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Sidelines 010: Top Ten Bad-Ass Fathers in Comics

For my Father. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

For my Father. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

 

Fathers are the most important man in a child’s life. The father is the example to which we all must adhere to, so on this Father’s Day, I dedicate this list to the Top 10 Most Bad-Ass Fathers in Comics.

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I want that mustache.

10. Omni-Man: A good father/mentor until his motives for coming to Earth to conquer it for the Viltrumite Empire are exposed. However, Omni-Man soon changes his ways and becomes a truly good man by betraying the Viltrumites and siding with his son, Invincible, and eventually becomes the Viltrumite Emperor. All the while having the most bad-ass mustache of all time.

He ain't so big. Or Bad.

He ain’t so big. Or Bad.

9. Bigby Wolf: What bumps him down is sadly due to his time as a deadbeat/absentee dad during most of his children’s early childhoods. However, he more than makes up for it when he returns and shows what kind of father he can be: The father that is willing to fight for his children. When his son, Ambrose, is surrounded by Bigby’s savage wolf kin, he fights to save his little one from the pack. Bigby is a man/wolf that will fight for his pack: both his family and his fellow Fables.

The Veteran Super Father.

The Veteran Super Father.

8. Ted Knight. It’s not easy being a father. It’s also not easy being a Superhero. So to be the Superhero father of two sons, one of which grows up to be a smart-ass, Ted Knight didn’t have it easy. That’s not to say he had a terrible time at it. When his son David, the first of his sons to take over the mantle of Starman, died, his son Jack reluctantly took up the mantle of Starman to save their home city of Opal. Jack eventually agreed to become Starman, but that’s not to say that Ted faded away from the comic. Throughout the series of Starman, Ted played the role of mentor father to Jack and provided him with a lot of sage advice as well as some insights into his character, such as his favorite artist being Jackson Pollock. Ted is the elderly mentor father that all sons need if they are looking for a direction in life. One to point them towards the stars.

And he is way over 80.

And he is way over 80.

7. Alan Scott: It is strange to put Alan on this list because we hardly see as a father of his own children and more of a spiritual father of the JSA. However, that doesn’t change the fact about Alan. Of all the characters on this list, Alan fits the category of the father making up for his mistakes as well as the one that has suffered the most loss. He lost his son temporarily to the forces of evil and his own daughter’s life in the storyline Infinite Crisis. Of course, Alan’s family still finds its way back together… only to be torn apart again. His greatest moment of Bad-Ass comes during the JSA storyline Princes of Darkness when he faces against his crazed son Obsidian and frees him from the darkness that possessed his son’s soul.

Attack, my brethren!

Attack, my brethren!

6. Buddy Baker/Animal Man: Of all the characters on this list, Buddy seems to be the most normal. Prior to the Hell he and his family went through in Rotworld, Buddy Baker was a happily married man with a boy and a girl and a loving wife. I admit that I never read the Animal Man series by Grant Morrison, but I did get a gauge on Buddy’s character in Infinite Crisis and 52. Buddy is a father first and a superhero second. It affects how he sees the world and his priorities. In 52, when Buddy, Adam Strange and Starfire are sent across the universe, his motives for getting home are his family. Buddy does, of course, succeed and he manages to get a happy ending. In the New 52 series of Animal Man, we see Buddy as a man that will fight against undead abominations to defend his family. Buddy Baker: Father first, Superhero second.

Bad. Ass. Fatha!

Bad. Ass. Fatha!

5. Luke Cage: What can be said? It’s Luke Cage. Bad-Ass is how he lives his life. The man is an ex-con that worked to redeem himself and more than succeeded in doing so. He is a father, a Hero for Hire, and the list of Bad-Ass things he has done is too long for me to list. All I can say is, don’t mess with Cage or his baby girl. You won’t last long.

Damien: Mine's bigger!

Damien: Mine’s bigger!

4. Batman: Yep. Batman is a father. During Grant Morrison’s run on Batman, he revealed that Batman had a son named Damien Wayne who was raised by a secret League of Assassins who wanted him to become the ultimate killer and the heir to the League. Batman was informed of his existence and decided to take Damien under his wing. The best thing about this story is watching Batman try to be a real father to the son he never knew he had. There are a lot of good moments between them. Before Damien though, Batman also has had father-figure experience with Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Jason Todd (Though we don’t hold his development as a character against him). He was a father figure to these three boys and helped them through the tough times in their lives. Such as when Dick’s parents died. When Jason was abandoned by his parents. And when Tim’s father was murdered years after he became Robin. Wow, Bruce can sure pick them. What makes Batman a bad-ass father is, and I hate to sound incredibly clichéd… that he is Batman.

Father and son sharing a beer.

Father and son sharing a beer.

3. Jonathan “Pa” Kent: This is the Man who raised Superman. The man who taught him right from wrong and to use his powers for good and not evil. Jon Kent is the normal everyday father that all normal everyday fathers could look up to. The moment of true Bad-Assness comes when Superman dies and Jon has a near death experience that sends him on a spiritual journey to save his son from the call of the afterlife, beating up a dark spirit with a shovel that he manifested out of thin air. Jon Kent brought his own son, Superman, back from the grave. Top that.

A casual family dinner.

A casual family dinner.

2. Aquaman: The story of Aquaman’s son is a tragedy on the levels of Shakespeare. In Death of a Prince, Aquaman’s son, Arthur Jr., is kidnapped by his arch-nemesis, Black Manta, in an attempt to truly break him. He had his son encased in a glass bubble with a limited amount of water so that Arthur Jr. will drown like a goldfish in a bowl. All the while, Arthur is forced to fight his sidekick and friend, Aqualad. Luckily, Arthur wins the duel and attempts to save his son… but it appears to be too late. Driven by vengeance, Arthur attempts to kill Black Manta, but cannot do it, even when his rage and hatred is righteous. It turns out, later on, that Arthur Jr. was not dead, but unconscious. While Arthur was attempting to avenge his son, Arthur Jr. passed away. This inevitably caused a rift to grow between Arthur and his wife, Mera. A rift that still remained even years after she forgave him, still remained. The reason why Arthur is on this list is because even when he thought he lost him, Aquaman still fought for his son. And unlike most things in comics, this still left an impact for years afterward.

A true Happy Ending.

A true Happy Ending.

1. Plastic Man: If you have watched the show Brave and the Bold, then you might be wondering why I would choose Plastic Man, since he is portrayed as a goof. The answer is… he is a badass father. Plastic Man was once Patrick “Eel” O’Brien, a petty thief and criminal until he was given the ability to convert his body into any shape he wished. With this ability, he became Plastic Man. While Plas does constantly fool and joke, he does show his true side as a hero. During Mark Waid’s run on JLA, Plas goes through a character arc that reveals more to him than readers would previously think. During Divided We Fall, where the secret and superhero identities of 6 of the 8 members of the JLA are split in two, Plastic Man is the first to desire regaining the morality and decency that he felt as Plastic Man, stating “I want my soul back.” He even goes as far as to beat Bruce Wayne up in order to knock some sense into him. It is later revealed that Plastic Man is a father, whose son has the exact same abilities as he does. Of course, his son is also on the same criminal path his father once was, but with Batman’s help, he sets his son straight. It is only later that Plas decides to quit the superhero gig to become a full time father. However, this decision causes Plas to place a mental block on himself so that he appears to be a normal everyday father, forgetting his life as a Superhero. Of course, the true moment of Bad-Ass for Plas comes when J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter is possessed by a fiery martian entity that threatens to destroy all of creation. Plas comes out of mental retirement to save the day and of course returns to his son, whom he happily embraces. He has my vote for father of the year and the most badass father of the year.