Heroes are held to a major standard in comic books. They’re meant to be a great model for readers and other heroes to hold up to but often they make some very bad moves. Too many times, heroes have crossed a line they shouldn’t and hurt those close to them. In most cases, it’s friendships torn asunder by bad fights or other actions. Power Man and Iron Fist were kept apart for years due to mistrust over one nearly killing the other. Daredevil has shattered some bonds of friendship with his actions as has Namor. But others go even further to hurt their own flesh and blood, from real relatives to wives and husbands and in some very bad ways.
This being Marvel, so many of these actions have basically been swept under the rug and often ignored. It’s easy to use the excuse of mind control at times to let such moves slide and other times, folks are willing to look beyond the bad past for a better present. Some stories focus on how the heroes do their best to redeem themselves after their harsh actions and rebuild their reputations. But it’s still astounding how many “good guys” have gone oh so bad on their loved ones and acts that put their arch-foes to shame. Here are 15 heroes in the Marvel Universe who have committed truly terrible actions on their own families and how it’s not easy being close to a costumed adventurer.
15. Marvel Boy/Justice
In a way, it’s justified but it’s still a horrible act. In one timeline, astronaut Vance Astrovik ends up a thousand years in the future to found the original version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. A time travel adventure causes him to activate an alternate version of his mutant powers. This Vance is determined to become a hero, eventually the New Warrior named Marvel Boy. However, his father isn’t happy, angered he fathered a “freak” and would lash out at Vance with regular beatings. During one of these beatings, Vance’s mother tries to interfere and when her husband pushes her back, Vance loses it. He unleashes a massive telekinetic blast that sends his father smashing through a wall and kills him. Vance is eventually put on trial and found guilty of manslaughter for a jail term. He comes out better and takes the name Justice, eventually joining the Avengers. However, this death still haunts him and it’s striking how a man of such good humor at times could have his father’s blood on his hands.
14. Magik Stabs Her Own Brother For Power
Once an innocent girl, Illyana Rasputin was the younger sister of the X-Man Colossus, brought to America to live with him. She was kidnapped by a demon and while she was gone for just minutes in our world, she spent a decade there, returning as a teenager powerful in the dark arts. This dark side has gotten out of control more than once, leading to her attacking her brother several times. The worst was when she infected Colossus with the gem that turned him into a new Juggernaut and more monstrous than before. Then when both were infected by the Phoenix Force to become cosmic creatures, Magik stabbed her own brother just so she could get more power for herself. Still shifting between good and evil, Magik is trying to make up for her past but given how she’s hurt her own family so many times, it should be no shock that few trust someone with so much power and so little humanity.
13. Nick Fury Refused To Acknowledge His Son For Years
The ultimate soldier, Fury has been fighting since World War II, an “Infinity Formula” allowing him to stay young and healthy for decades. As head of the spy agency SHIELD, Fury is known for doing whatever it takes to win, no matter who suffers for it. That includes his own blood as Fury discovered his brother Jake was the deadly killer Scorpio and battled with him many times, including “killing” Jake more than once although he would come back. Fury later discovered that a liaison with a deadly female agent years before produced a son, Mikel, who clashed with his father as well as with Fury even having the kid thrown into jail for a while. Later, he sent Mikel on what he knew was a suicide mission for “the greater good.” A recent turn was the revelation that Fury had known for years that soldier Marcus Johnson was his son and never acknowledged it, allowing the kid to nearly be killed by terrorists before accepting him as his son, Nick Fury Jr.. Fury still dedicates himself to doing whatever it takes to win, damn the consequences— even his family isn’t safe from his actions at times.
12. Professor X – Taking Memories, Suppressing Powers…
For a long time, Charles Xavier was portrayed as a good and decent man who led the X-Men, an advocate for peace between humans and mutants and a great leader. But everyone has a dark side and Xavier’s past has become seen as one of the worst. It seems for years, he’s been using his mental powers to manipulate people in various ways. He once had an entire new X-Men team that included Cyclops’ brother who died in a mission and Xavier made Cyclops forget all about it. There was also his treatment of his son, David, whose existence Xavier denied for decades. Eventually, it came out how Xavier had been using his powers to suppress David’s, as the boy was a multiple personality case with each personality boasting its own power. When he finally erupted, Legion was a total mess who even rewrote all reality by accidentally killing his dad. Xavier’s actions drove him away from the team and eventually led to his own death and showcase how messing so much with other people can bite you in the end.
11. Scarlet Witch – A Bunch Of Bad Deeds
For years, Wanda Maximoff was a true heroine who loved her twin brother Pietro and served well in the Avengers. But time and issues (like finding out Magneto was her real father) would affect her along with her growing powers. When her husband the Vision was reprogrammed, Wanda really lost it and it got worse with the realization their twin children basically didn’t exist (it’s complicated). She would go evil to attack Pietro and the Avengers before settling down for a time. But she later endured a worse breakdown to tear the Avengers apart, leave the Vision a broken mess and warp all reality, leaving Quicksilver and Magneto powerless. This later led to a conflict involving her reborn twin sons who were nearly killed by her on command of Doctor Doom. Another bit was when the Witch was hit by a spell turning her evil and used a spell to attack her blood. It injured Quicksilver but not Magneto, revealing the latter wasn’t their father after all. While she tries to control her magic, Wanda is fearful of this darkness returning to make her hurt her loved ones once more.
10. The Hulk Once Crushed His Wife
It should be no surprise Bruce Banner has had major issues. As a boy, he endured abuse from his father and later watched him kill his mother. That probably helped create the mental problems that ended up transforming him into the Hulk. Years later, the two had a confrontation at his mother’s grave that ended with Bruce striking his father in a rage and the old man breaking his neck on the gravestone. While he’s tried to control it from time to time, the Hulk has lost control numerous times to hurt those close to him. The most obvious would be cousin Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk) who he has injured in some nasty fights. Also, Bruce’s wife Betty has suffered from him once crushing her when he transformed which may have contributed to Betty losing a child later on. That’s not to mention the psychological pain he puts his loved ones through with his curse of turning into a monster. There was also how he brutally attacked Skaar, his son from an alien world. The worst was in the future of the “Old Man Logan” storyline where a darker Hulk basically turns She-Hulk into his wife to force her to give birth to mutant Hulk children. Sadly, when you’re part-monster, acting that way toward your family is all too easy.
9. Thor vs. Loki vs. Odin
The God of Thunder has long had the mother of all daddy issues. When your father is the king of the Norse Gods and referred to as “all-knowing,” it’s hard to argue with him. It was Odin who basically turned Thor into a mortal for years as a lesson in humility, ignoring how Odin was hardly humble himself. They have clashed but it got even worse thanks to Thor’s battles with brother Loki. True, Loki had set the conflict off but still nasty such as when Thor truly intended to murder Loki and only the latter’s trickery saved his life. Loki later worked a scheme to trick Thor into killing his own grandfather, leading to his brief exile. When Odin returned, he and Thor were soon clashing full-scale with Odin ready to turn his back on Earth and Thor fighting back. It got worse when Thor lost his mystical hammer, Mjolnir, and Odin chastising him, leading to full-scale brawls between them. Thor is in a rough place without his standing and he and Odin still on the outs, showing that being a god doesn’t free you from hard family dynamics.
8. Quicksilver, Quick To Hurt
As bad as the Scarlet Witch has been, her brother has been worse. A super-speedster, much of Pietro’s behavior was explained by how he feels trapped in a world full of people who move so much slower than him. But that doesn’t excuse some of his nastier moves. When wife Crystal cheated on him, Quicksilver went insane, organizing attacks on her and the other Avengers. While cured, he still kept up his arrogant behavior like joining with Magneto against Wanda under the idea of “keeping an eye” on their father. He later kidnapped daughter Luna to subject her to the Terrigenesis Mists to give her powers without her permission and stole those crystals from the Inhumans to boot. That’s not to mention further attacks on her and Wanda and treating Crystal like utter crap when they reunited. His jerk behavior is key to the character but it’s hard to truly root for a guy who talks about family being important then treats them with such utter disdain. Looks like the only thing faster than Quicksilver’s speed is how quickly he hurt those close to him.
7. Cyclops Dumps Madelyn For Jean Grey
The long-time X-Men leader used to be a pretty square guy, always about the mission and not that much into fun. But as time has gone by, he’s gotten pretty smart and capable as a sharp leader able to make some daring moves. He’s also become known for some pretty nasty jerk behavior. Once, Scott was married to Madelyn, a gorgeous redhead who even birthed a son, Nate. When Scott discovered his first love, Jean Grey, was alive again, he basically dumped Madelyn, sending her on a spiral to become the evil Goblin Queen. When Nate was infected with a techno-virus, Cyclops decided to send him off with strangers to the distant future so he became the warrior Cable. No sooner was Jean killed in battle with Scott jumping right into bed with Emma Frost. Cyclops’ moves to keep mutants safe had him crossing the line several times, the biggest being when he was infected by the Phoenix Force and killed Professor Xavier, the man who’d been a father to him. He’s currently dead and you can argue it might be karma for some of his actions as Cyclops was truly blind when it came to family care.
6. Wolverine Drowns His Own Son
Given his long life and penchant for violence, it’s no surprise Wolverine has hurt a lot of folks on his own side over the years. He had to mercy kill his beloved Mariko when she was poisoned and has often found himself fighting his X-Men allies. But the worst had to be when Wolverine recovered his missing memories to discover that decades ago, he’d fathered a son named Daken. He had inherited his father’s bone claws and healing factor to live on. But he lacked Logan’s mercy and compassion, a full on sociopathic murderer. He and Wolverine clashed numerous times with Logan wanting to hold back to help his son, to teach him how to be a better person. But in a brutal fight, Logan realized there was no way to bring Daken back. So he shoved his son’s face into a pool and held him down, knowing that no healing factor can help if you can’t breathe. He was tempted to stop but kept it up until Daken was finally dead. Wolverine has done a lot of nasty things over the years but murdering his own son is high even by his standards.
5. Reed Richards, Wife Beater
For the smartest man on Earth, Reed Richards can be incredibly stupid when it comes to how regular human beings act. A key example is his treatment of his own family. He and Sue have had ups and downs with Reed putting his experiments first and throwing himself into conflicts like Secret War. When it became clear that son Franklin was becoming an incredibly powerful mutant, Reed, without Sue’s permission, basically “shut down” his son’s powers, putting him in a coma in the process. Franklin bounced back but it was still a sore subject for a while. Then there was how Reed allowed Doctor Doom to not only deliver his daughter but even name her Valeria… which allowed Doom to later possess the toddler and send Franklin to Hell. Throw in periods where he and Sue bitterly argued during the team’s rough 1990s tenure and Reed really comes off a jerk. True, miles ahead of his counterpart in the Ultimate Universe who’s a full on genocidal monster but Reed can still take tips on family dynamics.
4. The Vision – Family Drama
It’s one thing to be bad to a family you grew up with but what about one you literally created? The Vision had been through various tough times in Marvel, the android created to destroy the Avengers but rebelling to be a hero. Several times, he has been reprogrammed and destroyed while trying to learn more about being a human. In a 2016 series, the Vision decided to find out by moving to a suburban neighborhood and creating an android wife and children. From the start, it was marred by them not accepted by neighbors and the kids having issues in school. It got worse when the Grim Reaper attacked and Vision’s wife, Virginia, kills him. Vision keeps it quiet and even uses a dead dog as a family pet but it’s clear things are getting out of control. He decided to destroy Victor Manacha, an android “son” created by Ultron and Virginia ended up killing him too. In the end, Vision allowed Virginia to take the blame for all the death they had caused, though he felt destroyed, Vision secretly set out to rebuild her.
3. Spider-Man Strikes A Pregnant Mary Jane
Peter Parker’s major issue is that he takes way too much on himself. While that helps him in saving others, it also means he puts this need for duty above other people. This was shown by all the times he had to leave poor Aunt May hanging, from dinners to even leaving her hospital bed, all so he could fight crime. During the infamous “Clone Saga,” Peter was told he was actually a clone and went into a rage, during which he struck a pregnant Mary Jane. However, the worst move had to be when Aunt May was shot and close to death. Rather than go to someone like Tony Stark or Dr. Strange, Peter instead cut a deal with Mephisto to save a woman who openly told him “it’s my time.” The price was to erase his marriage to Mary Jane, including the daughter they could have had together. He agreed and you can see this as just horribly selfish in many ways. He’s a decent guy but Peter’s bad judgement often leads to him hurting the ones he loves.
2. Black Bolt Locking Up His Son
The King of the Inhumans has always had a tragic side. He is incredibly powerful as his voice can unleash monster shockwaves so strong that a whisper can destroy a city. However, this means he has to keep silent always, even with wife Medusa. When they had a child, Ahura, they basically had him locked up for years for fear his power was getting out of control. That led to the kid basically going mad anyway and it wasn’t helped by Black Bolt forbidding Medusa to see him. He flatly refused to let her begin a treatment to heal their son and then handed Ahura over to Kang the Conqueror to protect him from a major threat to the universe. When things settled down, Medusa was outraged that her husband gave their son to a madman and they divorced. Ahura tried to kill his father before settling down and he and Medusa both went against their ruler. Black Bolt is still king but his treatment of his family makes his a very lonely throne.
1. Hank Pym Slaps Janet
A famous case to be sure. Pym always had a bit of an identity crisis going for him. He started off as a scientist before finding a way to change his size. Beginning as Ant-Man, he later became Giant-Man and then Goliath. A breakdown caused him to take on the new identity of Yellowjacket who married the Wasp and was happy for a time. But Hank felt overshadowed by the big guns of the Avengers and his temper got the best of him. When Janet confronted him about it, Hank slapped her across the face. He then proceeded to create a robot to attack the Avengers, meaning to stop it himself and failing, leading to a full-on nervous breakdown. He came out a better man in the end but hitting Wasp still stains his reputation. That’s not counting how Hank created Ultron, a robot who thought himself his “son” and turned into a homicidal monster who wiped out an entire country. Pym eventually joined with Ultron to hurt Janet even more— while he’s a brilliant guy, he’s one crappy husband.