Sunday 16 June 2019

Nerd Church - 5 Super-Dads (And 5 Who Aren't So Super)

(This post may have some mild spoilers for various superhero-y dealies.)

Let's have some fun this Father's Day, shall we?

Title image: 5 Super Dads (And 5 Who Aren't So Super)

Superhero media is a hazardous place to be a father...

...Either you or your kid keeps getting kidnapped and you have to save each other...

...someone changes the timeline and suddenly you've accidentally poofed your child out of existence...

...your kids get ret-conned for film license purposes so that they're no longer your kids...

...they turn out to be super-villains even though you thought they were dead...

It ain't easy!

Still, some father-figures manage to be super both in and out of costume, and here's five:

1. Phil Coulson (MCU)

In Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, Agent Coulson becomes a father-figure to hacker Skye, who is later named Daisy or Quake, because superheroes.

Coulson: It would be nice if, for once, Thor's people sent down the god of cleaning up after yourself
Via Giphy

It's no secret that Daisy is Coulson's little princess, with other characters constantly pointing out that she's kind of in his emotional blind-spot because 'she's like his daughter.'

But he keeps her safe, does his job despite not having any super-powers, and helps her navigate her own superhero-hood with wisdom and kindness.

Philip Coulson, we salute your fathering skills! 😉

2. Alfred (Gotham TV Series)

Granted, you could probably make a compelling argument for any version of Alfred appearing on this list, but I'ma focus on Sean Pertwee's version in TV's Gotham.

Gotham - Alfred sits with Bruce Wayne on a camping trip
Via Giphy

This is a guy who never planned to raise a kid - he was the butler, for Christ's sake! - let alone play dad to a traumatised teenager.

But while his face often says 'why the hell did I end up as this boy's guardian?' he is always gonna be there for the teenage Bruce Wayne.

He's also realistic, though, he yells at baby-Batman whenever the kid's being a douche, and gives him tough love when it comes to unwise decisions.

But he's also always there with a hug, or a good meal, when needed.

3. Wolverine (X-Men movies)

Somehow, the guy with the adamantium claws always ends up taking care of kids.

Logan and X23 driving down a dirt road
Via Giphy

While in the comics, his fathering skills are sometimes not the best-

(...don't even start on the relationship with son Daken!)

- in the movies we see the reluctant father-figure dragged into super-dadding time and again.

Whether it's Rogue, the entirety of Prof X's student body, or little X-23, Logan somehow manages to be the father-figure they need.

4. Joe West (The Flash/Arrowverse)

Joe is everyone's dad.

Joe West comforting Barry Allen
Via Giphy

He's the one that all members of Team Flash seek out to help them make big decisions, or deal with the heavy-duty emotional sh**.

An awesome detective, and an even awesomer father, Joe manages to raise his children with love and care, despite being a single father in a high-pressure career.

He also, like Alfred, took on a highly-traumatised teenager, Barry Allen, as his foster son, and raised him to be a kind, hard-working, and decent young man, who still sees Joe as his father today.

5. Oliver Queen (Arrow/Arrowverse)

Though he's new to this whole fatherhood-thing, and isn't always able to be around for his children, Oliver's determination to keep them safe and provide them with the sort of normal life he never had is admirable.

Oliver Queen
Via Giphy

While he struggles to deal with his own traumatised teen son when he lands in Oliver's life despite Oliver only learning of the kid's existence a short time before, the fact that he tries so hard to make his son happy earns him a spot on this list.

(Also, how many traumatised teens end up in the care of superheroes in these things?! This seems to be a theme!)

Not all super-dads are super dads though! 

Some fall into that all-too-ready comic-book trap of trauma and poor choices.

I mean, some of the family issues in superhero media would make soap opera writers blush. Seriously.

Add in cosmic rays, radioactive spiders, mutations, and super-villains, and it's a recipe for trouble.

(Warning: this section includes abusive parents.)

Here's 5 father-figures who turned out to not be so super:

1. Reginald Hargreeves (The Umbrella Academy)

This guy. This. Guy.

Reginald Hargreeves standing outside The Umbrella Academy
Via Giphy

Firstly, he BOUGHT 7 super-powered children.

He bought them. I f**k you not.

Then he decided to raise them as a small troop of child soldiers - like the X-men, only with less love and more abuse.

Put bluntly: he f**ks these kids' lives up.

He's front and centre on this list, in both comics and Netflix versions of the character.

2. Ego (Guardians of the Galaxy/MCU)

Peter Quill's planet-daddy turns out to not be as great as he thought.

Rocket Raccoon: That's a really bad sign
Via Giphy

Saying more would get me into major GotG2 spoiler territory but just trust me: he ain't getting a Father's Day card.

3. Thanos (MCU)

This intergalactic warlord is, I swear to God, having a tea party with Reginald Hargreeves right now.

Pitting his children against each other, stealing children from looted worlds, torturing his children, and worse (again... spoiler-territory, but trust me he's a bad dude.)

He's sh**.

4. Odin (MCU)

There's various eras of comics in which Odin may or may not be a douche, but here we're talking MCU, ok?

In the Marvel movies, Odin is a terrible god-damn father.

In the world of fandom, there is an actual 'Odin's A+ Parenting' tag/meme. And that's not a good thing.

Apart from the infinite levels of toxic masculinity b*llcr*p that ultimately lead Loki to diving off the deep-end of villain-hood, when you get to Thor: Ragnarok and learn about Hela, your patience with this guy will be non-existent.

(But Anthony Hopkins is still awesome. And Welsh af! Lol.)

5. Gerald Crane (Gotham TV series)

Not sure if/how this guy appears in the comics, but my god, in Gotham... this dude is sick af.

Jonathan Crane from Gotham backing away in fear, a scarecrow is in the background
Via Giphy

Dr Gerald Crane is the father of Jonathan Crane - which many Batman fans will know, is the real name of the Scarecrow.

Except without Gerald, there would have been no Scarecrow.

This abusive b*****d uses his son as a science experiment, traumatising and breaking him from a young age, until he starts Jonathan on the path to villainy in an episode handily titled 'The Scarecrow.'

(The awesome thing about Gotham though is that this is just the start of Jonathan's bad path - character development is taken slow and serious here!)

Dr Crane and Reginald Hargreeves would probably get along great.

So Happy Father's Day to those who celebrate! And happy Sunday to those who don't!

Do you agree with my list/s?
Do you think it's especially hard to be a parent in comics? 😅
Talk to me! 😊💬

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Last updated: 15th July 2019


  1. I definitely agree with your list and I would add Tony Stark to the list of good father figures. His relationship with Peter is so cute!

    1. It is v. cute! Sometimes he does the exact opposite of the responsible thing (like giving children weapons, dammit!) but the love is def. there! :)


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