It’s a tale as old as time. A story about a broken, stubborn and angry man, and a woman who chooses to see the good in him, and changes him for the better. A story about love and strength of character that ended happily ever after for Belle and her prince. One that has inspired countless others. But there are many forms that the “Beauty and the Beast” story can take. With the same basic elements at its core, the story can be explored in many different ways.
For good or for bad, characters in the comic book world have experienced similar stories. They fell in love, however unlikely the relationship may have seemed, and rarely have they found their happily ever after. With a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” now in theaters, CBR decided to take a look at 15 relationships that borrowed some classic elements from the core, classical story in superhero comic books, television shows and movies.
15. KILGRAVE AND JESSICA JONES (NETFLIX)
In the Netflix series “Jessica Jones,” the titular character was haunted by her time spent controlled by the man known as Kilgrave, the Purple Man. While Jessica loathes him, Kilgrave has a disturbing fascination with Jessica that fueled the entire season, a fascination that constantly brought him back to her, and her to him, whether Jessica wanted to or not. A fascination that, in his own abusive, sadistic Kilgrave way, could be seen as love.
However, their “Beauty and the Beast” relationship could never be more apparent then in the eighth episode of the season, “AKA WWJD?,” where Jessica was forced to live with Kilgrave for a time. Spending so much of their time together, Jessica was able to convince Kilgrave to use his powers for good. And so, inspired and willing to prove himself to Jessica, Kilgrave did just that, rescuing a family that was being held hostage thanks to his powers. Jessica’s influence didn’t remain after that, but for a brief time, she did manage to change this beast.
14. DAISY JOHNSON AND GRANT WARD (AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.)
For the better part of the first season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Grant Ward had been a mostly bland character. As an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Grant was a good soldier and a good spy, and an attraction between him and fellow team member Skye/Daisy Johnson started to develop. But when the “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” twist came around, the revelation the Ward had been a sleeper agent for Hydra all along turned everything on its head.
As Ward remained a villain for the remainder of his stint on the show, his attraction to Daisy also remained. Daisy may have never forgiven him for his betrayal, but they had a certain push-and-pull relationship, one that Grant was sure he could win. When Daisy shot him in the back without hesitation, he was forced to face the harsh reality that they would never be together. The connection between the two was strong however, and it remained when Daisy was under control by Hive, and it looks set to return in some alternate reality when “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” returns on April 4th.
13. BEAST AND DAZZLER
This one is literally in the name. In the Marvel miniseries “Beauty and the Beast” written by Ann Nocenti and illustrated by Don Perlin, Allison Blaire, the X-Men and singer known as Dazzler fell on hard times. Hank McCoy, the Beast, came upon her and leaped to her defense only to be told to leave. But after trouble found her, Beast’s strong feelings for Allison pushed him and he went to great lengths to come to her aid. In a twist of fate, he found her in a place called the Heartbreak Hotel, but once again, she left him on his own.
Beast eventually came to realize that Allison was under the control of a villain who drove her powers out of control, and that she was taking part in underground gladiatorial matches. They were forced apart once again, but still Beast came back for her. Only then were they able to defeat the villain and free her. This comic series inverted the classic Beauty and Beast roles, where Hank was portrayed not by what his name and appearance suggested, but by what he felt for Dazzler.
12. CAITLIN SNOW AND ZOOM (THE FLASH)
In the CW’s “The Flash,” Jay Garrick came from Earth-2 to help Team Flash and their fight against the threat that was the speed-monster known as Zoom. But as the season progressed, as Jay and Caitlin develop feelings for one another, we also came to realize that Jay wasn’t exactly who he said he was. When we finally came to know that his real name was Hunter Zolomon and that he was the man underneath Zoom’s mask, Caitlin was just as shell-shocked as the rest of us.
However, Zoom’s feelings for Caitlin were somehow real. In his time on Earth-1, he really did come to care for her, maybe even love her, to the point that he kidnapped her and forced her to stay with him in his fortress at the CCPD rather than just kill her. He tried to make her understand, tried to convince her of his feelings, while Cailtin tried to convince him that he didn’t have to be this evil person. Whether she believed it or not, her efforts were in vain and this relationship was rightfully doomed to fail.
11. RICK FLAG AND ENCHANTRESS (SUICIDE SQUAD)
One of the main subplots of the “Suicide Squad” movie focused on the characters of Rick Flag and June Moon. As an architect, June found a relic and became possessed by a terrifying witch thousands of years old, a witch known as Enchantress. Hovering inside of her like a Jekyll beast inside of Mr. Hyde, June struggled to keep control of the powerful entity inside of her, to the point that she was utterly frightened of ever changing into her.
Rick Flag was brought into the fold by Amanda Waller as a last resort effort to control the witch. Thanks to her careful planning, he and June fell in love. Rick also struggled with the creature inside of June, but he did so in a supporting manner, and was willing to sacrifice everything so that his girlfriend could be freed from the beast inside. When all was said and done, Enchantress was defeated, and June was freed from her clutches, leaving her and Rick finally free to be happy.
10. THANOS AND DEATH
The relationship between Thanos and Death may seem complicated, one that spans hundreds of years and the cosmos itself, but it is in fact quite simple. In the Marvel comics, Death is a concept, an entity. A living manifestation of the end of all things, one of the most powerful beings in all the Universe. And Thanos is the Mad Titan who fell in love with her. For a very long time, everything he did, every scheme or plan he made, was in the hopes of proving his love for his Mistress Death.
Resolved to prove himself, Thanos tried to end all life in the Universe many times over, by using the powers of the Cosmic Cube and the Infinity Gauntlet. He failed every time, though, and therefore every time he didn’t get to have what he so desperately wanted. This might not be the most classic “Beauty and the Beast” relationship, but it is a love story where one man, a true beast of a man, went to immense lengths to prove himself worthy of his beauty.
9. DAREDEVIL AND ELEKTRA
Whether on Netflix or in the comics, Matt Murdock had (more or less) everything under control. He found a way to fight crime as Daredevil and work as an attorney for the people, and he had a burgeoning romance in his life. But then Elektra came back into the picture and screwed it all up. With a personality that bordered on passionate and crazy, Elektra was as unpredictable as she was dangerous, especially when Matt later found out who she really was.
Hovering between good and bad, Elektra was an assassin, but not one without a heart, a heart that Matt tried so desperately to reach. Where Elektra can be portrayed as a the beast in this scenario, Matt is the beauty that fights tooth and nail both to save her from herself and the forces that wish to cause them both harm. She loves him, while he hates that he loves her. Daredevil and Elektra have a very complicated relationship, but they always find their way back to each other in some way, shape or form.
8. SUPERBOY AND MISS MARTIAN (YOUNG JUSTICE)
Back in the first season of the “Young Justice” cartoon, Connor Kent was recruited into the Young Justice team. As a clone of both Superman and Lex Luthor created by Cadmus, Connor had a lot of anger issues. Those issues would manifest themselves mostly in the field, but also in his short-tempered relationship with his fellow teammates. The romantic feelings that developed between him and M’gann M’orzz, Miss Martian, helped calm him down and helped him become not only a better hero but a better friend.
Connor was able to return the favor later on in the show, when it was revealed that Miss Martian was not a Green Martian, but had always been a White Martian, known for being vile creatures. M’gann, ashamed and fearing being seen as a true monster, kept that fact hidden from her friends and from Connor. When the revelation came, Superboy didn’t care. He even did her one better when he told her that he had known for a while, and waited for her to be ready to tell him. He was supportive and saw her for who she really was.
7. DEADPOOL AND SHIKLAH
First appearing in the comic series “Deadpool: The Gauntlet” by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn and Reilly Brown, Shiklah was introduced as the very literal Queen of the Undead, a queen who can suck the life force out of anyone and turn into a terrifying monster on a whim. Deadpool, hired by a nefarious Dracula to bring her to him for their arranged marriage, set off on a long journey to Europe to find her. The only problem was that, as Deadpool and Shiklah traveled together and defeated monsters at every turn while en route to bring her to Dracula, they both developed feelings for each other.
As Queen of an army of monsters, Shiklah did not take kindly to Dracula’s schemes, so she declared war on him. With Deadpool at her side, she canceled her arrangement with the vampire, and instead married the merc’ with a mouth. This is a case where Deadpool, in true Deadpool fashion, finds himself being the Beauty in a relationship, albeit in a very non-literal manner.
6. BATMAN AND CATWOMAN (BATMAN RETURNS)
Man and bat. Woman and cat. In Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns,” the relationship between Batman and Catwoman was just as fascinating as it was complex. Both in and out of costume, there were equal parts tension and passion all around. This is a case where both of the characters had as much beauty as beast inside of them, each trying to appease the other, each trying to find the other’s better angels.
Selina Kyle was portrayed as fractured and unhinged, hellbent on revenge and chaos, but she did in her own way want a quiet life away from all of that, a life of love with Bruce. Meanwhile, Bruce wanted the same, finding in Selina a kindred spirit that could inspire him differently. When they both discovered who they really were, the realization was heartbreaking. They both knew that it could never be, and when extraneous circumstances forced them apart, they never got to live the happy life that they both wanted.
5. HULK AND BLACK WIDOW (AGE OF ULTRON)
After the opening scene of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” we saw that the relationship between Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff had greatly changed. Where she was there when he first transformed into the Hulk during “The Avengers,” she was now there to help calm the beast down, and drive it away so that Bruce could take back control with a simple lullaby. The relationship between the two of them continued to evolve throughout the movie, even going so far as wondering what a future could look like.
The story between the two came to an abrupt end after the Hulk brought Natasha back to safety and then all but disappeared from the face of the Earth. Somehow, even the Hulk knew that there could be no future between the two of them, and even he was saddened by that fact. Betty Ross may have helped calm the Hulk down, but Natasha earned his compassion and his trust. He is willing to let her change him back into puny Banner, which is absolutely no small feat.
4. VISION AND SCARLET WITCH
The Vision was created by Ultron to be his perfect self. He was created to bring about the end of civilization, ushering in a new age of control for Ultron. When it came time to destroy the Avengers, the Vision was revealed to have an conscience, and maybe even a heart. He may have been created to be a machine, cold and heartless like his master, but Vision had a warmth inside of him, one only made stronger by the Scarlet Witch.
With Wanda by his side, Vision became a better man and a better hero. In the comics, the characters have a long storied relationship, one that the movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron” briefly teased at, and one that “Captain America: Civil War” started to explore. In the movies, Wanda is slowly starting to humanize the android, to the point that he can now make mistakes and question his own powers. There is no doubt that the Vision is powerful, but Wanda helps make this android so very human.
3. WILSON FISK AND VANESSA (NETFLIX)
In the early episodes of the first season of “Daredevil,” Wilson Fisk was introduced as an invisible menace. Nothing but a name, in control of everything. A name to be feared. A hulking monster who wouldn’t hesitate to decapitate someone with a car door. The introduction of Vanessa Marianna, a mysterious art dealer, showed us a more vulnerable Wilson Fisk, and she helped show us the cracks in his armor.
Not only did she help to humanize the villain of the series, she also came to strengthen his resolve. At first, she may have been taken aback by the knowledge of this man she was attracted to being a criminal mastermind, but she soon came to be fascinated by him, even so much as becoming an inspiration to him. She was there for him, there to calm him down and change him and love him and push him to do what he must. Not only did Vanessa tame the beast. She also let it out.
2. LOGAN AND JEAN GREY
Logan was a mutant who always had a beast inside of him. An animalistic part of him, a berserker, blinded by rage and blood, ready to lash out at anything that stood in his way. When he found himself in Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, he met Jean Grey, a woman whom he instantly became intrigued by and even attracted to. Jean was able to make Logan become a better man and even managed to convince him to stick around with the X-Men.
It’s a relationship that we have seen in the cartoons, comics and movies, even as recently as “X-Men: Apocalypse,” where a young Jean freed Logan (as Weapon X) to set him loose on the soldiers that were after the X-Men. However, after the rampage was over, she found him again and managed to calm him down, to gaze into his mind and give him a small piece of his past back to him. Destiny and circumstances will always prevent these two from being a true couple, but they share a strong bond that can’t easily be broken.
1. HARLEY QUINN AND THE JOKER
Whether in the animated series, the “Suicide Squad” movie or in the comic books, this is the ultimate “Beauty and the Beast” story. It’s the one that failed spectacularly. As a psychiatrist, Dr. Harleen Quinzel worked at Arkham Asylum and, though under-qualified, arranged for her to treat the ultimate patient: The Joker. She was sure she could help him and maybe even cure him. But, instead, the opposite happened: she started to fall in love with him. So much so, in fact, that she helped him escape and ran away with him.
Turning into the jester-based Harley Quinn, Harleen fell victim to the Joker’s control and turned to a life of maniacal crime, a life filled with laughing fish and giant mallets. A life of “Mad Love.” Thanks to creators Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, Harleen Quinzel came in to help rehabilitate the beast, but she fell in love with it and, instead of changing it for the better, ended up becoming a beast herself, malevolent and crazy, just like the man she madly loves.
Any of your favorite relationships we may have forgotten? Be sure to let us know in the comments!