From the tender travails of Timely upstart MILLIE THE MODEL to the cerebral liaisons of Legion and Blindfold, love springs eternal in the pages of Marvel Comics.
Though some may balk at the very notion of “kissing books,” longtime readers know that romance churns at the very heart of adventure; that a heady rush of pheromones ferments between flesh and spandex like nowhere else in the known world. Try as they might, the privates entrenched on love’s battlefield can hardly hide their longing—even with a carefully placed Hawkeye head—for dedicated teammates, for some time enemies, for the boy or girl next door. Our heroes pair off early, sometimes often. They form tragic triangles. They build empires. They win at love and just as often lose.
This Valentine’s Day, we celebrate the many loves of Marvel.
Brian Michael Bendis’ and Mark Bagley’s ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN saw a return to Peter’s period of teenage longing and romantic exploration for a new generation, even pairing him with the mutant Kitty Pryde for a time.
Some love simply fades, dimming rather than burning out in a dramatic display. Though the lingering trauma of Skrull abduction and the archer’s man-child behavior likely contribute in some way, Bobbi “Mockingbird” Morse never quite recaptured that old magic with “Hawkeye” Clint Barton after her return. The two remain divorced, though they share the occasional clandestine S.H.I.E.L.D. field operation. Bobbi stuck the landing into post-marriage life, though Hawkeye’s quiver lacks Cupid’s surefire punch, leaving his flirtation with Spider-Woman as complicated as it probably ought to be. Jessica Drew see-saws over a relationship she knows bears the weight of two fully-stocked Samsonite warehouses.
Wolverine, of course, arrived at this mature relationship only after decades of torrid affairs. Some consider Mariko Yashida his truest, most profound love. Her soul currently resides in Hell, incidentally the locale of their most recent reunion. Still, the relationship that defines Logan’s role in the X-Men continues to undoubtedly be his affection for Jean Grey and his place in that sordid triangle with her eventual husband Cyclops. In the years following Jean’s death, Scott Summers became involved with the X-Men’s former adversary Emma Frost, a relationship continually tested by erratic ambitions from either side. For his part, Logan built and named a school for Jean.
Mutants prove particularly unlucky in love. The same romance with Colossus that sent Kitty Pryde phasing through floors itself turned intangible when Piotr’s near-nihilistic penchant for self-sacrifice drove her away.
Alpha Flight and X-Men stalwart Northstar wed his civilian partner Kyle when New York City—home to throngs of super-heroes—legalized marriage equality. Their happiness endures, tempered only by the strain felt by any couple where one’s vocation demands running toward danger.
Luke Cage and Jessica Jones found each other in their time as disillusioned heroes fighting the good fight closer to the pavement. They married and conceived a child, Luke pursuing opportunities as an Avenger and the new handler for a Thunderbolts unit while Jessica distanced herself even further from her previous life as the Avenger called Jewel. With the arrival of their daughter Danielle, Luke, too, considered stepping back from reckless adventure, only to rally again with Thanos’ arrival on an unprecedentedly vulnerable Earth.
Strange as those villainous pairings might seem, love arises in the most curious of places between the unlikeliest of partners. Professor Charles Xavier carried on the ultimate star-crossed, long-distance romance with the extraterrestrial Shi’ar warrior called Lilandra. His son David found companionship with the precog Blindfold, now the only person in the world to remember his existence after he sacrificed himself for a people that always shunned him. The mutant sorceress Wanda Maximoff wed the android Vision, a pairing that resulted in unlikely offspring.
Nuff said, Lord Alfie. Nuff said.
All year-long, keep your eyes on marvel.com/75 for the latest videos, podcasts, galleries, retrospectives and more celebrating Marvel’s 75th anniversary!