(Warning: The final page of this article contains spoilers for a Marvel comic that was released this week. Even telling you which one it is could be a separate spoiler! Discretion is advised.)
There’s a great scene on the final page of Avengers World #9 where the Next Avengers, the sons and daughters of various famous Avengers’ pairings (I knew Steve and Natasha would find each other eventually!), are revealed. The current team’s resident jokesters, Cannonball and Sunspot, immediately make a joke that they’d probably be too young to understand if they existed in real life. Note: it’s a reference to Back to the Future.
The Next Avengers are from an alternate future, or at least that’s the safest bet. In the standard Marvel comic continuity, known to fans as Earth-616, the children of super heroes don’t usually grow up to take their places. In fact in most cases, they don’t get to grow up much at all.
Super hero offspring serve mostly as plot devices with which to put their parents through the emotional wringer, and while there are exceptions — Franklin and Valeria Richards come to mind, as does Danielle Cage, though it looked like she might be revealed as a Skrull at one point — it’s more common that some grim fate awaits the kids. Some are literally worse than death.
DC isn’t immune to this trend either, as evidenced by Damian Wayne and the pre-New 52 daughter of Roy Harper. But Marvel has been more stubborn about refusing to write many happy families into its books. Need evidence? We’ve got it on these next few pages …