Batman had it rough. As a boy, he was forced to watch as his parents were gunned down in front of him. It's the event that inspired his one-man war on crime, and the most famous tragedy in comics. But let's be honest, now. He still had a billion dollar trust fund, a giant mansion, the heirship to a giant international corporation, and the coolest butler ever. That's way more than some of the other guys got. Here are eight comic book characters who had it worse than the Caped Crusader.
The tragic death of a loved one is usually part and parcel of the whole superhero package. It takes a special brand of luck to also be the one responsible for their death. For that you'd have to be the hero who's been wedgied by fate more often than any other: Spider-Man.
After gaining his spider powers, Peter Parker made the (totally reasonable) decision to make a little money off of them. Later, when he had the chance to stop a burglar, he made the (again, totally reasonable) decision not to get involved. He had a successful entertaining gig by now, and didn't need to risk that by tangling with some criminal.
Unfortunately, sensible decisions have no place in comic books, as that same burglar then turned around and shot his beloved Uncle Ben dead. You know, the one who taught Peter "with great power comes great responsibility," the catchphrase that would cement Spider-Man as the universe's whipping boy for the rest of his life.
Missing your dead parents is one thing, but learning your parents are part of an evil coalition bent on destroying the earth is quite another. For the characters of Marvel's Runaways, this revelation leads to the formation of an unlikely superhero team with more variety and teen angst than the freshman locker room at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
The children of "The Pride" (an occult group of villains comprised of time travellers, mad scientists, mutant telepaths, crime lords and, of course, wizards) are burdened not with the death of loved ones, but with witnessing their parents sacrificing a young girl as part of a dark ritual. Most tragic origins fuel a sense of vengeance in their protagonists, but Runaways, however, derives its tragedy from an odd mixture of teen rebellion and hard-to-answer questions of morality and loyalty. It does involve a telepathic dinosaur, however, which is pretty much the opposite of tragic.
Despite having a costume that looks like a high school theater's prop department exploded, Taskmaster's superpower is pretty cool: he has "photographic reflexes," or in more scientific terms, a "magic plot device brain." Any physical skill he sees someone else do, he can instantly copy. Which means not only is he as capable as any athlete he's ever seen, he was also the best devil sticks player on his college quad.
Pretty sweet deal, until we learn that every new skill he learns pushes an old memory out of his head. As a professional mercenary, Tasky goes through quite a few skills, and so nearly everything about his old life is now lost to him. It's later revealed that his wife, whom he no longer remembers, has been quietly keeping tabs on him from afar, organizing his affairs and watching over him while he wanders through life in his amnesiac state. Tasky even meets a girl who is probably his daughter, but he's unable to tell her so for sure, or even that he'll remember her after they meet. It's an impressive amount of character development for a B-list supervillain. He's like Memento with a cool skull mask.