This weekend, we're reconnecting with Veronica Mars, our favorite teenage detective, after a decade apart. And she's still rocking the camera and sass. But Veronica's not the only teenage hero who managed to grow up without losing her mojo. Here are 10 other teen heroes who grew up but kept their style.
Spidey was originally the quintessential teen hero, who got bullied for being a nerd in high school, but the comics aged him up slowly, allowing him to grow up and settle down. He even got married — until it was retconned away — and became a high-school teacher.
Aang is a friendly young hero who survives the Fire Nation invading, and getting frozen for 100 years. As he grows up, he manages to master the four elements, makes a group of life-long friends, saves the world from the Fire Nation, founds a city based on equality, and raises a family. And Aang manages to live to the age of 66 while remaining a hero and a champion.
When you were sent to a planet to destroy it, any good you happen to do along the way looks good on your resume. And when it comes to resumes, no one's is longer than Goku, the Saiyan that saved the Earth half a dozen times. He started off small time by stopping the Red Ribbon Army, participating in a few World Martial Arts Tournaments, and stopping King Piccolo before escalating to stopping world-ending aliens and monsters like Frieza, Cell, and Majin Buu. Also it's worth noting that he becomes so powerful that Goku is basically forced to go with the wish-granting dragon Shenron to take the Earth out of the crosshairs of powerful enemies. Image by CartoonAnimeJoker.
Despite his literally stupid levels of enthusiasm resulting in more idiotic decisions than most people make in a lifetime, Naruto manages to save the day as a young hero. Hell, half the time he did it regardless of his screw ups. His sheer persistence was often enough to make the bad guys flip ethical alignments. But eventually Naruto does grow up and adds a few new tricks to his arsenal. For one he becomes an ungodly strong fighter that distills his evil-changing abilities into a speech about becoming Hokage. And he'll do it one day, too, because he's awesome. Believe it!
Few Joss Whedon characters grow up as much as Cordelia Chase — starting out as a high school mean girl, who throws shade onto Buffy and her friends, she starts helping out the Scooby Gang from time to time and even dates Xander. And then when she graduates, Cordelia joins Angel Investigations, and struggles with the power of visions that she gets as an agent of The Powers That Be. Also after she dies, she ascends to a way higher station by becoming an official agent for The Powers That Be.
In spite of some shady parenting decisions on the part of their father, Sam and Dean start out as pretty great kids. Sure they have their share of drama and mistakes, but their greatness outweighs them. Dean protects Sam with his life and gives up a normal childhood without question, while Sam serves as a defender of other down-trodden kids. And when they grow up, things only got better. I mean yeah, they kind of open a doorway to hell (and there was that whole time when Sam didn't have a soul), but the boys still clean up their messes every time. Plus they do it with style in that sexy '67 Impala.
ReBoot, if you remember, started off as a series about Bob the guardian defending Mainframe from nullification-by-game and viruses like Megabyte and Hexadecimal. At that time Enzo was more comic relief than anything (ok, the whole show was comic relief), but eventually he starts actually contributing. In fact his whole childhood arc is trying to prove that he's capable of helping in dangerous situations—and he usually is. Plus he's one of the only sprites that could protect Mainframe in Bob's absence after Megabyte shot the guardian out into the Web. Still, that couldn't save him from losing a game and being forced to travel with it to survive. Enzo returns though, as a grizzled adult with a badass gun and everything, lending an edgier tone to a series that took a turn for the serious at the back end.
When a mafia boss kills your circus-acrobat parents, what's the best thing you can do? For Dick Grayson the best thing is joining Batman as his sidekick Robin, beating the shit out of criminals despite being a teenager. Eventually Dick even leads his own superhero team, the Teen Titans, stopping villains without the help of Bruce Wayne. Eventually, he makes the transition from Robin to Nightwing, and passes on the "Robin" mantle to younger heroes. And even after going solo, he still keeps the streets of Gotham safe when Bruce is otherwise indisposed. Also, unlike some of the other Robins, Dick Grayson always stays a pure hero (I'm looking at you, Jason Todd).
Harry becomes famous as the Boy Who Lived after surviving Voldemort's killing curse — spending the next ten years toughing it out with his muggle relatives. But eventually his owl comes, and Harry gets to start school at Hogwarts. Throughout his seven years there, Harry saves the place from half a dozen threats, usually with the heroic powers of friendship and courage. Also he manages to track down all of Voldemort's horcruxes, finally defeating the bastard for good. Then he dedicates his life to his family, becoming a father and head of the Aurors. Ignoring that terrible beard from the movies, adult Harry clearly continues his youthful career of stopping evil and saving the world.
The Ocarina of Time incarnation of the hero of Hyrule is an unconventional case, but he definitely qualifies for this list. He spends part of the game as a kid and the rest a little more grown up, hopping back and forth through time to ensure the eventual fall of the evil Ganondorf. He fights everything from giant spiders to dragons on his quest, even managing to beat the next-to-impossible Water Temple (with a little help from the players controlling him). And when Link released all Seven Sages, he took down Ganondorf and saved the world. His adventure sort of splits the timeline a bit (with one version continuing with adult Link as the other sees him return to childhood), but it's not his fault that the world is a wonky place. This silent hero remains awesome. If he's good enough for the Master Sword, he's good enough for us.