Published February 12, 2019

The 5 Worst Dads in the Marvel Universe

In honor of THOR #10, here are some of the peskiest patriarchs in the Ten Realms.

Father’s Day may be months away, but THOR #10 is upon us this Wednesday, February 13, and you know what that means: more unresolved daddy issues between Thor and his one-eyed papa, Odin. Just because you’re a Norse god with powers bordering on omnipotence doesn’t mean you can’t have family troubles.

Written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Mike Del Mundo, THOR #10 finds the Ten Realms in ruins after Malekith’s crusade of destruction. And what has Odin done? Jack squat, goose egg, zilch. With the Rainbow Bridge destroyed and Asgard a ruin of its formal self, the once-honored king spends his days getting drunk and wallowing in self-pity.

To save the situation, he’ll need to drop the All-Father shtick and simply focus on being a dad to his hammer-wielding son, Thor. But since Odin got us all into this mess in the first place, we’ll be taking a look at some of the worst dads in the entire Marvel Universe.


Thor and Odin

It all ends with Odin, so we might as well start with him, too. The king of Asgard, he’s always been more of a grizzled leader and father figure than an actual father over the years. We don’t love the All-Father – we’re in love with the idea of him.

When Thor got a little too big for his britches, Odin exiled him to Earth in the disguise of a regular man named Dr. Donald Blake. Sure, it worked as a lesson in humility and Thor became one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but couldn’t Odin just have sat down and talked to his son rather than go through all that trouble?

You can’t just send all of your problems to Earth, Odin! It doesn’t work that way in the real world.


Gamora and Thanos

You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? There’s no denying that the Mad Titan might be the exemplar of bad parenting. Thanos adopted Gamora after the genocide of her people and instead of giving her a loving and nurturing home, he raised her to be a remorseless assassin who would kill on command.

It was this training that gained her the moniker “the Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy,” but we’re pretty sure she’d give that up in a second for a father who really cared.


Howard Stark

Say what you will about Thanos’ child-rearing methods, but at least he took an active role in raising Gamora. Howard Stark, on the other hand, was less affectionate with his son Tony, who would, of course, go on to become Iron Man.

Intellectually gifted and extremely wealthy, Howard loved his child very much, but remained emotionally distant. He often practiced tough love on Tony in an effort to strengthen the boy’s resolve and make him more equipped to handle the difficulties of the world. Howard even quashed a romantic fling between Tony and Meredith McCall, the daughter of his competitor, Creighton McCall.

This distance was only made worse by Howard’s addiction problems. But Tony, however he might have felt about his father, was just as mentally bright and interested in the future of technology like his dad before him. Despite their quarrels, Tony decided to become a lot more serious about his life after his parents were killed in a car crash.


Death of Barton Blaze

Every kid wishes that their parent was a member of the circus – until they realize what that actually entails. When the responsibility of raising a kid on his own fell on his shoulders, Barton Blaze didn’t shy away from it. However, he still decided that it was okay to perform death-defying motorcycle stunts for a living, something that ended up claiming his life.

This led his son, Johnny, down a path of summoning and striking a bargain with the literal Devil. Said bargain turned Johnny into an errand boy for Satan – the Ghost Rider.


J'Son and Son

You’d think that the emperor of the Spartax Empire would have some more common sense. After impregnating Meredith Quill with the child who would become Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, J’Son simply peaced out, believing he was doing right by them as the interstellar voyage may have harmed their frail human bodies.

He left Earth and erased every memory Meredith had of him. She later married a man named Jake, who was furious when he realized that baby Peter was not his, despite Meredith’s objections that it was his. With her memories of J’son gone, she believed she was telling the truth. Jake nearly killed the newborn out in the woods, but died of a heart attack before he could follow through with his homicidal intent.

THOR #10, written by Jason Aaron with art by Mike Del Mundo, goes on sale Wednesday, February 13. Reserve your copy today online or at your local comic shop!

Cover of Thor #10