There’s an old saying that goes, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish… you’re lucky enough!” Quite a few characters in the Marvel Universe possess the potent power of luck, but only one of them happens to be Irish! Go figure. In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day let’s take a slide down the rainbow Bifrost bridge to Earth to find the Top 5 Irish Marvel heroes… and hopefully a pot of gold while we’re at it!
5. Captain America (Steve Rogers)
“Captain America is Irish!?,” you ask, shocked. And we shall answer in the affirmative! That’s right, the most American blonde-haired blue-eyed member of Marvel’s Avengers is also Irish! Who would have thought? Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in Captain America Comics #1 way back in 1941. As the story goes, Steve Rogers was born to poor Irish immigrants in New York City. Although Steve lost his father when he was just a wee lad and his mother during his teenage years, the star-spangled Avenger credits his strong backbone and the desire to defend the weak against bullies to his Irish American upbringing. After volunteering to be the test-subject of a secret military super-soldier experiment, Steve transformed from a frail runt into a perfect human specimen in peak physical condition. Donning the patriotic rank of Captain America, Steve took his newfound strength, and his Irish American values, to the fight against the Nazis and helped the Allies win World War II.
4. Banshee (Sean Cassidy)
Ah Banshee, the redheaded Irish X-Man with a sonic scream. I never quite understood how Banshee’s yell gave him the ability to fly. He has to keep screaming in order to stay in the air? That has to get annoying fast. Created by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth in 1967’s X-Men #28, Sean Cassidy takes his superhero name from the mythological spirit of Irish folklore known as the Banshee. Banshee began his superhero career as an antagonist to the X-Men but soon realized the error of his ways and joined the band of merry mutants. Using his powerful vocal cords, Banshee could distort his enemies’ hearing, cause physically damaging vibrations, and even somehow fly as mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, Banshee met his demise in the 2006 miniseries X-Men: Deadly Genesis. But the Irishman left behind a popular daughter with a similar mutant ability and red hair!
3. Siryn (Theresa Cassidy)
Speaking of Irish sonic screamers, next up on our list is none other than Banshee’s daughter, Siryn! Theresa Cassidy, otherwise known as Siryn, was created by Chris Claremont and Steve Leialoha in Spider-Woman #37 back in 1981. The daughter of Sean Cassidy and Maeve Rourke, Theresa inherited her father’s mutant genes and sonic voice powers. Tragically, the young mutant lost her mother to an IRA bombing in Ireland while her father was out of the country. As Banshee didn’t even know of his daughter’s existence, she was secretly raised by his cousin, super villain Black Tom Cassidy. But when Black Tom is arrested, he can no longer take care of Theresa, so Banshee and the X-Men take her in and help her develop her mutant powers for good. Siryn would go on to have a storied super heroic career as a member of both the X-Force team and X-Factor Investigations. She was most recently reunited with her seemingly resurrected father on the island of Krakoa in the House of X comicbook series.
2. Shamrock (Molly Fitzgerald)
Finally, an Irish superhero with the power of luck! Although not as well-known as other fortune-based superheroes like Domino, Longshot, or the Black Cat, Molly Fitzgerald has carved out a small Irish-themed section of the Marvel Universe all to herself. She was conceived by a laundry list of classic creators which includes Mark Gruenwald, Bill Mantlo, Steven Grant, and John Romita Jr. in Marvel Super-Heroes: Contest of Champions #1 in 1982. Molly was born in Ireland, the daughter of a member of the IRA (hopefully not the same ones responsible for the death of Banshee’s wife!). Shamrock’s powers are the result of being possessed by the souls of thousands of spirits lost in past wars. These peculiar poltergeists affect the environment around her to ensure Molly always ends up on top in any situation. Sounds like she literally has the luck of the Irish on her side… Irish ghosts, that is!
1. Daredevil (Matt Murdock)
That’s right True Believers, the ol’ Irish devil himself Matt Murdock tops our list of superhero Irishmen and women. Daredevil was created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett back in Daredevil #1 from 1964. Horn head’s Irish Catholic upbringing has been a significant part of his complex character and superhero motivations over the years. The blind redheaded lawyer was born to Jack and Maggie Murdock in the working class Irish American neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. His mother left the family soon after to become a nun, while his single father barely made ends meet as a boxer and low-level criminal enforcer. When he was still just a boy Matt saved an old man from being hit by a speeding truck but was permanently blinded by the vehicle’s radioactive cargo. Matt’s remaining four senses now functioned with superhuman sharpness, and he gained a radar sense. This allowed him to perform super heroic feats as Daredevil that even a sighted person would be afraid of, earning him the nickname the Man Without Fear! Matt grew up to become a lawyer for the people of his blue-collared Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, but his strong Irish Catholic beliefs weigh heavy on his contradicting vigilante and law careers.
That’s our list of Marvel’s top superheroes of the Irish variety. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, and may the luck of the Irish be with you! Excelsior!