Movies & TV / Columns

The Best Superhero Offspring

June 15, 2016 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Superman: Rebirth #1, Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1, Civil War II #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

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Last week we asked, “Is DC Making a Comeback?” Here’s what you all had to say:

Donald R. Maust: “I think bringing Wally back was a step in the right direction; but I hope that bringing the Watchmen characters back doesn’t mean that the DCU is going even more dark and gritty and grim than the new 52 ended up being. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for the darker stories; but as you might guess from my avatar pic, I like a bit of fun in my comic books now and again.”

mpw2012: “The key moment for me when DC lost it was the blue beetle murder prior to the new 52, you took the funniest character with a never say die attitude and a real connection with the fans and killed him off to make a buck, then you continued that trend with shock and awe events with poor writing that then made it so you really had no choice but to reboot… and that was not so good”

Bruce Wayne: “I am enjoying Rebirth so far, it has possibilities”

Cactus: “I haven’t been able to read any Rebirth titles because they have been sold out at the comics shops I go to every time I’ve been there”

The Whole F’n Truth: “The problem I have is that DC can’t just leave things alone. Watchmen was a good story, but does it have to be part of the DC Universe? For me no? What’s next, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen merge with this? Also did we need 2 Wally Wests or 3 Supermans?”

Marty Confetti: “I will wait to see how the stories pan out. Then I may pick up the graphic novels. But I have to admit it was unexpected to hear the Watchmen involved. It definitely has me intrigued to see what happens.”

Cami: “I’ve read a few of the Rebirth books, I even liked some of them. However I do not get who are they geared to; it took knowledge of at least three different DC continuities to even make sense of some of the stories.”

Newton Gimmick: “DiDo saying New 52 was still the biggest success they’ve ever had, is all that’s wrong with DC. New 52 was universally hated, nearly put DC out of business (okay maybe just way, waaaay down in sales) and is now basically being erased. Instead of saying, we screwed up and should have listened to the fans, it’s the old Vince McMahon, even when it’s a failure, pretend it’s a success stuff. This is particularly amusing because he’s saying all the while they’re trying to erase New 52.”

Crimson Cross: “I’ve always been a DC fan, but things from that company have been a let down with the “New 52″ and just not having interest on my end. I was a fan of these books (I, Vampire / Justice League Dark, Constantine, Red Hood and the Outlaws & Gotham by Midnight) and then they were either gone or under a new name and direction. The only current two series I read from DC are Batman Beyond and Earth 2 Society. I plan on continuing to read those two books and also my plans are to read the new Red Hood and the Outlaws, but overall DC really has let this long time fan down…”

Al Lobama: “The biggest disappointment with Rebirth, to me, has been the intention. Bringing back Wally, playing the Watchmen trump card, and trying to salvage the New 52 rather than starting completely fresh tells me that, instead of wanting to create new readers and bring new eyeballs to comics, their aim is merely to entice the existing niche audience of fans who gave up on DC when New 52, Convergence, and DCYou sucked to come back. Once again, they are catering to the aging fanboys/lifelong readers instead of drawing from the well of an untapped revenue stream by making new fans, and placating the current core fanbase is only going to get you back what you had before, which wasn’t anything to brag about even then.”

As always, thanks for the comments!

This week we tackle…

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Best Superhero Offspring!

With Father’s Day coming up I wanted to take a break from the usual debate over whatever mega-crossover Marvel or DC has going on and focus on something light: Superhero offspring!

It’s a pretty safe bet that the first names that pop in your mind are Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. For good reason. While their famous lineage might have recently been retconned, for many years, and probably in the minds of casual fans, they were the children of Magneto and made a very powerful family unit.

I wanted to touch on some of the more well known kids out there. And before I jump into it, I know there is something like 200+ children of superheroes. I’m not going to name them all and I’m not going to list someone obscure like Aliyah Bishop (Daughter of Bishop and Deathbird) or too out of mainstream comic book reality like Ariana McKenzie (Daughter of Namor and Invisible Girl).

Yes, May Parker, AKA Spider-Girl, started out in MC2 but quickly gained popularity and a worthy addition to this list. She was her own person but kept a lot of the charm and likeability.

The Young Avengers have given us a load of entries to the list. We have Wiccan (Scarlet Witch and the Vision), Patriot (Isaiah Bradley), and Hulkling (Captain Marvel or Mar-Vell). I’ll admit that I’ve been lax in keeping tabs on the Young Avengers but don’t be surprised if they get stronger ties into the comic universe. Having a connection to the superheroes who’ve come before gives them an edge and opens up doors for writers.

Now we shift focus back to the mutant corner of Marvel. It can get a little confusing. For years Rachel Summers was the poster child for dysfunctional family. Cyclops/Scott Summers was her alternate reality father and Jean Grey was her alternate reality mother. Oh, and years later we find out that Cable is her alternate reality half-brother. Rachel was born in a dystopian future, trained as a “hound” to hunt down mutants, and struggled to find out who she was. For years she was written up-and-down, becoming someone that was more trouble than she was worth. Although I did enjoy her time in Excalibur.

Cable carried on the tradition of convoluted continuity. The son of Scott Summers/Cyclops and a clone of Jean Grey who was sent to the future after becoming infected with the techno-organic virus. He returns to the present day, as an adult, and…wow. I forgot how deep his origins got.

And I’m not going to even touch how Nate Grey fits in the mix. And I really don’t want to delve into Legion, the mutant son of Professor Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. He was one of those characters who didn’t seem very well thought out and was more of a mcguffin.

While the Fantastic Four has seen better days, Marvel’s First Family was always about…family. Sadly, I never really connected with Franklin and Valeria Richards. An all-powerful character is tough to keep interesting and when you transfer those powers to a child, it can get annoying. Such was the case with Franklin. They never seemed to know what to do with him and he just became a story crutch. His powers would come and go, he’d get older then younger, and was generally a mess. His sister wasn’t much better. Originally she die when Sue Storm had a miscarriage but was saved by Franklin’s reality altering powers. If things weren’t weird enough, she was raised by an alternate reality Doctor Doom or, as she called him, Uncle Doom.

While DC doesn’t have a huge number of popular kids, one of my favorite is Damian Wayne or Robin! Alive or dead, a character that I was set on hating became one of my favorite ones to read.

From Batman to Wolverine. I can only imagine what kind of dad Logan can be but it seems the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree with Daken. I’ve had my issues with Daken and felt his character is a little too cliche. If I was really pushing clone kids, X-23 would easily take his place. Like she does in the comics.

Now someone I feel is a bit underrated is Skaar. Anyone who comes from the Hulk is bound to have issues. Son of the Hulk and the extraterrestrial Caiera, he was conceived during the Planet Hulk storyline. With the right writer, Skaar could be a force to be reckoned with.

If I had to pick two examples of superhero kids done right I would point to Malcolm Dragon and Invincible. Malcolm is the son of the Savage Dragon. You can thank the steady and consistent hand of creator Erik Larsen. I’ll use this space to say that if you aren’t reading Savage Dragon, you’re really missing out on what makes comics fun.

Invincible or Mark Grayson is another one who benefited from having a well though out and executed creative team. Yes, he had his own book where his superhero father, Omni-Man, was introduced but that little hook gave his story life and character. Over the years, I’ve found Invincible to be one of the more sure bets in delivering an entertaining read. I admit that I pick up the collected editions as the story reads better, at least to me, that way. When it comes to superhero offspring, Invincible gets my #1.

Alright, let me know who I missed and who your favorite is. Just please, no Adam X.

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That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!