Matt Murdock has a bit of a reputation for having had perhaps the worst luck in the Marvel Universe (though Peter Parker certainly gives him a run for his money). Things just don’t tend to work out terribly well for our devil in red. But, has he really had it so bad? Sure, he’s had some heartbreaks and rough patches, but at least his problems are kind of normal (for superheroes). He’s been saved from experiencing a lot of the truly weird with which other MU heroes have struggled – and this is all just off the top of my head.
Captain America: Cap was frozen in ice and then thawed into a world he’d never known. And that’s not even the weird part. He fights quasi-insane versions of himself every other day: the 1950s Captain America, Jack Monroe, John Walker, Red Skull in a Steve Rogers clone body, Protocide. His dead protégé and best friend turned out to be a live Soviet assassin. And then Cap was shot by a gun that displaced him in space-time so that the Red Skull could take control of his mind and body. Because who wouldn’t want to live in your archenemy’s body?
Professor X: While in utero, Xavier sensed his evil twin, Cassandra Nova (who was conceived without a body or something), and tried to kill her. Eventually, she took control of Xavier’s body and his psyche was split into pieces stored in every living mutant mind. And then it was reassembled somehow. His guilt over wiping Magneto’s mind somehow became an independent evil entity named Onslaught that basically killed everyone. He also had an alien lover. (This is never considered weird because most Marvel aliens are hot, but think about it. Wouldn’t you at least hesitate before you have sex with another species? Is there any way to get around calling this bestiality?)
Scarlet Witch: She married a robot. Then she magically made herself pregnant with twins whose father was said robot. It turns out that these children may or may not be parts of Mephisto’s soul. After losing these children, she went crazy, killed Jack of Hearts, killed Ant-Man (Scott Lang), killed Vision, killed Hawkeye, changed the entire universe into a mutant utopia, and then de-powered every mutant no one cares about (and Magneto). And she just tried to marry Dr. Doom, so I’m not sure if her taste in men is becoming more or less traditional.
Hulk: Bruce Banner’s control over his own mind teeters back and forth like a seesaw. One day, he can control himself as Hulk. Another day, Hulk just wants to rip apart Rick Jones. One day, Hulk is monosyllabic. Another day, he’s a genius. And then add in the fact that Hulk has been banished to an interdimensional crossroads and shot off of the planet – and this was by his friends – to keep him away from Earth. He has a daughter from an alternate timeline, Lyra, who traveled to his timeline in order to get knocked up by Earth’s greatest hero. She is only one of about 581 different Hulks walking around right now.
Spider-Man: I think he’s been cloned about 31 times. There are so many clones of Peter Parker that it seems silly to even have a secret identity: 10% of planet Earth is also genetically Peter Parker. While off fighting Secret Wars in space, he was bonded with an evil, alien symbiote for years. Gross. That symbiote has since bonded with lots of other folks who hate Spider-Man. Later, he was transformed into a huge spider and then gave birth to himself. And then there’s that whole deal with the devil to get rid of the marriage he loved.
Thor: The son of Odin has had to share his body and mind with three separate mortals: Donald Blake, Eric Masterson, and Jake Olsen. During these times, he can see whatever the mortal does and they can see what he does. This usually involves Thor screwing up their personal lives. It’s a miracle he didn’t go crazy sooner than he did. When he did finally crack, he kind of beat the crap out of everyone until Thanos and Odin fixed him. Eventually, he and all the Asgardians die, but he just decided to live again because you can do that. Really, that’s not such a strange notion when your entire race routinely dies and is reborn. While it may be strange to have a god as a father, it’s stranger still to have a physical embodiment of a planet as a mother, even if that planet is Earth.
Jean Grey: According to one count, she has died fourteen times (though several of these have been later retconned to be someone/something else). At various times, she is either empowered or possessed by the Phoenix Force, which sometimes makes her do bad things like kill billions. (Or, I guess, it was someone else.) Really, anything with the Phoenix Force is too damned confusing by itself. On her honeymoon with Scott Summers, she is magically transported into the distant future by her daughter with Scott in an alternate future (Rachel Summers) in order to raise the child of Scott and another woman (Nathan Summers). That child comes back in time to fight his own clone.
Cyclops: Seemingly everything in Scott Summers’ life has been manipulated by either Mr. Sinister or Professor X. He has found two long-lost brothers he didn’t know about (hidden by Professor X), one of whom took over and ruled a galactic empire. He married a woman who looked exactly like his dead girlfriend (created by Mr. Sinister) and then ran off on her after they had a son, who he would end up raising in the distant future with Jean Grey. He also has a daughter, Rachel Summers, from an alternate future, who hangs out with him. Also, he died once, but he got better.
Ms. Marvel: Carol Danvers was kidnapped by the son of Immortus, Marcus, taken to an alternate dimension, brainwashed, raped, and impregnated with a child who, upon being born, rapidly ages into Marcus himself. If that weren’t weird enough, she was attacked by Rogue, who stole all her memories and powers. Professor X later restored her memories, though she has no emotional attachment to them or to anyone from her life prior to that moment, e.g., her parents. She was transformed into a space-faring being that drew powers from a strange nebula or something. This gave her fiery red hair that was actually kind of cool-looking. Then she just exploded. Luckily, she was put back together by baby M.O.D.O.K.s. No, really.
Wolverine: Despite the fact that everyone knows his name is Logan, that’s not even his real name. His mind has been wiped so many times that it’s a miracle he can feed himself anymore. He is the hero of choice for villains looking to easily create a killing machine through a little brainwashing (Team X, Weapon X, Professor X, Apocalypse, the Hand). In addition to all this overt manipulation, he has also been covertly manipulated by someone named Romulus for the entirety of his life and for indecipherable reasons. He has a crazy killer son, and a slightly less crazy killer clone-daughter. The world has lost count of how many body parts he’s lost over time, though thankfully they all grow back.
So, what can Matt Murdock really compete with? He pretended to be his own twin brother. He developed amnesia at one point and lived a different life. That’s pretty weird. He also faked his own death and offered up a dead body just to mess with his friends (and enemies). His college girlfriend died and was then resurrected twice, kind of. And, of course, he was just possessed by a demon and forced to sit about and brood. Still, none of that is that weird for a superhero. His principal enemies use things like fists and swords instead of crazy stuff like lasers and magic. Really, I think Matt Murdock should be thankful he’s getting off so easily. Some folks have it much, much worse.
Who did I miss? Who has had a really, really weird superhero life?