The expansive Marvel Universe is filled with gods, superheroes, and cosmic entities, but the driving force behind it is without a doubt the power of love. It is at the core of any good comic book story and drives any hero worth rooting for. From Jean Grey and Wolverine to Iron Man and Pepper Potts, Marvel couples have become ingrained in our popular culture. Even those who are not avid comic book readers are sure to be able to name one or two historic Marvel Comics couples. For almost 80 years, Marvel Comics’ has provided it readers with relatable characters, stories, and experiences. However, it is their characters’ relationships that often make their narratives really shine. Since the Fantastic Four’s Sue and Reed Richards first raised the bar for superhero relationships in 1961, Marvel couples have broken barriers by taking on everything from edgy romances to doomed relationships and absolute heartbreak.
The advent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has seen to it that the most famous comic book couples are more accessible than ever before. They bring these couples to life in new ways, and even take a few artistic liberties along the way. That said, the true depths, beauty, and ugliness of these superhero relationships can only be found in the pages of the comics themselves. Whether you are looking to be inspired by love or you just want to get the lowdown on your favorite superhero’s romantic drama, this ranking of historic Marvel Comics couples will not only pique your interest, but remind you that anything is possible when romance is involved.
20 NORTHSTAR AND KYLE JINADU
Northstar may not be the most well-known member of Marvel’s X-Men universe, but he made waves in 2012 when he married his non-mutant boyfriend, Kyle Jinadu. In Astonishing X-Men #51, their wedding secured their place in Marvel history as the first major comic book depiction of a gay marriage. Kyle appeared in Uncanny as the manager of Northstar’s brand, Team Northstar Extreme Snowsports. They began dating and Northstar proposed to Kyle after he and the X-Men saved him from the Marauders.
They struggled through a long-distance relationship and complications inherent to a human-superhero relationship. Despite the odds, they made it work through love and compromise. Northstar and Kyle are the modern Marvel couple and they prove that superheroes can find and keep healthy relationships.
19 THE HULK AND BETTY ROSS
The Hulk isn’t known for his romances, but that isn’t for lack of trying. Bruce Banner has been married three times, but Betty Ross was Banner’s love interest from the start. Her reactions to the Hulk emphasized Banner’s struggle with being Hulkified and she became a representation of the normal life he wanted. Superheroes are rarely allowed a normal life, and that goes double for these two.
Over time, they’ve had other lovers and circumstances have separated them for long durations, but neither can let go of their love for the other. Betty eventually turned into the Red She-Hulk, changing her character and emphasizing her differences from Banner. Although they’re currently not together, fans wouldn't be surprised if they’re pulled into each other’s lives again.
18 BLACK BOLT AND MEDUSA
Though Marvel’s Inhumans television series died, the same can’t be said for Black Bolt and Medusa’s love. They debuted in Fantastic Four #36 as members of the Inhuman royal family. When they were young, Medusa visited Black Bolt, heir to the throne, kept in isolation due to his ability to destroy things with his voice. They fell in love and, after his release, they married in Fantastic Four Annual #18.
After becoming king and queen, Black Bolt and Medusa’s relationship was repeatedly tested. From contending with Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus, for Medusa’s love and the throne, to bearing a child on Earth to escape the Genetic Council, they’ve overcome a lot. However, no couple is perfect; just ask Medusa about Black Bolt’s many other wives.
17 THOR AND JANE FOSTER
The romance between the God of Thunder and Jane Foster dates back to the '60s and is a staple in today’s comic book lore. No matter how you feel about their MCU portrayals, or how Jane vanished from the franchise, it’s safe to say that in the comics, they set the bar for out of this world romances.
It’s not Thor and Jane’s everlasting devotion that stands out, but the respect they’ve maintained despite distance and other lovers. When Thor became unworthy of Mjolnir, a cancer-stricken Jane replaced him. As the human saved the gods, the power worsened her cancer and when her reign as Thor ended, Jane died in Odinson’s arms. While Thor and Jane’s future together is unknown, they’ve got our support.
16 KITTY PRYDE AND STAR-LORD
It is hard to picture Kitty with anyone other than Colossus, but she almost became Mrs. Star-Lord. She met Peter Quill when the Shi'ar put young Jean Grey on trial and they began dating (really) long-distance. Star-Lord was so smitten, he turned down becoming emperor of Spartax to focus on Kitty. After another adventure with her and the X-Men in The Black Vortex Omega, Peter popped the question and Kitty accepted.
Despite Kitty being tethered to Earth and Peter roaming the galaxy, they shared good times and a love that highlighted their most human elements. Unfortunately Peter and Kitty broke off their engagement in the wake of “Civil War II.” While they didn’t quit make it, Kitty and Peter’s connection felt real and relatable.
15 THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AND MR. FANTASTIC
When it comes Marvel romances, Sue Storm and Reed Richards lead the way. The Fantastic Four always had a strong familial tone, with Sue and Reed demonstrating what true love looks like. Even after gaining superpowers, they always made it work. That said, experiencing turbulence has been par for the course for them. Sometimes it feels like Reed is married to science, and the Sue’s attraction to other men is pretty visible. On occasion, like during “Civil War," they clash ideologically.
Sue and Reed have shared some less than fantastic moments, but their romance has survived unparalleled for decades. They may not be the most scandalous couple, but they offer the Marvel universe’s romantically inclined inhabitants the possibility of true happiness.
14 HAWKEYE AND MOCKINGBIRD
Most people know about Hawkeye and Mockingbird, but few know they were a couple. They first shared the spotlight in the 1983 Hawkeye series where they teamed up against Crossfire. By the series’ end, they eloped and became Marvel’s newest headlining couple. These birds of a feather went on to assemble the West Coast Avengers.
Clint and Bobbi worked together as recently as 2010’s Hawkeye & Mockingbird series. It was one of many events that challenged them and demonstrated how even the most complimentary couples can grow apart. They discovered they had changed and their romance had dissipated. Like so many in their line of work are forced to do, they ended their relationship. On occasion they still collaborate, even taking down Crossfire again in Widowmaker.
13 WOLVERINE AND MARIKO YASHIDA
Logan’s romance with Mariko Yashida, the daughter of a yakuza boss, is iconic. Although she was initially frightened of Wolverine, they soon became lovers. Of course, no Marvel romance is that easy. Mariko felt honor-bound to marry a yakuza boss for her father, refusing Wolverine’s help to escape. When her father and husband were killed, she and Logan finally got together.
Logan’s love for Mariko highlights the honor he wants to live by. Being a hotheaded killing machine can lead him astray, but Mariko was his guiding light. His respect for her was such that when she was dying, he gave her a quick death at her request. Every year on the anniversary of her death he cuts off a body part from her murder.
12 HULKLING AND WICCAN
Northstar and Kyle may have been Marvel’s premier gay couple, but Young Avengers members Wiccan and Hulkling are the most well-known. The teen couple shares a romance that feels unbreakable, even when it is being tested. When you factor in that, beyond being gay, Wiccan has magic powers and Hulkling is an alien, you know that their love is going to have to prove itself time and again.
The two have faced some interesting trials, both relatable and fantastical. Loki once led Hulkling to believe he wasn’t real, but subconsciously constructed by Wiccan’s reality warping powers. Fellow Avenger Prodigy kissed Hulking once, creating a little drama. Despite it all, though, these two continue to defy the odds and inspire us.
11 DAREDEVIL AND ELEKTRA
Elektra is a somewhat complicated character to get behind. On the one hand, she’s a total warrior and she and Daredevil share one of the most passionate connections in Marvel. On the other hand, she’s a vengeful psychopath who represents everything Daredevil fights against.
At first, Elektra was the bad-girl love interest for young Matt Murdock. Despite knowing she was bad news, the otherwise moralistic lawyer was still drawn to her. After her father’s death, Elektra became an assassin. She and Matt met again on opposing sides, though the attraction was still there. When Bullseye killed Elektra, it was Daredevil’s attempt to resuscitate her that purified the darkness of her soul. Although she was resurrected, she and Daredevil seem always out of each other’s reach.
10 STORM AND BLACK PANTHER
In 2006 Marvel paired their two most famous black superheroes in a whirlwind romance. T’Challa, the Black Panther, proposed to Storm, leader of the X-Men. The wedding was big enough to pause the Avengers’ Civil War. These fan favorites shared an intimate relationship, but didn’t last. Black Panther annulled their marriage because he felt betrayed by Storm for siding with the X-Men during the fight between the X-Men and Avengers, which destroyed Wakanda.
Ororo and T’Challa’s romance was short-lived, but striking in its innocence. It tells the story of two people who kept a cherished childhood memory alive through all their hardships and loneliness. Try as they might to live within that memory of each other, there was no escaping the reality of their adulthood.
9 VISION AND SCARLET WITCH
Vision and Scarlet Witch have shared a romance for decades and even got married in 1974. The unlikely pairing of the witch and the android saw the two find in each other the strength they needed to face the world in spite of being different. Yet their romance was more complex.
Vision and Wanda suffered tragedy and heartache. Vision was dismantled and rebuilt with no capacity for emotion. They annulled their marriage and parted ways. They magically conceived twins who were not real, but shards of Mephisto’s soul. Repeatedly facing extreme circumstances, it’s a wonder they shared any romance. While it may be awhile, if ever, before they get together again, the love they once shared will never be forgotten.
8 WOLVERINE AND JEAN GREY
Wolverine and Jean share the most famous coupling that never was. More than friends but less than lovers, they’ve been in a love triangle with Cyclops since Logan appeared in Giant-Size X-Men. Though never officially together, the two have shared pivotal moments and a few kisses. Logan kills Jean in outer space to spare her from the agony of suffocating and, a few issues later, was with her when she died in New X-Men.
Their forbidden romance is legendary and is factored into every iteration of the X-Men featuring the two of them, from cartoon to film. Anyone who hadn’t read the comics would think Logan and Jean were meant to be together all along. It speaks volumes about the relationship they continue to share.
7 ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
The original nano-sized superheroes, Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne, appeared together in 1963’s Tales to Astonish. Janet, a founding Avengers member, approached Hank to help avenge her father’s death. As Ant-Man and the Wasp, they defeat the killers. In the process, Janet falls for Hanks, who eventually returns the feeling.
Though Hank and Janet seemed to make an idyllic couple, they had a tumultuous relationship. They got married, but later divorced after an incident. In Avengers #212-214, Hank was suspended from the team for this. The two got back together, but for readers, the damage was done. Hank and Janet famously became part of Marvel’s elite group of couples, demonstrating the love and heartbreak that come with it.
6 IRON MAN AND PEPPER POTS
The premier MCU couple, Tony Stark and Pepper Pots were also one of the original Marvel romances. Pepper appeared at Stark Industries and found herself in a love triangle involving Stark and Happy Hogan, who she marries. Tony felt being Iron Man made love impossible, but he fell for Pepper. She since learned his identity and Tony gave her a remote capable of shutting him down. Their interoffice romance turned into a whirlwind relationship.
Since getting together, Tony and Pepper have faced a steady stream of challenges. Like many, they have experienced a breakups and reconciliations. Yet, even when they weren’t romantically entangled, they stood together. Though they’ve had other loves, particularly Tony, the romance between Pepper and Tony has secured itself in Marvel lore.
5 DEADPOOL AND COPYCAT
Think you don’t know who Copycat is? Think again. She was Wade’s love interest, Vanessa, in Deadpool and Deadpool 2 (we hope you saw both). She and Wade are by far the most passionate MCU. From engagement to death, they have shared a lot. However, Vanessa hasn’t reached her full potential on screen. In the comics, Copycat is a mutant shapeshifter and mercenary after Wade’s head and, occasionally, his heart.
In the comics, Vanessa goes head-to-head with Deadpool and is as deadly as he is, making them a good match. It feels unlikely this version of Vanessa will appear in upcoming Deadpool films, but perhaps the more loving Vanessa will display some mutant abilities, allowing her and Wade to fully share in the same world.
4 KITTY PRYDE AND COLOSSUS
Kitty and Colossus have been a fan favorite couple since the '80s. They’ve shared an on-again-off-again relationship that, compared to most Marvel couples, is fairly drama-free. Still, even Kitty and Colossus are not immune to the chaos inherent to superhero comics. For a time Colossus was thought dead and Kitty was engaged to Star-Lord. Still, they always end up back in each other’s arms.
Some may lament the low-key nature of Peter and Kitty’s relationship, but it is refreshing in a universe were romances so often go awry. Realizing what most fans already knew, they got engaged. Unfortunately Kitty wasn’t ready to commit and left Peter at the altar. Despite this recent hiccup, though, we have faith they’ll find a way to make it work.
3 SPIDER-MAN AND MARY JANE WATSON
Peter and MJ are Marvel’s iconic teen couple, and for good reason. Mary Jane was mentioned in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man #15, but she and Peter didn’t meet until issue #42. The two embarked on a journey full of romantic entanglements, at times including Harry Osborn. Peter and MJ eventually married, though that hardly made their relationship less complicated.
Peter and MJ have faced intense challenges fueled by crazy plots. From time travel and cancer to moving to Portland and MJ giving birth to a stillborn, the Watson-Parker family has endured enough to make anyone snap. To make matters more or less complicated, their marriage was erased from reality in 2007's “One More Day” story. Will they get together again? History says yes.
2 GAMBIT AND ROGUE
When it comes to slow burn romance and tension you can cut with a knife, few compare with the newly married Rogue and Gambit. He’s a confident flirt and she’s a feisty beauty with a power that’ll suck your life force. They’re both accustomed to hardship and it’s understandable they have trust issues, but they always gravitate to one another and stick together.
Gambit understands Rogue’s fear of hurting him with her power, but it’s not her touch he fell in love with. Rogue is one of the few that sees who Gambit really is and her acceptance has helped him move forward. Although they are more likely to exchange witty sarcasms than declarations of love, there’s no denying the sweet chemistry between them.
1 JEAN GREY AND CYCLOPS
Jean and Cyclops’ romance is one for the ages. It lies at the heart of the X-Men mythology and they outshine all other Marvel couples. It took time for them to admit their feelings as teens, but once they did, all bets were off. From the “Phoenix Saga” to “Battle of the Atom,” Jean and Scott were a force behind many memorable X-Men stories.
These two mutants exemplify the most beautiful and painful aspects of love. When Jean became the Phoenix, Scott struggled with her power. His psychic affair with Emma Frost further tested them. Yet Cyclops and Jean have made it work for decades. At the moment Scott is dead and Jean has been reborn, but we suspect their relationship is not finished.