In honor of Father’s Day, I thought it might be nice to take a look at some of the finest – and not so fine – specimens of fatherhood in the comic universe. I chose five of each, in no particular order. So, onto the dads. Worst first!
He may be a seriously badass assassin but he’s never going to win any awards for father of the year. When his second son, Joseph, was kidnapped, Slade wouldn’t give up intel to the terrorist Jackal, even though his son’s life was at stake. His kid ended up a mute for that! Not to mention his love/hate relationship with his daughter, Rose, AKA Ravager. Between pumping her full of a serum that gave her his powers but rendered her insane and then shoving Kryptonite – which turned out to be a carcinogen, – in her eye socket, Slade pretty much deserved all the flak he later took from his kids, whom he really only treated like apprentices, never children.
This leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is such a bad father that he forced his children – Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch – into his service, which eventually led them to turn against him and team members, killing some in the process. And even then, he was unable to defeat his enemies. His god complex made his kids’ actions spiral out of control, causing a wake of chaos and destruction. Way to go there, buddy.
3) The Comedian
Imagine… your biological father is such because he raped your mom. Not to mention, since you didn’t know this, you ended up flirting with him… and he didn’t turn you down. Wow, winner! He’s the American Dream realized and yet, he once shot a woman in Vietnam because she was carrying his child. Truly, can a dad get any worse?
4) Green Arrow
Ollie is the quintessential absentee father. Oh he tried, sure. Taking Speedy as his ward was an honorable thing to do but, as if he’d lost interest in a new toy, he started to neglect him and poor Roy fell into drugs. Ollie’s reaction? Kick his ass and leave him to deal with the nasty addiction on his own. Thanks, Dad! Later on, Ollie would finally meet the son he had as the result of a one night stand. Ollie was there when Connor was born but didn’t stick around to see the kid grow up. By some act of fortune, Connor acquired his father’s archery skills anyway, lucky kid. Sadly, when Ollie found out that Connor was his son, he didn’t take it well and bailed once again. He managed to get himself killed soon after and Connor remained loyal and helpful, even though dear old dad was a bastard. Luckily that apple fell farther from the tree.
5) Batman (Who counts twice; as “Best” & “Worst”)
Now, I am hinging off of Bruce here as both a bad AND good father. On the one hand, you can view his adoption of the various Robins as a charity; a kind, fatherly thing to do for young orphaned boys. But on the other end of the spectrum, it was sort of selfish and he royally messed up their lives in various ways. When Dick outgrew Robin, he couldn’t hold a job and had a heck of a time just making it in life. Poor Jason managed to get himself bashed in the head via crowbar then blown to smithereens and then Tim was basically ignored and neglected his entire first year of being in the Robin role. All that said, Bruce still opened the door to superheroism for the boys. He gave them a home and food and money and endless training. And in his defense, he was there when it mattered (most of the time.)
The time-traveling son of Cyclops, Nathan Summers, is a rather dynamic character. With near infinite power, he developed a sort of savior complex and while performing good deeds, his friends and enemies felt he might use said powers and passion to one day take over the world. However, when the Mutant Messiah – Hope – was born, he became fiercely protective. The future of the mutant race rests in the hands of the baby and its protector, Cable. If it all works out, now that’s a good father.
3) Uncle Ben
Sure, he’s not really Peter Parker’s “father” but in the absence of a true dad, Ben fell into the father role rather well. With words of wisdom and even bequeathing Spidey his first microscope, Uncle Ben personifies the hero that children associate with a Dad. Though he died early on, his spirit and memory live on in Spider-Man’s accomplishments.
The thing that makes Wally one of the best dads is that above all else, he worries for the safety of his children (and wife, of course). For their sake, he brought them along during Infinite Crisis and he brought them along to battle the speed force, even though he took a hit in the process. Having them by his side, he knew they’d be safe but I think he also gains strength from them. Selflessness is key to being a great dad and Wally has it in spades.
1) Pa Kent
To me, this is your quintessential father: he’s loving and kind, teaches you life lessons and gives the kind of advice you need growing up, even if you are technically an alien. Really, he had one of the most important parenting roles in comics history: father to the most powerful man on earth, the savior of the world. I think his demeanor helped balance Superman and Clark Kent. And in all his power, Superman still turned to his old man, farmer and country folk.
Still Want More?
For more lists like, this visit our COMIC BOOK LISTS section for other articles like Top 10 Lamest DC Comics Villains, Top 10 Worst Marvel Superhero and Villain Costumes, our Top 10 tag and more!