Sidekicks don’t stay sidekicks forever. Eventually they grow up, perfect their crime fighting skills and branch out on their own. Some might still pair up with the hero that taught them the ropes, and some may even take on a sidekick of their own. Some former sidekicks even take on the persona of the hero that trained them. For example, Dick Grayson became Batman when Bruce Wayne went missing, and Sam Wilson, formerly the Falcon, became the new Captain America after Steve Rogers passed the mantle onto him. Bucky became Captain America for a while also following Steve Rogers’ death at the hands of Crossbones and a brainwashed Sharon Carter. Sometimes these sidekicks become even better versions of the heroes that trained them, but other times sidekicks turned heroes fail and things may take a dark turn.
Some sidekicks go from one super team to another, like Cyborg leaving the Teen Titans and joining the Justice League, or Jubilee leaving the X-men and joining the New Warriors. Superheroes age and they change, so it doesn’t make sense for someone like Dick Grayson to be Robin forever. Which one of these sidekicks turned solo heroes is your favorite? Did you prefer them as a sidekick or were you happy to see them branch off on their own and go on to bigger and better things?
15. Robin Became Nightwing
Dick Grayson was the first Robin, and he learned everything he possibly could from Batman before branching out on his own. Dick sees Bruce as a father figure even though at times their relationship can be very strained, and that’s part of the reason why Dick Grayson eventually quit being Robin and became Nightwing instead. After the death of his parents while they were performing their trapeze act at Haly’s Circus, Dick was taken in by Bruce and trained to control his anger rather than seek revenge. Bruce saw that Dick had potential as a crime fighter and they were inseparable for many years. Eventually Robin joined with the Teen Titans and later became Nightwing. As Nightwing, Dick patrols the streets of Bludhaven. Nightwing has his own rogue’s gallery to deal with, but he will still team up with Batman in Gotham City if he needs help. Dick even became Batman after Bruce’s apparent death in the Final Crisis story arc even though Bruce Wayne’s will specifically stated that Dick was not supposed to take up the mantle of the Batman.
14. Aqualad Became Tempest
Aquaman’s sidekick and Teen Titans founding member Aqualad, is actually kind of lame. His powers are very similar to that of his mentor Aquaman, but he has one huge weakness that makes him much weaker than his crime fighting partner. Unlike Aquaman, Aqualad can’t survive outside of water for more than an hour at a time. Aqualad became the sidekick of Aquaman after rescuing his mentor. While he learned much from Aquaman, it wasn’t until he set off on his own that he became a true bada*s superhero. When he was attacked by a shark-like race of merpeople, Aqualad was transported to another dimension and his journey to becoming a true hero began. There he was trained by Atlan who helped him harness his true power. Aqualad learned he had hidden powers that he could use to control water. He could heat and cool water as well as create whirlpools. Now he was even capable of shooting blasts from his eyes. When he returned to his own dimension no time had passed, but he was three years older. Now he fights crime as Tempest, who makes his former Aqualad persona seems very pathetic.
13. Sam Wilson Became Captain America
Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon, had a very rough childhood. Growing up in Harlem, his father was killed trying to stop gang violence, and his mother was later killed by a mugger. By 18 years old he no longer had his parents to guide him and help him make the right choices. This led him to a life of crime and only Captain America could put him on the right path. When Sam was working for the mob he crashed his plane on a remote island controlled by the Red Skull. The Red Skull used the cosmic cube to give Sam the ability to communicate with birds in an attempt to defeat Captain America. The Red Skull’s plans were thwarted and Cap freed Sam from Red Skull’s mind control. After Black Panther gave Sam a flight suit, Sam joined with Cap to be his sidekick the Falcon. For years Falcon and Cap fought side by side, and eventually Steve Rogers gave up being Cap when the super solider serum that gave him his powers wore off. Falcon then became the all new Captain America.
12. Bucky Barnes Became Winter Soldier
Bucky Barnes will always be known as Captain America’s first sidekick. While he started off as simply a partner to Captain America during the Second World War, he eventually became a villain, and then a good guy, and then Cap’s partner again, then a solo hero and finally the new Captain America. After being seemingly killed during an explosion during an attempt to stop Baron Zemo, it was later revealed that Bucky actually survived. While Cap was frozen in ice waiting to be thawed, Bucky was actually alive and being brainwashed by the Russians. They gave him a bionic arm and he was trained in all manners of weaponry and combat. Bucky was now a villain called the winter soldier, but he would break free of the brainwashing and fight side by side with Cap again. After the death of Captain America saga, Bucky took on the role of Captain America.
11. Cyborg Joined Justice League
Cyborg is most well known as a member of the Teen Titans, who are not only teenage superheroes, but many of them were at one time sidekicks to other heroes. Teen Titan leader Robin was Batman’s sidekick and Teen Titan staple Speedy was Green Arrow’s sidekick. Miss Martian originally fought alongside the Martian Manhunter before joining the Teen Titans. In recent years, Cyborg went from being part of a team of sidekicks to a full member of the Justice League. Cyborg, aka Victor Stone, is mostly machine, and he became Cyborg after an accident at Star Labs. His promotion to full blown hero on the greatest superhero team in the DC universe is a well deserved step up from mentoring a bunch of sidekicks. Cyborg became a founding member of the Justice League after DC retconned his past. Now he is more known for being a core member of the Justice League than part of a young group of superheroes made up mostly of sidekicks.
10. Damien Wayne Became Batman
Bruce Wayne’s son and the fourth Robin, Damien Wayne, is ruthless and intimidating. At just 12 years old he could nearly beat his father Batman in a fight. However, Damien often lacked self control and had very little discretion when it came to pursing and apprehending criminals. He was raised by his grandfather Ra’s al Ghul, which was an asset as much as it was a liability. His training with the league of shadows meant he never learned compassion or empathy. These are traits Bruce tried to instill in his son. Bruce always worried bout Damien becoming Batman because he feared he wouldn’t be able to honor Batman’s no killing code. He was right to fear because in an alternate future tale titled Batman of Bethlehem, Damien Wayne becomes Batman after the second Batman (Dick Grayson) is killed by the Joker’s imploding fish. He wants to return to killing, but Bruce forbids him. They fight, Bruce is gravely injured and Damien is exiled from the Batcave. He continues on as Batman and struggles to maintain Batman’s no killing policy. Ultimately he falls short and kills.
9. Rick Jones Became A-Bomb
Bruce Banner became the Hulk all because of Rick Jones. If Rick Jones hadn’t wandered on to the nuclear test site, Bruce would not have had to go out and rescue Rick and protect him from the dangerous gamma radiation. Bruce’s heroism to save this young teen lead him to being pelted with gamma rays, which turned him into the ever loving Hulk. Rick was a confidant and sidekick to the Hulk for many years. He had no powers and acted much in the same way Jimmy Olsen does with Superman. However, Rick Jones would eventually become a monster-like superhero himself. As A-bomb, Rick Jones teamed up with other members of the Hulk family such as She-Hulk and Skaar, son of Hulk.
8. Speedy Became Red Arrow
Speedy is an odd superhero name for a Green Arrow sidekick, isn’t it? Shouldn’t speedy be the Flash’s sidekick and not Green Arrow’s sidekick? Speedy, aka Roy Harper, learned his archery and crime fighting skills from Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow. However, Speedy always felt like Green Arrow never gave him enough responsibility. His confidence was shattered and eventually speedy became a solo hero know as Arsenal, and then later the Red Arrow. It certainly wasn’t smooth sailing for Roy during his superhero career. Roy famously became a heroin addict after infiltrating a drug ring.
7. Robin Became Red Robin
The third Robin, Tim Drake, never really gets the same type of attention as the other Robins Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Damien Wayne, However, he is a formidable superhero in his own right. No one can stay Robin forever, and eventually they move on because of Batman’s unforgiving demeanor. Tim Drake gave up the mantle and became the Red Robin. As Red Robin, Tim searched the world for Bruce Wayne after he had gone missing. Tim originally didn’t want to give up being Robin, but Dick Grayson, who was now Batman, suggested he become Red Robin because he was his equal and no longer a sidekick.
6. Robin Became Red Hood
After Jason Todd was killed by the Joker it seemed like that was it for this character. After all, it was fans who voted to have Jason Todd killed. Why would DC bring back a character that fans wanted gone in the first place? Well, in comics most characters don’t stay dead and Jason Todd was resurrected by the Lazurus pit, which is the same pit that gave Ra’s al Ghul everlasting life and immortality. Jason Todd returned to Gotham as the Red Hood. He went from being a sidekick to an antihero who doled out justice and revenge with violence and guns.
5. Batgirl Became Oracle
Batgirl is Batman’s most famous and trusted sidekick after Robin, and like Robin many different characters have been Batgirl over the years. The first and one true Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, but after she was paralyzed by the Joker she had to give up being Batman’s sidekick. She didn’t completely abandon Batman, though. As Oracle, she used her detective skills, computer skills and criminology skills to help Batman protect Gotham City. Oracle acts as a partner to Batman, but also works all on her own much in the same way she did when she was Batgirl.
4. Kid Flash Became The Flash
Wally West started off as a Flash sidekick, but eventually he would give up the Kid Flash moniker and simply be known as The Flash. Following in the quick steps of former flashes Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, Wally West uses the speed force to protect the world from the likes of Captain Cold, Gorilla Grodd, Captain Boomerang, the Trickster and Mirror Master among others. Wally dreamed of being the Flash ever since he was very young, and one day he visited his aunt who happened to be dating Barry Allen. This gave him the opportunity to meet his idol, and he gained the same powers as the flash when he was dosed in the same chemicals the Flash had been. The Flash had set up a display recreating how he gained his powers, and Wally happened to be in the right place at the right time when the chemicals were struck by lighting. He was now Kid Flash, but he would later become Flash himself.
3. Rhodey Became Iron Man & War Machine
James Rhodes, or Rhodey as he is affectionately called by Tony Stark, has been Iron Man’s sidekick and best friend even before he donned armor himself. He is a United States Marine and his plane was shot down while on a mission. Iron man came to his rescue and the two of them fought side by side. Eventually Rhodey came to work for Stark as his personal pilot and chief aviation engineer. Rhodey became Iron Man after Tony Stark fell deeper into his alcoholism. He took Tony’s place in The Avengers, too. Rhodes took over Stark Enterprises when he thought that Tony Stark had died, and it was during this time that the War Machine armor was developed. Rhodey went from being Iron Man to War Machine, but when he found out Tony was alive, he was so betrayed that he ventured off on his own and the friendship and superhero partnership was almost completely destroyed.
2. Jubilee Became Wondra
The X-Men animated series of the 90s was one of the most popular and successful superhero cartoons of all time. It ran for five seasons on Fox, and the show crossed over with other Marvel cartoons like Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and the Fantastic Four. This was the golden age of superhero cartoons. The cartoon focused on an X-Men character who was quintessentially 90s. Jubilation Lee, or Jubilee as she was often called, was a mallrat mutant who had the ability to produce energy plasmoids she could control and attack her enemies with. In the cartoon, she was often seen palling around with Wolverine in the sidekick role, but eventually she got tired of that and wanted to be more than just the shadow of Wolverine. In the comics, she eventually left the X-Men altogether and became a hero known as Wondra. In this role she was one of the leaders of The New Warriors.
1. Dum Dum Dugan Became Leader Supernatural Howling Commandos
Dum Dum Dugan was one of the pivotal members of SHIELD and a long time crime fighting partner and sidekick of SHIELD boss, Nick Fury. Dum Dum is loyal and courageous. Nick Fury might not even be around today if it wasn’t for the help of his cigar chomping friend. Before becoming an agent of SHIELD, Dum Dum fought with the Howling Commandos during the Second World War. During the Marvel Civil War, Dum Dum took over as leader of SHIELD, and he eventually became the leader of the Howling Commandos once again. However, the latest incarnation of the Howling Commandos doesn’t include any of his wartime buddies. Instead, Dum Dum heads up a supernatural version of the Howling Commandos who investigate occult and paranormal activities. As the leader of the Howling Commandos, it was revealed that the current Dum Dum is actually a life model decoy and that the original human Dum Dum had actually died during a SHIELD mission in the 50s.