Who gets the family comic book collection?1 of 12Love is in the air at Marvel. On Tuesday, the publisher debuted a first look at Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker's (temporarily?) restored marriage as part of Secret Wars tie-in Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows.
Of course, it isn't all hearts and flowers at Marvel, as Secret Wars also sees one-time power couple Black Bolt and Medusa going head-to-head in Inhumans: Attilan Rising.
It's that conflict that got us thinking about Marvel's, well, less than stellar track record when it comes to married couples. Here are ten Marvel marriages gone wrong.
ROBERT REYNOLDS/LINDY LEE2 of 12The world's mightiest mortal if not, necessarily, the most memorable one, apparently marrying the love of his life has a particularly mythical ring to it, even if the bride later reported that she wished she'd killed him on their wedding night.
But marital bliss was not on the cards for the Sentry and his wife; not only was he literally his own worst enemy, but the Sentry found himself manipulated by Norman Osborn to join the so-called "Dark" Avengers, a mistake that eventually led to Lindy's death as part of a plan to make him more reliant on Osborn's guidance. You know what they say: The fourth most common reason marriages end is because one spouse is killed by another's evil mastermind boss.
NAMOR MCKENZIE/MARRINA SMALLWOOD3 of 12He was the king of Atlantis! She was a member of Canadian supergroup Alpha Flight! But a shared love of the water not to mention the fact that both of them used their first names as their superhero names, as well as some cameos from the former in the Alpha Flight series at the time brought them together, and for awhile, it looked like they were headed for a happy ending.
And then she turned into a giant monster that Namor had to kill, because comics (she was an alien; apparently, that's just what aliens do).
To make matters worse, it turned out that because Namor hadn't killed her enough the first time, he had to do so again when she returned as part of machinations on the part of Norman Osborn. Yes, clearly that man has something against the institution of marriage.
PIETRO MAXIMOFF/CRYSTALIA AMAQUELIN4 of 12If ever there was a marriage that was almost doomed from the start, it was that of Quicksilver and Crystal; they met when she saved his life by accident, and Pietro's co-dependency became obvious to anyone paying attention almost immediately.
No surprise, then, when that quickly turned into jealousy and an attempt to control Crystal's behavior which led to her acting out in the form of an affair with (gasp!) a regular guy, which was enough to split the two of them up and send Pietro into a spiral of self-doubt, super villainy and mental anguish that he is only now starting to overcome.
It was all pure soap opera, of course, but some of the greatest of the Marvel marriages are also the soapiest. At least Norman Osborn wasn't involved... as far as we know.
THE VISION/WANDA MAXIMOFF5 of 12There aren't many marriages that end with the literal dismantling of the husband, but that was the fate that awaited the Avengers' favorite married couple when Immortus-controlled agents of the U.S. Government decided that it was time to look into the origins of the Vision, taking him apart and rebuilding him as an emotionless machine man.
No wonder that Wanda went slightly mad as a result, uncreated her children and started the emotional tumble that led to "Avengers Disassembled". Yes, that's right; Immortus is indirectly responsible for the Marvel Comics you know and love today. Who said that time-traveling super villains can't do some good sometimes?
JOHNNY STORM/ALICIA MASTERS6 of 12Marriage, as some would have us believe, is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. Or, in Johnny Storm's case, a man and a Skrull... even if, as he'd be the first to tell you, he didn't quite realize that his wife was actually a shapeshifting alien at the time he was marrying her.
Unsurprisingly, he didn't take to the discovery of her true identity very well, trying to kill her, and when she temporarily kinda-sorta died soon afterwards, it's fair to say that the honeymoon was well and truly over although, considering the star-crossed romances Johnny has had since, his luck with women hasn't exactly improved as a result of the experience.
CLINT BARTON/BOBBI MORSE7 of 12It's the age-old story; boy meets girl, boy marries girl, girl gets killed by super villain but it turns out that it's not really girl it's an alien pretending to be the girl, and then the girl comes back and doesn't know what's going on, but somehow the marriage is legally over because she was believed to be dead and don't think about it too much, oh look, boy has hooked up with Spider-Woman, how did that happen.
We've all heard that one before and, let's be honest, surely more than a few of us have even lived it. Marvel: The Universe Just Outside Your Window, am I right?
HANK PYM/JANET VAN DYNE8 of 12Along with Quicksilver and Crystal, it's another of the few Marvel weddings that had a relatively realistic and tragic throughline, as Hank fell prey to his inner demons and took out his frustrations on Jan.
Much has been made of his beating her, but there's a worrying emotional realism in the collapse of their marriage: his inability to open himself up to her, his acting out against her that makes this a surprisingly well-nuanced portrayal of their split (Steve Englehart made a great job of dealing with the aftermath of a lot of this in his West Coast Avengers run, as well, for those who want to check out those collections).
SCOTT SUMMERS/JEAN GREY9 of 12After presumed deaths, cloned reincarnations and all manner of complications, the marriage of Cyclops and Phoenix was something of a fairytale ending for them, which of course meant that some seriously grey clouds would appear to compete with those silver linings.
That those clouds included psychic infidelity with Emma Frost and a murderous showdown with Magneto may have surprised many and seemed somewhat cruel to the romantics in the audience but even now, almost a decade later, there are those still expecting Jean to return and bring with her a happy ending. And with the young, time-displaced versions of Scott Summers and Jean Grey in play, anything is possible.
BRUCE BANNER/BETTY ROSS10 of 12Another marriage that ended with a seeming-yet-not-quite death, the Banners had for years managed to have something resembling a good marriage under the pen of writer Peter David before Betty was "killed," a death that came in part David has explained due to the fact that the marriage had been the one thing in the book that he hadn't been willing to shake up.
These days, Betty is back to life, and though she enjoyed a brief career as Red She-Hulk, she's since been depowered thanks to Hulk in his Doc Green persona - a super-intelligent, highly arrogant version of the Hulk who claims his alter ego of Banner is "dead."
PETER PARKER/MARY JANE WATSON11 of 12There are few people who can claim to have been so in love that the Devil himself steps in to split them up, but perhaps it's the spider-blood in Peter's veins that made his marriage to Mary-Jane so delicious for Mephisto... Or maybe it's just that Marvel's editorial team really wanted a single Peter again that they figured the devil was the best of the various options available to make it happen.
Either way, two decades of continuity were... bumped a little in order to undo the couple's marriage, but unlike many other Marvel couples, both characters remain around and in each other's lives... so maybe a reconciliation isn't entirely out of the cards - especially with Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows bringing their marriage back as part of Secret Wars.
Hey, you can't blame those of us who'd like to think that everyone even superheroes deserves a true love that manages to work out in the end, can you?
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