In the same way that comic books reflect our day to day life, so too do they reflect our most basic desires. But sometimes their depiction in comic books can go too far. It’s to be expected, from a medium that handled social injustices by having average citizens dress up like circus strongmen and throw mobsters out of moving airplanes. Some of these moments, though, are over the top even for the far out and sensational world of comic book characters. Some of these moments seem designed to push the characters to a limit that will make even the readers turn up their noses.
There are plenty of romantic moments in comics, like Connor Kent and Cassie Sandsmark taking their relationship to the next level, or a battered and bruised Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown failing to find the right mood. Comic book relationships are part of the joy, and seeing these characters fall in love helps us feel connected to them on a human level. But for this list, we’ve compiled some of the intimate moments that gave you pause and made you wonder if these couples really were the best pairings for each other. Here are 15 intimate moments in comic books that went too far.
15 BATMAN AND BLACK CANARY PREFER IT WITH MASKS ON
It might be one of the most infamous Batman moments for all the wrong reasons. And in a book full of infamous Batman moments, that’s saying something. But the unconventional and absurd relationship between Batman and Black Canary ranks up there as one of All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder’s oddest decisions.
Dinah’s still the same capable fighter she is in the DC Universe, to the point that they show off her rising temper in a bar fight with literal firecrackers. But what took the cake was the first encounter between her and Batman, where the two violently foiled the hopes and dreams of a gang at the Gotham pier. Batman and Black Canary proceed to hook up on the pier, surrounded by a dozen broken bodies, as Batman notes they leave their masks on because it's better.
14 DON’T LOOK AT PETER’S FACE
Peter Parker was a web-swinging single for the first time in nearly 30 years when The Amazing Spider-Man was soft-rebooted during "Brand New Day." Before he settled into another relationship, Peter had a more casual affair with thief-turned-hero Black Cat, and it was one of the more bizarre and out of character things to take place in a Spider-Man book in a long while.
Spidey and Black Cat, having encountered each other for the first time in a long while, break into a hotel room for a fling. Where it gets weird is the revelation afterward that Peter insisted the lights stay off, and seems to only be concerned with whether or not she looked at his face. It makes sense from a story perspective, given Peter did just mind-whammy the world to forget his secret identity, but it makes for a pretty gross take on relationships.
13 THE ORIGINAL MID-AIR TRYST
The Dark Knight Strikes Again is a weird book, the definite black sheep of a trilogy already held defined by wildly varying levels of quality. Released 15 years after the character-redefining The Dark Knight Returns, Dark Knight Strikes Again opened much the way its predecessor closed, with Batman beating the crap out of Superman.
The miniseries’ second issue kicks off with Wonder Woman finding a battered Superman and trying to push him into bouncing back. Superman responds by tackling her into mid-air. The two proceed to soar through the sky, crashing through the ground and taking up into space in a mid-air lovemaking session that awkwardly ends with Wonder Woman declaring she’s pregnant again. This was the last straw for several fans who were already put off by Dark Knight Strikes Again’s strange tone compared to the 1986 classic.
12 A GAGGLE OF MANHATTANS
Watchmen has more than its share of intimated scenes, most of them ending terribly for somebody. But the most memorable one is probably the awkward encounter early on in the film between Silk Spectre and Doctor Manhattan. Though it’s established early on that their relationship is rocky, it doesn’t really sink in how much so until you come across this scene.
It comes across as just a normal, quiet, intimate moment between the two, with Doctor Manhattan’s hands-on Silk Spectre’s face. That is, until a third hand appears. And a fourth. And a fifth. It’s a bizarre moment that turns unsettling once you realize she wasn’t aware of what was going on, and then it just turns sad when you find out Manhattan isn’t even really paying attention, dividing his body to please his girlfriend while he continues to work on experiments.
11 HUSK’S MOTHER IS WATCHING!
The quality of X-Men comics were wildly hit or miss in the early 2000s, as the franchise attempted to reconcile its roots with the growing success of its film counterparts. The 2004 story "She Lies With Angels" was one such story which tried to create a buzz around characters for all the wrong reasons as it addressed the relationship between original member Angel and former Generation X member Husk.
After a long night discussing their relationship with Husk’s mother, Angel reveals he’s not upset by their age difference but by the prospect of Paige getting hurt in the field. Paige and Angel get into a hell of a fight over this but ultimately confess their feelings. Angel then takes them up into the sky, where they infamously hook up in the air, above the field where Paige’s mother and the rest of the X-Men are watching on.
10 SHADE’S FIRST TIME AS A WOMAN
With his own body dying, the alien poet Rac Shade took on the body of Naomi, a woman who had drowned in a lake. Filled with an inexplicable sense of grief, Shade soon found he was unable to change the body into his own and was trapped in the form of a woman. With Naomi’s form lingering, Shade resolved to find out why and in the process experienced life as a woman for the first time.
Shade had a hard time adapting, but still made the best of it and found himself on a date with Flynn, who had previously dated Naomi's twin sister. During Shade’s first intimate moments as a woman, the madness overtook them, causing Flynn’s body to shift and mutilate, an unsettling act which took a clear toll on the man.
9 CONSTANTINE FATHERS A DRAGON
The original Vertigo run of Hellblazer has plenty of wild and weird encounters. One such encounter in the story "The Fear Machine" is explicitly memorable. Released early in the series’ run, Constantine found himself on the run from police and encountered Marj and her daughter, Mercury. By story’s end, Constantine encountered his old ally, Zed, who had a plan to summon a dragon.
In order to do so, the dragon had to be birthed through a person. With Zed functioning as a sort of mid-wife and Marj carrying the dragon itself, Constantine was used to father the dragon. The end result was a tryst between the three, ending with Constantine watching on as Marj birthed an egg and the trio were washed away in oncoming waves.
8 PROMETHEA LEARNS FROM AN OLDER MAN
Alan Moore’s Promethea, an original character created as part of the America’s Best Comics brand, told the story of Sophie Bangs, who is embodied by a powerful being known as Promethea. Unsure of her abilities, Sophie turns to a magician, Jack Faust, who offers to teach her more about Promethea in exchange for a night in his bed.
Things take a turn when it’s first revealed that Faust is disguising his appearance and is, in fact, a much, much older man. But Sophie still agrees so that she may learn more about her form. The entirety of the issue showcases Promethea and Faustus making love as he discusses her history and abilities, providing valuable insight in an issue that many readers found to be a bit much.
7 NIGHTWING’S NON-CONSENSUAL ENCOUNTER
Things weren’t going well for Nightwing. The monstrous Blockbuster ruled Bludhaven with an iron fist, and he just couldn’t get one up on him. Dick kept fighting, but it was all uphill. And then, Dick’s flame Tarantula turned up with a gun. In a moment of weakness, Dick didn’t stop Tarantula from murdering Blockbuster.
Why was he unwilling to stop her? Dick, unsure himself, was thrown into despair and found himself on the rooftop, where Tarantula began to undress him. What followed was one of Nightwing’s most controversial moments, a non-consensual encounter which sent fans into a whirlwind for years. Even writer Devin Grayson, long coy about what actually happened, would eventually apologize for the way the moment was handled. This moment no longer exists in continuity following "Flashpoint" but remains a notable part of one of Nightwing’s biggest stories ever told.
6 SLADE WILSON IS GROSS
Terra joined the Teen Titans to betray them. The readers didn’t know that for a long while, but it was a huge reveal when she was outed as a traitor working alongside Deathstroke the Terminator. But there was more to the relationship than fans realized, and that’s where things got gross. It became quickly apparent through their mannerisms and how they acted around each other that the much older Deathstroke was having an affair with the fifteen-year-old Terra.
It was largely intentional, with George Perez noting scenes of her alone with Deathstroke, where she wore more make-up than usual and loose-fitting, revealing robes, were meant to throw readers off. After years of controversy, DC recently attempted to retcon the affair into Deathstroke trying to keep the unstable Terra from accidentally killing him, but it hasn’t changed the opinion of readers much.
5 THE PERKS OF PYM PARTICLES
The Ultimates was already racier than its core Marvel Universe counterparts. At the height of this may have been the relationship between Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. The relationship between the two was cranked up to 11, as highlighted by one of their featured intimate moments, where the two used their shape-changing powers for their own pleasure.
It was a shocking and graphic moment for what it was, in a book that made its name on shocking and graphic moments. It was also one of the few happy moments for the couple, with Hank proving to be considerably more violent and abusive than his 616 counterpart, to the point he nearly killed Janet. Hank and Janet would both ultimately die in the Ultimatum event, though the recently hinted at reborn Ultimate Universe did appear to feature a Giant Man who may have been Hank.
4 SUPERMAN’S HOME VIDEO DEBUT
Scott Free returns home to find Darkseid lounging in his recliner. Darkseid has a videotape. It’s his wife, Big Barda, doing what can best be described as a burlesque sewer dance. She’s held captive by Sleez, who has the ability to mind control his victims and makes his living peddling adult videos of unwilling superhero celebrities.
It gets worse when you realize Sleez has Superman under his control and is preparing to make Superman and Barda star in their first adult feature film. Fortunately, Mister Miracle manages to save the day, freeing both from Sleez’s control right before Sleez is killed in an explosion. The tape was never actually made, and it’s implied Superman may have been able to resist going through with it, but this remains an absurd footnote in Action Comics history.
3 SCOTT AND EMMA’S TELEPATHIC AFFAIR
Jean Grey and Scott Summers were (and to many, still are) the ideal pairing of the X-Men characters, but for a long while this wasn’t the case. When writer Grant Morrison took over the characters with New X-Men, he came up with the unusual pairing of Scott and the former evil White Queen, Emma Frost.
Emma and Scott quickly became an item, with Jean discovering the two having a psychic affair that included Emma dressing up as Jean in her Dark Phoenix days. The scandalous affair carried on for a spell and only got stronger when Jean died. Of course, it reached maximum weirdness when the two’s relationship fully blossomed thanks to the psychic nudging of the dead Jean, as Scott and Emma stood on her grave.
2 NORMAN OSBORN ROBS THE CRADLE
Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker sure seemed like the ideal couple. It seemed very much in the ‘60s and ‘70s like she and Peter were the ideal pair. Gwen’s death in the 1973 classic “The Death of Gwen Stacy” seemed like the end of an era for Peter, and in many ways it was. But even to this day, Peter finds himself in constant despair over Gwen and the loss of what could have been.
But the story "Sins Past" seemed determined to throw a wrench in that with the revelation that Gwen had at one point had an affair with Norman Osborn, a man literally old enough to be her father. The revelation was one that shocked fans of the series, and the panels where Peter imagined the affair have remained some of the most infamous in comics.
1 JESSICA JONES AND LUKE CAGE’S FIRST AFFAIR
Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have been one of Marvel’s most stable couples for years now, happily married and raising their daughter Danielle (or at least as stable a family as they can be). As Avengers and possibly a future Captain America, the Cage-Jones’ have come a long way from their first on-panel interactions in the pages of the MAX series, Alias.
Alias definitely earned the Max label in a way few other titles had. Jessica was a foul-mouthed, hard-drinking P.I., and Luke was working as a bartender. The two shared an intimate evening together, one notable for its uncomfortable and shocking tone. This interaction between Luke and Jessica set the tone not just for Alias, but for their relationship as a whole.