The fictional trope of the protagonist having an evil sibling is a time-honored tradition - and superhero siblings are no exception to the rule. With most caped crusaders having at least a half-century of published history behind them, most have experienced the old “secret and sinister sibling” reveal a time or two - even if a lot of those rogue relatives go on to be ignored by subsequent creative teams.
Whether an individual crimefighter plies their trade for DC or Marvel Comics, they’re likely to have at least one family member somewhere in their list of archenemies. Whether they share one parent or two, or whether they’re born at the same time or years apart, siblings have a tendency to move toward opposite moral poles when it comes to the world of comic books. Oftentimes, the draw of inserting some familial drama into a superheroic plot is just too strong for a writer to resist.
- Photo: Marvel Comics
Jakarra is a result of an affair between King T’Chaka and a spy named Mateena - giving him a claim to the Wakandan throne despite the illegitimacy of his birth. He tries to demand exactly that when his older brother, T’Challa, ascends to the regency - and when he’s rebuffed, Jakarra doesn’t take it well.
T’Chaka’s second son makes several attempts against the Black Panther's life, and when that proves ineffective, he jabs some Vibranium into his own body in an effort to gain superpowers. Jakarra’s gambit succeeds, albeit at the horrific cost of transforming him into a purple scaly monster - and one that, somewhat embarrassingly, still can’t defeat T’Challa and his ally Ororo Munroe. Jakarra is tossed into a volcano and never heard from again.25772Are you surprised?
Batman has been around for nearly a century, and as such, he’s had more than his fair share of evil siblings through the years. Most notable is Lincoln March, a supposed mayoral candidate for Gotham City who proved to be a sleeper agent for the Court of Owls - and a disturbed individual who believed himself to be the abandoned younger brother of Bruce Wayne. It’s never made explicitly clear whether he’s entirely delusional.
There’s also a brief storyline in which Bane begins to suspect that he’s the illegitimate son of Thomas Wayne - and even seeks out a temporary brotherly partnership with the Dark Knight before DNA testing proves his theory false. This closely mirrors the plot of 2019’s Joker film, in which the titular Arthur Fleck tries to prove that he’s really Batman’s brother.25184Are you surprised?
At different points in continuity, Mary Batson has been the direct blood relative and the adopted sibling of Billy Batson - but in any case, she’s his sister and his long-time partner in crimefighting. As Mary Marvel, she eventually comes to possess the same set of godly abilities as her brother, who used to go by Captain Marvel and is now known as Shazam.
Contrary to her cinematic portrayal in 2019’s Shazam, Mary Marvel has a bit of a malevolent bent to her, which comes to the forefront during the events of Countdown, in which she’s imbued with the power of long-time Shazam foe Black Adam. Soon enough, Mary starts displaying Black Adam’s personality traits, too, and becomes a full-fledged supervillain for a while - though she eventually reforms.18455Are you surprised?
The evil twin trope is played out in an unconventional way when it comes to Kate Kane - who has already established an arch-rivalry with the villainous Alice before she learns that her foe is really her long-lost sister, Beth. Thought slain in an abduction gone wrong at a young age, Beth actually survives and grows up in a lawbreaking cult - something that drives her to a dissociative identity and an antagonist relationship with Batwoman.
When the revelation of Alice’s true identity is revealed in the "Elegy" storyline, it’s a devastating moment for Kate - especially when their subsequent fight ends in Beth’s demise. She’s eventually resurrected and takes on the name Red Alice - but her second brush with demise changes her, and she comes back as a begrudging ally to Batwoman. Kate gets her admitted to a sanatorium and supports her through a rigorous round of therapy, and these days, she’s finally going by Beth again.21882Are you surprised?