Marvel: 10 Animated Parental Figures, Ranked From Worst To Best – CBR

The Marvel animated universe is filled with both positive and negative parental figures who influenced popular heroes in a number of powerful ways.
Marvel Animation has introduced new takes on established characters that reimagine some of their mentors and parental figures, but they don’t always work like the comics.
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Parents, whether they are biological or adoptive, continue to play an important role in the development of both heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe though they don’t always have a positive influence. It’s helpful to take a closer look at a few of the best and worst animated parental figures that have appeared in Marvel’s various animated series over the years.
While fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were introduced to a different character as Star-Lord‘s father, the animated Guardians of the Galaxy stayed true to the comics and included J’son as Peter Quill’s father. J’son is the Emperor of the Spartoi, dedicated to expanding his power base through any means necessary, which includes allying with threats like Thanos. J’son was never around for Star-Lord in his youth or as an adult and can be expected to turn on his son at the earliest opportunity if it benefits his own plans, making him one of Marvel Animated’s worst parental figures.
Howard Stark has appeared in a few different animated forms over the years. Marvel has chosen to explore his relationship to heroes like Captain America and Peggy Carter in series like Avengers Assemble that didn’t really touch on his fatherly accomplishments.
However, Iron Man: Armored Adventures introduced a new take on the character whose close relationship with his son inspired Tony Stark to become Iron Man after Howard’s apparent death at the hands of The Mandarin. Howard wasn’t there to help young Tony as much as he wanted, but he was able to instill the right amount of responsibility to help guide him on his own.
Hulu introduced a new comedic take on the evil ruler of A.I.M. with the first season of M.O.D.O.K., who remained the scientific villain as a family man struggling to balance his criminal empire with keeping his wife happy and providing a positive environment for his kids.
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Unfortunately, M.O.D.O.K. almost always chooses his work over his family which causes his wife to leave him, and his kids to disregard him and act out in their own ways. His daughter in particular takes after her father and could benefit from his lessons to potentially even join the family business if he were to offer her a bit more support and attention.
Asgard has featured heavily in animated adaptations like Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Avengers Assemble which explored the relationship between the Allfather Odin and his sons.
While some of the father figures discussed today are known for their loving and compassionate support, Odin is better categorized with parents who prefer the “tough love” approach to raise a child. This is evident in his attempts to prepare Thor for his future role as King of Asgard while shunning Loki which causes him to act out against his father and brother.
The animated adaptation of Ultimate Spider-Man took a number of liberties with the source material as it reimagined the web-slinger as a hero in training who worked with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. to lead a group of heroes that included young versions of Power Man, Iron Fist, Nova and White Tiger.
While he remained the cold, detached, and professional Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury also took on a fatherly role alongside Agent Phil Coulson to help guide Spider-Man and turn him into the ultimate hero Fury believed existed behind the wise-cracking façade put pun by Peter Parker.
Scott Lang has appeared as Ant-Man in a few different animated series, though he also starred in a series of shorts on DisneyXD that merged the comics with the character’s live-action debut in the MCU with 2015’s Ant-Man.
However, it was Lang’s debut in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that saw Lang take on the role of Ant-Man in order to save his daughter Cassie. In the comics, he continued to fight as the diminutive hero alongside the Avengers to help create a better world for his daughter that ultimately saw her follow in his footsteps in her identities of Stature and Stinger.
Fans of Marvel animation are quick to celebrate the 90s series X-Men: The Animated Series for its dedication to the comic storylines it was based on. The series’ popularity has even led to a revival called X-Men 97 on Disney+ that will air in 2023.
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Professor Charles Xavier was a central figure in the series who played a fatherly role to every mutant who came into his Institute and joined the X-Men. He not only nurtured their abilities and helped them understand or control their mutant powers, he taught them his dream of human and mutant co-existence to help better the world for everyone.
The team known as Big Hero 6 was reimagined for their animated debut in theaters in 2014 before the characters began starring in their own show in 2017. Big Hero 6: The Series continued the adventures of young Hiro Hamada, Baymax and their crime-fighting friends.
Hiro lost his parents and his older brother but is continually supported by his food-loving Aunt Cass in both the movie and the animated series. While she isn’t fully aware of his superhero activities, Aunt Cass is still always there to offer him encouragement and help him make the right decisions to better prepare for his future.
The oscar-winning animated movie Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse wowed fans when it hit theaters in 2018. The film was lauded for its stunning visuals and introduction of young Miles Morales as a new version of Spider-Man who was mentored by none other than Peter Parker from both his and an alternate reality.
However, two of the best parental figures in the animated movie are Miles’ parents Jefferson and Rio Morales. Davis is a cop with the PDNY while his wife Rio is a nurse, which allows them to help others while also giving their son the best opportunities possible.
There have been a few different animated versions of Aunt May and Uncle Ben. May and Ben instilled strong morals about power and responsibility into Peter Parker that led to his heroic mission to protect others with the incredible powers he gained as Spider-Man.
While it was the tragic death of Uncle Ben that remains one of his biggest inspirations, Aunt May has become a strong role model in her various appearances in animated series like Spider-Man: The Animated SeriesUltimate Spider-Man and the reimagined characters from Marvel’s Spider-Man.
NEXT: Marvel: 15 Best Animated Movies (According To IMDb)
Entertainment reporter, writer, and all-around geek, Scoot Allan has written for print and online media sources like Geek Magazine, GeekExchange, GrizzlyBomb, WhatCulture, and the Urban 30 before joining CBR, ScreenRant, GameRant and The Gamer as a staff writer. He enjoys salad but prefers french fries.


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