The 6 Best (And Worst) Couples in Marvel and DC Comics
Comic books have never been more popular than they are right now thanks to Marvel Comics and DC Comics movies. Even people who don’t pick up the books themselves are familiar with leagues of heroes. While comic books are mostly known for their heroes and the high octane action, long-time fans know there’s much more to it than that. Comic books have it all from action and drama to comedy and mystery and even romance. Romance has been around since Superman first met Lois Lane. Here are 6 comic books featuring couples from the DC and Marvel Universe, three that do it the best and three that are in need of a re-write.
Superman and Lois Lane (Best)
The Man of Steel is perhaps the best-known superhero of all time. Truth be told, for the longest time, I wasn’t a fan at all. But thanks to the stories told in Superman and Action Comics during the Rebirth Era, both Clark and Lois proved to be some of the best characters on the pages. This era introduced their son Jonathan Kent to the world. Watching the way Clark and Lois raise Jonathon to deal with his powers was authentic, engaging and it felt real. There are many couples in comics, but the ones that really work have something that ties them together more than just ‘romance’ and Jonathan does that for Clark and Lois.
The other strength this couple has going for them is that despite Clark being a superhero and Lois being a human, she’s no less capable. She’s willing to put herself in danger and has the knowledge, determination, and perseverance to succeed. In years past, some readers might get bored seeing stories of the unpowered love interest. But Lois demands just as must respect and attention as the Boy in Blue.
Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor (Worst)
This is a hard one to accept, as I love Diana and all she is. Chris Pine does an amazing job as Steve Trevor in the recent Wonder Woman films. But the problem is, Chris Pine is Steve Trevor at his best and it’s still not good enough for Diana. While Clark and Lois are the perfect examples of a Super Hero and a Non-Powered Character working, Diana and Steve are the opposite. I’m constantly wondering why Diana loves Steve so much except for the fact that he was the first person she met? He’s strong, dashing, and a military hero, himself, sure. But what does that do for Diana?
Anything Steve Trevor can do, Diana can do better. She’s such a powerful hero that we should never see Trevor saving her and if she has to save him every other day, that’s a trope that would get old fast. He brings nothing to the dynamic except the image of Diana loving the generic white male protagonist from any action movie or video game ever. The comic book industry is constantly trying to bring in new audiences and give voices to more diverse stories. What better hero to tell LGBTQ stories than a strong, smart, and unstoppable warrior from a tribe of all women? Diana deserves better than Steve Trevor.
Spider-Man and Mary Jane (Best)
Peter Parker and Mary Jane were not always one of the best couples in comics. Though, like Superman and Lois, they are one of the most well known. Peter and MJ are at their best when they’re on the same side, both being heroes in their own way. In past stories, such as Maximum Carnage from the 90s, Mary Jane serves as a roadblock for Peter and Spidey. This was even when she knew his secret identity. But when the two characters support each other, even though the danger you get a much more dynamic romance.
One of the interesting aspects of Peter and Mary Jane (though they do get married at one point) is that they have lives outside of just each other. Obviously, with Peter, he’s Spider-Man, he has plenty to keep him busy. But Mary Jane doesn’t just exist to be Peter’s love interest or the princess he has to save from the evil castle. She has her own careers she pursues, her ambitions and it helps to create a character profile that is more just a plot device.
Reed Richards and Sue Storm (Worst)
I love the Fantastic Four and they have a lot of great stuff going for them. Reed and Sue as a couple just aren’t one of them. Maybe it’s too harsh to call them the worst, or even a bad couple. But they have something that is genuinely unique in the big names comics that could be utilized much better. While most couples started with the romance, went through the stages of will they or won’t they, then eventually got together. Reed and Sue have always been together, the first family of Marvel.
As a result of this, we never see much of the romance or couple dynamic between them. The focus is always on the family, which it should be, but Reed and Sue mostly seem to attack things head-on. They are a great parental unit (despite putting their children in harm’s way, superpowers or no). But everyone knows parents hardly ever agree on everything. Reed and Sue are far from a bad couple, but they have so much more they could explore as one. Their only real crime in the romance department is that it’s boring.
Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn (Best)
They’ve come a long way and it’s taken them a long time, but DC Comics’ most famous “will they, won’t they” couple is absolutely one of the best. Don’t come at me with the BatmanCatwoman ship either, these two ladies beat them out in spades. Despite starting out their careers as villains and perhaps sometimes still being depicted that way. Harley and Ivy are two of the best anti-heroes (sometimes villains) out there. They both have engaging, tragic backstories that lend well to the readers’ understanding of why they do what they do.
They’ve also both been the object of many men’s attention and would-be affection. Perhaps that’s why their relationship finally getting recognition in DC’s Animated Series Harley Quinn is so vindicating. The comic fandom is filled with a very vocal minority of neckbeards with bad opinions. To see them upset at the happiness and success of Ivy and Harley is just icing on the cake. The more these DC characters are embraced on the pages and on the screen, the better.
Daredevil and Elektra (Worst)
Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios may not be the most well-known couple in comics, but when you think of the Man Without Fear, she’s the lady you put beside him. Their romance was all too short-lived and extremely toxic when you think about it. Even now, they’re more on the enemy side of frenemies, but we still consider Elektra to be Daredevil’s ‘love interest’.
The Netflix and Marvel’s Daredevil series did as good a job as they could’ve to try to explain why Matt would even fall for someone as unhinged as Elektra. But in the end, the most compelling part of their dynamic was whether or not Elektra could change, not the romance between them. Let’s not even get started on the catastrophe that was Daredevil (2003) with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.
The Other Identity
Are you a comic book fan? Do you catch every Marvel Entertainment and DC Universe film regardless of the Rotten Tomato score? Then the Other Identity podcast might be right up your alley. Every week Robbie Landis and Ben Morse (former Marvel Alumni) talk about everything from the latest Detective Comics to who would win in a fight between Captain America, Black Panther, or a Green Lantern. From paper and digital comics to movies and TV shows, they break it all down.
This week they give their initial impressions of WandaVision and talk about the best couples in comics. When does romance work best in comics and who are some of the standout couples? You could even win a $50 Gift Card to ComiXology for subscribing to the podcast and voting in our Best Couples in Comics bracket!