Since it’s Father’s Day today, and with the recently released Pixar movie Incredibles 2 playing up Mr Incredible as a stay-home dad, we thought we’d focus on some of the best-known superheroes in comics who also happen to be fathers, have offspring with powers as well, and how they cope with that.
It’s a list that is quite extensive, to be honest, and if we were to cover all the comic book characters who are fathers here, we’d take up the next five issues of Star2.
So we’ve decided to limit the list to 10 characters who are not only well-known superheroes, but also display some paternal instincts as well.
Wait a minute, when did Spider-Man become a father, you say? Well, in an alternate reality created by the Marvel universe-changing Secret Wars event, there was a reality in which Peter and Mary Jane actually got married and had a daughter named Annie.
After a reasonably successful mini tie-in Secret Wars series, the family got its own ongoing title, and it’s been consistently one of Marvel’s better recent books.
In it, Peter is not the only one with spider powers. Annie has inherited his powers as well, and even has a nifty new power – she gets “visions” of the near future that she has no control over. Think of it as a heightened spider-sense, but in live 3D.
Peter also designed a suit that allows MJ to siphon off some of his powers so she can fight crime as Spinneret, while Annie goes by the name of Spiderling.
The current series is not just about their crime-fighting but also about how the family bonds in and out of costume, and how Peter copes as both Spider-Man and Spider-Dad.
To be fair, he seems to be doing pretty well – the second volume of the series sees Spiderling growing up into a pretty well-adjusted tween.
He may not admit it, but Bruce Wayne is actually a pretty decent parent, if you ignore the fact that both his son Damian and foster son Dick Grayson dressed up in colourful costumes and fought crime alongside him as Robins.
Having grown up an orphan himself (Alfred is probably the closest he has to a father figure), Bruce is still figuring out this daddy business, and to his credit, he does have Damian’s best interests at heart. After all, he sent him to train with Superman’s son, Jonathan.
Speaking of Superman, after an ill-fated attempt to reboot its entire universe with the New 52 and a brash new young Man of Steel in 2011, DC Comics brought back the original Superman in 2015’s Convergence and the subsequent Rebirth reboot, along with his family: Lois Lane and son, Jonathan!
Of all the fathers featured in this list, Clark is arguably the most responsible one – he makes sure his son gets as much of his love and attention as he can, and also tries to impart all his values and principles to Jon through his actions and words.
Sure, he also sent him to train with Batman and Robin, but at least the two kids became best friends as a result, just like their parents. Oh, and the less said about his own father, Jor-El, the better.
As the leader of the Fantastic Four and one of the smartest men in the world, Reed Richards always has a lot on his plate. So it’s no surprise that sometimes he just can’t seem to find time to be there for his children, Franklin and Valerie Richards.
It doesn’t help matters when your son has the mutant ability to warp reality, making him a target of almost every other supervillain out there. In fact, Reed even had to shut down Franklin’s mind at one point to keep him out of Annihilus’ clutches.
And don’t get us started on the whole “letting Dr Doom name their daughter and then letting her stay in Latveria with him” part.
Still, with trouble and crisis constantly on the Baxter Building’s doorstep, it’s to Reed’s credit that he does try his level best to be a good father.
Logan’s the best at what he does, and what he does best … isn’t parenting. He may not have settled down to start a family, but he does have a son (Daken) and a “daughter” in Laura Kinney aka X-23 aka the All-New Wolverine.
Of the two, he has probably been the most “fatherly” to Laura, arguably because she doesn’t try to kill him as often as Daken does.
The Ultimate version of Wolverine also had a son named Jimmy Hudson, who is currently running around in the prime Marvel universe as well.
The Summers family tree is one of the most convoluted in comic book history, made even more complicated by time travel, cloning, alternate realities, the Phoenix Force, and a host of other insane story-lines.
At the heart of it all, of course, is Scott Summers, the mutant known as Cyclops, one of the original X-Men along with Jean Grey aka Marvel Girl aka Phoenix, who he married in the 1980s.
Now hang on, because this is where it gets confusing. Jean died, and Scott married a clone of her called Madelyne Pryor and they had a baby named Nate.
Then Apocalypse showed up and injected Nate with a techno-organic virus, and they were forced to send him into the future to save him. There, he grew up to become the formidable time-travelling warrior named Cable.
Scott and Jean later showed up in that future and raised Nate under the names Slymm and Redd. Did he do a good job? Well, Cable at least didn’t grow up to become a supervillain.
One is a former criminal turned hero with impenetrable skin. The other is a foul-mouthed, perpetually drunk private investigator with superpowers.
Together, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones make up the most unlikely couple in Marvel, so when it was announced that they would be having a daughter named Danielle, we all wondered what sort of parents they would be.
All things considered, things have actually been going pretty well for the Cage family.
While there have been some close calls, like Danielle getting kidnapped during Secret Invasion by a Skrull posing as Jarvis, and then being mind-possessed by the Purple Man in the recent Jessica Jones series, this has only made the family’s bond stronger.
Luke in particular, has proven himself to be quite a decent dad, though his bedtime storytelling could use some work.
Anyway, he and Jessica must have done something right, because Danielle actually grows up to take up the mantle of Captain America in the future!
How do you make sure your kids are safe when you’re out fighting crime and supervillains? Well, one way to do it is to take them along with you!
Having The Flash (well, one of them anyway) as their father means that twins Jae and Iris West also have a connection to the Speed Force, and with that in mind (as well as for a dozen other reasons that are too many to list here), Wally decides to teach them how to control and use their powers.
Wait, what? Isn’t Magneto a supervillain? Well, yes, but he has since switched over to the X-Men’s side in recent years, in many instances alongside his children, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Polaris.
Of course, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver did serve alongside him in the Evil Brotherhood Of Mutants back in the 1960s, but have since become Avengers and heroes in their own right. Ditto Polaris, who inherited her father’s magnetic powers.
If you want to see how they might have functioned as a proper family unit, however, you’ll have to go read House Of M, in which “House of Magnus” is royalty in an alternate reality where mutants rule over humans.
Everything Scott Lang does, he does with his daughter Cassie in mind. Heck, she’s the reason he became Ant-Man in the first place.
When she became seriously ill, he sought the help of Dr Erica Sondheim who was unfortunately kidnapped by Darren Cross.
Desperate to save his daughter, he broke into Hank Pym’s home and stole his Ant-Man suit, using it to rescue the doctor.
After the doctor saved Cassie’s life, he approached Pym to return the suit and turn himself in, but Pym decided to let him keep it and continue his legacy as Ant-Man.