The crew at The Onion’s A.V. Club put out a book of lists recently titled Inventory.
It includes 18 superheroes who had a tough adolescence. The list includes:
- Cloak and Dagger: the boy/girl runaways duo who were cursed with powers of darkness and light from bad street drugs
- Invincible from Robert Kirkman’s series by the same name
- Rorschach of Alan Moore’s Watchmen
- Magik of the X-Men/New Mutants
- Terra (Teen Titans)
- Rogue – X-Men again
- Warlock – New Mutants again
- Cloud – one of the oddest characters to come from the House of Ideas (aka Marvel)
- Speedy – Green Arrow’s sidekick whose heroin addiction was chronicled in the pages of Green Arrow
- Dick Grayson’s life as Robin
- Johnny Bates/Kid Miracleman (Alan Moore again)
- the original Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew
- Firestorm – the DC Comics character spawned from a nuclear explosion
- Triplicate Girl of the Legion of Superheroes
- Mister Miracle – the world’s greatest escape artist
- Cassandra Cain as Batgirl
- Prez – the bizarre ’70s comic published by DC
- and finally The Runaways (Marvel)
The writers really a great job digging up a mix of expected and not-so-obvious choices. Highlights include the write-ups on Spider-Woman and Cloud.
And I submit for consideration: Omega the Unknown
It’s bad enough going through your teen years not quite feeling like you fit in your body. But the late Steve Gerber and Mary Skenes put a crazy spin on the theme concocting an incredibly frightening adventure in Omega back in 1976.
On what appears to be his first trip outside his secluded mountain home following 12 years of home-schooling, James-Michael Starling and his parent are victims of a car accident en route to day-one of boarding school. If that wasn’t enough trauma for a lifetime, not only do both parents die in the crash, but the head of James’ decapitated mother issues a mysterious warning before melting before his eyes.
Then James-Michael shacks up with two strange women, is chased by random baddies, stalked by a superman type, and hooks up with the oddball hero group The Defenders at which point he learns that he is a biological weapon invented by a dying race of aliens.
And he still hasn’t kissed a girl.
If that doesn’t mess with a teenager’s head, I don’t know what will.