So, sometime in the 1940s it was decided every superhero absolutely required a kid sidekick with a silly name. If you weren’t endangering children, you had no right being a superhero.
Of course in the real world dragging some dumb kid along with you as you dodge bullets and fight Nazis is a terrible, horribly irresponsible idea. But in the idealized, fantasy world of superheroes it — well, actually history shows it’s a terrible idea even in comics.
Nobody’s been through more horrible s–t in comics than the sidekicks. If someone needs to be killed, raped or hooked on drugs, look no further than the sidekick. Just how awful your life will be depends on the superhero you get paired up with — if you get the Flash you may do okay, but if you get Green Arrow, you’re in for a world of misery. Frankly if you find yourself teamed up with any of the following heroes, just become a villain instead — they’ll probably treat you better in the end.
So, super powered soldier Captain America used to run around with a barely pubescent, unpowered, untrained kid named Bucky. Unsurprisingly he ended up being exploded to death.
But it turns out he wasn’t dead! No, he just had his arm blown off, was kidnapped by commies and kept in a tube for most of the 20th century. Every once in a while they would thaw him out and send him off to go kill some people. So you know, brainwashed, corrupted, maimed, manipulated — but at least he wasn’t dead!
Bucky’s original death has actually been used in storylines as an explanation for why there aren’t very many kid sidekicks in the Marvel universe. In other words, Cap did such a s–tty job with Bucky the other heroes were all, “yeah, I could use some help, but I’m not getting myself into a f–king Bucky situation. Yeesh.”
Aquaman isn’t very good at very much. That includes having a sidekick. Aquaman has had two main sidekicks, Aquagirl and Aqualad.
So far the original Aquagirl, Tula, has been killed, revived as a villain, killed again, revived as a villain again and killed yet again — and people wonder why nobody cares about death in comics anymore.
Aqualad was Aquaman’s adopted son and kid sidekick up until Aquaman had his own biological son, at which point he basically kicked Aqualad to the curb like a grade-A dick. After that Aqualad just kind of floated around the DC Universe being angsty and, justifiably, causing trouble for this jerkface adopted dad.
For a while Aquaman and Aqualad mended their relationship, but soon after it was revealed Aquaman had yet another biological son he fathered illegitimately with an Inuit woman. So Aqualad was kicked to the curb again. After that Aqualad stole Aquaman’s long-time girlfriend, just to give their terrible relationship icky sexual overtones.
Aqualad is currently dead. He was killed by Aquagirl who then promptly died for the third time herself. There is currently a new Aquagirl and Aqualad — neither one has died yet, but you know that’s only a matter of time.
Oh, and screwing up his sidekicks’ lives apparently wasn’t enough. His first biological son Arthur Jr. (who went by, no kidding, “Aquababy”) is also dead. You suck Aquaman.
Batman has had five different Robins. In the current DC Universe Batman’s only been operating for five years. Whatever you way you cut it, that’s an abysmal f–king record. Let’s run ’em down…
Robin I (Dick Grayson) – Has a weird relationship with Bruce Wayne. Quit being Robin and left Gotham for years to get away from the dude.
Robin II (Jason Todd) – Beat to death with a crowbar and blowed up good. Eventually brought back to life as a villain in a terrible Judd Winick story, and now stars in Red Hood and the Outlaws — being beaten to death with a crowbar is a dignified fate by comparison.
Robin III (Tim Drake) – Seems to get along with Bruce okay, but every single important person in his life aside from Bruce himself has been killed. Hey Batman, give catching purse-snatchers a rest and stop at least somebody Tim Drake cares about from being murdered.
Robin IV (Stephanie Brown) – Tortured to death and not even recognized as a real Robin — until everyone complained that is. So, she was brought back to life, got to be Batgirl for a cup of coffee, but then was busted back down to being Spoiler. She’ll probably be busted down to “no longer alive” again soon enough.
Robin V (Damian Wayne) – Bruce’s illegitimate kid, which he supposedly knew nothing about. I say supposedly, because Batman knows everything. You think he didn’t check into things after the Bat-condom broke with Talia? Come on now. He just didn’t care.
Now the kid’s Robin because, I dunno, Bruce feels bad about the deadbeat dad thing I suppose. I give it one or two more years before he joins the dead Robin list.
Marvelman was a nice British rip-off of Captain Marvel who had fun adventures with his sidekicks Young Marvelman and Kid Marvelman back in the 50s. Then the series was revived by Alan Moore. 80’s Alan Moore — the one that really loved filling superhero comics with suffering, suffering, rape and a little more suffering.
So Young Marvelman promptly died in an atomic blast. He got off easy.
Kid Marvelman went crazy, killed half of London, reverted back to a kid who was traumatized by what he’d done, was raped, went crazy again, then was killed by Marvelman.
All the other heroes on this list have had issues with sidekicks, but the way their kid allies turned out wasn’t entirely their faults. They could say they sorta tried at least. Not Green Arrow. When it comes to being a straight up unrepentant cock to his sidekicks, nobody tops Green Arrow.
Green Arrow’s first sidekick was Speedy, an orphan he adopted on a drunken whim I guess, because he then abandoned the kid to go on a cross-country journey of discovery with Green Lantern. When he finally got around to checking in on the kid again, it turned out he had become addicted to heroin! So what did Green Lantern, protector of the innocent, do? Apologize for neglecting his son and do everything he could to help him get well? Hell no, he punched him in the face and tossed his ass out on the street!
Green Arrow never really made amends for this, and Speedy spent years moping around the DC Universe. He lost an arm. He had a kid that was later killed. He got hooked on horse again, started talking to dead cats and became a “gritty” murderous vigilante. Throughout all of this Green Arrow continued to completely not give a s–t. Speedy (now just going by Roy Harper) now stars opposite Jason Todd in Red Hood and the Outlaws, DC’s sad support group for abused sidekicks.
Green Arrow meanwhile got himself a new female Speedy. She has AIDS. I’m not even going to get into all the reasons sending someone with HIV out to have bloody tussles with bad guys is an irresponsible idea.
Oh, and Green Arrow also has an illegitimate son, Connor Hawke, who briefly served as his sidekick. Unlike Bruce Wayne who had the cover of “not knowing” about his son, Green Arrow was always fully aware of his, he just heroically pretended he didn’t exist. When Connor eventually tracked Green Arrow down, he refused to acknowledge him, ran off with his tail between his legs and went into hiding.
Green Arrow — superhero or guest on Maury?
- Geek & Sci-Fi