Not all heroes are created, well, heroes. Some begin their journeys operating under the shadow cast by another hero or even villain – falling into the role of the “sidekick.” It is a difficult role to shake – many have tried, and failed, to emerge as an individual hero after playing the party of the sidekick. Others, however, have morphed before our eyes, and with a brief makeover or some awesome new powers – or even after a tragedy that forced them to realize their full potential – they ended up being much greater than before. Without any further delay, here are 8 of the coolest characters that started their journeys as sidekicks.
Holy rusted metal, Batman! Dick Grayson, everyone’s favorite sidekick, started out as the brightly-clothed, inexplicably chipper Robin. Soon enough, young Robin grew up, realized his clothes and name were stupid, and became the badass Nightwing.
Robin, as one of the single most recognizable sidekicks, unsurprisingly existed in several forms. One of these was Jason Todd, who had some mighty shoes to fill. Fans had a love/hate relationship with Todd, and participated in a phone-in contest that ultimately resulted in him being killed off. Many moons later he was brought back to life by Talia al Ghul and ended up being super pissed off – thus, Red Hood was born.
Garth, aka Aqualad #3, was the lame sidekick to the lame superhero, Aquaman, so he never really had a chance at being cool while flying under the “aqua” label. Lucky for Aqualad, his fate would not lead him to follow in those super-lame footsteps. As Tempest, he gained the ability to control the temperature of water, and some wicked awesome eye beams. Basically, cooler in every way – cooler than Aqualad, and cooler than Aquaman.
Dude, he was Bucky. BUCKY.
Kitty Pryde wasn’t a “sidekick” in the traditional sense of the word. She didn’t shadow one particular superhero, rather served as a kid sister type to the X-Men as a whole. Starting out much like a filler character, Kitty Pryde was innocent, without the traumatic backstory that drove many of the X-Men characters to Xavier in the first place. Over the years, her powers became stronger, and her role more integral. Her shining moment was when she used her powers to permanently fuse with a giant space bullet that was shot at earth, phasing herself with it so that it would pass through the planet.
When Tony Stark decided to become an irresponsible, raging alcoholic, James Rhodes stepped up and assumed the role of Iron Man for awhile. After a weird situation where the armor made him crazy and then Tony Stark “died” (not really), Rhodes started rocking the ridiculously cool War Machine armor. He still took on the role of Iron Man during that time and afterwards, when he went solo and he was pissed about that whole “not dead” thing, the pair occasionally teamed up for funsies.
Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch
While Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch didn’t really spend much time in the “sidekick” role, they were Magneto’s kids (kind of, but that’s a story for another time), meaning that no matter what, they were operating in the shadow of a much more recognizable, and powerful, being. That is sidekicky enough to land them on the list, because they were able to break out from that shadow and establish themselves as a total badasses. The Maximoffs both reformed and ended up as Avengers.
Oracle has, hands down, one of the most controversial backstories to date. Barbara Gordon was previously Batgirl, sidekick to Batman alongside Robin. However, the turning point came in the form of the infamous graphic novel The Killing Joke. After being crippled by the Joker, Gordon disappeared for a bit, eventually emerging as the brilliant hacker Oracle.