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Father’s Day Special: The Worst of The Worst — 10 Crummiest Father Figures In Comics

Comics regularly take roles from everyday life and push them to the absolute limit. The idea of being a father is no exception. Exploring the negative end of the spectrum, comics have given rise to some of the worst fathers in literary history. What makes these men and others the worst of the worst?  Where do these parents fall short, and how is it that they fall so hard? Let’s take a look, one father at a time.

10. Ant-Man/Hank Pym (Father of Ultron)

Hank Pym, Scientist Supreme, crafted an artificial intelligence, Ultron, utilizing his own brain patterns for the engram base of the robot’s mind. Unfortunately, this synthetic son saw fit to turn to a life of destruction and hatred for humanity. But as malice gripped Ultron’s manufactured heart, Pym’s first course of action was not to seek counselling for his wayward son. It was not to start a conversation.

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@ Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Pym’s first directive was to aid the Avengers in “defeating” his son. Years later, Pym even feigned a fatal injury to trick his son, capture him, and shoot him into space. This is blatantly cruel and unusual punishment. Rather than send Ultron to a correctional facility or even prison, Pym thought it best to strand Ultron in space.  The intended outcome was solitary confinement until Ultron died of power loss (essentially starvation for a robot).

Suffice it to say, Hank Pym is a great scientist, but a terrible dad.

9. Ultron (Father of Vision)

True to Hank Pym’s legacy, Ultron proved to be a horrific father to his own son, Vision.  With the aid of Professor Phineas T. Horton, Ultron crafted Vision from the body of the original android Human Torch. This was all done solely to aid in his vendetta against the Avengers. When Vision initially rebelled due to retaining all his memories as the android Human Torch, Ultron responded by fusing Vision’s brain pattern’s with those of Wonder Man’s – essentially rebooting Vision’s persona. 

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@ Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Ultron then constricted Vision with a control crystal, completely brainwashing his child. Vision later broke free of Ultron’s psychological control and joined the Avengers. As one might expect, Ultron began hating his son too. He now consistently fights Vision and the Avengers, meaning family fun nights are out of the question.

8. Corsair/Christopher Summers (Father of Cyclops and Havok)

After being separated from his boys, Scott and Alex Summers (Cyclops and Havok), Corsair and his wife were enslaved by an alien empire called the Sh’iar.  Corsair eventually escaped his captors but was unable to save his wife. Thus, focused solely on himself, Corsair stole a spacecraft and became a space pirate.  The shameful part of his plan, though, was never returning to earth to look for his lost children.

His excuse was that he did not know if Scott and Alex were still alive and returning to earth would have been too painful due to his losses. But regardless of the reasoning, this is plainly child abandonment.  Corsair would later meet his children again; but for key years of their life, he was a deadbeat dad.

7. Batman/Bruce Wayne (Father of Nightwing, Redhood, Red Robin, and Robin)

Batman has made it a habit to adopt and indoctrinate young boys into his war on crime.  He is an unbelievable leader, but also an inexcusable father.  Emotionally distant from his adopted and biological children, Batman has his butler Alfred do all the needed homeschooling and cooking.  The only bonding activities Batman engages in are training and fieldwork.

Disregarding the blatant child endangerment Batman is daily guilty of by letting his kids fight criminals and madmen, he still effectively let three out of his four sons die.  First, Jason Todd was viciously mauled and blown up by the Joker when Batman was too slow to save him.  Second, Damian Wayne was stabbed through the chest by his clone.

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@ Courtesy of DC

And third, Tim Drake was nearly slaughtered by attack drones a short time after Batman encouraged him to neglect his academic goals in favor of fighting crime.  Tim would have died if not for the will of Mr. Oz, a cosmically powerful universal influencer, who saved Tim at the last moment.

We must note though that Batman and the rest of the DC universe were unaware of this for months and mourned the death of Tim Drake.  With a track record like this, Batman should really stop adopting children.

6. Black Manta/David Hyde (Father of Aqualad)

Aqualad was hidden for most years of his life by his mother because she feared Black Manta would kill them if he found them. Correct in her assumption, Aqualad’s mom was nearly murdered by Black Manta upon first meeting his son. Following this, he coerced his son into aiding him in maniacal activities in exchange for the safety of his mother.

Black Manta subsequently assaulted Aqualad and his teammates, the Teen Titans, when they tried to foil his plans of ocean domination.  In short, after missing the bulk of his son’s life, Black Manta wasted no time not abusing his child.

5. J’son of Spartax (Father of Starlord)

Both a despot and a deplorable dad, J’son of Spartax has thrown his son Starlord (Peter Quill) in jail on multiple occasions for not complying with his plans – namely taking his place as emperor of Spartax one day. This, of course, is a clear abuse of royal privileges to rob his son of agency, but it is particularly difficult to prosecute the actions of the emperor of a galactic empire.

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@ Courtesy of Marvel Comics

In an attempt to further his agenda for his son, J’son tried to have the earth destroyed by the galactic council.  J’son reasoned that if his son is always preoccupied with protecting the earth, then destroying it would free Starlord of his “personal obligations” and maybe then he would join J’son in ruling Spartax.  This disconnect with reality is staggering on a galactic level, a feat truly only appropriate for the father of a Guardian of the Galaxy.

4. The Reverse-Flash/Daniel West (Father of Kid Flash/Wallace West)

A fiend in every sense, Reverse-Flash found it “best” to hide his parenthood from his son Kid Flash (Wallace West). Although, he did find it appropriate to be in his son’s life masquerading as his uncle.  Acting as Wallace’s “uncle,” Daniel was free to walk a path of criminality while also connecting with his son when convenient, all without the weight of parental responsibility. Wallace, mistakenly thinking his father had abandoned his family, quickly turned to delinquency, a common trait of children from fatherless households.

Also, one can surmise that in order to keep his identity secret, Reverse-Flash probably did not pay child support.  But, since their fictional city is in the real state of Missouri, the scale of his negligence can be calculated. Assuming Wallace’s mother makes the median annual American salary of $44,564, Wallace is roughly 14-16 years old, and Reverse-Flash operates at the poverty line as a criminal making $11,490 annually, Reverse-Flash owes roughly $40,152-$45,888 in child support. That is a minimum not accounting for major heists.  Reverse-Flash may be the fastest father alive, but no one can outrun child support forever.

3. Magneto (Father of Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Polaris)

Magneto was only present for the birth and childhood of one out of his four children.  But, that one child died indirectly due to him.  Following a demonstration of Magneto’s magnetism powers, an angry mob burned down his home, killing his first daughter Anya. Magneto later recruited his other two children, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, for his pro-mutant terrorist group, The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Although, this was before he knew they were his children.

In The Brotherhood, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver suffered abuse at the hands of their father and were soon left to join the Avengers. Afterward, they were in constant conflict with their father. Magneto was recently revealed to have no blood relation to Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver; but during the time in which he thought he did, he was nothing but a domineering manipulator.

In another story, Magneto was shown to be the true father of the mutant Polaris.   Staying true to his tyrannical trend, he taught her how to use her powers but only in the hopes that he could use her as a weapon in the civil war raging in his country Genosha. At every opportunity, Magneto proved to be a father solely consumed by using his children for his own gain.

2. Lex Luthor (Father of Superboy)

The only good thing Lex Luthor ever gave to his son Superboy (Conner Kent) was his genes, but even the positivity of that is questionable.  Lex Luthor was the human genetic template for Conner as well as the benefactor and impetus behind the team of scientists that created Conner. Thus, Luthor is unquestionably a father, but a terrible one.  After having Superboy created, Luthor neither guided nor aided his son in an emotional, mental, or physical way. 

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@ Courtesy of DC

Further to the point, Luthor obfuscated his involvement with the birth entirely, becoming another instance of an absentee father. Once Luthor’s involvement came to light and Superboy had time to process his newfound heritage, Luthor disclosed that he created Superboy to be a weapon.  Luthor then activated a latent mind-control program in Conner, making him go berserk on his friends, the Teen Titans.

Thus, besides the legacy of a genius-level mass murdering psychopath to overcome, Luthor was sure to leave his son with a noted amount of psychological abuse to deal with as well.

1. Thanos (Father of Gamora and Thane, Grandfather of Nebula)

Unsurprisingly, the Mad Titan is a bad dad.  Most of the children Thanos currently has were abducted from their true homes and families to serve him.  His daughter Gamora and granddaughter Nebula know only fear and hatred for their de facto dad.

They have tried to defeat or kill him on multiple occasions.  This was in retribution for the multiple times he had tortured them in the name of discipline or outright attempted to kill them. Suffice it to say, Thanos left Gamora and Nebula with a lot of issues to surmount.

Thanos has slaughtered most of his biological children. His one known living biological son, Thane, he had captured and imprisoned against his will.  He later fought the boy in brutal combat on multiple occasions.  Most recently, he left him to die in a place at the edge of the known universe called the God Quarry.

Simply put, in every conceivable way, Thanos is a horrific father.

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Patricia
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Patricia

It is true that Batman lacks the emotional support component of parenting but is that all it takes to parent? Just because Batman has emotional shortcomings does not mean he does not bond with his biological and adopted children. He mentors them, trains with them and pushes them- as a parent should. Where he is not equipped to help them he provides them with someone that can- good old Alfred. His only real failure as a father is his failure to protect his children from death since that is 100% his fatherly duty. Not being able to provide every aspect… Read more »

Chicken nugget
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Chicken nugget

Kinda gotta agree with Patricia on the Batman.. haha. However, if the Bat’s good at ditching them when they need him most like- near death- then.. let’s say there’s a big problem. Additionally, makes me think what is worse, Lex Luthor disappearing from his child’s life or mad manipulation from Magneto? Sometimes a jerks absence is more healthy than worse. For me it was at least. Also makes me think is manipulation or mental hurt worse than physical when comparing these heroes? I dunno. Anyways this was funny and well written! 😀

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