Friday Fights #17: Marth vs. Martha Kent


With today’s events, today seemed like the perfect day to do a more lighthearted Friday Fights. Today we are going to take a look at two of the best mothers (or motherly figures) in comic books: I’m talking about Spider-Man’s aunt May Parker and Superman’s mom Martha Kent. Who wins this battle to be the mother superior?

Aunt May is such an important part in Peter Parker’s world. She’s unwavering in her support and love of her nephew and would do anything in the world for him (as well as his girlfriend/wife/whatever Mary Jane is considered in this continuity). There’s a great issue during the J. Michael Straczynski/John Romita Jr. run on Amazing Spider-Man where she finally finds out that her nephew is a super hero. She takes supporting Peter to a whole other level, taking it upon herself to argue with internet comment posters who aren’t in support of Spider-Man. She really loves Peter and it shows.

However, if there is one thing against May, it would be that she always seems to cause some sort of huge distraction for Peter, like when the fact that she is a frail, elderly woman seems to be a common distraction in many Spider-Man comics. Aside from Uncle Ben, she also doesn’t have the best taste in men. Remember, at one point she wound up being married to the villainous Doctor Octopus, and certainly made things awkward by marrying J. Jonah Jameson’s father and making many awkward family get-togethers for Triple J and Peter. 

Marha is an awesome mother. She took in an alien baby, raised it as her own and he goes on to be the most important/powerful man in the universe. Living far away from Superman, she rarely gets too involved in his life, although she’s always willing to lend an ear to talk about things ranging from relationship problems to career goals to even how to stop the Parasite. Plus, she puts up with all the wacky things that Clark gets into like providing housing for his Kryptonian family members like Superboy and Supergirl from time to time.

The only thing that you can knock Martha for is that she’s too perfect. She’s like the Martha Stewart of super hero mothers; she does everything right and nothing bothers her.

So who is the winner in this battle of matronly awesomeness?

The winners are Peter and Clark, as these women have shaped them into kind, responsible adults. Go moms!

30 Things I Like About Comics—#11 The Kents

Superman is torn between his Kryptonian and Human parents during Zero Hour. Taken from the cover of Superman #93 by Dan Jurgens and Josef Rubenstein

In a nutshell, everyone knows that Superman crash landed onto Earth and was adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who shaped him into the big blue boy scout and the world greatest hero. But do you know what happened to the Kents?

Originally, they died shortly after Clark graduated high school and took off to Metropolis. In John Byrne’s reboot of Superman after Crisis, he brought the Kents and made them a fixture in Superman’s life.

Byrne and later the 1990s Superman writers (led by Dan Jurgens) showed how important the relationship between the parents and the son was. No matter what the situation was–fighting off Darkseid, his love life with Lois, job stresses–Clark always knew he had his parents there for him. The would do anything for their son.

The other great thing was that Ma and Pa Kent are what link Superman to his humanity. Even though he’s pretty much a god amongst insects, he still seeks their guidance and approval. On the flip side, his parents love him unconditionally, and they are just as happy and proud of him whether he saved the universe or just saved 15% by switching to Geico.

Everything was fine until the “Brainiac” story arc, where Superman saves the world, yet fails to save his father, who passes away from a heart attack during stress of Superman preventing a missile from destroying the Kent home.

I have mixed feeling about this. I understand that the death of a beloved character like Jonathan Kent is powerful, especially when it’s viewed through Clark’s eyes. But I really think it didn’t need to happen. Too many super heroes are loners and have no family, like Batman and Punisher and Wolverine…and the list goes on.

What made Superman was his parents. Clark loves them, and they were proud of him. And that’s the way Superman should always be.