Many arcs in superhero stories revolve around the idea of a relationship. We’ve seen it with just about every major hero in comics (and their respective film adaptations as well). It provides a means of humanizing these heroes and making them relatable while also serving as an interesting piece of character development.
However, fans and readers have been quick to point out that not all of these comic relationships worked. As a matter of fact, many of them ended up being so messed up and weird that many wonder why they were ever created in the first place.
Due to the various retcons and alternate timelines of comic books, it’s difficult to say that one relationship is screwed up all the time, but there are definitely moments that are completely insane in our eyes. As such, we’re going to be taking a look at 15 of the most screwed up relationships in comic books. Don’t worry, though, we’re staying away from the obvious pick of Joker and Harley Quinn.
15. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
While Hank Pym ended up being one of the founding Avengers, his contribution to his marriage with Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp) added up to be one of the most screwed up things in Marvel Comics.
Hank has always had big aspirations for himself and has wanted to change the world. Unfortunately, this results in creating beings like Ultron. When Janet tries to reason with him about some of his actions in Avengers #213, he flies off the deep end, and slaps her across the face. Since then, old Hank has been known as little more than a wife beater. That’s even before considering his actions in Ultimates #6 where he set an entire army of ants to attack Janet while she was small in her Wasp suit to try and get away from him in the first place.
14. BATMAN AND BLACK CANARY
While Black Canary is primarily the love interest of the Green Arrow, she has had some flings with the Dark Knight at times. They’ve only kissed a few times in the main continuity, but that’s not the moment that is worthy of this list. I’m talking about their fling in a different continuity.
All Star Batman and Robin features one of the craziest scenes in Batman history. The Dark Knight fights a slew of people and burns them all alive. Then Black Canary shows up and he proceeds to do the deed with her while people are burning all around them. This one scene is so monumentally disturbing that it almost made me consider staying away from Batman comics altogether. Almost.
13. SUPERMAN AND LOIS LANE
Superman and Lois Lane have one of the most classic relationships in the comics, but even they aren’t immune to some weird ideas. If you need further proof, I present to you a little comic run titled Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane.
In this comic, both Lois and Superman do this back and forth of abuse in order to fit their ideals. In Issue #5, Superman actually tricks Lois Lane into having superpowers so she won’t be obsessed with discovering his secret identity. By the time Issue #23 rolls around, she is obsessed with getting more powers so she can prove something to Superman. There are other instances where she dabbles in black magic and time travel, and the whole thing becomes really screwed up as a result.
12. GREEN GOBLIN AND GWEN STACY
The death of Gwen Stacy is arguably one of the biggest moments in comic book history. Not only was it a painful moment for Peter’s character, but it moved the entire industry into a new era. It seems impossible to make something like that lose its impact. Unfortunately, I present to you Amazing Spider-Man Issues #509-514.
In a story titled “Sins Past,” Marvel does a bit of a retcon for Gwen Stacy. She actually cheated on Peter by sleeping with none other than Norman Osborn. She ended up becoming pregnant and then broke it off with the Green Goblin. Angry, he decided to throw her off a bridge and raise the children (she had twins) to become assassins specifically to kill Peter Parker. Need I say more?
11. BATMAN AND TALIA AL GHUL
Batman has always had a predisposition to date women who are dangerous and fearsome. Take Talia al Ghul for example. Being the daughter of one of his villains, you would think that the Dark Knight would know to stay away from her. Nonetheless, he couldn’t keep it in his pants and the two have had a weird relationship since then.
Talia became pregnant with their child who became the next Robin. However, she had such a hatred for Bruce’s crusade that she swore against it and even alienated her own son for not staying with the League. In response, she created a clone of Damian to have as her “real” son. The clone was then ordered to kill Damian and succeeded in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 Issue #8.
10. WONDER WOMAN AND STEVE TREVOR
With the Wonder Woman movie coming out to nearly redeem the DCEU, I thought it fitting to explore her relationship with Steve Trevor that inspired their dynamic in the film. Needless to say, I ended up finding some seriously screwed up moments.
Let’s address the fact that he was basically being led on in the New 52 and was severely misused as a result (he was basically a liaison for the Justice League despite having feelings for Diana). But the kicker in their relationship is in Wonder Woman Issue #167 where Steve Trevor tries to force Wonder Woman to marry him by tying her lasso around her. What makes this worse is that she begged him at first to be patient until she was done fighting crime. Did he listen? No.
9. THE HULK AND BETTY ROSS
In a Beauty and the Beast scenario, almost no one wins. While it was poetically beautiful that Betty Ross was in love with Bruce Banner and could help him as he became The Hulk, it was quickly discovered that this would cause more problems than it would solve.
As a matter of fact, it turns out that their relationship went through its ups and downs. Banner, as a matter of fact, could turn into The Hulk voluntarily, which brought harm to Betty on numerous occasions. She ended up dying due to exposure to Banner’s gamma radiation in Incredible Hulk #466. But the craziest part was when she came out as another Hulk villain, the Red She Hulk in Hulk Vol. 2 #16. Not to mention all the times she left Bruce and even married another man.
8. CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX
The movies may only hint at this, but the horrible truth is that Scott Summers is a class A jerk. While he may have noble intentions at times, he has often gone against the X-Men, harmed Professor X, and the reason his relationship made it on this list, cheated on Jean Grey multiple times.
One of the bigger showcases of this was in New X-Men #138 where he cheats on her with Emma Frost and gets caught at the same time. As if this weren’t bad enough, he actually decides later on that he must serve the greater good and tries to leave a clone of Jean (that he left the real Jean for) and their newborn child in Uncanny X-Men #201. It’s insane and we’re still wondering why people ship these two. Just let Jean live her own life for crying out loud!
7. MYSTIQUE AND AZAZEL
Fans of the X-Men movies will never know how insane Mystique’s adventures could really be. She had a relationship with a fellow mutant known as Azazel, but their connection goes a bit deeper than just that.
Apparently, Azazel was a demon banished to another dimension. The only way he could return to Earth was by having children with various women, so he decided to mindlessly sleep around as told in Uncanny X-Men #433. This led him to Germany, where he met Mystique, who was already married to a man named Christian Wagner. However, this didn’t stop her from cheating on her husband to get it on with Azazel. Despite getting pregnant with their child, Mystique had to raise it on her own because Azazel left soon after. Oh yeah, in Unlimited X-Men #4, she kills Christian because he suspects something was up.
6. STAR-LORD AND KITTY PRYDE
Kitty Pryde has never had it good when it came to relationships. There was that time in Ultimate Spider-Man #104 where Spider-Man cheats on her with Mary Jane. Unfortunately, it only gets worse from there as time goes on.
She ends up leaving the X-Men to join a team with Cyclops. This eventually leads them to work with the Guardians of the Galaxy, where she and Star Lord begin a relationship in Legendary Star Lord #1. While she remained on Earth, she ended up staying with the Guardians and Star Lord ended up proposing in Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men: Black Vortex Omega #1.
However, their happiness didn’t last long as Peter Quill abandoned the Guardians to become the ruler of Spartax. While Kitty stayed, he was so demanding that she left and took over his spot as the new Star Lord. After some back and forth, they never reunited.
5. SCARLET WITCH AND QUICKSILVER
One look at these names and you know something weird is about to happen. I should point out that this is not the result of an alternate timeline where they aren’t related. In the reality that I discuss, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are still brother and sister.
There were several times where their romantic relationship was teased, like the cover for Ultimates #8. However, it wasn’t until Ultimates 3 #1 where it was confirmed. Scarlet Witch walks out in a revealing outfit and Captain America tries to tell that they’re setting the example. At that moment, Quicksilver threatens to kill the Captain. It’s then that it’s revealed that they hold a strange romantic relationship, and Cap doesn’t handle it well. It’s Hawkeye who suggests that they do something about it.
4. LADY SHIVA AND DAVID CAIN
An assassin like David Cain wants to leave a legacy. After all, he was the one who trained Batman. However, it was never enough for him. He attempted to train children to be his successors, but nothing ever worked. It was then that he decided he needed his own child.
But he wouldn’t just woo any woman. He was going to get the perfect fighter so he could raise the perfect child. This led him to a woman named Sandra. After meeting her and her sister, David murdered Sandra’s sister and threatened to kill her unless she had his child. Once that occurred, David took the child and left, leaving Sandra to become the assassin known as Lady Shiva. It’s an interesting twist of fate then, that the child ended up becoming the new Batgirl.
3. BLACK PANTHER AND STORM
It’s very seldom where we get a fairly normal relationship in comic books and that’s what Black Panther and Storm had for a long time. Heralding from the same country, they formed a bond from a young age. However, their heroics led them down different paths, but that didn’t stop them from getting married in Black Panther #18.
That said, they had their ups and downs, but nothing screwed up happened until Avengers VS X-Men #8. In it, Namor decides to wage war on Wakanda and destroy it. From then on, Black Panther cuts ties with the X-Men and even distances himself from his wife. After showing up to help out, he simply states that all X-Men are enemies of Wakanda and must leave the city. It was soon after that these two got a divorce. It was great while it lasted, I suppose.
2. DOCTOR DOOM AND SUSAN STORM
Marvel’s continuity had become so hated and convoluted that they knew they needed a new angle to readers back into their world. They decided to create the All-New, All-Different Marvel to shake things up. However, they needed a catalyst to start this all off.
Enter Doctor Doom finding the Infinity Gauntlet. He then decides to recreate reality in his own image, called Battleworld in Secret Wars #1-9. It’s there that he basically steals Reed Richards’s life. He is married to Sue Storm, and the two children are his as well. What makes this even crazier is the fact that he turned Galactus into a plaything for his newfound kids. It’s not until Reed gets a one on one fight with Doom that he can actually snap Sue out of this reality and remind her of her true life.
1. GREEN ARROW AND BLACK CANARY
Despite how much love the Green Arrow and Black Canary relationship gets from comic book fans, it’s not the most stable connection ever put into the DC Universe.
Among the many strange things that happened to the two of them, one of the big ones was that Oliver cheated on Dinah with Black Lightning’s niece in Green Arrow #28. As if that weren’t bad enough, there was a time when Oliver died and somehow got brought back to life, yet Canary discovered that it was just a clone. Yet the clone was more reasonable than the real Oliver and they got married, only for her to get attacked by him and kill him in Green Arrow/Black Canary Issue #1. And you thought Arrow treated the Laurel Lance character poorly.
Which relationship shocked you the most? Let us know in the comments!
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