Heroes are known for battling evil, but there’s one crime they never seem to get around to fighting — child endangerment. Several heroes, super or otherwise, have somehow convinced themselves to take underage kids as sidekicks, despite the obvious risks, and the inevitable consequences. Here are eight “heroes” Child Services should probably look into.
Let’s go ahead and start with the worst offender, shall we? Batman has taken four different underage boys with him during his crime-fighting career, and two of them have died. That’s a 50% survival rate — which shouldn’t be at all surprising since Batman leads his Robins directly into conflicts with armed criminals and the most violent psychopaths Gotham City has to offer. Think of it this way: Most parents wouldn’t let their kids visit a mass murderer even if he/she was in jail and restrained, right? Yet Batman constantly takes these kids with them to have fights with these lunatics, often while they’re armed with guns, chemical weapons, or even bombs. The latest casualty of Batman’s take-underage-kids-into-unbelievable-danger program was his own son, Damian. Maybe this will be the wake-up call he needs to stop letting children accompany him on his crime-fighting… but probably not.
2) Captain America
You have to be 18 to join the army. But apparently you only have to be 16 to follow a costumed adult into Nazi Germany during World War II, without a weapon, to wage a one-man plus one-boy war against the forces of evil. Bucky Barnes is proof. Despite not being legally able to vote, somehow it was okay for this teen to fight armed Nazi soldiers alongside Captain America for the most dangerous missions of the war. In an easily foreseen consequence, Bucky died while trying to disarm a booby-trapped bomb launched by Baron Zemo — okay, he didn’t die, although everyone thought he did; he actually lost his arm, was found by the Russians, brainwashed and turned into their most lethal operative, codenamed the Winter Soldier, which arguably isn’t much better. Hey, Cap, maybe you should have let the 16-year-old carry the shield, huh?
3) Green Arrow
Compared to Batman and Captain America, Green Arrow is almost benevolent. Sure, he brought along the young Roy Harper with him on his adventures, but this was back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, before supervillains got so murder-y, and most of their problems could be solved with a bow and an arrow anyways. I mean, child services should still have been called, but it’s not like Green Arrow was taking Speedy to war or dropping him off to fight the Joker or anything. However, Green Arrow still managed to ruin Roy’s life — when Oliver Queen lost his fortune, he essentially abandoned his former sidekick. Emotionally neglected and with no employable skills, Roy predictably turned to drug use. When Green Arrow discovered this tragedy that he himself had helped bring on, do you know what he did? He punched Speedy in the face. Thanks a lot, Green Arrow. I’m sure that helped a ton.
4) Ogami Itto
When you talk about heroes who endanger children, one name rises above the rest: Ogami Itto, star of the Lone Wolf and Cub manga. Other child-endangering heroes look like — well, responsible caretakers in comparison. Why? Well, for starters, Ogami Itto’s sidekick is his son Daigoro, who is 3-years-old. Itto pushes him around in a baby carriage while working as an assassin and hunting down the Yagyu clan who murdered his wife. Second of all, this is technically an improvement for Daigoro: when he was one, his dad gave him a choice between a ball and a sword, and if he had chosen the ball, he would have been killed. That’s the very definition of “tough love.” So now Daigoro sits in his baby carriage all day while his dad chases down murderers, bandits, ninjas, and other assorted killers. Oh, and the baby carriage is full of hidden blades and guns, which Itto often uses when he’s attacked by full armies, which happens a lot. I mean, if you’re going to bring your toddler to your assassinations, you might as well also put him in a basket with a bunch of deadly weapons.
5) Anakin Skywalker
Really, you can blame the Jedi for allowing young Padawans to be taken into battle, the Clone Wars for forcing the Jedi to use their students in the conflict, or you can blame Star Wars society in general. But the fact of the matter is Anakin Skywalker is responsible for Ashoka's safety and he is terrible at it. Besides all the fighting she’s supposed to be doing, Anakin still managed to allow her to battle Sith lady Asajj Ventress, bounty hunter Cad Bane, and General Grevious himself, all by her lonesome. She was infected both by a deadly virus and the Dark Side under Anakin’s “tutelage,” and was captured and/or kidnapped several million times during the Clone Wars. The worst part? Ahsoka was given to Anakin not for her own benefit, but in hopes of teaching Anakin responsibility. Maybe they should have just bought him a puppy instead.
6) The Autobots
The Autobots aren’t from Earth, so they could be excused from realizing that letting a 4-year-old boy hang out with them while at war with the evil Decepticons was a bad idea. But only after they first revived themselves. After you’ve decided to integrate into human society by disguising yourself as normal Earth vehicles, you’re making a tacit agreement to abide by society’s rules, and one of those rules is not letting kids stay in your headquarters which is constantly being attacked by giant evil robots. Whether that person is Spike Witwicky, his son Daniel, or the three scamps in Transformers Prime, it really doesn’t matter. They all squish the same when a Decepticon steps on them.
7) The Human Torch
Everything Captain America did to Bucky, the Human Torch did to Toro; the only difference is that Toro was also on fire. Toro was the sidekick to the original Human Torch — not the member of the Fantastic Four, but an android that fought alongside Captain America. Toro was an orphan whose parents died in a train wreck; a flaming wreck, in fact, where the young boy was found completely unscathed. He was adopted by a circus, which is apparently something that was legal back then (although it probably shouldn’t have been). Shortly he also exhibited the ability to set himself aflame, which was more than enough reason to give him to an android and let him fight in World War II, which, to be fair, may have been an improvement over living in a circus. Toro actually managed to survive World War II intact and not turned into a Communist, so at least he had that going for him… until he got killed by the Mad Thinker a few years later.
8) Indiana Jones
Look, Dr. Jones. I know it was the 1930s and I know you’re a white man. But that still doesn’t give you the right to buy a small Chinese boy, or force him to be your getaway driver after you piss off a Chinese crime lord. It also doesn’t give you the right to take him to a temple full of human-sacrificing, children-enslaving Thuggee cultists. And it especially doesn’t give you the right to call him “Short Round.”