ComicsAlliance ran a poll over Valentine’s Day for people to vote whether various couples in comics were in “true love” or if it was just a “bad romance.” So here’s who I voted for and why (I didn’t vote for all the options because I didn’t think I knew enough about them to make an informed decision):
1) Superman & Lois Lane – True Love. Why? Well, I know that the relationship hasn’t always been very good, especially back in the days when Lois and Lana Lang were trying to win over the Man of Steel in embarrassing and manipulative ways. He also had moments of super-dickery. But at the crux of the relationship is a meeting of equals. Lois, despite her fragile human nature, is tough and fearless, and Clark, despite all his power, is gentle and sensitive. They complement each other very well.
2) Big Barda and Mr. Miracle – True Love. Chris Sims says it best, but their relationship is one of hardship, sacrifice, and strength. Also, they had the advantage of writers not jerking them around too much for the sake of cheap drama (the Superman/Barda porno comics aside).
3) Gambit and Rogue – Bad Romance. Bad, bad romance. Rogue is fine, if troubled due to her powers, but Gambit’s a terrible person. He’s a thief, a liar, a former Marauder, and that’s just the tip of the bad boy iceberg. I find very little redeeming about Gambit and I think Rogue deserves a relationship with someone who isn’t more broken than she is.
4) Batwoman and Maggie Sawyer – True Love. It should have worked. It was working. But then DC said, “marriage is boring!” and called the whole thing off. If any member of the bat-family could have made a relationship work, it was Kate.
5) Reed Richards and Sue Storm – True Love. Back when I read “Fantastic Four” regularly, there was a story line in which an old colleague of Reed’s called on him to help her out. She was a very intelligent woman with a few degrees in science and engineering fields. It was obvious before she said anything that she was totally crushing on Reed, even though they were both married. She eventually confessed to Reed she felt she had married someone of inferior intelligence and told him that she should really have married him. Reed’s response? “But I love Sue.” She simply did not understand how Reed, one of the smartest people on the planet, could possibly love Sue, a woman of average intelligence. Reed didn’t explain; he just reiterated that he loved Sue.
6) Harley Quinn and the Joker – Bad Romance! Do I even have to explain why? It’s an abusive relationship and the Joker cares more about how he can use Harley than her feelings.
7) Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy – Bad Romance. Why this relationship is less abusive is because Ivy is more concerned with convincing Harley that the Joker is bad for her (and perhaps, by extension, that men are bad for her) than she actually is with Harley. Again, Harley’s in a relationship with someone who wants power over her.
8) Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers – Bad Romance. While Scott Pilgrim vs The World is one of my favorite movies, I feel this relationship is just another iteration of “beauty and the geek” and I think both characters have a bit of growing up to do.
9) Black Canary and Green Arrow – True Love. If Ollie can abstain from being a jerk, that is. I can’t blame him; I blame writers who sacrifice the drama of a functional relationship (like Big Barda and Mr. Miracle) for the cheap drama of a broken one, and goodness knows that like Superman and Lois Lane, these two have suffered for that.
10) Vision and Scarlet Witch – True Love. Although to be fair off to a really rocky start. The Scarlet Witch was actually crushing on Wonder Man, but he rejected her. Vision was created using Wonder Man’s brain patterns, and Wonder Man was dead at the time, so the Scarlet Witch started crushing on him. But it was working until Vision got destroyed and lost his emotions and the Scarlet Witch started going crazy and screwing with reality.
11) Rictor and Shatterstar – Bad Romance. I was reading X-Factor at the time these two started getting together. Rictor was going through a really bad patch in which he had lost and eventually regained his powers. While I think Shatterstar is fine, I think Rictor’s still too messed up to know what he wants or needs.
12) Wally West and Linda Park – True Love. This was another marriage of equals. They supported each other in good times and bad times which is exactly what true love is all about.
13) Shadowcat and Colossus – Bad Romance. I know this is probably against the grain, but I always felt these two were being shoved together by writers than letting any sort of relationship happen through the story. It was as though once together, they were victims of narrative convention that dictated they should always return to each other. Colossus is a pretty messed up guy, and I always thought he needed to be more stable by himself before trying to be in a relationship. Although I object less to this relationship than Shadowcat and Pete Wisdom…
14) Ralph and Sue Dibny – True Love. They were a really good couple. Alas, both were victims of “darker and edgier” and I don’t believe got rebooted into the New 52, probably because they were so cemented as a couple and DC thinks stable relationships are boring.
15) Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson – True Love. To hell with you, Mephisto! True love! Stupid, stupid editorial mandate ruined everything!!! ARGH!!!
Ahem. So, there’s my tribute (late) to Valentine’s Day, a day which commemorates a saint getting his head cut off by the Romans, because you can’t have “romance” without “Romans…”