All science fiction romance couples have their ups and downs, their disagreements, their Big Misunderstandings—superhero couples included. After all, they aren’t immune to heartbreak, just because they can shoot destructive beams from their eyes or split a planet in half.
Underneath the capes and spandex, superheroes have feelings just like the rest of us. They pine. They carry torches. They cry over certain songs.
They also have the rather odd tendency to fall (and fall hard!) for those who want to rip their lungs out.
So, without any further ado, here’s the top ten of comic’s pugilistic paramours:
10) Firestorm vs. Killer Frost: Imagine you’re a teenager living your teenage life, but you just happen to have the consciousness of a brilliant, Nobel-prize winning physicist fused with your mind. Sounds like a heckuva way to ace your chemistry exams, eh? Now imagine you meet up with his spurned and burned former female student—only now, she’s a walking Popsicle ready to ice your fire. My, what a fresh interpretation of “opposites attract”!
9) Green Lantern vs. Star Sapphire: Before Hal Jordan went insanely evil, and then died and resurrected, he gave his heart and soul to a woman who was not only his boss, but also a part-time supervillain (de rigueur amongst the trendsetters). Truly, he is born without fear.
8) Superman vs. Lois Lane: Once you’ve been in a relationship with someone for over 70 years, a few quarrels are bound to erupt here and there. How can Lois possibly go bare knuckled against the Man of Steel? Don’t ask, but it’s happened several times. Lois, Jimmy Olsen—and even Perry White!—have all sampled some Kryptonian juice at some point. It seems that acquiring super powers is just part of the job description for working at the Daily Planet.
Toss in some red kryptonite, along with a disquisitive android or an inter-dimensional imp, and then sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
7) Spider-Man vs. Black Cat: As the case with the Batman, Spidey finds himself pitted against a buxom jezebel who would rather trade kicks to the gut than just hold hands. After an ongoing series of agitated “dates,” Spider-Man finally takes the plunge and peels off his mask—to a disappointed Black Cat. Sometimes a gal loves the mystery more than the man himself.
6) The Batman vs. Catwoman (and Poison Ivy and Talia and…): What is it about the Batman that drives women crazy? The rippling muscles? The dark, brooding persona? The car? Whatever it is, once they meet him, they swoon.
And then the requisite body blows follow.
Catwoman and Bruce’s other bevy of beauties never really appear seriously homicidal, they just want attention. That’s something that isn’t easy to earn from a man who anguishes over his parents’ deaths—an event occurring nearly 70 years ago—every waking moment of his life. Maybe they’d each have better luck as his therapist instead of rampaging antagonist.
5) The Teen Titans (Changeling vs. Terra, Kid Flash vs. Raven): If years of teen soaps have taught us anything, it’s that adolescents who hang out together always fall in love with one another—even if they’re green or have Satan as a dad.
The Teen Titans have fallen in and out of love so many times, it would take a Master’s dissertation to enumerate all of it here. The two most worthy are shy Gar Logan’s unrequited pining for undercover psychotic Tara Markov, who was actually playin’ the field with Deathstroke, probably 30 years her senior (naughty girl!).
We also have Wally West, who had a thing for the quietly demure Raven. Only he later finds out that she planted the romance seed in his head telepathically because…oh yeah, her father is this big league demon with a chip on his shoulder. He plans to destroy the universe and stuff.
Ah, teen romance! Thou art the inconstant moon….
4) Atom vs. Jean Loring: Before tying the knot, Ray Palmer and Jean Loring had a pretty typical romance (you know, the usual—a kidnapping here, a brain scrambling there). However, dynamics really heated up later in their marriage when Jean, a lawyer, decides to cheat on and divorce the Mighty Mite. This sends the Atom into full on Robert E. Howard mode—hacking and slashing his way into the arms of a luscious, yellow-skinned barbarian woman.
After a few years roll past, Jean, every changeable at heart, decides she wants her man back. [SPOILER ALERT] Forgoing the wine and Barry White, our gal decides the best path to his heart lies in killing all of his hero friend’s better halves. (Wasn’t this the plot of a Friends episode?) Needless to say, there’s no Happily Ever After in this corner of the universe.
3) Captain America vs. Sharon Carter: Both Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter live to serve their country: He’s Captain America and she’s an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. They wine, they dine, and then she tries to kill him after infiltrating a supremacist group. (It’s okay; she’s under the effects of mind-control.) Apparently, she dies in the attempt, leaving a broken-hearted Cap. Only…
…she doesn’t! Sharon later reappears. Steve and Sharon wine and dine some more—and she has another go at killing him. Again, it’s the ol’ mind-control at work (what is it with this woman?). But, the second time’s the charm, and [whoa, SPOILER ALERT] this time, she actually succeeds in her task! R.I.P., Captain America. Now some may argue this should be higher on the list, given the outcome, but I just had to place the following couples two notches higher…
2) Daredevil vs. Elektra: A young man and woman meet in college. Both fall in love; both will later wear red tights…and—altogether now—try to skewer the other. Soured on life by the assassination of her beloved father, Elektra turns to a few assassinations of her own. This runs afoul of former boyfriend, Matt Murdock, a.k.a., Ol’ Hornhead.
They fight. They kiss. They hurl shurikens at one another. This continues until Elektra [SPOILER ALERT] meets the wrong end of her own sai, held by master assassin about town, Bullseye. The end. (Later, Elektra would try to leap back into her own grave after seeing how the corporate powers that be would sully her name with an unmentionable film and a slew of litter box-worthy comics.)
1) Cyclops vs. Jean Grey: You may think you’re in the dog house when your better half spews rude remarks at a family get-together, but try defending the destruction of an entire star system!
Scott Summers and Jean Grey hit it off at first. Things are going well until the psychic dampeners Professor X placed on her mind take a bender. Jean’s latent powers turn way past 11 on the dial and head for stratosphere. Long story short, billions die. An alien tribunal intervenes. Jean is now known as the goth band approved appellation “Dark Phoenix.”
Again, events don’t go well. The Marvel offices are flooded with flowers, and the tortured pair earns the coveted spot as number one superheroic couple love spat. (As with Elektra, Jean would make an encore performance. This greatly ruins the emotional effect of The Uncanny X-Men # 137, but Spidey et al has to pay da bills, I suppose.)
So that’s the list. Did I miss your favorites? Don’t gnash your teeth in silence, name ’em and explain ’em in the comments. The Watcher would approve.