SleepyDrug

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No Family Unity in Marvel


   We are once again seeing big changes and shake-ups in the DC and Marvel Universes.  DC is presenting us with its 52 title reboot, and Marvel has a series of major events such as Fear Itself and Schism.  We also saw a recent discussion on a new character with the Super-Soldier Serum.  These events and discussions made me wonder why the DC Universe has so successfully introduced Families for its major heroes, and Marvel has not. 
 
Lets take a quick look at the DC Families: Superman (Superboy, Supergirl, Steel, Eradicator, Superwoman & Power Girl), Batman (Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwoman, Spoiler, Azrael, Huntress & the Birds of Prey), Wonder Woman (Troia, Wonder Girl, Artemis & Fury), Aquaman (Tempest, Aqualad, Aquagirl, Dolphin & Mera), Green Lantern (Alan, Hal, Guy, John, Kyle, Kilowog & Jade), Flash (Jay, Barry & Wally, Kid Flash, Impulse, Jesse Quick & Max Mercury), Green Arrow (Arsenal/Red Arrow, Speedy, Conner, & Arrowette).  These heroic family members are in most cases as central to the book as the primary hero, and seem to always turn up again even if it takes decades.  Arrowette is a legacy hero, not just a new character.  This is a trend that affects almost every major hero in the DC Universe.  Booster Gold & Goldstar. Hawkman & Hawkgirl. Firestorm & Firehawk.  Captain Marvel & CM3 & Mary Marvel.  Martian Manhunter & Miss Martian. 
 
Yet despite having the characters....the Marvel Universe has never embraced this theme.  Every major hero in Marvel has a set of related minor heroes.  We have seen brief unions formed by these characters.  But Marvel has never seemed to make them central to the mythos as DC has done.  If we look at the major heroes of Marvel, most of them have established connections with minor heroes, but they don't develop these relationships.  Consider: 
 
Spider-Man: Scarlet Spider, Steel Spider, Black Cat, Prowler, Rocket Racer, Cloak & Dagger 
Captain America: Bucky, Nomad, Falcon, USAgent, Battlestar, Free Spirit & Jack Flag 
Iron Man: War Machine & Rescue
Thor: Beta Ray Bill, Thunderstrike, Thor Girl, the Warriors Three & Sif 
Hulk: She-Hulk, Doc Samson, Skaar, Red She-Hulk & Red Hulk 
 
We have seen a lot of expansion and interactions by the Hulk Family in the last few years.  But this is the exception rather than the rule.  If the Marvel Universe trend continues we can expect the Hulks to go their separate ways.  In fact, the Hulk Family is a very new push by Marvel.  She-Hulk was established firmly as part of the high profile hero scene with the Avengers and Fantastic Four rather than with her cousin.  Jen's involvement with the Hulk's is a new phenomenon.  The majority of the Hulk Family were created for the push.  We don't know what the future will hold. 
 
Spider-Man has really avoided connections to any network of heroes until joining the Avengers full-time.  Captain America has fought crime with his allies for long stretches before but really hasn't developed the sense of family.  We expect that any Batman title will guest-star Robin or Nightwing often.  Does anyone really expect to see Falcon or Nomad in Cap's title?  It is a nice guest star when it happens, but it isn't really a major push. 
 
We also don't tend to see the Family Books.  DC has Gotham Knights, Batman & Robin and the Green Lantern Corps.  But Marvel has really avoided titles that feature heroic families.  I tend to see this as a missed opportunity.  But for some reason Marvel has yet to make this a marketable prospect. 
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Timandm

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Edited By Timandm
@SleepyDrug: Marvel hates the idea of their Super Heroes maturing or having normal life issues..
 
That's why, with VERY FEW exceptions, you never see Super Heroes with children unless those children only show up in their lives AFTER they're adults or nearly adults.. Examples:
- Daken
- Rachel Summers
- Nathan Summers (Cable)
- Nocturne 
- Skarr
- X-23 (like a daughter to Wolverine) 
- Mayday Parker, Spider-Woman
 
Tigra's son William is, at the very least, an attempt at having a super hero with a child...  Although, she NEVER even showed while pregnant.  William was born between story arcs.  He's intrroduced for the first time in the last issue of Avengers Initiative, and the next time we see him, he's already climbing.  Tigra comments that he'd soon be old enough to hunt on his own.  
 
The only examples we have of super heroes having children who appear to age at a normal rate are:
- Franklin Richards
- Valeria Richards
- Annie Cage
 
That's it (to my knowledge)... So, Marvel isn't very keen on the family thing...  Their characters TALK family all the time, but you just don't see it... 
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Nova`Prime`

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Edited By Nova`Prime`

But if you look at all those DC families they all share the same abilities and powers (for the most part) where as the Marvel connections are usually complimentary powers or totally different then the original. Take Captain America and Falcon, they don't share any powers, or Cap and Bucky again no real connection other then job title. Stan Lee has said it himself he's not keen on the teen side kick idea, which most of the DC families derive from one way or another. So I think that's what Marvel is really following that they don't think heroes need side kicks, but partners to work with.

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Wise Son

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Edited By Wise Son
@Nova`Prime` said:
But if you look at all those DC families they all share the same abilities and powers (for the most part) where as the Marvel connections are usually complimentary powers or totally different then the original. Take Captain America and Falcon, they don't share any powers, or Cap and Bucky again no real connection other then job title. Stan Lee has said it himself he's not keen on the teen side kick idea, which most of the DC families derive from one way or another. So I think that's what Marvel is really following that they don't think heroes need side kicks, but partners to work with.
I agree.  
 
There are a few misnomers there. Several of the connections you mentioned have been expounded on and played off of. Just not in the campy, side kicky way. I think you may need to read more Marvel.
 
Personally, I don't really care for it. I think the concept is stupid. Why be grouped with people who share similar abilities? Team ups are far more effective. Or if you must have a family book at least give them different power sets (i.e. Fantastic Four). Secondly, why do you want Marvel to be more like DC? They have different styles. Deal with it.
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CATPANEXE

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Edited By CATPANEXE

I can't say I've seen anything but the opposite of all this in the Marvel books since around the House Of M era actually.

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tim2081

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Edited By tim2081

DC presents their heroes in a more iconic way, so the family responsibility becomes essential. Marvel has more gritty personalities; in my opinion, Marvel has more anti-heroes than regular heroes. The family concept seems a little more forced in Marvel when it happens, where it's more natural and expected in DC.

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SleepyDrug

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Edited By SleepyDrug

I don't think I want Marvel to be more like DC.  I was more thinking of how they flirt with a common theme in comics.  Marvel doesn't like side-kicks or grouping heroes just due to similiar abilities.  But they have flirted with it in the past.  Marvel's original books had the Human Torch and Toro, Captain America and Bucky, and even Namor had a sidekick.  Then they moved away from this when Stan Lee came into the picture.  But we soon saw the reintroduction of clear spin off characters in Namorita, She-Hulk, Wasp, Spider-Woman, Thor Girl, USAgent, and Thunderstrike to name a few. 
 
I agree that Marvel shouldn't mimic DC in the sidekick-mentor paradigm or groups of similar powers.  The groups I mentioned above really tended to derive from partnerships or attempted legacies.  The point is that there are natural groupings here that have not really been explored.  Captain America is a soldier and an ideal.  One would think that he would embrace the opportunity to encourage and support those trying to follow his example.  One might also think that he would be open to leading a small squad against his enemies that the Avengers are unsuited to facing.  Finally, it would make sense that Cap - as a man out of time - would try to build a social network that he can relate to.  Characters like Nomad, Falcon, Battlestar, and USAgent are potential friends as well as partners.  They are also an opportunity to expand the number of people guarding the American Dream.  These would seem to all be goals that Cap would embrace.  But I always get the sense that Cap avoids all of that.  Falcon may be the only character who has been both a friend and a partner to Cap within his own title on any sort of consistent basis. 
 
@Wise Son 
I have read and own every issue of Captain America from about 225 of vol 1 to the end of vol 4.  My collections of other Marvel titles is equally extensive.  Cap takes partners but rarely maintains the type of partnership or friendships we see in DC families.  Marvel has explored this concept.  But it is usually brief. 
 
I think NovaPrime has a good point about the lack of mentor-sidekick relationships in Marvel.  That does tend to create a certain bond between characters.  There are some exceptions like the Green Lanterns, but overall it is a good point.