In the sprawling world of comic books, it should come as no surprise that many characters are related. Over the years, superheroes marry superheroes and have super-babies, but other relatives often crawl out of the woodwork to build interesting storylines. A lot of these connections are well-known; Superman and his Kryptonian family has expanded hugely over the years, but we all know that the Super-fam are related. They even wear the symbol of the House of El on their collective chests, just in case you weren’t sure. Other relationships have become well-known through recent superhero movies. Since the huge success of the Avengers franchise, Thor and Loki have become poster boys for sibling rivalry, and CW’s Arrowverse has introduced a whole new generation of fans to some of DC’s favorite families.
Other relationships might still take you by surprise, though. Some of these have shown up on-screen before, and we’re looking forward to seeing more make it into live-action in future, but many will never make the leap from the pages of the comics. Which are you most excited to see on the big screen?
15 Batman and Owlman
There are multiple instances of comic book characters being “related” via the magic of comic books and alternate universes, but this is one of our favorite examples. On the Antimatter Earth, Bruce Wayne has a very different history. Here, Thomas Wayne had two sons, Bruce and Thomas Wayne Junior. Rather than both Thomas and Martha dying at the hands of a criminal, Bruce and Martha die at the hands of a crooked cop, so that Batman is never created. Instead, Thomas Wayne Jr becomes Owlman, a twisted version of Batman who uses a drug to enhance his intelligence and uses his suits and gadgets to pursue a life of crime. Owlman’s origins have been retconned more than once, and the character’s motivation has changed along with his origins, but at one point, little Bruce had a brother! Although this character exists in an alternate universe, he is technically still the brother of Bruce Wayne, which nets him last place on our list!
14 Wolverine and Sabretooth
These two appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but given the massively negative response to the film, its story has been brushed under the rug (unless you are talking about bad superhero movies, of course!). Better known as arch-enemies, Wolverine and Sabretooth are two sides of the same coin; both long-lived, with a powerful healing factor and enhanced “animal” instincts, sense of smell, and agility.
Although Wolverine battles to keep his animal side under control, Sabretooth glories in his, leaving death and destruction in his wake. The similarities between the two were eventually revealed to have a genetic component in the cinematic universe – Wolverine and Sabretooth are half-brothers. According to the film, the two grew up on the same estate in the 1800s, with Wolverine raised as the son of John Howlett although he was actually the son of the groundskeeper (who had an affair with Howlett’s wife). The groundskeeper had another son, Dog, and the two started their lives as friends before tragedy split them apart. In the film (and not the comics), “Dog” is Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth, making the two enemies estranged brothers.
13 Dazzler and Mortis
Performer and reluctant superhero Dazzler has a little-known sister, Mortis, who is the polar opposite of her shining sibling. While Dazzler has the ability to transform sound into light (and use it in a huge variety of ways), Mortis has the power to disintegrate any organic matter – one creates brightness, and one destroys life. The two dress to reflect this, with Dazzler preferring light-reflective stage suits and Mortis wearing skin-tight black outfits – they are darkness and light personified, at times.
The sisters are related through their mother, with Dazzler the daughter of a judge who raised her when her mother abandoned them while Alison (Dazzler) was still a child. After she left, Dazzler’s mother began a relationship with a man named Nicholas Brown, who is Mortis’s father. He was also a violent man, and his abusive behavior drove the girls’ mother to alcohol and drug abuse. Although the two girls initially cared for each other when they first discovered they were related, Mortis soon chose darkness, rather than Dazzler’s light, and they became enemies.
12 The Flash Family: The Flash, Kid Flash, The Tornado Twins, Impulse, and XS
Another vast comic book dynasty is the one attached to the Speed Force: The Flash Family. Many of the connections here are being explored in the CW series, but the show has made some alterations to the original comic book connections. Most people know that in the comics, Barry Allen and Iris West are married, and that Wally West is a relative of Iris (in the show, she is his brother, whereas in the comics she is his nephew).
The lesser-known branches of the family tree include both Barry and Iris’s children and grandchildren, and Wally’s children, all of whom are speedsters in their own right. Barry and Iris had twins, a boy and a girl, named Dawn and Don (which they must have loved, growing up!). The two became known as the Tornado Twins, and each had a child of their own. Don and Melonie Thawne have Bart Allen, aka Impulse (he has also gone by Kid Flash). Dawne and Jeven Ognats have Jenni Ognats (aka XS). On Iris’s side of the family, Wally West married Linda Park, and they also had twins (apparently that runs in the family, as well as super-speed), Iris and Jai. Both Iris and Jai aged at an accelerated rate, and have slightly different powers. Iris (aka Impulse and Kid Flash, just to confuse things) can vibrate through solid objects, while Jai had the ability to accelerate his own muscle growth.
11 Artemis, Cheshire and Sportsmaster
Well-known from the animated series Young Justice, Artemis and Sportsmaster have fought each other in the past, although in the comics, both are villains. Crusher Crock was an elite athlete, but one without any morals. Willing to do anything to win, he eventually crippled an opponent, and was banned from professional sports. Taking this rejection hard, he turned to crime as the athletic Sportsmaster, later becoming a member of the Injustice Society. There, he met Huntress (aka Tigress) and the two fell in love and had a daughter – who they named Artemis.
In the comics, Artemis follows in her parents’ footsteps, a criminal and long-time member of the Injustice Society. In Young Justice, however, Sportsmaster’s daughter is a hero. An early member of the team, she posed as Green Arrow’s niece to hide her criminal roots. In this series, Sportsmaster also has a second daughter, Cheshire, who is Artemis’s sister (although the two characters are not related in the comics).
10 Mystique’s Children: Nightcrawler and Graydon Creed
Mystique has become a huge part of Fox’s X-Men universe, spending much of her time at the head of the X-Men – but in the comics, she is a very different character. A long-lived shapeshifter, she is rarely part of the X-Men, more commonly a mutant terrorist working with the Brotherhood. She also has multiple children, although she abandoned both of her biological children at a young age, leaving them to grow up unaware of their parentage. S
he has two sons, one a mutant (Nightcrawler) and the other a mutant-hating human (Graydon Creed). Nightcrawler is the son of Mystique and Azazel. Mystique conceived Nightcrawler while married to a man named Christian Wagner. After learning that Christian had been unfaithful, Mystique used her abilities to sleep with multiple different men in an attempt to become pregnant, including Azazel. When her son was born blue, however, she was chased away by the locals who believed her son was a demon, and he was saved by his father to be raised by another family. Mystique also has a human son with Sabretooth, who she gave up for adoption as a baby. Although she watched him grow from afar, it became apparent that he had no powers, and when Graydon Creed discovered that the parents who abandoned him were mutants, he developed a deep hatred for mutantkind.
9 Magneto’s Brood: Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Polaris, Wiccan, Speed and Luna
Professor X’s nemesis, Magneto, has a surprisingly sprawling brood of children – all of them mutants. His two best-known children are the twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (who have both appeared in the MCU, with Quicksilver also appearing in Fox’s X-Men franchise). The twins are the children of Magneto and a gypsy woman named Magda, but were raised by another gypsy couple for most of their lives before discovering their true parentage. However, these are not Magneto’s only children. He also had an affair with a married woman (Suzanna), who gave birth to a girl that she named Lorna. When Lorna’s mutant abilities manifested (magnetism, like her father), it was in a plane with her parents – and the resulting crash killed both her mother and her mother’s husband. Her memories re-written at Magneto’s request, she spent many years unaware of her latent powers before coming into them and joining the X-Men.
Magneto also has several grandchildren (even if he hardly acts like a grandfather); Wiccan, Speed and Luna. Wiccan and Speed are Scarlet Witch’s children reincarnated and raised by other families, while Luna is the daughter of Quicksilver and Crystal. Magneto also has a son with Rogue in the alternate "Age of Apocalypse" universe – named Charles, after Charles Xavier.
8 Colossus and Magick
The well-known Russian mutant, Colossus (who has appeared in many of the Fox films, including the recent smash hit Deadpool) is by far the best-known of the Rasputin children, but he is not the only one. Colossus had a close relationship with his younger sister, Illyana, and spent much of his life trying to protect her. However, he was unable to do this, and Illyana was transported to a dimension of Hell known as Limbo – where she trained to become a powerful sorceress. Although she eventually returned to the X-Men, she was forever changed and had become Magick. Colossus and Magick have another sibling, Mikhail, a cosmonaut who was reported as killed on a space mission when Piotr and Illyana were still young. However, his powers had actually saved him, and Mikhail spent many years in an alternate dimension before returning to Earth to be reunited with his siblings.
Colossus also has a son, Peter, whose mother is a native of the Savage Lands named Nereel. Although Peter has yet to display any powers, it is presumed that he may have inherited some from his father.
7 Professor X, Juggernaut and Cassandra Nova
The wheelchair-bound leader of the X-Men, Professor X, doesn’t speak much about his past or his family, but he does have a step-brother who plays a major part in the X-Men universe: Juggernaut, and a sister, Cassandra Nova. A super-strong being bent on revenge, Juggernaut has always hated Charles Xavier, starting when the two were children. Charles’s father, Brian Xavier, was a nuclear researcher who was killed in a lab accident. His partner, Kurt Marko, survived and married Brian’s widow, becoming Charles’s stepfather. Kurt’s son, Cain, became part of this new family – but Kurt made no secret of his preference for his step-son Charles, which drove a wedge between the two boys. When Cain later gained the power of the Gem of Cyttorak, all he could think of was his desire for revenge against his step-brother.
Professor X’s second sibling, Cassandra Nova, is often referred to as his twin – but it is more accurate to say that she is one of the Mummundrai. These are beings of pure energy that must be battled in the womb before birth. However, Charles’s extreme mental power allowed Cassandra to create a body for herself – twice. Once, in the womb, where an unborn Charles was able to defeat her, and again later in life, when she re-appeared as a bald woman with a passionate hatred for Charles.
6 Ocean Master and Aquaman
Aquaman is set to make his big-screen solo debut in 2018 (although we did get a brief glimpse of him already in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), and we might just see his half-brother Ocean Master at the same time. Ocean Master is one of Aquaman’s best-known foes, routinely attempting to dethrone him and take over as the ruler of Atlantis. Ocean Master’s origin story has been retconned several times, but in each instance, he is Aquaman’s half-brother; it is his jealousy of Aquaman and his own connection to the throne of Atlantis that fuels his attempts to rule in Aquaman’s place.
Originally, Aquaman and Ocean Master shared a father in Tom Curry. While Aquaman was half-Atlantean, Ocean Master was the son of a human woman, and had no powers (but did make a special suit to allow him to live underwater). Post-Crisis, this was changed so that neither man was the biological son of Arthur Curry. Aquaman was adopted, the son of the wizard Atlan. Ocean Master was also retconned to become a son of Atlan and an unnamed woman, and not connected to Tom Curry. Finally, in the New 52, Aquaman and Ocean Master’s connection became maternal, with both being sons of Atlanna. Ocean Master became an Atlantean, son of Atlanna and a member of the Atlantean Guard.
5 Psylocke and Captain Britain
Psylocke has recently made her big-screen debut in X-Men: Apocalypse, but it’s an appearance that revealed nothing about her complicated backstory; which includes two brothers. Born to James Braddock, a hero from another dimension, Betsy (who would become Psylocke) is the twin sister to Brian Braddock (aka Captain Britain). The two were very close in their early lives, although they lost touch at various times over the years when Brian was adventuring in other countries (and dimensions) as Captain Britain. However, the two still maintained a relationship, and Betsy even took over as Captain Britain at one point, when Brian took a (short-lived) retirement.
The twins also have a much older sibling, Jaime Braddock, who was initially a loving older brother to them, but who has since lost his sanity and become a dangerous mutant capable of warping reality itself. It’s unlikely that we would see either of the Braddock brothers in the X-Men universe on-screen, but if the movies decide to explore Psylocke’s backstory in the future, they might just make an appearance.
4 The Summers Family: Cyclops, Havok, Vulcan, Cable, Stryfe, and X-Man
The golden couple of the X-Men, Scott Summers and Jean Grey, have a complex family where time travel and alternate universes have created a sprawling family tree where children can even appear older than their parents. Scott Summers (aka Cyclops) has two brothers, Havok and Vulcan. Scott and Alex (Havok) spent some of their childhood together before their parents were lost in a plane crash, at which point they were separated, and grew up apart. The Summers boys have a third brother, Vulcan, who was raised by the Shi’ar and spent much of his life in space (although he has come to Earth, and even joined the X-Men in the past).
Scott Summers also has several children, including Cable and Stryfe, both of whom appear older than their parents. Cable is the son of Scott Summers and Madelyne Prior – a clone of Jean Grey. As a baby, Cable is rescued from Madelyne by Scott and Jean, but is infected with a techno-organic virus and sent to the future to save his life. Later, he returns to the present, a much older man who is capable of time travel. He also has a clone, Stryfe, who was created by Apocalypse, and can also time travel. As well as these displaced children, Jean and Scott have two children from alternate timelines; Rachel Grey and Nathanial Grey, although Nathanial has crossed over into the main universe as X-Man.
3 Professor X and Legion
You may not be familiar with Legion right now, but as the central figure in a new TV series coming to FX early next year, he will undoubtedly become much better known very soon. A mutant with a vast array of powers, Legion would be nigh-unstoppable… if he were sane. However, after watching the brutal murder of his step-father as a young child, Legion’s mind is splintered, and he has multiple personalities, each one controlling different aspects of his mutant abilities.
His mother was Gabrielle Haller, a holocaust survivor who met Charles Xavier in Isreal. The two quickly fell in love, and Legion was born – although Professor Xavier didn’t know that he had a son for many years. Although he was told of Legion’s existence when his son was a teenager, by that time Legion’s mind was irreversibly damaged. Professor X has attempted to help his son in many ways, and even welcomed him into the X-Men in the past, but he is uncontrollable at times, and has had to fight the X-Men when his more violent personas take the wheel.
2 Hulkling and Captain Marvel
The casual comic book fan could be forgiven for assuming that Hulking is somehow related to the Hulk – after all, they are both green, super-strong, and capable of growing in size. However, although Hulkling may have named himself after the Hulk, he is no relation. He is, however, related to Captain Marvel. Not Carol Danvers, but the original Captain Marvel (also known as Captain Mar-vell), a Kree who lived on Earth disguised as a human (and with a superhero alter-ego).
Captain Marvel is also Hulkling’s father, making him half-Kree, while his mother is Anelle, the daughter of the Skrull Emperors. His conception was part of a plan to attempt to unite the two warring races by creating a child who could rule both and raising him in secret. Half Kree, half Skrull, Hulkling was raised on Earth as human, and although he eventually found out about his alien heritage, he chose to stay on Earth with the Young Avengers.
1 Batman and Batwoman
It’s generally accepted that Bruce Wayne had no close relatives after the tragic death of his parents, which is why he was raised alone, by Alfred. However, the current Batwoman, Kate Kane, is actually Batman’s cousin (although neither know it). We do know that Batwoman is a cousin to Flamebird (aka Hawkfire, aka Pre-Crisis Batgirl), and that Flamebird is the niece of Kathy Kane, the original Batwoman.
The Kane family, like the Waynes, are a rich and powerful Gotham family, and the two intermarried when Martha Kane married Thomas Wayne, to become Martha Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s mother. Martha’s brother, Nathan, married Kathy – the original Batwoman. This means that although we do not know exactly where Kate Kane fits into the Kane family, we know that she is a relative, and therefore, a relative to Bruce by marriage. All of which makes us wonder where the Kane family was when an 8-year-old Bruce was orphaned…
What other superheroes are related? Let us know in the comments!