The frequently light-hearted nature of the worldwide popular MCU might trick a lot of uneducated fans into thinking that Marvel Comics is deadset on producing more comedic and cheerful stories when compared to DC, for example. The truth of the matter is that there is a number of superheroes who originated from the publishing company that have disturbingly violent and depressing backstories and some of them are the most popular fictional heroes of all time.
While a certain number of these characters have allowed their tragic beginnings to define who they are in a negative way, others have drawn out the positives, using the unhappy events in their lives as an important lesson. Here is a ranked list of the ten darkest origin stories in Marvel.
In his teen years, when Axel Cluneny was supposed to have the most fun in his life, he found a girl to fall in love with, but in the heat of a kissing session, his ability was activated, and her face was left permanently burned. Admittedly, it is not the worst thing imaginable to have happened to a superhero, but having a childhood full of pain and embarrassment is, at the end of the day, something you can never repair.
Maggott‘s real name – Japheth is admittedly uncommon but definitely much better than his superhero alias. His superpower is also utterly unique – a special digestive system that features two worms, which could consume anything and provide the body with tons of energy, which then allowed Maggott to perform superhuman feats.
Japheth was a sickly child, and in fact, his situation was so dire that he ran away from his home, hoping to die to be spared from his misery. The illness was just a side effect of his unique biological condition but by the time Maggot found that out he had already abandoned his family.
When a superhero character gains his powers through stress, you know he had traumatic origins. This is the case of Skin, a mutant with the frankly disgusting ability to expand his six additional feet of extra skin with various applications.
The fateful night was a drive-by shooting, which scared him so much that he passed out. Angelo Espinosa was declared dead afterward, and not one of his closest people knew of the fact that he was alive or that he had transformed into a monstrosity.
At this point, every person who is averagely versed in superheroes knows the heart-breaking origins of Spider-Man. Peter Parker chose not to stop the killer of his beloved Uncle Ben, ultimately becoming part of the reason he died. It has become the pun of so many jokes that the seriousness of the event has more or less lost its gravitas in the eyes of the public.
The fact remains that it is one of the most psychologically damaging losses ever incurred by a superhero. There are no dangerous chemicals or brutal mutations involved – just guilt, and that is more than enough.
One good deed thrusts innocent Matthew Murdock in a life of adventure and immeasurable pain when he decides to save a blind man from being run over by a truck and gets blinded himself in the process. Soon after the accident, Daredevil‘s father is gunned down.
After realizing that all of his other senses have been boosted exponentially, Matthew starts to train, ends up avenging his father’s killers, and accepts the unfair consequences of that single act of kindness, embracing a tough existence that is nonetheless not without its rewards.
5 U.S. Agent
A Captain America wannabe, John Walker dreamt of glory, but his quest for heroism quickly went south. He allowed his true name to be revealed to the public, which led to a terrorist group killing his parents.
Walker retaliated by nearly killing the men responsible for leaking his personal information with explosives, leaving them scarred for life. Walker’s unfortunate origin story was completed when he got a proper beatdown by none other than Steve Rogers himself.
4 Rocket Raccoon
Starting his life as a peaceful animal, Rocket was abducted by alien scientists and put through a horrifying, painful, shrouded in mystery cycle of torture and experimentation that produced the lovable, clever, talking raccoon that we all know from the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers movies.
He was granted intelligence, but the alterations in his body never stopped bothering him. Rocket could feel the effects of the alien’s unnatural interventions every day. His aggressive, provocative attitude is a way for him to deal with that pain.
3 Mr. Immortal
Not being able to die is maybe the one ability that can put any person at ease, regardless of his problems. Unfortunately, Craig Hollis discovered his gifts through his numerous suicide attempts. Fate demanded a heavy price from Mr. Immortal in exchange for his incredible ability.
Craig’s mother died at childhood, taken by disease; his father perished in a fire that Hollis was manipulated into causing when he was a boy. Mr. Immortal’s girlfriend also died – she tried to end her own life too, but unlike Craig, she had no superpowers that could save her.
If one is to consider James Mangold’s Logan the end of Wolverine‘s story than his superhero journey concluded in the way it began – with quite a bit of pain. Two people that were close to Logan were killed by him when he was a boy because of his inability to control the bone claw mutation.
The first one was his dad, who he stabbed in an act of vengeance after his adoptive father was murdered, and the second one was his childhood friend – Rose. No one can deny that Wolverine paid quite the price for his immortality.
Savage, merciless individuals such as Magneto generally have a tough backstory that explains the character’s negative qualities, and Eric Lehnsherr‘s got a history that is as dark as it gets. Max Eisenhardt (his actual name) witnessed the demise of his entire family during the Holocaust.
They were collectively thrown into a mass grave, but Max, being the gifted mutant he is, survived. Magneto found a wife, who gave him a daughter, but the little girl died in a fire caused by a raging mob, and needless to say, none of the perpetrators lived long afterward.
Fans have read dozens of origin stories over the years in the pages of Marvel comics, but some of these characters' origins are super dark.