As no less than the poet laureate of late 1980s pop songs, Paula Abdul (featuring the inimitable styles of Skat Kat), once sang, “And you know — it ain’t fiction, just a natural fact. We come together, cuz opposites attract.” Ms. Abdul and Mr. Kat’s words have clearly rung true for a number of superheroes over the years, as they have quite often found themselves attracted to the literal opposite of themselves. That is to say, there are those heroes who have fallen for their arch-nemeses, the supervillains who are their mortal enemies… except for when they’re also their significant others!
The term “arch-enemy” is a bit of a stretch in some of these cases — as is the term “dated,” if we’re being honest — but at the very least, these are criminals who have fought these superheroes a number of times, enough so that it was quite a shock to see them turn their passions from fighting each other to, well, loving each other… or at least expressing that love for each other in very specific ways. In some of these examples, their attraction was purely physical, in others, it went much, much deeper than that.
This is really the alpha and the omega of this category. Catwoman debuted in the first issue of Batman’s solo series (although she was just a jewel thief known as “The Cat” at the time) and right off the bat (pun intended), Batman let her get away because he was so attracted to her! This was, of course, after Batman first met her by telling her to be quiet or he’ll spank her (he also referred to himself as “papa” in this scenario)!
The early issues are pretty hilarious, watching Robin get more and more angry at how Batman keeps abandoning his duty because he’s too turned on by Catwoman. Catwoman ultimately would reform a few times due to her love for Batman, but she always seems to slip back into (petty) villainy. Most recently, Tom King had Batman propose marriage to Catwoman, which marks a new dynamic in their decades-long relationship.
14. IRON MAN/MADAME MASQUE
Whitney Frost was born Giulietta Nefaria, daughter of Count Nefaria. He gave her up as a child and let her be raised by a rich and respected man. When she became an adult, Nefaria changed his mind and offered to make her the heir to his crime empire. She ended up taking him up on his offer, and quickly came into conflict with Iron Man. When she escaped, she got into an accident and got horrible facial scars.
Now wearing a mask and going by the name Madame Masque, she falls in love with Tony Stark, who offers to help her escape from her world of crime. She then uses a mask to go undercover as Stark’s new secretary — they discover each other’s secret identities and fall in love. However, it never works out because she keeps going back to villainy.
For decades, the whole deal with the Enchantress was that she tried to use her considerable feminine wiles to seduce Thor, typically as part of some evil plot that Loki was putting together. Once, Loki worked out a spell involving her younger sister, Lorelei, which got Thor to fall in love with her, which irritated Enchantress to no end.
Surprisingly enough, though, during a period where the World Tree was being poisoned into thinking that Ragnarok had actually already occurred, Thor was feeling mortal and he was at odds with his father (who had disowned him), so he was struggling so much that he ended up actively pursuing a relationship with someone who made him feel normal again, which was the Enchantress. Then Ragnarok did occur and they apparently broke up.
For years, Wolverine had a strange arrangement with a woman in Madripoor named Seraph. The diminutive woman was a major player in the Madripoor crime scene and Wolverine was obsessed with her, even while she kept hoping that he would improve himself; at least, that’s what he said. We would later learn that she was being manipulated all along by the mysterious Romulus to steer Wolverine in a certain direction. Sabretooth ended up killing her, but before she died, she asked Wolverine to give her protege, Viper, any one favor she chose.
Eventually, Viper came to call in that favor — she wanted Wolverine to marry her! It was all about helping her install herself as the new head crime boss in Madripoor, but Wolverine had to really be married to her, if you know what we mean (and we think you do). Eventually, she granted him a divorce.
11. GREEN LANTERN/STAR SAPPHIRE
Even in the world of comic books, the Star Sapphires are odd ducks. The Zamarons were obsessed with proving the superiority of women and also finding a new queen. They decide that Carol Ferris is that new queen. They use a star sapphire to possess her and make her powerful enough that she defeat Green Lantern. Why would she need to do that, you ask? The Zamarons could tell she loved Green Lantern, so that tainted her in their eyes.
Thus, they wanted her to prove her superiority by defeating Green Lantern. If she couldn’t, then she wouldn’t be queen, if she could, well, she’d have to move on from him because she defeated him, right? Of course, this being a Silver Age comic book, the man won. However, Carol would routinely be possessed by the Star Sapphire over the years and become one of Green Lantern’s most notable rogues, as well as his long-lasting on again/off again ladyfriend.
The basic concept behind Witchblade and The Darkness is that both of those two things — the Witchblade and the Darkness — must be assigned to people, similarly to how, say, Green Lantern rings are assigned to members of the Green Lantern Corps. The bearers of the Witchblade and the Darkness are supposed to be opposites of each other. However, in the case of Sara Pezzini and Jackie Estacado, they sometimes look beyond those limitations.
Oddly enough, the first time the two got together, it was when they were both unconscious, as part of a plot to create a powerful being, their child, Hope Pezzini. Once they had a kid together, though, Jackie and Sara began to have a flirtatious relationship, even though they don’t end up together. As a sign of respect to Sara, Jackie made sure to remove all Mafia presence from New York City, where Sara was a cop.
9. DAREDEVIL/TYPHOID MARY
One of the most twisted things about Typhoid Mary is that the whole reason she works is because Matt Murdock does have the character flaw that Mary exploits. That is to say that, he is constantly looking for the next person to save, but in doing so, he sometimes looks past the person themselves and just begins to see them as someone to be saved. With this in mind, it is so easy to see how Mary could use her split personalities to her advantage.
She simply used her innocent Mary Walker identity to lure in Matt Murdock, who couldn’t turn down helping such an innocent young woman (a volunteer helping blind children), despite the fact that he was in a relationship with Karen Page at the time! Typhoid Mary then used the opportunity to attack Matt in his Daredevil form! It was all quite disturbing.
8. SPIDER-MAN/BLACK CAT
This is an odd one, because Black Cat was never really much of an arch-nemesis for Spider-Man early on. She committed some crimes, sure, but she was pretty low on the villainy scale by the time that they ended up in a relationship together for a few years (they ultimately broke up because Black Cat was really only interested in Spider-Man. Peter Parker bored her).
Years later, though, while possessed by Otto Octavius (who was continuing to be a hero, just in his own twisted “Superior” fashion), Spider-Man brutally captured her and sent her to jail, where her life was ruined. When she was released, she was now a full on villain and has become one of the biggest crime bosses in New York City. She’s now more of a nemesis than she ever was before they got together!
Wolverine and Mystique have had a physical relationship in the past, but it appears as though it was only ever during those rare periods where Mystique wasn’t being a bad guy, so we decided to instead focus on the time that Mystique infiltrated the X-Men as part of an insidious plot against the X-Men while working with Mister Sinister and the Marauders.
Part of her plan was to act like she had reformed, but also she had to get close to Iceman, who was still closeted at the time (if Bobby Drake didn’t have ice powers, his greatest power would be the power of repression). They began a relationship, but what Iceman did not know is that Mystique was slipping power dampening gel into her lipstick… and other parts of her body. So when her plan went into action, the team’s most powerful member was shut down.
When he was trying to figure out what to do with his life, Roy Harper ended up working for the United States Government, specifically the Drug Enforcement Agency. On one of his assignments, he was sent in undercover to get close to Cheshire, an assassin that the Teen Titans had tangled with a few years earlier.
The two ended up falling in love and Roy couldn’t turn her in. She later turned out to be pregnant! She gave birth to their daughter, Lian, who she let Roy raise (figuring a superhero would be better to take care of a kid than an assassin). Over the years, their relationship went through peaks and valleys, as they fought against each other but also were still in love with each other. Tragically, their daughter was murdered by a supervillain (hey kids, comics!), but it oddly seemed to strengthen their bond.
We suppose it could be a stretch to say that Magneto was an arch-nemesis of the Avengers, but he did fight them on a number of occasions. Really, when you think about it, all of the heroes and villains brought together in Secret Wars would technically qualify as being each other’s arch-rival, since they were specifically set against each other for the amusement of the Beyonder.
Anyhow, Wasp ended up lost during one of the superhero/supervillain battles and ended up at Magneto’s hideaway (he initially chose to stay neutral in the combat). The two spent the night together, but Wasp eventually revealed that she was just spying on him to see what he was up to and when the X-Men showed up to team up with Magneto, she blasted them and escaped.
4. ZORRO/LADY RAWHIDE
When it comes to strange reasons why people became arch-nemeses, there were few stranger than the reasoning Lady Rawhide used when she became a hated foe of Zorro. Anita Santiago vowed vengeance against Zorro because the wretched Captain Monastario believed that her brother, Roman, was secretly Zorro. So he shot him in the face, scarring his face terribly. Anita blamed Zorro for this incident and became Lady Rawhide to hunt him down.
However, after trying to kill him a number of times (she was impressively well-matched with him in sword fighting), she realized that he was a good guy and that her mission for vengeance was a foolish one. She soon became a vigilante like Zorro, as well, and even teamed up with him on a few occasions (sometimes romantically). Her rather skimpy costume was designed to distract men. It did its job quite well.
3. GREEN LANTERN/THORN
Thorn was the villainous split personality of a young woman named Rose (this was years before DC created a heroic character with the same basic set-up). Thorn was one of the original Flash’s rogues during the Golden Age; interestingly, she never actually fought Green Lantern during the Golden Age. Roy Thomas, though, realized how perfect a villain who could control plant life would be for a hero whose weakness was wood!
Thomas retroactively had the two become foes, but at the same time, Thorn’s Rose persona fell hard for Green Lantern and she took on a new identity and seduced Alan Scott, and even ended up having two kids by him — the heroes Jade and Obsidian. Rose later killed herself to stop Thorn. Amusingly, Alan Scott then married another reformed villain, the Harlequin, who had only become a villain to get Green Lantern to notice her.
As Ant-Man, Scott Lang is one of those people who keeps trying to do the right thing, but he always manages to slide backwards into the wrong thing. For instance, he was getting his life together in Miami when the events of Secret Wars (the 2015 version) showed up and it looked like it was the end of the world. So, in the end, he cozied up with the villainous new Beetle.
But then the world didn’t end, so he found himself now caught up with a supervillain. When his daughter was sucked into a plot by one of his old villains, Lang teamed up with the Beetle and some other criminals for a very illegal take down of the bad guys that ultimately landed Scott in jail.
1. CAPTAIN ATOM/PLASTIQUE
Captain Atom does not exactly have much of a well-defined rogues gallery, and that was especially true back in the 1980s, when his series for DC Comics launched (he had been a Charlton character for decades but was now part of the DC Universe). Therefore, one of the more memorable villains that he had was actually a Firestorm villain. Plastique was a member of the Quebec separatist movement. She tried to kill the President of the United States and the Canadian Prime Minister but Captain Atom stopped her and arrested her.
While in prison, she began to serve the government in various capacities (like working with the Suicide Squad) and ultimately she fell in love with Captain Atom. The two even got married — theirs was the rare superhero wedding that did not even get depicted in the comics.
Which of these pairings would you like to see continue as a relationship? Let us know in the comments section!
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