Often, the most rewarding and complicated relationships are the ones that we have with our parents, especially our mothers. They’re (one hopes) the first role models, heroes of our lives whose main superpower is dealing with our crazy antics as we gradually grow up into competent adults. Mothers already have a tough job ahead of them just by taking care of their children, but that’s nothing compared to some of the mothers in comics. Villains and heroes both have the reproductive parts to be moms, and that in some ways is the coolest and most terrifying thing to read. In honor of Mother’s Day, best known to our moms as the most important time of the year next to their birthdays, it’s time to run down the list of the best and worst mothers that comics have to offer.
The Best Moms
5. Shizune Arima (Kare Kano)
In the Japanese comic Kare Kano, the Arima clan have dealt with their fair share of scandal and shame within their house. Shizune’s husband Soji wanted to separate himself from his family, but one day they found themselves brought in when they adopted his youngest brother’s son Soichiro. Due to the shame that Soichiro’s father was upon their household, his relatives treated him with the same sort of animosity throughout the years. Shizune didn’t let that affect their happy little family as she gave Soichiro the affection that he desperately longed for from his biological mother. He turned into the epitome of a well-rounded, intelligent young man that any mother would be proud to call their son. Then again any mother would be absolutely beaming with joy if her son was so smart that he was at the top of his class. (Though we hope she wouldn’t disown him if he weren’t.)
4. Witchblade (Witchblade)
Sara Pezzini was one of the most recent women to possess the vast power within the WItchblade, but at one point in her comics history that wasn’t the case. When the hero found herself pregnant, she realized that it was finally time to put focus on the new life coming into the world and relinquished power over to Danielle Baptiste. Eventually she had to take ahold of the Witchblade once more after giving birth to her daughter and is a prime example of how a mother can still balance out her work, spending time with her child while still finding enough spare moments to use a giant, clothes-destroying scab in order to keep the world safe. Mothers for years have complained about how difficult their lives can be, but none of them have possession of a mystical weapon that continually keep themselves and their daughter in harm’s way.
3. Martha “Ma” Kent (Superman)
Life for Superman may be absolutely hectic in his adult life, but at least he had a quiet and great upbringing that helped shape him into the level headed superhero that we know him to be. Martha “Ma” Kent has always remained a supportive mother who loved Clark Kent as if her were her own flesh and blood. In one of the Superman storylines, Pa and Ma Kent even go so far as to build up his own secret identity in order to blend him in more with the humans. It’s pure motherly love when your own mother will protect your secret identity because she knows what you’re doing as a superhero is nothing but good. I doubt that Ma Kent would be so willing to keep Clark Kent’s true identity a secret if he were going around deliberately causing massive amounts of damage across Metropolis. And we can only imagine what Super-diaper changes must have been like.
2. Sue Richards (Fantastic Four)
Moms often complain that they feel invisible, but Sue Richards, better known as the Invisible Woman from Fantastic Four, is one of the toughest mothers out there in comics. She will do whatever it takes in order to keep her baby safe from any sort of evil that may come her way. There have been a couple of instances where her son Franklin and her daughter Valeria were in danger of being taken over by dark forces, but she’s managed to save them both. And due to her valiant efforts when it concerns her children, at one point an adult version of Franklin saves his sister Valeria who’s still in the womb. Unfortunately Sue and the rest of the Fantastic Four have to fight off Doctor Doom in order to keep Valeria a good girl. Richards is a wonderfully kind and nurturing mother who shields her children away from the dangers of the strange superhero universe around them.
1. Mary “Aunt May” Parker (Spider-Man)
Hold your horses, every commenter who’s about to write “She’s an aunt, not a mom, stoopid!” – adoptive mothers, including those who are already family, love and hurt just as much as any other kind, and in May’s case, more than most. Aunt May is one of the most understanding and benevolent maternal figures out there in the comic book world, and for good reason. In the Spider-Man comics she’s always treated her nephew Peter Parker like her own son, loving him unconditionally ever since Uncle Ben and her had to take Peter in after his parents’ passing. Peter remained close with Aunt May even after he moved out of the house, since she was the only real family left in his life.
Even when Aunt May discovered that Peter Parker was that horrible Spider-Man, she still loved him all the same and stood behind him when he decided to let the world know his true identity. Mary “Aunt May” Parker gave him the kind of motherly love that every child should have in their lives, especially if they turn out to become some sort of mutated superhero. After all, it’s easier to have a happier conversations with your mother if she’s a little more open-minded to some of your “alternative lifestyle” choices, like putting on spandex and fighting pumpkin-wielding villains.
The Top Five Worst Mothers
5. Guilty Susie (The Molting)
We all have experienced situations that have affected us, shaping us into the kind of human beings we are today. Then there’s Guilty Susie, the mother from Terrance Zdunich’s The Molting, who is certifiably insane. Now I’m not saying that in a joking manner; she’s completely out of her mind. She mumbles to herself, stays locked up in her home and has outrageous temper tantrums, sometimes over nothing at all. Her two sons can barely relate to her or speak to her, and she doesn’t even really care what’s going on in their lives. Guilty Susie’s mind is off in another dimension and she should be committed – not just to the confines of her house.
4. Rumi Matsuura (Marmalade Boy)
There are a number of outrageous love stories that are within the pages of Japanese girl-centric comics, and Marmalade Boy is one of them. Miki Koishikawa is just an average high school girl whose life is suddenly turned upside down when her parents decide to swap partners with the odd Matsuura family and remarry out of nowhere. The household becomes even more complicated once Miki and the Matsuura’s teenaged son Yuu inevitably fall in love.
Rumi wins her spot on this list when it’s revealed that she’s the one who threw a wrench in the relationships way back in the day before the two were born. She tore apart her original relationship with Miki’s father and got together with Matsuura, but what made the situation worse was that none of the parents came clean about their past, so when Yuu and Miki fell in love and found out about their parents’ past, they went under the false assumption that they were related by blood (which they weren’t). Marmalade Boy went into super soap opera mode once that twist was revealed, and Rumi’s refusal to tell the truth to everyone brought pain to the whole household. Who would hide something like that? They’re old enough to know the deal, even if you had no idea that these step-siblings were in love with each other.
3. Talia al Ghul (Batman)
Talia al Ghul never came off as much of the maternal type in the Batman comics, but more of the nightmare daddy’s girl than anything else. Well, more daddy’s slightly insane little girl if we want to be more specific. Normally mothers tend to bring their sons to soccer or football practice, not through rigorous training at the League of Assassins. Naturally, li’l Damian turned into a brooding and deadly youngster that she eventually disowned. She became such an cold, unloving mother in the comics that she eventually placed a bounty on Damian’s head and succeeded in causing his eventual death. Mothers are normally beyond happy to have their son or daughter be in the world, not wanting to dispose of them immediately once they start siding with their father. When your mother has a love/hate relationship with your father, who also happens to be a self-righteous genius dressed as a bat, it does put you in quite an uncomfortable situation.
2. Harness (X-Men)
There are some mothers who are regretful over not achieving all they wanted to in life before they began having children. Eventually they begin fulfilling their dreams through their kids, whether the youngsters like it or not. Sometimes they’ll make them do a sport that they wish they could have excelled at or another random extracurricular activity, but this one made hers try to demolish all of mutant civilization as we know it. Harness (a.k.a. Erika Benson) is the mutant mother of Piecemeal, who so conveniently was merged together with the powers of Proteus, a deadly villain in the X-Men universe. Harness decided to push her own agenda on her son by recreating him as villain for A.I.M. that she would control for her own means, but her plans eventually failed due to the death of her son and she was brought into custody. Some people just should not have children.
1. Mystique (X-Men)
Most of the comic-book loving world is fairly convinced that Mystique doesn’t have a maternal bone in her entire body when it pertains to her two biological sons and adopted daughter. She gave birth to Graydon Creed and Nightcrawler, both of whom she abandoned individually when they were both babies in order to protect her own life. Mystique eventually killed Creed, but didn’t even know that he’s her flesh and blood at the time of the assassination.
Years later, Mystique adopted a very young Rogue whom she only kept around because Destiny told her that she’d become a very valuable ally one day. Naturally Mystique manipulated Rogue for her own villainous needs, but that didn’t last too long as she eventually made friends and stayed with the X-Men. Once Rogue became part of the X-Men household, Mystique from continued on her own evil agenda as she eventually fought against her own adopted daughter. Mystique doesn’t have a shred of love for any of the children that were part of her life, which brought them to eventually come to hate her. So it’s no surprise that Nightcrawler and Rogue are with the X-Men; they’re rebelling against their mother for making their lives a little worse.
Your mother, whatever her faults, is undoubtedly better than that, so don’t forget to give her a call this weekend.