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The sad and twisted comic book families that will make you appreciate your own

House of M
House of M
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Thanksgiving is about the food, of course. Mountains and mountains of food.

But humans can only eat so much, and in the time between meals, you may be required to engage in conversation with relatives about stuff.

More often than not, these conversations turn into arguments. And those arguments can turn into wanting to walk into the ocean (while cradling a bowl of stuffing, softly spooning it into your mouth).

You are not alone.

Comic book writers and artists have likely felt the same way too. How else would you explain how often, in the world of comics, families are gigantic disaster piles of dysfunction. Fathers are demons, lovers become enemies, and children are reminders of the worst things in the universe.

Here, then, are a few comic book families so dysfunctional they might make you more appreciative of yours:

The Lehnsherr-Maximoffs (Marvel comics)


Who they are: Though it's addressed only obliquely in the film X-Men: Days of Future Past, Magneto, a.k.a. Erik Lehnsherr, is father to the twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff. The two grow up to become the superheroes Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. And their backstory with Magneto is long and complicated, involving Magneto abandoning their mother, reuniting with them, and recruiting them into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Wanda and Pietro eventually reform and become good guys. Their story also involves a humanoid cow named Bova who acts as a midwife during their birth:

Bova delivering Wanda and Pietro (Marvel)

Their biggest fight: The worst family disagreement between these three happened in a storyline called House of M. Published in 2005, the story dealt with Wanda going bonkers, putting the world at risk because she has the power to warp reality. The Avengers and X-Men were afraid that, in her insane state, she would ruin the world, so they debated whether to kill her. Pietro decides to save her, and Wanda creates a new reality where mutants rule.

Eventually, this all comes crashing down, with everyone figuring out they are part of this weird reality. Magneto kills Pietro and sends Wanda over the edge. She not only revives Pietro (because of her fun, reality-warping power) but also decides that mutants, like her father, are jerks. So she warps reality yet again, declares "no more mutants," and wipes away the powers of some 90 percent of them — including her brother.


What you can learn from them: If your sister or daughter has the power to alter reality, don't mess with her.

Ant-Man, Wasp, and Ultron (Marvel Comics)

Ultron Unlimited (Marvel)

Who they are: Ant-Man, the Wasp, and their "son," Ultron, are one of the most bizarre families in the Marvel Universe. They might even be the most twisted family. Ant-Man a.k.a. Hank Pym, a second-string Avenger, is basically a long-running failure of a superhero whose inventions never pan out. His wife, The Wasp, a.k.a. Janet van Dyne, is an Avengers darling who gets everything right, which causes frustration and resentment in Hank. And then there's Ultron, a creation of Hank's who turns out to one of the Avengers' greatest foes and his creator's biggest mistake. On top of all of this, Ultron has paralyzing daddy issues.

Their biggest fight: There are lots. Perhaps the most visceral fight came inAvengers no. 213. In it, Pym tries to redeem himself for his Ultron blunder by making a robot that only he can defeat. According to Pym's plan, the robot would ostensibly defeat the Avengers, and Pym would save the day. His wife finds out about the plan, urges him to stop, and then he hits her:


Though his wife has recovered, and continues to play an integral role in the Avengers, that episode tainted and still defines Pym's character.

What you can learn from them: Divorce is an option, and robot children are bad ideas.

Damian Wayne and Bruce Wayne (DC Comics)


(DC Comics)

Who they are: Bruce Wayne is, of course, Batman. Damian Wayne, whom you might not be familiar with unless you've been keeping up with the comics, is the son Bruce fathered with Talia al Ghul, a supervillain and Bruce Wayne love interest.

Their biggest fight: There isn't really so much of a fight as there is a constant ongoing struggle to find common ground with one another. Because Damian's mom is a supervillain and his maternal grandfather a super criminal, his father didn't even know he existed until he was 10 years old. And because assassins trained him, Damian is a little bit damaged. His relationship with his dad is abrasive, reluctant, and peppered with friction. But they learn from each other, especially during Grant Morrison's run on Batman Incorporated in 2013.

Morrison told IGN at the time:

I love the idea that he was the son of Batman and the world's greatest super criminal. So part of him is a bad little dude, and the other part of him is the son of Batman. It's an obvious story to tell of this little bad, aristocratic, stuck-up, arrogant, snot of a kid suddenly realize that, "Wait a minute, part of my genetic heritage is Batman!" and then living up to that.

What you can learn from them: You can't choose your family, but if Batman can learn to love his bloodthirsty, mentally unstable child and put him on a better path, you can probably put up with your aunt.

The Summers Clan


Who they are: The Kennedys of X-men. They are Jean Grey, Scott Summers, and the large number of children — Rachel Summers, Cable, Stryfe, X-Man — they brought into this world.

Their biggest fight: There is not enough time between now and the end of Thanksgiving weekend to really spell out the craziness that this family brings. In just the last 14 years, we've seen the Summers-Grey clan time travel, diecheat psychically, engage with teenage versions of themselves, die again, save a mutant messiah, make clones, and travel through space.

What you can learn from them: There are some families that love drama. Yours will never be as dramatic or as tragic as the Summerses. So stop picking on your sister.

Raven and her demon father, Trigon (DC Comics)

(DC Comics)

Who they are: Raven is one of the most powerful magical heroes in the DC Universe. She has been a member of teams like the Sentinels of Magic and the Teen Titans. She got her powers from her father, Trigon, who is actually an dimension-hopping demon who raped her human mother. Raven also has some brothers on her dad's side who are out to get her.

Their biggest fight: Though Raven and her family members have fought each other in comics, the biggest story between here is Raven dealing with the evil that's part of her, thanks to who her father is. Her fear of turning evil haunts her constantly and threatens to dismantle her relationships.

What you can learn from them: Even though your father (or mother) is terrible (or even evil), it doesn't mean you have to follow in his (or her) footsteps.

The gods of The Wicked + The Divine (Image comics)

(The Wicked + The Divine)

Who they are: In Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's world of The Wicked + The Divine, gods come back every 90 years and live for two. And these gods — from every religion (Lucifer, Amaterasu, Minerva, Baal, and more) — are kind of like an omnipotent group of Kardashians. They're all vaguely related or aligned. Some are rock stars. Most are just famous for being famous. And they do not get along.

Their biggest fight: The series is only five issues young, so we don't really know what Gillen and McKelvie have in store for us. Currently, the main dilemma in these gods' two-year lives is keeping in line with the rules of godhood and not using (and abusing) their powers on mortals.

(The Wicked +The Divine)

What you can learn from them: Don't count on your family to bail you out jail if you're not on good terms with them.

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