Audiences recently got to see Kate Bishop in the Disney+ show hawk eye. Starring Hailee Steinfeld as Kate, the show followed her journey as an apprentice for the famous Avenger Clint Barton. The two develop a close relationship, and the show ends with Kate officially receiving the Hawkeye moniker.
Like Kate, the comic book genre has multiple examples of young characters training under an experienced hero. Some of these protégés eventually inherit their mentor’s mantles while others grow into their own heroic personas. However, they all became beloved and crucial parts of their respective stories, with some even rivaling their mentors in relevance and popularity.
The original Wonder Girl, Donna Troy had a troubled history in the comics. She debuted in the Silver Age of comic books as one of the founding members of the Teen Titans. Like Wonder Woman, Donna was a warrior from Paradise Island, albeit less experienced.
Donna is unique in that she was never a sidekick per se; instead, she was Wonder Woman’s apprentice, acting more as an equal than an underling. Still, she’s never been as well-known as some of her fellow Titans, despite being part of the group from the very beginning.
The Stepford Cuckoos
Emma Frost had a very chaotic relationship with her protégés, the quintuplets known as Sophie, Phoebe, Mindee, Celeste, and Esme, AKA, the Stepford Cuckoos. The sisters’ behavior was already erratic, but Emma’s influence certainly did them no good. The death of Sophie, the eldest sister, marks a turning point for the Cuckoos, eventually leading Esme to try and kill Frost. It is later revealed Esme herself killed Sophie, adding another layer of chaos to their characterization of her.
Still, the Cuckoos are quite powerful, even succeeding in containing the Phoenix Force for a while. Emma might have her issues with them, but even she was impressed.
Garth is the first hero to assume the Aqualad mantle. He served as Aquaman’s apprentice and sidekick for years, with the two sharing the same water-related abilities. Garth also had royal responsibilities over Atlantis as the adoptive Prince of the kingdom, especially during Aquaman’s long absences.
Like others before and after him, Garth eventually abandons his Aqualad identity and adopts his own persona, Tempest. Over time, Garth becomes dissatisfied with the heroic lifestyle and adopts a less hands-on approach, becoming Atlantis’ official ambassador on the surface world.
Laura Kinney is one of the rare characters not created for the comics. Instead, she debuted in the beloved series X-Men: Evolution before transitioning to the comics. Originally portrayed as Logan’s clone and eventually his adoptive daughter, Laura was then revealed to be his biological daughter.
X-23 shares her father’s regenerative powers, plus retractable adamantium claws on her hands and feet. Her popularity of her increased considerably thanks to the 2017 film Logan, which also served as Hugh Jackman’s last appearance as Wolverine. Laura would succeed her father de ella as Wolverine during the All New Wolverine series of 2015, continuing a long tradition of protegés inheriting their mentors’ mantles.
For years, Damian Wayne was one of the Batman heroes fans hated. His bratty and savage behavior of him did n’t do him any favors, and his treatment of the other Bat-Family members further damaged his reputation of him.
Alas, time was kind to Damian, with fans eventually warming up to him. The character’s appearances in the animated movies did his legacy of him a great service, fleshing out his eleven one-dimensional characterization of him and portraying him as an angry boy starved of love and attention. Nowadays, Damian is a beloved member of the Bat-Family, mostly thanks to his unique bonds with him with other heroes, particularly his brother-like figures with him, Dick and Conner Kent.
Kara Zor-El’s comic book journey is infamous and well-known. Debuting during the last years of the Golden Age of comic books, Kara is Superman’s biological cousin. She spent years fighting alongside him until the 1980s when the editors at DC decided her story had become overly convoluted and killed her off in the seminal Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Supergirl’s death is one of the most shocking in DC Comics history. She’d return nearly twenty years later, eventually proving popular enough to warrant an ongoing solo series. There’s plenty to love about The Supergirl from Krypton, with her being less wholesome but equally kind-hearted as her famous cousin.
Despite being one of the most well-known members of the X-Men, Jubilation Lee remains an underrated character in the grand scheme of things. She might not be as powerful as Jean or Storm-indeed, her pyrotechnic powers de ella are often the butt of the joke-but she’s still an important part of the team.
For years, Jubilee acted as Logan’s protegé, with the two developing a father-daughter bond that did a lot to flesh out their personalities. She’s never had a long-term solo series and serves mostly as a supporting character in the X-Men corner of the Marvel universe. Still, Jubilee remains a popular figure among fans, mainly thanks to her prominent role as Ella in the Beloved. X Men cartoon of the 1990s.
Many people have worn the Robin costume through the years, and while each brought something to the mantle, none defined it as much as Tim Drake. Indeed, Tim is the ultimate version of Robin, never outgrowing it but instead evolving along with it.
In many ways, Tim might be Bruce Wayne’s best apprentice; he’s the second-best detective in the Bat-Family after the Bat himself and shares many qualities with him. Tim was always precious to fans, especially as the successor of such a divisive character as Jason Todd.
For such a laid-back character, Wally West has surely experienced his fair share of tragedy. Then again, nearly every DC character has a tragic life, so Wally is at least in good company. His superspeed allowed him to become Kid Flash, acting as a sidekick to his uncle, Barry. Following Barry’s death during one of the most important events in the DC timeline, the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally succeeded him as the third Flash.
Like his best friend Dick Grayson, Wally moved past his protected role and became a hero in his own right. However, he always had mixed feelings about his time as the Flash, considering it resulted from losing Barry. Still, Wally remains one of the most beloved and relatable characters in the DC canon, thanks to his bold and sarcastic personality.
Dick Grayson, the original comic book protected. The Boy Wonder debuted during the Golden Age of comic books as Batman’s sidekick, Robin, staying with him for more than twenty years before becoming the Teen Titans’ leader. He eventually outgrew the Robin persona, adopted the mantle of Nightwing, and became Blüdhaven’s protector.
Out of all the comic book protects, Dick might be the most beloved. He is also a crucial player on the overall DC universe, with many considering him an A-list superhero already, on par with the other members of the Justice League. This unique perception makes him one of the rare sidekicks who thrived out of the shadow of their former mentor, and honestly, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer character.
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