Q&A #153: Who are your favorite siblings in comics?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

Who are your favorite siblings in comics?


Anika

Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. Everything about them is utterly perfect. Completely screwed up and pathologically destructive! But perfect.

Pietro has always been overprotective of Wanda. Something about her brings out that side of everyone — not just Pietro but Magneto, Steve, Carol, Tony, Clint, Simon, Ultimate Scott, everyone, they rush to defend and protect her. She can blink and alter the fabric of the world but everyone (except, notably, Vision) instinctively takes on the role of knight protector. Pietro is just best at it. Pietro does not care about right, wrong, or the lives of anyone else. He puts Wanda first, last, and only. That level of devotion is terrifying. It’s insane. It’s wrong. But also beautiful.

And ultimately, worth saving.


Caroline

There’s no family drama like Summers family drama.

Either Scott Summers (Cyclops) or Alex Summers (Havok) has been an anchor of various X-Men teams over the years. You rarely see the two of them in the same book at the same time, though, because functionally they are more or less interchangeable (tall, serious white dude, radiating energy powers and emotional trauma and affection for cosmically volatile women.)

I’ve always found it funny that fans tend to declare their loyalty for one Summers brother or another when they are essentially the same character. Switch out ‘chosen as leader at a young age’ angst for ‘I don’t get as much respect as my older brother’ angst, and you’re essentially telling the same stories. Despite their similarities, oddly, the brothers butt heads a lot. Though perhaps that’s only odd if you’ve never had a sibling, or known anyone who does. Granted, they are often fighting because one has been mind controlled by supervillains, or seduced by the other’s demon-possessed wife. Still, their clashes manage to have the familiar ring of sibling rivalry. In the end, of course, they’re only doing it out of love.


Jennifer

Firefly‘s Jayne Cobb said it best, dictating a mock diary entry from his sibling shipmates Simon and River Tam: “Today I was pompous and my sister was crazy.” For some reason, a good number of mixed-gender sibling stories are about a boy who is a little bit full of himself and a girl who is a little bit crazy. The trope goes back at least as far as Laertes and Ophelia and continues across media today in pairs like High School Musical‘s Ryan and Sharpay. But comics seem to have a special fondness for this trope, especially in the portrayal of fraternal twins. Anika already addressed one such pair in Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, but perhaps my favorite incarnation is the Beaubier Twins, Jean-Paul and Jeanne-Marie — otherwise known as Northstar and Aurora.

Northstar and Aurora

Like the other pairs, Northstar and Aurora are appropriately pompous and crazy. But they have other traits that make them more interesting both as individuals and as a pair. Northstar, who just moved in with his boyfriend in Marjorie Liu’s excellent first Astonishing X-Men issue, was one of the first openly gay characters in comics (and the first notable out superhero). Aurora, meanwhile, struggles with actual multiple personality disorder brought on by a traumatic childhood (not just metaphorical “craziness”), and when the stories about her mental illness go beyond the basic madonna/whore dichotomy of the bold and sex-crazed Aurora vs. the shy and devoutly Catholic Jeanne-Marie, they are frequently fascinating. (See the recent, sadly-cancelled Alpha Flight series by Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak.) But also interesting are the ways in which Northstar’s and Aurora’s stories have been consistently entwined. They have rarely had separate plotlines, and their identical mutant powers actually magnify when they touch; even their classic costumes are identical. Individually, they are fascinating characters, but writers seem to recognize that they work better together than apart, and it’s for this reason that they rank as my favorite superhero sibling pair.


Sigrid

My favorite sibling pair in comics is Rachel and Nathan Christopher Summers. Not Rachel and Cable, but Rachel and the baby boy, Maddie and Scott’s son. Rachel promises the kid, with every fiber of her being, that she will never let him come to harm. It’s a ridiculous, futile promise, and she knows that even as she makes it. But she’s an X-Man, and the ridiculous and futile are her birthright.


WELL! In a turn of events, all of our replies this week happened to be Marvel! And, mostly X-Men! Next week, then, we’ll bring you our non-X-Men answers to the same question. (What can we say? We have our preference!)

So what about you? Who are your favorite siblings in Marvel comics?

  • Margot

    Dick Grayson and Tim Drake. (What? Bruce adopted both of them. They totally count.) They just need to hang out and go train surfing together and mock each others dating choices.

  • http://active-voice.net/jessplummer/ Jess

    While there are biological siblings I love in comics (Booster Gold and Michelle Carter, Jade and Obsidian, Jaime and Milagro Reyes), I’ve always been more drawn to found families than birth ones, so I’m going to have to go with the Arrowkids. I love all five of them (yes, Cissie and Lian count) individually, but it’s their dynamics as foster siblings that interest me more than anything else (and, of course, their dynamics with their well-intentioned but selfish and idiotic father!).

  • Jo

    Dick Grayson & Tim Drake. They love each other, they bicker in the way that only siblings can, & they both GET Bruce the way no one else does. They are actually well-adjusted siblings, which I think is rare in comics.

  • Menshevik

    Going along with Margot, but keeping to the common them of the four Fantastic Fangirls, I’m going to say Rogue and Nightcrawler, especially as Rogue just mentioned how much she misses Kurt in XML #264. ;-)

    And while there is a lot to be said for all choices mentioned so far, for biological siblings I’ll plump for Mayday and little Benjy from “Spider-Girl”. There is a bit of a similar dynamic (also a similar age-difference, come to think of it) as between Rachel and baby Nathan, as Sigrid described it, but unlike poor Rachel Mayday actually got some time to live out her protectiveness. (For the tragic incarnation, there is also the clonal sibling relationship between May and April).

    Honorable mention goes to the Thom(p)son “twins” from Tintin, even if the different spellings of their names would seem to indicate that they actually aren’t siblings. (To be precise, if their siblings weren’t spelled differently, they’d have the same name).

  • http://literateknits.wordpress.com Erin

    My reaction to seeing this topic was a loudly growled SUMMERS, so I think we have our answer there, seeing as we’re sticking to the Marvel side of the street. I do loves me the Summers boys.

    We can talk about Dick Grayson being the perfect big brother next week.

  • Peter

    Got to give a shout out to Power Pack, 4 siblings, each with their own personalities, who mostly get along, and have super powers.

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