bruce Banner absorbed a lethal dose of gamma radiation to stop a fusion reactor meltdown, Cho used nanites (microscopic robots) to siphon off the Hulk’s gamma radiation. He can now transform himself into the "Totally Awesome" Hulk at will and travels the country with his sister Maddy, putting a stop to monstrous forces.
Still, Cho’s experiences with Hulk-ism aren't restrained by any means. Teenage hormones and gamma radiation manage to wreak havoc with his emotions, as well as beasties, villains, nearby buildings, and inanimate objects. Yes, Amadeus is definitely a legacy Hulk.
Since his creation in Tales of Suspense #39 (1963), Tony Stark has been the primary stakeholder in Stark Industries and the chief inventor, titleholder, and armor bearer of Iron Man. Stark is without a doubt the definitive Golden Avenger after nearly 60 years. A longtime member of the Avengers, the Defenders, and the Illuminati, Stark has donned his suit to save our planet, and the universe at large, countless times from the nefarious forces of Galactus, Doctor Doom, Thanos, and Red Skull to name a few. Despite his incredible mind (and ego), there have been times when Stark has either been unwilling or unable to don his metallic super suit.
For instance, following the dramatic conclusion to Civil War II, Stark is left in a mechanically sustained comatose state. In his stead, though, others have answered the call to don the iron pants.
Although technically going by the name Ironheart, 15-year-old Riri Williams (created by Brian Michael Bendis and Stefano Caselli) isn’t the first Iron Man legacy, but she might be one of the most unique. A child prodigy, she started constructing her own super-suit during her time at M.I.T. (yeah, she’s got a serious Doogie Howser, M.D. action-hero thing going on). She first came to Tony Stark’s attention before the events of Civil War II, where, Tony took her under his wing to assuage her mother’s fears of about her superhero aspirations. After his near-mortal injuries, Riri took up his mantle in the rebooted Invincible Iron Man, while being tutored by Stark’s consciousness as an artificial intelligence.
Whether or not she’s serving as an Iron Man legacy at the same time as Tony Stark is debatable. She does, however, have some competition in the Stark-based metal-armor game.
Victor Von Doom
There are few more-definitive Marvel archfiends (or super villains in general) than the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby-created Victor Von Doom. Since his first outing in the pages of The Fantastic Four #5 (1962), Doctor Doom has taken on just about everyone and everything (see Secret Wars "Battleworld") in the MU. Decades of constantly being the jerk, the bad guy, and more so, the loser, clearly wore on Victor. Now appearing as the Infamous Iron Man, he takes up the Tony Stark’s cause and his look, fashioning his own suitably menacing heroic armor. While his true agenda has yet to be revealed, fans have it (from his own unreliable narration) that he’s on the path to righteousness. Apparently, being the god-emperor of your own microverse still leaves something to be desired.
The Avengers have always stood for truth, justice, and absolving oneself of past guilt over a prior criminal career – or not. Still, as one of the standouts from Avengers’ second round of recruiting, Clint Barton turned his short-termed villainy (beginning in Tales of Suspense #57 (1964) thanks to Stan Lee and Don Heck) into a bonafide heroic legacy. Not only a long-term Avenger, Barton made the cut onto the silver screen, becoming a household name as an everyman superhero icon (or at least the guy with the spiffy haircut who shoots arrows). His recent actions during Civil War II put him at the center of the Marvel Universe, as his superhero trial of the century exploded across the country and gained him widespread fame. Hawkeye’s adventures continue in the blue-collar do-gooder book, Occupy Avengers.
Not as world-weary as her predecessor, Kate Bishop cut her teeth as an amateur sleuth in Young Avengers #1 (2005). Since then, she’s proven her worth a thousand times over, even standing up to Captain America (like Clint did in past), earning his respect and being nicknamed “Hawkeye” by Steve Rogers in Clint Barton’s honor and stead. After Clint returns to action, the elder Hawkeye assures Kate that there’s more than enough room for both of them. Since then, she’s served as a Young Avenger and a regular Avenger through numerous conflicts, such as the Secret Invasion, Siege, and both civil wars. She also teams up with Clint in All-New Hawkeye, where they fight crime – as well as receiving a solo ongoing series where she returns to private investigations in addition to her superheroine duties.
Thor Odinson: The God of Thunder
As the Norse God of Thunder and Storms – at least the Marvel Universe’s version – Thor Odinson was first renovated for the House of Ideas by Stan Lee in Journey into Mystery #83 (1962). The son of Odin, hence the easy-to-remember surname, Thor was already imbued with the power of Asgard and a nearly-immortal deity with incredible strength and powers. However, when he wields the Dwarven hammer Mjolnir, made from a rare metal called Uru, he becomes one of the Nine, or now, Ten Realms most powerful and capable defenders. For over fifty Marvel-ous years, Thor (and his ego) have been defending the defenseless and righting wrongs in Asgard, the cosmos, and on little old Midgard (Earth).
However, after the Unseen (formerly Nick Fury Sr.) whispered something into his ear, Thor became unworthy of his own hammer. Currently, he’s on a quest to reclaim his value and an extremely powerful alternate-universe version of Mjolnir.
Beta Ray Bill
Admittedly, Beta Ray Bill isn’t really a legacy character. At the same time, he shares enough traits with the Asgardian warrior to qualify as a gray-area. First conceptualized by Walt Simonson in Thor #337 (1983), Beta Ray was culled from the greatest Korbinite warriors to be their planet’s champion. Upon first meeting Thor, they didn’t quite see eye-to-eye, and as a result, engaged in a battle which shook the cosmos. Putting their differences aside, the two became friends. Bill was even the first non-Asgardian to wield the Norseman’s choosy mallet Mjolnir, leading Allfather Odin to commission Stormbreaker – his very own super-empowered hammer – from the Dwarven blacksmiths. Not bad for a horse-faced spaceman.
Thor: The Goddess of Thunder (Jane Foster)
One of Stan Lee, Larry Leiber, and Jack Kirby’s early Marvel characters, Jane Foster first arrived on the scene in Journey Into Mystery #84 (1962), as a nurse for Thor’s alter ego, Dr. Donald Blake. The two really hit it off, beginning an on-again, off-again relationship that lasted for several years (and into the movies). Later, Foster would earn her own medical degree and would later be diagnosed with breast cancer. Around this time, she was also deemed worthy of possessing Mjolnir after Thor’s own disgracing. Despite her time as The Mighty Thor being detrimental to her cancer treatment – as the godlike powers strip the chemotherapy poison from her system – Jane continues to fight the good fight with the Avengers and serves as Midgard’s representative at the Congress of Worlds on Asgard.
Marvel’s first Avenger and one of the publisher's precursor Timely’s first breakout characters, Steve Rogers was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, first picking up his star-spangled shield in the pages of the appropriately titled Captain America Comics #1 (1941). Since then, Steve Rogers has been the face of Marvel, America, and Hydra (boo! hiss!). Celebrating his 75th anniversary last year, Cap continues to fight the good fight against the adversaries of the MU, while conspiring to rule the world. Even though his normally heroic code was rewritten by a Red Skull-tainted Cosmic Cube, Kobik, it’s only a matter of time before his Hydra allegiances are revealed and he's defeated – or he gets retconned again.
Currently, Rogers bears the title in unison with Sam Wilson, although the former Falcon is currently in possession the iconic shield. A number of different characters have already hoisted the Captain America mantle, however, including Bucky Barnes, Roscoe Simmons, John Walker, in addition to Wilson.
In light of his current status, it’s fitting that Sam Wilson, formerly the Falcon, got his start in Captain America #117 (1969). Created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, Sam Wilson grew up in Harlem and always had an affinity for birds. After a scuffle with Red Skull, he trained with Captain America, becoming Marvel’s first major African-American superhero (and second major Black superhero after Black Panther), and Captain America’s sidekick. Along with his trusty falcon Redwing, whom he’s mentally fused to thanks to the Cosmic Cube and that Red Skull guy, Sam has spread his wings as a member of the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Heroes for Hire.
Back in 2014, when Steve Rogers was aged unnaturally and retired, he named Sam as his successor. After being de-aged and Hydra-fied, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson continue to share the moniker; however, Rogers is secretly plotting to frustrate and defame Wilson, forcing him to willing renounce the shield and title. Only the future will tell what becomes of the MU's two main Caps.
But there is...another...Captain...America...
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones was literally born in The Pulse #13 (2006). Named after Luke’s best friend Danny Rand (Iron Fist), at some indeterminate point in an alternate continuity, Danielle took on the Captain America mantle, as first imagined by Al Ewing in Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 (2015). Apparently, Thanos managed to decimate much of the superhero community during her timeline, leaving the planet in rough shape. When the Golden Skull brought his brand of widespread chaos and larceny back in time, Cap 20XX followed in an attempt to stop him.
It’s unclear how long she’ll stick around, but Danielle appears to have signed up with the U.S.Avengers for the moment.
Janet van Dyne
Born from the mind of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (seeing a trend here), Janet van Dyne first buzz-bombed the pages of Marvel’s Tales to Astonish #44 (1963). Seeking revenge on her father’s murderers, she asks scientist Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man) to give her a hand and fitted for wings and given the ability to shrink (and enlarge) thanks to genetic enhancements and Pym particle cellular implants, respectively. In her many years fighting the forces of evil, Janet led the Avengers for many years, as well as signing onto the Avengers Unity Squad. Although she’s been killed or almost killed on several occasions, she’s been one of the most consistent member of Earth's Greatest Heroes and a positive role model for Marvel’s many female fans.
Up until recently, Janet was the only Wasp on Earth-616 – aside from the short period when her ex-husband Hank took up the name following her assumed death.
Nadia (which she likes to point out means "hope in Russian") Pym is the daughter of classic Ant-Man Hank Pym and his first wife Maria Trovaya – the daughter of a Hungarian geneticist. Maria was kidnapped on their honeymoon, before she even knew she was with child. After her mother was killed, Nadia was raised by the Cold War monsters, the Red Room, the ruthless organization responsible for brainwashing Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) and The Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes). Rather than being trained as an assassin, Nadia's aptitude for research drove Nadia into the Red Room’s science division, where she eventually cracked her father’s Pym particles and shrank her way out.
Now in America, the Wasp is just getting her bearings and her first series. Thus far, her famous (sort of) step-mom Janet has welcomed her into the fold and hasn't expressed any issues with their shared monikers.
In truth, many fans to this day only have eyes for James Howlett’s classic Wolverine. Since The Death of Wolverine in 2014, though, snikting duties have fallen on his capable and kick-ass clone Laura Kinney. Initially known by her popular pseudonym of X-23, Laura came to life during the X-Men: Evolution animated series in 2004. The Weapon X wannabes the Facility cloned her from James Howlett’s DNA, before she managed to escape, falling in with the X-Men and making a name for herself as a hero. She even recently went on the run from authorities in an in-name sequel to the classic tale “Enemy of the State.”
Nevertheless, Laura Kinney isn’t the only “blood” relative of James Howlett running around the Marvel Universe these days. Wolverine’s future self, who has a pretty frosty relationship with his sister/daughter, is still making his presence felt.
Old Man Logan
Originating from an alternate, dystopian future where super villains destroyed most heroes and divided the world among each other, Logan got his start in the eponymous 2008 story Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. An older, weakened (for Wolverine, that is) iteration of the character, Logan eventually found himself shot back in time. In the MU's present, he has scoured the globe, desperately seeking to prevent the horrific timeline which he once lived in.
So far, he’s succeeded to some degree (even if Ulysses made a perturbing prediction during Civil War II). He even managed to prove that Dracula's vampire curse is still no match for his diminished healing factor. It’s unclear how long OML will stick around the current timeline, but he’s certainly factoring into a number of upcoming events, including the X-Men and Inhumans ResurreXion, so there seems to be some life left in the old boy yet.
His story also loosely inspired the upcoming Fox X-Men film Logan.
Okay, so the Captain-Ms. Marvel business also lands in a legacy gray area. Technically, Carol Danvers is the only Captain Marvel running around the MU at present, but she does have a hero-worshipping Ms. Marvel in tow – at least until Civil War II soured Kamala on Ms. Danvers.
Carol herself is a legacy character, first drawn up by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan as an Air Force major in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968). After an alien (Kree) device exploded near the (Kree) hero Captain Marvel, Danvers was gifted with alien powers, becoming (ta-da), Ms. Marvel in 1977. She’s one of Marvel’s first standalone female superheroes and is often rated as one of their most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe as well. Although she bounced through several aliases over the years, including Binary and Warbird, Carol was finally bestowed with her Captain title in 2012.
Despite her controversial turn in Civil War II, Carol will finally soar onto the big screen in 2019, with Brie Larson portraying the nominal character. Until then, she'll keep up the good work for the galaxy in her latest self-titled book, The Mighty Captain Marvel.
After the Royal Family’s noisiest member, Black Bolt, unleashed a Terrigen bomb on the planet, wherever the mists traveled, new Inhumans cropped up. Kamala Khan, an average New Jersey teenager and Captain Marvel fan girl, found herself endowed with some amazing abilities, including super-strength, the ability to change shape and stretch unnaturally. Borrowing her mentor’s name, Ms. Marvel leaped into the superhero business in Captain Marvel #14 (2013). Although honored with membership in the Avengers, after the events of Civil War II, Kamala decided to forge her own path with the Champions. She’s also the House of Ideas (and the world's) first Muslim superhero to star in her own ongoing saga.
What can be said about Wade Wilson that hasn’t already been said? Created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, Deadpool was born as an amalgam of Spider-Man and Deathstroke (Slade Wilson) in the pages of The New Mutants #98. The Merc with a Mouth rapidly grew from a borderline legacy character himself into a popular anti-hero, and then a major movie star (which his writers enjoy referencing in his own special metafictional way). Deadpool has since joined the Avengers (kind of) and the Uncanny Avengers – before they were disbanded by Steve Rogers – and has even been merged with a duck. Although Wade has a more than a few extra personalities, he technically has no real legacy heroes within the Marvel Universe, if a couple dozen imitators, perhaps aside from one – and an accidental one at that.
Typically, legacy characters bear the same title and characteristics as their predecessors. Gwendolyn “Gwenpool” Poole, dreamt up by Chris Bachalo in a variant cover for Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 and first appearing in Howard the Duck, has no powers of her own – aside from an intimate knowledge of the comic books gleaned from her life in “the real world.” Much like Deadpool, who often speaks directly to his readers, breaking the fourth wall, Gwenpool uses her insider knowledge to survive and thrive on Earth-616. She also managed to infiltrate M.O.D.O.K.’s criminal organization and defeat a number of super-powered adversaries thanks to her intimate knowledge of the Marvel Universe.
She continues her run in her off-the-wall solo comic, The Unbelievable Gwenpool, making a name for herself in the very MU she once only read about.
Born from the minds of Marv Wolfman and Len Wein (first drawn for Marvel by John Buscema), Richard Rider first took a spin through the cosmos in the pages of Nova #1 (1976). Part of the Nova Corps, an elite force of cosmic defenders, Richard Rider kept the galaxy safe for decades, exposing the Skrull Secret Invasion and stopping the Annihilation Wave from, well, annihilating everything. However, everything changed when the Cancerverse – an alternative universe where nothing can die – incurred upon the standard Marvel Universe. Along with his friends (and Guardians of the Galaxy) Peter Quill and Drax the Destroyer, Richard gave his life to seal Thanos inside the closing rift during The Thanos Imperative.
Richard recently returned from his presumed death to Earth and semi-active duty, but he’s not the only Nova zipping around space.
After his father goes missing, young Sam Alexander, created by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness in Marvel Point One (2011), puts on his dad’s former helmet and discovers that dear old dad wasn't just a drunk, but a member of the elite Nova Corps. After some training from Rocket Raccoon and Gamora, he becomes a reluctant hero responsible for saving the planet dozens of times. Alexander was eventually recruited by the Avengers, although like Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales, he left the team to pursue a different path after Civil War II. Sam also spent some time inside the Xandarian Worldmind – the supercomputer which grants Novas their power and houses the consciousnesses of deceased Corps members – where he discovered the phasing consciousness of Richard Rider.
Following Rider’s “rebirth,” the duo battles the worst Marvel Cosmic has to offer in the latest Nova ongoing.
The Human Torch
Marvel Comic very first superhero, the original Human Torch was created by Carl Burgos for Timely Comics' Marvel Comics #1 (1939). Jim Hammond was a fireball of an android – constructed by scientist Phineas Horton – who fought the forces of evil during the pre-Marvel era. Perhaps less well-known than his legacy character, Fantastic Four founding member Johnny Storm, Hammond nonetheless has the honorable distinction of being one of Marvel’s longest running and fully functional (he is an android, after all)characters. Although he’s jumped ship a few times, from the Heroes for Hire to the West Coast Avengers to the Secret Avengers, Hammond now makes his home with S.H.I.E.L.D., doing his best to keep the world safe from its numerous and egregious threats.
Johnny Storm might actually be one of Marvel’s first – if not the first – legacy character. The Human Torch, as recreated by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, first exploded in The Fantastic Four #1 (1961), after being altered by the same cosmic radiation which turned his sister, Reed Richards, and Ben Grimm into their more famous formats. Marvel’s first family battled the forces of evil for decades, including the damnable Doctor Doom, cosmic calamities like Galactus, and the forces of entropy in the universe until their recent cancellation after Secret Wars. Not one to take his lumps lying down, though, Johnny now hangs with his BAE, the Inhuman Queen Medusa, and her posse at New Attilan.
This could get complicated:
For many there’s really just one Spider-Man – Peter Parker – but the Web-head has so many clones and alternative universe embodiments running around the pages of Marvel that it’s nearly impossible to keep up. As such, we'll keep it simple by removing clones from the equation entirely.
The classic Spider-Man spun his first web in the pages of the Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962). Since that fateful, radioactive spider-bite, Peter’s boyish charms and quick wit have kept him a perennial favorite among comic book readers, in addition to TV and film audiences. Throughout all his trials and tribulations, including numerous team-ups with Deadpool, Peter keeps an upbeat attitude and faces down menaces like Doctor Octopus, Venom (when he’s evil, anyway), and the Jackal with equal parts verve and determination.
Currently, Spidey faces down the forces of evil with the Avengers (yet again) and in his own comic book saga. However, he has some web-friendly assistance from the Spider-Verse.
Second to only Peter Parker, Miles Morales skyrocketed to popularity after the launch of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe in Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 (2011). A popular teenage, Black-Hispanic wall-crawler, Miles was bitten by a Green Goblin formula-enhance spider and has most of the characteristics of Spider-Man, with a few bonus powers like invisibility and a stunning “venom blast.” After the death of the Ultimate Universe, during the Marvel’s Secret Wars in 2015, Miles crossed over into the Earth-616 universe by stowing away on a cross-dimensional time pod. He now swings his way around Earth-616, fighting alongside his sometimes mentor Peter Parker – who definitely appreciates some additional Spider-help.
Yet, Miles isn’t the only Spider-character to simultaneously thwip their way through the pages of Marvel.
Although technically a web-slinger from a parallel dimension, the Gwen Stacy from Earth-65 was gifted the same batch of powers as Marvel's Prime Peter Parker (who actually became the Lizard briefly before dying in the alternate realm). Created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez (based off a Dan Slott concept), Spider-Woman or Spider-Gwen, first launched her own brand of wall-crawling as part of the “Spider-Verse” spinoff, Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 (2014). Fighting crime in the alternate universe may expend most of her effort, but she still manages to bounce back and forth between dimensions on a semi-regular. Recently, she stopped by to help Kaine and Spidey with the Clone Conspiracy, as well as getting a visit from Miles in her own dimension.
And the legacies march on: Technically, Spider-Woman was the House of Ideas' attempt copyright a brand, beating other publishers to the name Spider-Woman. Beginning life in Marvel Spotlight #32 (1978), Jessica Drew grew to prominence rapidly before she was killed off (and brought back to life soon thereafter) and faded into the superhero haze. Later on, her title was co-opted by J. Jonah Jameson’s adopted daughter Mattie Franklin before Jessica reclaimed her identity and her powers once again, eventually becoming a fixture on the Avengers, a close friend to Jessica Jones and Carol Danvers, and even a single mother. These days, she’s retired from the Avenging business and works as a private eye, with the help of C-list villain the Porcupine and former Daily Bugleman Ben Urich.
Originally created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby character for Timely Comics’ Marvel Mystery Comics #13 in 1940, Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and John Buscema re-envisioned the Vision as a synthetic character in The Avengers #57 (1968). Hank Pym’s android “child” and nemesis Ultron initially built the red-skinned robot to destroy Pym and the Avengers. However, Vision decided to swapped sides, becoming one of the team’s longest serving and few “synthazoid” members – using his energy blasts, energy absorption, flight, and density-altering abilities to the team’s great benefit.
After the Scarlet Witch (a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff) rejoined the team, she and Vision fell in love and eventually married, and Wanda “gave birth” to twin boys. Unfortunately, the boys went missing, Wanda lost her mind, and their union split apart (not necessarily in that order). Ultimately, Vision’s time with Wanda lead him to create his own synthetic family. Family life may not have been the perfection he sought, but he wound up the single father of a superhero daughter and legacy character nevertheless.
Much like her father, Viv is a plucky synthetic humanoid, capable of flight, walking through walls, and firing intense blasts of energy from her person. Created by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez, Viv was constructed using aspects of her mother Virginia, modeled after Scarlet Witch, and father’s personalities. Following the tragedy which ended her family, she decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a superhero. Joining up with the newly-formed teen do-gooders, the Champions, she set out on a globetrotting mission to battle the forces of injustice. Along the way, she also decided to switch off her emotional core, but hopefully not before kissing Totally Awesome Hulk Amadeus Cho (for both their sakes).
Since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first introduced the world to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in The X-Men #1 (1963), the team has been a Marvel staple. Although the mutant heroes took a while to catch on with the public, they eventually made an indelible mark on pop culture and the world of comics. The original team consisted of Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman, Marvel Girl a.k.a. Jean Grey, and Professor X, as well as their classic nemesis (and later frenemy), Magneto. Symbolic banner-carriers for the Civil Rights Movement, the X-Men have struggled for mutant and human rights for over 50 years now, saving the planet from countless ruthless foes, including Mr. Sinister, Onslaught, and of course Apocalypse.
During the course of their struggles, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Professor X have all tragically been killed, though (some, multiple times). As a result, only a few members of the original team still exist – until recently, anyway.
"All-New" or Young X-Men
Mutants experienced a major falling out during the Avengers vs. X-Men event, thanks to the return of the Phoenix Force (boy, that thing's pesky). Possessed by the cosmic energy, five X-Men enacted martial law, resulting in the death of Professor X at a Phoenix-corrupted Cyclops’ hands, as well as a low-point in mutant-human relations. Disturbed by the darker, Scott Summers, Beast plucked the classic team from an alternate reality in All-New X-Men #1 (2013). After they’d been around long enough, they realized that reintegrating into their own time would prove difficult (they'd miss their smartphones, no doubt), and the younger versions, or time-displaced, team decided to stick around a little longer and help fix the future.
Their adventures continue in the pages of All-New X-Men, where they’re joined by Laura Kinney’s Wolverine, fire-and-ice mutant Oya, and Genesis, the younger, non-evil (thus far) version of Apocalypse.
Are there any coexisting Marvel legacy characters we missed, or any you feel don’t belong here? Let us know in the comments.