Stories, especially CHERISHED ones, cannot be followed or outdone. But they can be expanded upon. Good or bad, continuations at least honor the original story. Comic books have mastered this concept for DECADES. Literally. Many of the most famous heroes (and even some villains) have spawned some of the best and brightest young heroes, and therefore, making sagas out of great stories.
With the new Teen Titans comic on the way featuring the son of Batman and current Robin, Damian Wayne and Jon Kent, the all-new Superboy from the pre-New 52 timeline, I decided to load up the ‘ol list machine 5000 and share a Top 10 list GENERATIONS in the making.
Of course, there are more great characters that have heroism in their genes in the world of comics, but 10 is all I narrowed it down to...if I missed anyone (Jade, Rachel Summers and Siryn are a few that come to mind that don’t make the list), sorry! Maybe next time!
Here we go!
10. Connor Hawke
Connor Hawke is actually Oliver Queen’s lovechild pre-New 52, and he made a pretty big impact by taking on the mantle of Green Arrow while Oliver was six feet under in the late 90’s, even earning him a JLA membership for awhile. Connor also became good friends with Tim Drake, who was Robin at the time, and of course with Kyle Rayner as well, who was Green Lantern then.
While I’m sure Connor has his share of fans, he was never really as respected as Green Arrow like his dad, and to this day is not really remembered by a lot of fans. He did get adapted into the CWverse on Legends of Tomorrow, but his lineage is quite different, and he is John Diggle’s son in that universe. In The New 52verse, Connor exclusively exists on Earth 2.
Connor may one day get his due and they will bring him back in the spotlight...until then...we have our old 90’s comics to enjoy him in as the main Green Arrow!
Here’s a character, like Connor Hawke, that sort of just disappeared. Originally simply a “What If?” character, Skaar was eventually brought into Marvel canon (the first character to make the transition, I believe) as the son of Bruce Banner/Hulk from his time as an interplanetary warlord in the Planet Hulk storyline. Hulk didn’t know he has conceived a child during his time off-world, as his alien half is cocooned until puberty. Man, that would be the best Maury episode ever (you knew a Maury joke was EVENTUALLY gonna happen in this column somewhere, might as well get it over with)!
Skaar eventually found himself on Earth to kill his pops, but with Banner at the time unable to transform into “the other guy”, Skaar changed his mind and spent time being mentored by Banner. AW!
I sort of liked the character of Skaar...he was a cool mix of Hulk and Conan The Barbarian. And he always teetered tottered on the line of hero and villain (I guess not unlike his dad), as he fought a lot of superheroes and even joining Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers at one point, although it soon was revealed that Skaar was really a double-agent and working with Captain America and the real Avengers the whole time. Sneaky, sneaky Hulk baby!
Eventually Skaar lost the Gamma radiation passed on from his dad and became a normal teenager. We haven’t seen him since. But I bet he will eventually return at some point...they always do!
8. Daisy “Quake” Johnson
Okay okay, so her dad technically ISN’T a superhero. He is a nasty badguy by the name of Mister Hyde. But Daisy is definitely a hero and broke the criminal chain in her family. Daisy (or Quake), inheriting Inhuman powers, became first a Secret Warrior under the guidance of Nick Fury, but now is mostly known, because of her live-action TV counterpart, as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. working under Phil Coulson. She’s actually a level 10 agent, the only known agent to hold that rank besides Fury and Black Widow!
Quake was first introduced in Brian Michael Bendis’ Secret War storyline, where she took part in brainwashing a team of heroes after a mission gone wrong in Latveria. Thanks to the charismatic Chloe Bennett’s portrayal on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy Johnson, once a mere side character, is now somewhat of a household name. Heck, even her original name from the show, “Skye”, was integrated into the comic book character, as she earned it as Coulson's nickname for her during her time as Winter Soldier’s sidekick in space. I found that pretty clever.
I think Quake’s story is pretty significant, as she is one of the few heroes that chose a different path than her badguy parents (more are coming in this column), and decided to work on the side of the angels instead.
First off, let me settle the pronunciation of this guy’s name. IT’S NOT “DAY-KEN”. IT’S NOT “DACK-IN”. IT’S “DAW-KEN”. And it means “mutt” in Japanese.
So now that I cleared that up I want to talk about this pretty complex character. I always had a bit of sympathy for Daken, as he was often seen as a villain...but I never truly found him as one. He surely did nasty things, but so has his father, Wolverine. Many times. Daken was always an angry, and sad character. And unlike his father, never truly felt loved. He lashed out, he did questionable things (what he did to Punisher was...disturbing), but evil? I’m not sure he ever was. A lot of times he was coaxed into doing bad things with promises of getting what he felt he always deserved.
That’s why I found what happened between him and Logan so sad. They never could have a proper father/son relationship. There is too much pain there. And their story always would have ended in death. Like most of Wolverine’s relationships.
After Logan’s death it seems Daken is done with the bad behaviour, and even has a weird brother/sister relationship with X-23. So, there’s that. He’s alive again, and still out there...you know he’ll turn up again!
Well, he THOUGHT his dad was a hero, but it turned out Invincible’s dad Omni-Man was just the opposite, and was planning on taking over the world all along. Who knew?!
Yeah, Invincible turned into the ultimate redemption story, as he has almost always been trying to make up for what his dad had become, and needed to reassure the planet that he wasn’t also an alien would-be world conqueror.
For years, Invincible has been one of the best superhero comics on the market, and this story is only ONE of the reasons why. It’s sort of a Superman story where General Zod is Supes' father. It brings depth to the character that is rarely seen in comics...and that plot twist is just ONE of the dozens that Robert Kirkman has thrown at us over the years. You NEVER know what’s gonna happen in that comic!!! You ONLY know it’s gonna be entertaining!
5. Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch
They ARE twins, so I can let them share the #5 spot, right? Even though I do think both Wanda and Pietro are interesting and great individual heroes in their own right....we can cover them both at the same time.
Again, these two have a pretty dark past, but have turned it around somewhat. Sure Wanda was gone off the deep end because of her crazy powers, and Pietro is a pompous jerk at times, but these two former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants members have done a lot more good over the years than bad. Even though they may not be Magneto’s children anymore by blood, they have believed so for many years and strived to be better than their father (I really hope that lapse in continuity is retconned soon, the story of them being the children of Magneto is a much better one than anything else). This made them such valuable Avengers and real heroes.
Their recent exposure in both the X-Men and Avengers movies don't hurt thier status either. I think Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch and both Evan Peters' and Aaron Taylor-Johnson's takes on Quicksilver were great (I don't pick favorites).
4. Damian Wayne
You knew he had to make it into the column. For quite a few years now, Batman’s prodigal son and the first Robin with actual blood ties to the Dark Knight, has grown on us and while it took some time for him to grow out of being a little homicidal maniac, it’s clear now that Damian wishes to fulfill his father’s legacy.
Damian certainly is not my favorite Robin (I still hold Tim Drake to that honor), but he surely is a very entertaining one. Just think, before Damian came around the edgiest Robin was Jason Todd, who used to steal hubcaps before donning the little green underoos. Damian’s a full-fledged psycho ninja with a spoiled brat attitude...but we can’t wait to see what he’s gonna do or say next, and that’s what makes him a great character. We don’t HAVE to like him. The best stories were seeing him interact with Dick Grayson. The brotherhood dynamic is just awesome.
Damian MAY have made it to #1 if not for these last 3 second generation heroes that just hold such dear places in comicdom.
May “Mayday” Parker is the little superheroine that could. The daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson from an alternate timeline, Spider-Girl was part of the MC2 universe which was created to introduce a whole new generation of superheroes, but the concept didn’t last that long and most of the books were cancelled, even Spider-Girl....but the fans (and keep in mind this was when internet fandom was just beginning) managed to hassle Marvel in continuing her story.
And to be honest the first run of Spider-Girl certainly deserved its street cred. It featured a strong, charismatic female hero, an old fashioned style of writing and artwork and it just brought back the old school Spider-Man atmosphere that at the time didn’t exist with the Clone Saga and all that stuff going on. Spider-Girl was fresh, and WAY ahead of its time.
It’s a shame that Mayday’s time in the spotlight seems to be done after the recent Spider-Verse and Secret Wars stories. But she had a great run, and it’s safe to say we wouldn’t have Kamala Kahn or Silk or Spider-Gwen if we never had Spider-Girl and her cult following in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
Here we have one of the O.G.’s when it comes to being a second generation hero. Cable is the son of Cyclops and Madelyn Pryor (Jean Grey’s clone), but was raised in a war torn future by Scott and Jean who’s minds were time displaced into their future bodies. It’s all quite complicated, but Cable eventually time travelled back to the present era to turn the New Mutants into soldiers (and renaming them X-Force) to stop his arch-nemesis’ Stryfe and Apocalypse.
Cable does indeed have a mixed reaction to most comic fans. The character (like Deadpool) was created by Rob Liefeld in an era where many heroes like Cable kept popping up. But Cable seemed to be the one that started it all. The big shoulder pads, scars, cybernetic arm, weird glowy eye, ridiculous muscles on top of his muscles where you’re not supposed to have muscles...pouches, lots of pouches...Cable was the amalgam of every bad 90’s comic book stereotype in one character. But it seems (like Deadpool) nostalgia reigns supreme every time and now Cable is seen as somewhat of an iconic character that still has a fan base to this day. I guess everything becomes classic eventually.
To me, the best Cable run was his 2009 solo ongoing series by Duane Swierczynski and Ariel Olivetti where he is travelling through time with the first mutant born after M-Day, Hope Summers (who he named himself). This was Marvel’s own sci-fi version of the classic Lone Wolf & Cub tale, the ronin warrior raising and protecting a baby as his own and learning what it is to be a father at the same time. Just who is Cable protecting Hope from? His polar opposite when it comes to time travelling X-Men, Bishop! Bishop believed that Hope will eventually destroy the world, not save it. It was awesome and beautiful and touching, and by far the most definitive Cable story in my mind. At the same time it displays the mental breakdown of Bishop and how he was never playing with a full deck. No comic fan should deprive his/her self of that story.
Okay okay, I know the column displays second generation heroes, but to me, Nightcrawler also fits into the category, because he is Mystique’s son. Mystique, like Magneto, has always not been necessarily good or evil, but on her own side and has not batted an eye from carrying out insane terrorist actions in order to get her point across. But inevitably her son, Kurt Wagner has always done what he felt was right in his heart and in the eyes of God.
Kurt’s yet another offspring in the column whose parents have a lot to learn from. He’s always fought for peace alongside the X-Men and forever has condemned his birth mother’s rash and dangerous actions. That makes him even more a hero than anyone in my mind.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Nightcrawler, basically because he’s so filled with irony. He looks like a bad guy, a demon, but is truly a man of faith and has a heart of gold, and is the best ally and friend you could ever want. Not to mention the costume. His original costume is almost iconic in its simplicity and design. Once you wrap your mind around it all, you can see that the Amazing Nightcrawler is a character bred from sheer genius, and very deserving of this top spot.
Hope everyone enjoyed this look at the best (in my opinion) 2nd generation heroes in comics! See you next time! Bleed out!