In case you haven’t checked your calendar, today is Friday the 13th, one of the unluckiest days of the year. While it’s unclear exactly how Friday the 13th became associated with bad luck, millions of otherwise normal people believe that today will somehow bring them bad luck if they get out of bed. This is the third Friday the 13th we’ve had this year, meaning that either 2015 is awfully unlucky or we just happened upon a rare fluke in the calendar.
Since today is so associated with bad luck, let’s take a look at some of the comic characters commonly associated with bad luck, either because of a superpower or just because they can’t seem to catch a break.
Peter Parker’s mother must have walked under a ladder while breaking a mirror as several black cats crossed her path, because good ol’ Spider-Man can never seem to catch a break. Peter Parker’s infamous “Parker Luck” has plagued Spider-Man for years, causing him all sorts of problem in both his personal and superhero life. Whether it’s missing a payday because his camera broke while fighting the Rhino or discovering that your archnemesis secretly shacked up with your first true love and spawned a pair of genetically enhanced twins, Peter Parker’s life is a continuous string of bad luck and missed opportunities. Recently, Parker has seemingly gotten his life turned around, starting a successful company, reconciling with most of his friends and even finding a balance between his life in and out of costume. However, the good ol’ Parker luck will probably come back to ruin everything sooner or later.
A longtime ally and occasional lover of Spider-Man, Felicia Hardy AKA the Black Cat can produce as much bad luck for her enemies as her namesake “bad luck charm”. While those who encountered Hardy always seemed to encounter bad fortune if they tried to chase her, most of their bad luck were elaborate traps set up beforehand by the cat thief. However, the Black Cat later gained actual “bad luck” powers in an experiment conducted by scientists under the employ of the Kingpin. Unfortunately, she didn’t have total control over her powers, which meant that those who stayed around her for any extended period of time were more likely to experience some life-threatening bad luck. Dr. Strange eventually removed her bad luck powers, leaving Hardy to return to elaborate traps and gadgets to shift luck in her favor.
An early Justice League villain, Amos Fortune was the original leader of the Royal Flush Gang. Fortune discovered the existence of “luck glands” in the human body which could determine a person’s innate luck. Like any person who makes a major medical discovery, Fortune took up a life of crime and took aim at “stealing” the luck of the Justice League. While Fortune never beat the Justice League, he did have at least a little good luck, as he’s cheated death several times.
A mutant with “lucky” abilities, Longshot was one of the more convoluted and bizarre mutants to join the X-Men in the 1980s. Longshot came from the Mojoverse, an alternate dimension ruled by the tyrannical, TV obsessed Mojo, who put countless slaves through grueling “reality” programming. He arrived on Earth as after leading an unsuccessful slave revolt against Mojo with no memory of who he was or where he came from. Over time, Longshot re-learned that he could manipulate luck in his favor, as long as his intentions were pure. If Longshot attempted to use his powers for selfish reasons, his luck would backfire and he’d end up in a worse situation than when he started. Longshot joined the X-Men, fell in love with Dazzler and eventually fathered Shatterstar, another mutant with an equally convoluted backhistory. However, through all his trials and tribulations, Longshot never lost the one thing that mattered most: his luxurious and timeless mullet.
One of the first mutants with luck based powers, the Scarlet Witch’s mutant ability originally manifested as “hexes” that allowed her to manipulate probability on specific objects. After she reformed and became an Avenger, Scarlet Witch also learned how to use “chaos magic”, a primal form of magic with far stronger abilities. As her abilities grew, Scarlet Witch could even manipulate reality itself, resurrecting the dead or recreating the world in her image. Unfortunately, the strain of her powers grew too much for her to handle, leading to her manipulating a giant attack on the Avengers as well as recreating the world to make mutants the dominant species of the planet. Like all fallen heroes, Scarlet Witch got better as her powers returned to a less “god tier” like level. Scarlet Witch recently learned that she wasn’t a mutant at all, but gained her powers due to experiments conducted on her as a baby.