Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Children of Supervillains

Something that always bugs me about comics is the way children of supervillains are treated. It seems to be an unwritten rule that having an evil parent means a character will be evil. Now, if you're the child of a superhero, you may end up good or evil, but it seems that children with supervillain parents are destined for villainy. Exceptions are rare, and even initially good characters will often become evil.

Brainwave, Jr. is one of my favorite characters specifically because he has a supervillain for a father but choose to become a superhero instead. He was often conflicted but unquestionably heroic during his time with Infinity, Inc. Then Infinity, Inc. was cancelled and future writers decided to make him go insane and evil. I mean he must be evil if his father was evil!

Thankfully, this was later retconned by Geoff Johns, who revealed that Brainwave, Jr. had been a victim of mind control. But it still bothers me that writers completely ignored everything except the fact his father was a villain.

This is has extremely disturbing implications. It implies that if your parents are evil, you will be too. That genetics dooms a person to be evil. That free will is irrelevant if you come from a bad family. Plenty of wonderful people come from awful backgrounds. Plenty of horrible people come from good backgrounds.

DNA =/= destiny. I only wish more writers realized that.

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