Mother’s Day has arrived, and it’s time for families to celebrate the women who brought them into this world. Believe it or not, motherhood has been a regular part of superhero comics for decades. Several heroines from Marvel, DC, and beyond have given birth to children and attempted to properly raise them…some more successfully than others.
To mark this year’s Mother’s Day, Superhero Hype is throwing the spotlight on five of the best moms in superhero comics. But we’re also throwing shade on a few moms for making some very questionable choices.
Worst Mom: Madelyne Pryor
Ever wonder why Deadpool 2 didn’t explain who Cable’s parents were? It’s complicated. The short version is that Cyclops married Madelyne Pryor, a clone of Jean Grey, who went a bit crazy after Cyclops abandoned her and their child when Jean turned up alive. That’s on Cyclops. Unfortunately, Madelyne made some deals with demons to become the Goblin Queen, and she nearly sacrificed her own baby, Nathan Christopher Summers, before he could grow up to become Cable.
Recommend Reading: X-Men: Inferno
The X-Men and X-Factor teams had to unite to save the entire world from a demonic invasion. Meanwhile, Jean and Madelyne faced off over the fate of Nathan.
Best Mom: Jean Grey
In the aftermath of Inferno, Jean Grey essentially adopted Nathan as her own son. She loved him despite the bizarre way he came into her life, and they formed an unshakable bond. Years later, Jean and Cyclops were forced to send Nathan to the future to save his life. Fortunately, their minds were later sent to the future as well, and they were given new bodies which allowed them to raise Nathan.
Jean’s record with her alternate future daughter, Rachel Grey, isn’t spotless. She initially rejected Rachel out of fear, but she eventually came to accept and love her. Jean even forged motherly ties with X-Man/Nate Grey, another son from an alternate timeline.
Recommended Reading: X-Men: Cyclops & Phoenix – Past & Future
Jean and Cyclops get a second chance to save Nathan by traveling into the future.
Worst Mom: Dr. Sheila Haywood
Only the hardest of hardcore comic fans know Sheila Haywood by her name. She’s the mother of Jason Todd, Batman’s second Robin. In the classic Batman: A Death in the Family storyline, Jason tracked down Sheila in Africa after learning she was his mom. Unfortunately, the Joker found her first and blackmailed Sheila into doing his bidding. Ultimately, Sheila knowingly betrayed her son to the Joker to cover up her own crimes. That led to this infamous sequence:
Even after that near fatal beating, Jason still tried to save his mom’s life. Sheila lived just long enough to regret her actions, but neither she nor her son left that warehouse alive.
Recommend Reading: Batman: A Death in the Family
The Joker murdered Robin, and the only thing standing in the way of Batman’s revenge is the Man of Steel.
Best Mom: Tigra
Given the circumstances that led to her child, it would be understandable if Tigra didn’t want him. An alien Skrull posing as Hank Pym had a romantic relationship with Tigra and impregnated her. After the Secret Invasion was over, Tigra gave birth to her son, William. She loved him regardless of his father, although Hank soon formed a real relationship with both Tigra and her son. For a time, they raised William together while guiding the next generation of Avengers.
Recommended Reading: Avengers Academy: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 & 2
Meet the up and coming heroes of the Marvel Universe, while Tigra and Hank successfully deal with their emotional issues.
Worst Mom: Talia al Ghul
There are different accounts about the way that Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul conceived a child, but the end result was Damian Wayne. During Grant Morrison’s Batman run, Damian was introduced as the new Robin. While Damian slowly bonded with his father, Talia rose to prominence as the head of a vast criminal organization known as Leviathan. She even created the Heretic, a murderous clone of Damian himself. When Talia unleashed her evil ambitions, Damian died at the Heretic’s hands.
Recommended Reading: Batman Incorporated Vol. 2: Gotham’s Most Wanted
Damian’s final stand as Robin, at least until he was resurrected a few years later.
Best Mom: Medusa
As the queen of the Inhumans and the wife of Black Bolt, Medusa lived a life of comfort and luxury in Attilan. However, when Medusa became pregnant with Black Bolt’s child, Attilan’s Genetics Council demanded that she have an abortion. The Council was afraid that Medusa’s child would inherit the madness of Maximus and Black Bolt’s destructive power. Medusa defied their will by fleeing to Earth, where she eventually gave birth to her son, Ahura.
Later, circumstances forced Medusa to relinquish custody of Ahura to the Council. But she eventually rescued Ahura and brought him into the Fantastic Four’s Future Foundation.
Recommended Reading: Inhumans: Right of Birth
During the ’80s, this Inhumans graphic novel dealt with Medusa’s life in exile as she prepared to give birth to her son.
Worst Mom: Scarlet Witch
To be charitable, a lot of what happened to the Scarlet Witch is not her fault. She really tried to make a go of having a family with Vision. But Wanda was so powerful that she essentially willed their children, Thomas and William, into existence. Unfortunately, she used parts of Mephisto’s soul to create them. Side note: Mephisto is essentially Marvel’s version of the devil. Wanda was stripped of her memories of the children to prevent Mephisto from regaining his lost power. When that happened, Thomas and William simply ceased to exist. That led to some serious repercussions when Wanda went insane after remembering her kids during Avengers: Disassembled. Of course, the writer of that story neglected to realize that Wanda had previously remembered Thomas and William without going crazy again.
Years later, Thomas and William were reincarnated as teenage superheroes, Speed and Wiccan. However, Wanda has made very little effort to be a part of their lives since their reunion. Wanda may love her sons, but she simply isn’t trying to be a mother anymore.
Recommended Reading: Vision and the Scarlet Witch: A Year in the Life
Scarlet Witch and Vision had some good times together while preparing for the birth of their children. This was before things got really crazy.
Best Mom: Invisible Woman
The Fantastic Four are truly Marvel’s first family of superheroes. But Susan Richards (a.k.a. the Invisible Woman) is the glue that holds them together. Susan and her husband, Reed, have successfully raised both of their children: Franklin and Valeria Richards. Even in the current run of the Fantastic Four, the Richards family is still going strong. They’d move Heaven and Earth to protect their children…and they have.
Recommended Reading: Fantastic Four Vol. 1: New Departure, New Arrivals
Susan and her family go on an extended vacation while Reed hides a secret that threatens them all.
Worst Mom: Lois Lane
There was a time when Lois Lane would have topped this list. As the wife of Superman and the mother of Jonathan Kent/Superboy, Lois proved that she was willing to do anything for her family. At least until the current Superman run. Recently, Lois and Jonathan accompanied Jor-El on an intergalactic voyage…until Lois felt she wasn’t needed. So she went back to Earth to write a novel while leaving her son alone with an increasingly unstable mad man. That’s real “mom of the year” material, and we’re thinking that a retcon is inevitable. Especially since Jonathan returned to Earth as a teenager.
Recommended Reading: Superman: Lois and Clark
These were happier times for the Kent family, as Lois and Clark tried to navigate their personal heroics while raising Jonathan.
Best Mom: Mary Jane Watson
In the current continuity, Mary Jane Watson isn’t a mother. Marvel even erased her marriage to Peter Parker! But in two alternate timeline series, Mary Jane has proven to be the best mom a superheroine could ask for. In Spider-Girl, Mary Jane and Peter provided guidance for their daughter, Mayday Parker. But in Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Mary Jane went the extra mile and became a superheroine herself!
Within that timeline, Peter and Mary Jane’s daughter, Annie, gained her powers at a very early age. Rather than discourage Annie’s heroics, Mary Jane and Peter found a way to make it a family affair. As Spinneret, Mary Jane wears a costume that gives her access to Peter’s spider-powers. And she’s proven to be a natural heroine.
Recommended Reading: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Vol. 1
The superhero family that saves together, stays together.
What are your picks for the best and worst moms in superhero comics? Let us know in the comment section below!