These Marvel heroes all found out the hard way that their families were a little bigger than expected.
They say family is the most important thing, but that sometimes can take a backseat to fighting crime and saving the world. It may seem harsh, but in reality the heroes of the Marvel Universe are sometimes too hard-pressed to check in with their families. As a result, their may be some family news they might miss, least of all the news that they actually have secret relatives.
A classic trope in the medium, the reveal of secret relatives has always proven to shake things up for any character. The means to which they’ve remained hidden over the years have only gotten more and more extraordinary, but these family reunions have always provided great sentimental moments for these beloved characters. Cliché is too harsh a word to describe the trope— classic is a better one.
The Red Skull is known as being one of Captain America’s greatest foes, with the two having faced off ever since World War II. However, in the Ultimate Marvel universe, the Red Skull was introduced in the most unexpected twist: As Captain America’s son. Conceived on his last night before leaving for the war, son of Steve Rogers and Gail Richards was put into foster care at a military base after Captain America was believed dead. Becoming far more skilled than Captain America at an incredibly fast rate, the child killed all his caretakers at the facility, proving to be sadistic and bent on revenge against the system that created him.
Becoming one of the most secretive and deadly assassins in the world, the Red Skull came out of retirement in order to steal Reed Richards’ Cosmic Cube. In the process of stealing it he finally came face-to-face with his father. With the Cube in his possession, the Red Skull was one of the most dangerous beings on the planet, and it required the full force of the Ultimates to finally take him down. Meanwhile, it was revealed that he originally wanted the Cube in order to rewrite reality so that his father was never lost after the war, so that he could live a sort of normal life with his family.
Arno Stark was the biological son of Howard and Maria Stark, who was genetically modified by a member of a alien race in order to ensure humanity’s technological growth compared to the various cosmic empires. However, Arno was born with severe disabilities, and was unable to breathe without the assistance of an iron lung. In order to cover their tracks, the Starks adopted another son: Tony Stark.
Arno and Tony would later finally meet as adults, and with the help of an exoskeleton that allowed him to move freely, the two brothers set off to change the world. However, the two would clash over the fact that after the second superhero Civil War, Tony was left in a coma and had his body restructured cell by cell in a contraption of Arno’s design, implying that Tony wasn’t legitimately human. This was all revealed to be a part of a plan for Arno to seize control of Tony’s company, so he could use their resources for his own ends.
A huge reveal in 2014 was that Richard and Mary Parker— who famously had been CIA agents— had not just a son named Peter but another child, known as Teresa Parker. Said to have been given up for adoption by the Parkers, Teresa resurfaced again as a CIA agent, after being recruited by Nick Fury. Teresa would become a highly capable agent, working with Peter to help uncover crime circles in Europe, and learning that she had been mentally manipulated by both Kingpin and Mentallo.
Teresa became one of the few people in the Marvel Universe who learned of Spider-Man’s true identity, and since then, the two have teamed-up for highly sensitive missions. After her partner and lover was captured by the Chameleon, Teresa and Peter found themselves entangled in a huge conspiracy by the Chameleon to manipulate Teresa, by trying to convince her that she had been trained and placed in an academy of Chameleon sleeper agents, and that the versions of Richard and Mary Parker she believed to be her parents may have in fact just been different versions of the Chameleon.
Cyclops of the X-Men is no stranger to family secrets. When he was younger, it was years before he realized his brother (Alex Summers/Havok) had also survived the plane crash that he believed had killed his parents. But in the early 2000s, Scott Summers learned that he had another mutant brother, a man by the name of Gabriel Summers. Even worse than finding out that so many years had passed without Scott knowing about his brother was the revelation that it was Professor Xavier who had tampered with Scott’s mind so that he never remembered him.
In the Deadly Genesis storyline, the X-Men learned of one of Xavier’s darkest secrets— that when the X-Men had been captured on one of their first missions, Xavier had sent in a second team of mutants to rescue them, but none of them had made it out alive. Even worse, Xavier removed the memory of this team from everyone’s mind, until Gabriel Summers returned to exact his revenge on Xavier, going by the name of Vulcan.
Angela is the firstborn child of Odin and Freyja, the older sister of Thor and Loki, and the heir to the Asgardian throne. When Asgard went to war with the forces of Heaven, the child was kidnapped in order to blackmail Odin. The plan failed, and the child was seemingly killed, leading to Odin separating Heaven from the rest of the Nine Realms. In reality, the child was actually found to be alive, and was raised as one of the angels.
After the Age Of Ultron event, a rift was caused in between the Tenth Realm of Heaven and the other Nine, which allowed Angela to slip through into Midgard. Since then she has come face to face with Thor, Odin, and other incredibly powerful characters, all of which she has held her own against. A valued part-time member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Angela has become a force to be reckoned with in the Marvel Universe.
Introduced in 2006, Akihiro is the biological son of Wolverine. After Wolverine’s wife was murdered in the last stages of her pregnancy by the Winter Soldier, the baby was cut out of her womb before being brought to a wealthy Japanese couple by the villain known as Romulus. Given the family name Akihiro by his Japanese adopted family, he was nicknamed “Daken” by the people of the town, meaning “mongrel.” Akihiro’s mutant healing powers and retractable claws quickly revealed themselves, and he would become a lethal killer under Romulus, who manipulated Akihiro’s rage in order to prepare the boy to kill his father.
Akihiro wouldn’t reveal himself to Wolverine for years, until he was a fully grown man and an expert killer. The father and son would have a series of lethal fights over the years, until Wolverine finally managed to reach out to his son and begin to heal the broken relationship between them. Since then, Akihiro has become an important member of Wolverine’s family, and Krakoa’s X-Factor Investigations team most recently.
In 2020, it was revealed that Carol Danvers actually had a half-sister, a Kree soldier by the name of Lauri-Ell. Lauri-Ell was artificially bred by the Kree with the DNA of two Kree soldiers, one of them being Mari-Ell, also known as Marie Danvers, the mother of Carol. Carol wouldn’t learn of her half-sister for years, until as part of the Kree/Skrull Alliance, she was given a Universal Weapon, and used it to probe the mind of Lauri-Ell, revealing her lineage.
Being a trained Kree soldier, Lauri-Ell is very capable in the ways of battle, however she has always shown an aversion to conflict. During the Cotati attack during the Empyre event, the two sisters teamed up to hold off Cotati forces. When Carol was overpowered by the Cotati, her Universal Weapon was dropped, and found its way to Lauri-Ell, who was able to use it to fend them off. After the event finished, Emperor Hulkling made Lauri-Ell his new Chief Accuser.
Laura Kinney, or more recently known as Wolverine, is the clone of James Howlett, the original Wolverine. Created by the Facility in hopes of having a perfect weapon, Laura Kinney overcame her past and has since gone on to become one of the most compelling heroes in the X-Men universe. In 2015, in the All-New Wolverine series, Laura learned that Alchemax Genetics had created more clones of Wolverine using her DNA structure. In short, Laura had as many as ten “sisters.”
After learning that these clones were quickly dying, Laura helped to try and save them— growing attached to Gabby, the youngest of the clones. Gabby had the same healing factor as Laura and one retractable claw on each hand, but also was incapable of feeling physical pain. A joyful breath of light and a wonderful sister, Laura and Gabby have become inseparable ever since.
Introduced in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men series, Cassandra Nova is what the Shi’ar gave the term “Mummudrai.” A spiritual equal and opposite, Cassandra Nova is the genetic opposite to Charles Xavier, basically his twin sister. After developing a physical form in the womb, Xavier detected the horrible potential of Cassandra Nova and tried to use his nascent physic abilities to discard of her— essentially causing her mother to have a miscarriage.
However, Nova survived this attack and slowly regenerated herself. Once she was fully formed, she set out to wreak havoc on Xavier’s life, and managed to restart a dormant Master Mold station in South America. She then sent a fleet of Sentinels to Genosha where almost 17 million mutants were killed, one of the biggest disasters in the history of mutantkind.
Wiccan and Speed were introduced in the Young Avengers, with the titular team of teenage superheroes beginning to operate in the wake of the official Avengers team disbanding. When the team went out to recruit more members, they came across Speed, a speedster who bore an uncanny resemblance to Wiccan, a strong magic user on the team. Based on their individual power sets— and their identical features— Wiccan came to speculate that the two might be the reincarnated children of the Scarlet Witch.
A story that was believed to be a myth, the Scarlet Witch gave birth to twin boys years ago, but they were revealed to have been a manifestation of her reality-altering powers. Wiccan, being a fellow magic user, believed that the souls of those twin boys had been reincarnated in himself and Speed— a theory that was confirmed years later in The Children’s Crusade, a crossover story that confirmed that Wiccan and Speed were in fact the children of The Scarlet Witch.
NEXT: 10 Marvel Heroes Who Are Terrifying When They’re Mad
RaguVarman Raguparan is a writer for Comic Book Resources based in Montreal. A huge fan of comics, movies, and all forms of pop culture, he is finishing a degree at Concordia University in History and South Asian Studies.
These Marvel heroes all found out the hard way that their families were a little bigger than expected.