It’s no secret that there are changes from comic books to adaptations in films and television. From costumes to some character beats, things have to be shifted to make them better for mainstream audiences. Thus, you don’t see the on-screen Thor engaging in Shakespearean language or Tony Stark posing as his own bodyguard. This includes romances, as quite often, the movies or TV shows will engage in romances the comics haven’t. The Hulk and Black Widow is a great example as they’ve never been together in the comics but are in the movies. But they aren't the only ones!
To be frank, there are a few couples that comic book fans prefer to ignore. Some are terrible pairings that never should have been together in the first place. The characters are just too different to make it work and their pairing is just baffling. Other times, the relationship is far too complex or toxic to work and often becomes home to some bad stories. Other cases are couples who have just fallen through the cracks and been forgotten. Sure, a few villain relationships come to mind but it’s more notable when it’s a hero. For every terrific high-profile superhero couple, there’s a pair that fans much prefer to forget.
25 BLACK WIDOW AND WINTER SOLDIER
After being thought of as the one sure-fire death in comics, Bucky Barnes turned out to be alive and well in 2005. He had spent decades semi-frozen as the Winter Soldier, an expert assassin for the Soviet Union. Captain America was able to break that brainwashing so Bucky could be a good hero again. It turned out that during his time on missions, Bucky had been with Natasha Romanoff, a relationship each had forgotten thanks to the way the Soviets messed with their minds.
The two were soon a couple as Bucky briefly became Captain America; he and Natasha did a good job together on missions. However, Natasha was brainwashed again to be an assassin. While Bucky broke the conditioning, it came with a price: Natasha remembered everything about her life except for her relationship with Bucky. So it’s not only fans who ignore this relationship, but even the Widow herself.
24 ANGEL AND HUSK
Chuck Austen is a name X-Men fans despise. His run as writer on the book was filled with incredibly divisive stories, with the heroes acting totally out of character. One of the most infamous moments is when Angel got together with Husk, the sister of Cannonball. Husk’s power is to tear her skin off for a newer and tougher version. She and Angel start bonding when Husk starts being mentally affected by her powers.
This leads to the wild scene of the two flying in mid-air while making out and Husk starts tearing her skin off. Making it even crazier is Husk’s mother is right below watching the whole thing. Nothing sums up Austen’s run like this scene, so it is no wonder fans prefer to ignore it.
23 MAGNETO AND ROGUE
For some reason, writers love to imagine some sort of connection between Rogue and the X-Men’s greatest enemy. During a time when Rogue was powerless in the Savage Land, Magneto aided her and the implication was clear that they had been together. That connection pops up elsewhere, most notably in the “Age of Apocalypse” epic where the duo are married and even have a son.
Wider fandom was never super keen the pairing, considering the massive age difference, and the fact that it kept her apart from her one true love, Gambit. Thankfully, she is with Gambit now, but that doesn't erase the fact that this happened. Although, a lot of people do like to erase it from their mind.
22 HAVOK AND ANNIE
Here’s another controversial moment of Chuck Austen’s X-Men run. Havok had long been presented as the love of Polaris. When he was in a coma, Havok was tended to by Annie Ghazikhanian, a character Austen based on his own wife. She basically fell in love with Havok while he was comatose and they soon got together for real when he awakened.
This led to a wedding where Polaris went crazy and attacked them both. Many fans didn't love that, but that was not the only thing that got under their skin. Annie was presented as a near-saint, despite some anti-mutant prejudices. Thankfully, she was written out when Austen left the book and hasn’t been seen since. It just shows how much damage a single writer can do to a character.
21 CAPTAIN MARVEL AND STARGIRL
Most heroes are unaware of the fact that Captain Marvel is really teenager Billy Batson, who takes on an adult form whenever he speaks the word “Shazam!” Marvel was working with the JSA for a long time and he and the teenage member Stargirl got along well. When stuck in another dimension, Marvel’s powers faded and Courtney was thrown to find he was her age. They worked together to escape and shared a kiss. Thus, they began getting closer on missions.
The problem was, to the rest of the JSA, it looked like a guy in his 30s was hitting on a teenager and that came off quite badly. Rather than tell the truth, Billy ended the relationship and left the team. Eventually, the team did find out, but he and Courtney remained apart. It just goes to show how age differences take on a whole new meaning in comic books.
20 DONNA TROY AND TERRY LONG
It would take hours to explain Donna Troy’s complex backstory. The former Wonder Girl was shown to be in her 20s in the 1980s New Teen Titans series and even attended college. She soon fell in love with Terry Long, her professor and they were married in a lavish issue. However, fans were never really on board with the creepy bearded guy being the love of her life.
It got crazier when their son was shown to become the tyrant, Lord Chaos. Throw in Donna becoming a Darkstar and that apparently was enough for Terry to divorce her. Tragically, he and their son passed away, but obviously, they were resurrected and came back as Black Lanterns. The whole relationship was a huge misfire for an otherwise great book.
19 BLACK CANARY AND BATMAN
The first pairing of the duo came in the old Silver Age Justice League days. Batman and the Canary were often thrown together for missions, and they eventually shared a kiss. It didn’t go much further as Canary felt they were better off as friends and teammates.
In his infamous All-Star Batman and Robin, Frank Miller had Canary as an Irish barmaid and crime fighter. She and Batman hit it off during a fight, leading to a hookup right on the docks (complete with Batman thinking “we keep the masks on”). The entire series is a huge train wreck.
18 CYCLOPS AND MADELYNE PRYOR
When Scott Summers met Madelyne Pryor, he was struck by her uncanny resemblance to the (then deceased) Jean Grey. They were soon a couple and Scott quickly proposed. However, he was troubled by the idea that Madelyne was the Phoenix reborn. It turned out she wasn’t and they settled into a good life which included having son Nathan.
When Jean returned, Scott went to her and formed the team X-Factor. This sent Madelyne into a dark place that wasn’t helped by the discovery she was actually a clone of Jean. Taking on the Goblin Queen persona, Madelyne tried to destroy Cyclops before being beaten. She’s popped up a few times since as a reminder of a tough time in Scott’s life.
17 COLOSSUS AND NORTHSTAR
The appeal of the Ultimate line of comics was how they could take classic Marvel characters and present them in new ways. In this world, Colossus had been working for Russian gangsters when he was recruited for the X-Men and doing well. A big twist was the revelation that Peter was not straight, and rather open about it. This led to conflict with the deeply religious Nightcrawler but Peter was proud of who he was.
He was soon in a relationship with this world’s Northstar and the two were just adorable together. However, they got into some fights about a substance that Peter was taking to make him a better fighter. Northstar and he ended their relationship after that, and eventually, when the Ultimate universe ended, fans forgot about this relationship.
16 HUNTRESS AND NIGHTWING
The history between them is complex. On the old Earth-2, Huntress was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman who began a relationship with that world’s Dick Grayson. Both appeared to perish in Crisis on Infinite Earths. The new DCU had Huntress as the daughter of a mob boss fighting her father. They briefly had a hookup and although it did not turn into anything major, Grayson definitely still carried a torch for her.
The New 52 shifted things up again as Dick and Helena were agents for the spy agency Spyral and soon started something up. Even after both left, they kept their relationship up with Helena joining the Birds of Prey and Dick setting up shop in Bludhaven.
15 STAR-LORD AND SHADOWCAT
Kitty Pryde had been in a long relationship with Colossus but seemed to want something more. Through circumstances too complex to get into, she ended up joining the Guardians of the Galaxy. She and Peter Quill grew close, the two of them bonding through the fact that they were the only humans on the team. They managed to keep it up when Kitty returned to Earth and Peter even proposed to her.
However, when the Guardians are stuck on Earth, Peter gets in trouble for not telling the team that Thanos was held captive on the planet. He and Kitty have a talk that leads to them breaking up. The Guardians unite to head back to space and they end up leaving this relationship in the dust.
14 ELEKTRA AND THE PUNISHER
You would never think of the Punisher as a romantic. After all, his entire life is about nothing but his one-man war on crime and he pushes aside any personal entanglements. Elektra is a ninja-trained assassin and not one for romance herself. An issue of the 2000s Punisher series has her hunting Frank Castle down and then revealing she did it for fun. Frank’s response to that is to ask her out for dinner.
Later, the duo met again during their team up with the Thunderbolts and they soon began a relationship. They made it clear it was just about burning off energy, and said that there were no actual feelings at all. Still, the fact that two known sociopaths could find a bond is oddly romantic.
13 IRON FIST AND MISTY KNIGHT
Fans of the Netflix shows know how Misty Knight and Luke Cage have never hooked up, while Danny Rand and Colleen Wing have a good partnership going. However, the comics have it much differently. There, Danny was drawn to the cop Misty, who had a bionic arm after stopping an attack. Their relationship had ups and downs, but they are still holding it together.
Misty was heartbroken when it appeared Danny had passed away and it took a while for her to get over that. Right now, they have an on and off fling going but still do well together, especially in a fight. The shows play it much differently so it’s easier for some fans to forget the long relationship these two have had.
12 HUMAN TORCH AND ALICIA MASTERS/LYJA
For a long time, Alicia Masters was presented as the girlfriend of the Thing. Ben Grimm was troubled at how she only loved him because she was blind but they remained a couple. When Ben took a long break from the FF, Alicia and Johnny Storm grew close and before long, were married. That seriously surprised fans, considering she had been so in love with Ben.
However, it turned out “Alicia” was really Lyja, a Skrull who had been impersonating Alicia for years. The real Alicia returned to be with Ben while Lyja and Johnny had a major on/off relationship for some time. One possible future showed them married but in the mainstream MU, they’re split to avoid a period that gives a lot of fans a headache.
11 HAL JORDAN AND ARISIA
Every now and then DC could give fans a relationship that was rather… troubling. Hal Jordan was the most notable member of the Green Lantern Corps who soon began working to train rookie Lanterns with their rings. Among them was Arisia, a young Lantern who quite obviously had a crush on Hal. He tried to brush it off but she kept at it and soon won him over to a relationship. When he protested she was a teenager, Arisia pointed out that in Earth years, she was in her 20s.
However, she was still drawn like a teenager and so used her ring to make herself look older. That just made the whole thing even creepier. It was hardly a grand romance. They eventually broke up and Arisia moved on, which fans were very happy about.
10 HERCULES AND WOLVERINE
Some might be doing a double-take on this one. Hercules was the classic god of myth pushed as a great ladies man while Wolverine is known for being with a lot of women. In 2013’s Extreme X-Men, the team was formed by X-Men from various alternate realities. One of these was a world where Canada was an empire and James Howlett was a top agent. He and Hercules were in a relationship but kept it secret for a while.
When it was finally revealed, Zeus was upset (not because his son was with a man but with any mortal at all) and sent them to Tartarus. Wolverine was saved by a mysterious figure to join this team of mutants on a mission across realities. When it was over, he returned to his own world, but kept the love alive in his heart.
9 BLACK WIDOW AND IRON MAN
The Ultimate universe at Marvel had characters acting a lot differently than the mainstream ones. This world’s Tony Stark is even more of an arrogant playboy who loves to flaunt his rich lifestyle. He was soon in a relationship with this world’s Black Widow, who was still a deadly agent.
It got to the point where he gave Natasha her own suit of armor and proposed to her. But it ended in a very ugly way. It turned out Natasha was working for a team of enemies out to take the Ultimates down. As it happened, the paranoid Tony was ready for this and used nanites to defeat her. Tony bounced back fast, and so did the fans, who put this relationship far away from their minds.
8 SHRINKING VIOLET AND LIGHTNING LASS
One would hope that by the 30th century, a lot of today’s bigotries would be a thing of the past. So it made sense for DC to show the Legion of Super-Heroes in relationships that fans might not have been used to. Shrinking Violet had the power to shrink in size. While never openly stated, it was more than broadly hinted that she was in a relationship with Lightning Lass, sister of Legion founder Lightning Lad.
Thanks to the various “reboots” the relationship was ignored for a time. However, recent Legion stories have restored it with the two open about it and the rest of the team just accepting it. The Legion may not be as mainstream as other super-teams, but hey, at least they were progressive.
7 HAWKEYE AND SPIDER-WOMAN
Clint Barton has had an intriguing romantic past with conquests including Black Widow, Mockingbird and others. In the early 2010s, having split from Bobbi Morse, Clint began a relationship with fellow Avenger, Spider-Woman.
Jessica Drew was just coming off having been impersonated by a Skrull and was open to someone helping her out. It was a surprising relationship but it led to fun banter between the duo. They split up quickly, figuring they just didn’t have much in common. Still, it was a fun addition to Hawkeye's romantic past.
6 MEDUSA AND THE HUMAN TORCH
Yep, it’s Johnny Storm again. One of Johnny’s early loves was Crystal, the element-controlling member of the Inhuman royal family. They were a couple for a while, and they even included Crystal briefly in the FF herself. So it was quite the eye-opener when a 2016 Inhumans series had Johnny suddenly paired up with Crystal’s sister, Medusa. The hair-controlling Queen was separated from Black Bolt at the time and she and Johnny just clicked.
Of course, Crystal didn’t take it very well when she found out, which caused major friction. When Black Bolt returned, Johnny realized he wasn’t going to fit in very well and left the Inhumans. It is just a reminder as to why you never date sisters, let alone those with super-powers.
5 SPIDER-MAN AND MOCKINGBIRD
Peter Parker is no stranger to some offbeat girlfriends (see the Black Cat). Still, it was surprising in 2017 when he and Mockingbird began a relationship. The two had barely been shown as knowing each other outside of the occasional Avengers team-up and only worked together on a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. missions. Suddenly, they were shown as a couple. Mockingbird was even following Peter around on his missions, doing her best to help him out.
It ended up not lasting very long. While not mentioning Peter’s true identity, Bobbi made it clear to Aunt May that she and Peter had realized that outside of their “jobs,” they really had nothing in common to build a lasting relationship on. Thus, it was only a brief fling.
4 SPEEDY AND CHESHIRE
No one is quite sure of how this troubling relationship started or how it’s gained steam. Roy Harper had been Green Arrow’s sidekick, who later became a secret agent. During an assignment, he ended up in a relationship with Cheshire, a twisted mercenary. Later, Roy was rocked to find out that Cheshire had his daughter, Lian.
They would often clash with Cheshire still a dark killer but seeming to love Roy all the same. It reached a breaking point when Lian was taken out in an attack which sent both to a very dark place. The New 52 wiped that relationship away but it still remains a standard for a truly dysfunctional couple.
3 SHE-HULK AND JUGGERNAUT
This actually launched a funny arc in comics. During his tenure on X-Men, Chuck Austen tried to redeem the Juggernaut into a more heroic figure. Part of that involved Jennifer Walters popping up to defend Cain Marko on some old charges. One thing led to another and they were soon together. It was truly an arc that confused fans, seeing these random characters get together, but it was, at least, funny.
During his later run on She-Hulk, Dan Slott turned this into a great running gag. Anytime someone brought it up, Jen would automatically snap “I never slept with the Juggernaut!” The payoff came in Slott’s final issue as it turned out it that it was a She-Hulk from an alternate universe that had been with the Juggernaut.
2 CYCLOPS AND EMMA FROST
For a couple that lasted a long while, some fans would prefer to totally ignore this relationship. The White Queen may have been semi-reformed but she was still an arrogant lady who loved to play games. She had been putting the moves on Cyclops for a while, which naturally angered Jean Grey. When Jean passed, Scott and Emma were soon a regular couple, but the X-Men were not happy about it.
Once this relationship got started, both characters began to go downhill. Cyclops decided it would be a good idea to take on the Phoenix Force, and ended up attacking the Inhumans to protect mutants. By the time he passed, she ended up becoming a villain, which we all saw coming.
1 HAWKEYE AND THE WASP
Here’s another “hit” from the much hated Chuck Austen. For a brief period, he took on the Avengers and naturally soon had fans going nuts with his out of character moments. Among them was having Hawkeye and the Wasp hook up. It was out of left field as the two had long been presented as simply friends with nothing else between them. Suddenly, they were going at it, and even Captain America was concerned about it.
Before it had a chance to go on much longer, Austen was taken off the book, effectively ending the relationship. This soon led to the “Avengers Disassembled” arc where Clint appeared to be written off. He would return, but by that time, fans completely ignored what had happened.