Daddy Issues: Marvel's Most Twisted Father-Son Dynamics

<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/graemem>Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>Marvel's first big 2013 event, <i>Age of Ultron</i>, allows the Avengers' favorite metallic nemesis his greatest chance yet to tell his creator Hank Pym that he's going to enslave humanity just to point out that Pym is, in fact, not the boss of him. <p>As writer Brian Michael Bendis <a href="http://blog.newsarama.com/2012/11/19/marvel-next-big-thing-age-of-ultron-revealed-live/">has pointed out</a>, however, Ultron is far from the only Marvel character with Daddy issues. <p>Here are ten quasi-Oedipal conflicts from the House of Ideas to prove it. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>

WARLOCK/MAGUS

<p>When the shape-changing techno-organic alien first appeared in <i>The New Mutants</i>, he was on the run from his father, the ruler of his race known only as the Magus, having rejected the tradition of surviving through sucking the life force out of other beings. It wasn't too long before father found son - despite the team fleeing through space and time to try and get away - and the two finally came into conflict for the first time (but not the last), ending when the Magus was sent back into space to await the inevitable rematch.

MR. FANTASTIC/NATHANIEL RICHARDS

<p>Considering the post-cosmic ray adventures of Marvel's first family, it's hardly surprising that Reed Richards' other relatives share a somewhat unusual background. While Reed investigating traveling through space, his father did the same thing with time, disappearing while his son was a child to a far future where he rebuilt humanity (as you do) before returning to the present day with a simple aim: To remove his own grandson from the timeline for the good of mankind. <p>As you might expect, Reed didn't take too kindly to the prospect of losing his son to his father, and the inevitable sparks flew.

SKAAR/THE HULK

<p>It's one thing to have an absent father, but when said father is (a) a gamma-irradiated monster and (b) partially responsible for the death of your mother, things get a little more complicated. <p>Given those facts, in fact, can anyone really blame Skaar for traveling to Earth with the intent to kill the Hulk? <p>Things didn't really work out for him that way, of course - to the benefit of those of us who love Mark Waid and Lenil Yu's first <i>Hulk</i> issue - but the two did eventually clash, and Skaar realized that maybe his dad wasn't <i>all</i> bad, after all, with the father and son making up soon afterwards. <p>Hulk smush.

BARON ZEMO/BARON ZEMO

<p>A slightly different dynamic surrounds the rivalry between the two Baron Zemos, with son Helmut being essentially mentally tortured by his father Heinrich's legacy from beyond the grave and seeking to outdo him even as he tried to complete his father's dream of destroying Captain America once and for all. <p>Thanks to the help of time travel, however, the two eventually did meet face-to-face as Helmut traveled through time meeting various earlier Zemos, and as you might expect from two such alpha male Nazis, it ended in an outright fight. <p>Still, at least that fight gave Helmut the impetus to reclaim the Baron title and go after the Winter Soldier and Hawkeye, so at least some good came of it...

KRISTOFF VERNARD/DOCTOR VICTOR VON DOOM

Another case of a son trying to outdo his father, Kristoff's Oedipal complex was somewhat complicated by the fact that, thanks to your everyday brainwashing mishap, he actually believed that he was the real Doctor Doom, and that his father - the <i>real</i> real Doctor Doom - was an impostor. <p>To make matters even more complicated, Kristoff wasn't even Doom's real son in the first place. As you might expect, even when the brainwashing wore off, Kristoff wasn't entirely happy about the way things went down, and swore revenge on Doom nonetheless. <p>The conflict continues...

LEGION/PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER

Add Professor X to the list of Marvel's terrible fathers, with his son David being raised halfway across the world never meeting his father until he's grown up and become an Omega level mutant capable of destroying the world. <p>Worse yet, even after that (admittedly problematic) first meeting, David was sent to Muir Isle to stay, separate from his father yet again. What was the problem? Did Xavier think that his son would travel back in time and accidentally change reality or something? What was the likelihood of that happening? <p>Oh, <a href="http://marvel.wikia.com/X-Men_Vol_2_41">wait</a>... <p>Never mind.

THE SCARLET WITCH/MAGNETO

Okay, we're going to make one gender-exception for this one... <p>The revelation that Magneto was the father of both Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch is up there with the <i>Star Wars</i> reveal about Darth, Luke and Leia as an example of retconning that makes earlier stories kind of awkward. So... Magneto pretty much tortured his own daughter to force her to work for him, and even after he discovered the truth about their relationship, still took advantage of her whenever he deemed necessary (See: <i>House of M</i>)? <p>Someone definitely doesn't deserve that Dad of The Year mug. <p>Even if Wanda didn't want to take her dad down to support truth and justice, you'd forgive her for going after him out of revenge for bad parenting.

CABLE/CYCLOPS

"Hey, Cyclops! Your son is sick with an alien virus! What're you going to do to make sure he gets better?" <p>"Well, I was thinking of just sending him to the future and hoping for the best. I mean, what's the worst that could happen?" <p>Yes, years before Cyclops became known for making bad decisions and pissing off countless fans with his actions, he was already displaying extremely poor judgment and laying the groundwork for Cable's rise to prominence within the X-Men franchise. <p>Given the actions that led to Cable's "creation" within the Marvel Universe, the surprise isn't that he was gruff, no nonsense and hardly a fan of Cyclops when he first appeared in our timeline, but that he didn't just repeatedly punch Cyke in the face every time the two met, just for being a crappy dad.

THOR/ODIN

The most mixed-up father/son dynamic in the entire Marvel Universe, Thor and Odin's dynamic apparently depends on whether either one (or both) is spoiling for a fight at that particular moment. <p>Both apparently are fans of "tough love," especially if that means that they can fight (either verbally or physically) as a way to vent their frustrations at each other and then end up worshipping each other in the immediate aftermath. <p>The relationship between Thor and Odin is so changeable that you have to wonder if both Thor and Odin find themselves envying Loki just a little bit. After all, even as the Trickster God, at least everyone knows where they stand with him.

SPIDER-MAN/THE GREEN GOBLIN

You don't have to be actual father-and-son to have daddy issues, as Peter Parker and Norman Osborn continually demonstrate. <p>For awhile, Peter was in many ways the son Norman always wanted - smart, studious, dedicated - while Norman offered the kind of patriarchal role model that he'd lacked since the death of Uncle Ben... and then that whole "One of them is a downtrodden superhero, the other a psychopathic murderer" thing came between them, and it's never been the same since. <p>Every single struggle since then has been tinged with mutual heartbreak as much as the disgust either participant has for his opposite number. If only things had worked out differently...

Daddy Issues: Marvel's Most Twisted Father-Son Dynamics

Date: 21 November 2012 Time: 08:55 PM ET