Superhero Fathers: Ranking the Top 5

Don’t Mess With Dad

Dedicated to George Bounacos, the superhero who got me into writing to begin with.

Darth Vader: “Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny. Join me, and together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son.”

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Fatherhood is one of the hardest things in the world. Any hero can fight crime or help others, but raising a child that doesn’t know 1/100th of what they need to be a successful adult is no easy feat.

Writers struggle with superheroes being fathers. A child automatically ages the character, moreso if they appear to be a teenager or adult. Many think that fatherhood risks the hero becoming too old in the audience’s eyes. Despite that problem, fatherhood expands the potential plots immeasurably. So who are the Top 5 Superhero Fathers? Let’s find out.

#5 Aquaman

Played By: Jason Momoa, John DiMaggio 

[Aquaman has returned with his son from a kidnapping]
Mera:My love, you’re safe!”
Aquaman:And so is our son.”
Mera: [sees his arm wrapped in a bloody blanket] “Your hand…!”
Aquaman:Where. Is. Orm?”

Justice League “The Enemy Below” (Season 1, Episode 6)

Superhero monarchs are the one archetype where parenthood should be expected. Everyone knows the ruler needs an heir to stave off power vacuums when they die. Of course, keeping the heir safe is a full-time job for this aquatic superhero father.

Arthur Curry is the half-human king of Atlantis. He began fighting nautical crime and was dubbed Aquaman by surface dwellers. Aquaman helped create the Justice League, ruled over the Seven Seas, and welcomed an heir named Arthur Jr. Unfortunately, there was not a happily ever after on his horizon.

Aquaman’s archnemesis, Black Manta, kidnapped Arthur Jr. and imprisoned the water-breathing infant in a death trap filling with air. Black Manta forced Aquaman and Aqualad to fight each other to save Arthur. They eventually outsmarted Manta and forced him to flee, but it was too late. Arthur Jr. had suffocated.

The strangest thing is that Arthur Jr.’s death was never undone. He’s been zombified a few times, but most stories write him as alive, long-dead, or non-existent. Aquaman finally got a chance to save his son in the Justice League cartoon, where he cut off his own hand to free him from the death trap. That sacrifice saved Arthur Jr. and single-handedly erased most of the “Aquaman sucks” opinions that fans had.

Want more Aquaman? His backstory is right here.

#4 Superhero Father: Wolverine

Played By: Hugh Jackman, Cal Dodd, Steve Blum, others

[Wolverine is being briefed on X-23]
Dr. Risman:When she was twelve, they put her through the Weapon X process.”
Wolverine:ENOUGH! She’s a child, not a weapon! How do you sleep at night?”
Dr. Risman:I don’t.”

X-Men: Evolution “X-23” (Season 3, Episode 11)

Immortals rack up children like they’re going out of style. One night of passion with a charming lass and before you know it, there’s another one running about. It’s difficult to keep track of them, but this superhero father tried.

Wolverine was born in the late 1800’s. He discovered that he has bone claws, heightened senses, and the ability to heal. He traveled across the world, often falling in love with beautiful women, and left many children in his wake. Some were killed by his archnemesis Sabretooth, others he kept his distance from to protect them.

One of Wolverine’s abandoned sons came back to haunt him. A Japanese child named Akihiro was bullied for his bestial, half-Caucasian features. His tormentors named him Daken, a slur meaning mongrel. Reclaiming the insult as his codename, Daken has tried many times to kill Wolverine.

If biological children weren’t enough, Wolverine also has many clones. X-23 was the only success of the cloning project and initially wanted to kill him as well. She eventually mellowed, becoming Logan’s adopted daughter and successor as Wolverine. X-23 also has her own clone sister called Honey Badger. Wolverine cares for his daughters, but trusts them to look after each other.

Now that you know the kids, check out Papa Wolverine’s backstory.

#3 Odin

Played By: Anthony Hopkins, Clancy Brown

Odin: “How better for a god to die, Surtur of Muspelheim, than facing fearful odds? And when better to die than with a man’s sons beside him! FOR ASGARD!

Thor #353 (1984)

Fatherhood is a man’s ultimate test. There’s no way to really prepare for the challenges you’ll face and no amount of power can fix mistakes. Even a god like this superhero father can struggle with the task.

Odin is the son of Bor, the abusive King of Asgard. He fought in many battles through his youth, eventually claiming the throne after defeating the Fire Giant Surtur. Odin had many children, including Thor, Angela, Baldur, and his adopted child Loki. He loves his children, but acts harsh and distant because of his own upbringing.

Odin often quarrels with his children. Thor hates his arrogance and bigotry towards humans. Loki feels outcast when he isn’t trying to seize the throne. Angela was kidnapped and raised with Odin as the face of her Asgardian enemies. Odin’s struggles drove him to become an alcoholic incapable of ruling the realm or raising his children. But if his children ever need him, Odin will teach their foes why he was worshiped as the God of War.

#2 Superhero Father: Mr. Satan

Played By: Chris Rager, Unsho Ishizuka, Nick Landis

Mr. Satan: “I have a daughter at home, Jimmy. Little girl, about the age of that boy out there. And right now, I’m being told that I might be able to save the world. And all I gotta do is throw this robot’s head in spitting distance of that crazy killer bug monster? […] Well then, who better to leave it to than the World Martial Arts Champ, Mr. Satan?”

Dragon Ball Z Abridged “The Hard Cell” (Season 3, Episode 28)

The world can be a dangerous place, and all the more so in a superhero universe. Some may think they need super-strength to protect their family. But strength has never been the ability to throw cars or blow up mountains. This superhero father knows that.

Mr. Satan, a famous showboating martial artist, learned that a monster called Cell planned to destroy the world. In a fight, Satan couldn’t even scratch Cell and nearly died during his rampage. While Cell was distracted by the heroes, Mr. Satan found a decapitated android who asked him to carry his head to the battlefield. 

Mr. Satan agreed, braving monsters and explosions to deliver the android to the heroes. It helped them achieve a new transformation and save the world. Mr. Satan stole the credit for Cell’s defeat, using his newfound fame and fortune to raise a daughter named Videl. He supported her dream of becoming a martial artist.

The Satan family expanded over time. Mr. Satan ended the threat of child-like monster Majin Buu by befriending Buu and teaching him right from wrong. He took Buu into custody and essentially adopted him. Videl eventually married and had her own daughter, Pan, whom Mr. Satan dotes on.

Mr. Satan is comic relief and weaker than any of his universe’s main characters, but his heart is stronger than their mightiest blasts.

#1 Alfred Pennyworth

Played By: Sir Michael Caine, Jack Bannon, Alan Napier

[Batman is furious at Robin, but Alfred stands in his way]
Batman: “Step aside, Alfred.”
Alfred:No. We could have lost him tonight and I know that scares you, but for once, you are not to turn your fear to misplaced anger. You may direct as much fury towards me as you need to, but Master Richard needs support, not admonishment. Take off the cowl and leave your disapproval at the door or do not enter.

Nightwing #92 (2022)

Batman was an early shoo-in for the list. He has a biological son and has also adopted the other three Robins as well as Batgirl Cassandra Cain. But while Batman is a good superhero father, this superhero grandfather had to wrangle him as well.

Alfred Pennyworth is the butler of the Wayne family. Thomas and Martha Wayne were shot, leaving him to raise Bruce by himself. Alfred trained Bruce to become Batman and used his former SAS connections to find other teachers.

Alfred’s tutelage and constant support forged Bruce into one of the world’s greatest heroes, which he then passed on to his children. Alfred always stands ready to aid his family, through supplying them, killing for them, or simply listening to their problems. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Thomas is Bruce Wayne’s father, but Alfred is his dad. 

If you want more info on this superhero father, check out our exclusive Alfred Backstory.

Which superhero father is your favorite? Is there one better than these? Tell us in the comments.

Image: photograph by Colin Hutton/HBO Max

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