All You Need is Superhero Love

Superheroes hook up all the time. Just like real life people with similar social circles and interests, wearing a cape means that it takes someone particularly understanding to enter into a relationship that is likely to be fraught with peril. <p>These pairings often come and go – sometimes in the span of mere issues. But when two superheroes can make it work, legendary relationships can be forged. Even if those relationships end in disaster – as they often do – they still remain important aspects of superhero history. <p>We’ve looked at a version of this list before, talking about the best superhero couples. But now, we’re re-examining the list through the lens of the superhero relationships that are the most significant. The ones that have stood the test of time, or which have at least continued to resonate even beyond their unavoidable conclusion.


Full disclosure - in previous versions of the list Hank & Jan did not appear, partially due to bad way their relationship ultimately ended – along with the infamous slap. But under further consideration, Hank's fictitious awful deed does not change history, and that's what we're recognizing. <p>Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne could be considered one of Marvel’s first “power couples.” While it took some time for Hank to warm up to the idea of being romantically involved with the daughter of his benefactor, once he came around, sparks flew. <p>Pym, operating as Ant-Man, quickly took Janet under his wing, granting her similar shrinking abilities as the winsome Wasp. The pair helped found the Avengers – Janet even coined the team’s name – and their relationship quickly became one of the cornerstones of the Avengers. <P>Sure, their relationship had its ups and downs – some of them far more extreme than most – but for decades (in real time) they stuck together, through it all. You can’t argue what they had was one of the <i>best</i> relationships of all time, but the fact is, it’s one of the most significant in Marvel lore, both for what it got right, and what it got wrong.


Here's another couple that faced <i>AvX</i>-related irreconcilable differences. Though they hadn't been together for a little while, since Piotr took on the role of the Juggernaut during 2011's <i>Fear Itself</i>, and were living on opposite ends of the country after the X-Men's <i>Schism</i>, it wasn't until a Phoenix-powered Colossus attempted to forcibly woo back Kitty Pryde that things were truly over. <P>While that may be an inauspicious end for a couple whose relationship was central to a certain era of X-Men comics, the love between Kitty and Piotr has always been defined by heartbreak and hesitation. <p>At first star-crossed because of Piotr's concern over Kitty's youth, even after the pair finally admitted their feelings for each other it seemed like one of them was always off-planet, or mind-wiped, or dead — y'know, typical couple stuff — leaving them always right on the verge of making it work, while only giving supporters of the fan-favorite couple rare glimpses of the pair actually happy and together. <p>Of course, they always found a way to come back from those seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and with the cyclical nature of comics, there's always a chance they'll get back together again someday - though with Kitty getting engaged to Peter Quill prior to <i>Secret Wars</i> that's looking less and less likely.


Hawkman and Hawkgirl have almost always been a couple. Originally envisioned as the crime fighting alter-egos of married archaeologists Carter and Shiera Hall, the most well-known version of their origin goes like this: Katar and Shayera Hol were alien warriors from the planet Thanagar, whose ship crash landed in ancient Egypt. The people of the ancient world took the aliens for gods, and worshipped them as their rulers. After meeting a tragic end, the mysterious Nth metal that Thanagarians used to power their ships and weapons preserved their spirits, embarking them on an endless cycle of death, rebirth, and undying love, culminating in their incarnation as modern superheroes who have operated since the 1940s. <p>There have been some interesting twists and turns along the way for comic books' first "power couple," like one of the most recent incarnation of Hawkgirl's total lack of romantic interest in Hawkman, despite his professions of undying love, but by and large, whenever there's a Hawkman, there's a Hawkgirl, and they're in love. To be fair, the most recent iteration of Hawkman, in DC's latest reboot, has eschewed almost all of the previous version's history, including Hawkgirl. However, Hawkgirl is a central character in <i>Earth 2: Society</i>, so there's always hope.


Green Arrow and Black Canary have always had an interesting dynamic. Green Arrow is raw and ill-tempered, while Black Canary is determined and measured. As seen in so many famous couples, it's their opposites that attracted them to each other in the first place. <p>Like many of the long-term couples on this list, Ollie and Dinah have had their share of ups and downs, not the least of which are the various retcons that have undone, rewritten, and eliminated their relationship time and again, but the duo have had just as many starring opportunities both in their cohabitated stints on the Justice League, and even in a co-starring ongoing series. <p>Perhaps their most defining moment as a couple was also their last (to this point), as a high-profile event led to the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary, only to see their marriage spur a series of events that eventually lead to their final goodbye, after Ollie murdered the supervillain Prometheus — who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of citizens of GA's hometown, Star City. <p>The pair haven't hooked up in the New 52 yet, but on the CW TV show <i>Arrow</i>, Canary has shown up - albeit with an even more complicated history - including with Ollie - than ever seen before in the comic books.


Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, has had three major romances in his life, and they've all defined different eras of the X-Men. <p>First came Jean Grey, who started out dating fellow X-Man Angel, but was quickly wooed by Cyclops's brooding charm. Throughout the first 15 years of the X-Men, the relationship between Scott and Jean was central to the story. When Wolverine joined the team, and also fell in love with Jean, their love triangle became a major component of the ongoing soap opera of the X-Men. <p>After Jean's apparent death during the "Dark Phoenix Saga," Cyclops left the X-Men, falling in love with a woman named Madelyne Pryor, who bore a striking resemblance to Jean Grey. Only after marrying her and fathering a child with her — you know him as Cable — did Cyclops discover that she was actually a clone of Jean, and a pawn of the villain Mr. Sinister. Jean returned to life after Pryor's villainous turn as the Goblin Queen (and apparent death), and reunited with Scott. Once again, their relationship defined the X-Men, culminating in their wedding in the mid-'90's. <p>Jean died once again, but not before Scott found himself engaged in a psychic affair with the reformed villain Emma Frost. After Jean's second "death" — OK, she's been to shown to be trapped in this dimension called the "White Hot Room," where all former Phoenix hosts end up — Scott fell into the arms of his new lover, and the pair have led the X-Men ever since, even becoming two of the five co-hosts of the Phoenix Force that twice claimed the life of Jean Grey. While <i>AvX</i> also split apart Scott and Emma as a couple (but not teammates), Cyclops' romantic entanglements will always define the X-Men. <p>Readers have seen Scott and Jean's relationship through a new lens with the original five teenage X-Men traveling to the future.


And here we have one of the most beloved X-Men relationships ever, responsible for bringing an entire generation of readers, 'shippers, fanfic enthusiasts, and soap opera junkies into X-Men comic books. While, much to many fans' dismay, Gambit and Rogue have been mostly on the outs since Gambit was revealed to be the long-rumored "X-Traitor," their continued appearances together (like in the recent <i>Gambit</i> ongoing series) constantly stoke rumors of reunion and reconciliation. <p>The most compelling aspect of the relationship between the Cajun ne'er-do-well, and the untouchable Southern bombshell, is that it has almost always existed at arm's length literally. It's that whole aforementioned untouchable thing, you see. Rogue's power has traditionally been uncontrollable, in the sense that there's a risk for anyone who makes skin-to-skin contact with her of losing not just their super-powers, but their memories, their identity, and possibly their life. <p>With that kind of obstacle in their way, the passion that undoubtedly exists between the two usually just smolders, unrequited, yet undeniable, so in the moments when Rogue and Gambit have been able to, for one reason or another, actually become intimate, the release of anticipation is palpable. With Gambit and Rogue it's never been as much a matter of "will they/won't they," as "can they/can't they," and for many fans, the question will always be more important than the answer.


The relationship between a mutant occultist and a life-like android may seem unlikely, but for years, Vision and Scarlet Witch were central characters in the <i>Avengers</i>, even starring in their own miniseries in the '80's. Though it's surprising that an artificial intelligence and a somewhat naive young mutant could fall in love, it was Wanda's ability to look past the Vision's cold exterior and see the emotional, caring man hidden in his robotic shell that lead to their coupling. <p>Eventually, the pair settled down away from the Avengers, even parenting a pair of twin boys who were manifested by Wanda's mystical powers. Sadly, their relationship ended in tragedy, as the Vision was mindwiped, and lost his personality, and it was revealed that their children were actually shards of the essence of the demon Mephisto. <p>An attempt to revive her children lead to Wanda's later mental breakdown, wherein she lost control of her powers, and inadvertently killed numerous Avengers — including the Vision — and saw the dissolution of the team. Most recently, with Wanda having returned from exile, and discovered that the souls of her children were alive in two of the Young Avengers, a reconstructed and restored Vision has spurned his former wife for her actions during her breakdown. <p>Time will tell if either of them will ever warm to each other again, but it seems unlikely, at this point.


Another fan favorite romantic entanglement, the mutual attraction between Batman and Catwoman has been brewing for decades, with the justice-obsessed Batman constantly attempting to reform Catwoman, and the devil-may-care cat burglar doing her best to get Batman to take a walk on the wild side. Though both have often found themselves in the arms of others, and have both parented children with others over the years, the passion that exists between them is the stuff of comic book legend. <p>Technically, they've never been "official," except in alternate realities like Earth-2, where their daughter grew up to become the Huntress, but they've consummated their feelings enough times that even Batman's enemies know that to strike at the heart of the Dark Knight, you strike at Catwoman, with Hush going so far as to literally remove Selina's heart, and place her on life-support to draw Bruce into his clutches. <p>A recent dalliance came in a somewhat graphic scene in the first issue of the latest volume of <i>Catwoman</i>, and even <i>The Dark Knight Rises</i> saw the pair ending up together. In the realm of comic book relationships, almost none are as clamored for as that of Batman and Catwoman.


Since the title first started, Marvel's Fantastic Four has always been about family, and at the heart of that family are Reed & Sue Richards, better known as Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. Right from the start, their relationship was rocky, mostly thanks to Sue's attraction to just about anybody that hates Reed Richards and Reed's attraction to science, but the Richardses have one thing going for them that nobody, not even the couple at number one, has - they've made it work. They've stayed together through thick and thin, even when they've found themselves on opposite sides of the superhero <i>Civil War</i>, and have raised a family, and flourished as a couple. <p>It's easy to wonder how they've made their love last. Reed can be an emotionally absent jerk, and Sue is often depicted as flighty and given to infatuations with Reed's enemies, but the truth is as simple as love can often be in real life; they just do. They love each other, and just like real love, their relationship is built on an emotional trust that has survived the some of the worst crises any world can offer. They rely on each other to be what the other cannot. Sue is Reed's emotional core, and Reed is Sue's logical center. <p>Never as strong apart as they are together, Marvel's premiere "power couple" are one of the best examples of love gone right in comic books. <p>Of course, with Sue at the side of Reed's arch-enemy Dr. Doom in <i>Secret Wars</I> - and no sign of the couple in All-New, All-Different Marvel, could the once great couple be on the outs?


Though you still might hear the contentious groans from readers who fall on the thumbs down side of the heated reaction to this relatively recent pairing, the romantic relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman may be one of the most important developments of the modern DCU. <p>Almost since they started appearing together in comic books, fans have speculated and argued over the possible pairing of the Man of Steel and the Amazonian princess -- with comic creators teasing it in alternate universes and imaginary sequences for decades. <p>Mark Waid and Alex Ross went so far as to have the pair raise a child in <i>Kingdom Come</i>, and the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman has long been central to Frank Miller's Batman universe in such works as <i>The Dark Knight Strikes Again</i>. <p>While the relationship admittedly doesn’t have the longevity or historical significance of others on this list, and it may not have the consensus stamp of approval of fans, there has never been a extended pairing of superhero icons of the magnitude of Wonder Woman and Superman and for that reason they top our countdown.

The 10 Most Significant Superhero Couples of All Time

Date: 03 September 2015 Time: 12:00 AM ET