Top 10 Worst Superhero Relationships Pt 1

So it’s Valentine’s Day and we’re going to have some fun today!  Two years ago, I covered my favourite superhero relationships, but now it is time to go through the absolute worst, and, oh boy, this is a real and true race to the bottom.  I mean, I knew comic book relationships could get bad, or lousy, but after I started doing some research into this I realized I truly had no idea how bad things could possibly get.  When I think of bad comic book relationships, well, I’m just going to say most of the ones you’re probably thinking of are kind of a drop in the bucket compared to the depravity we are about to witness.  We are about to dive into a sea of madness and horrors, the likes of which we’ve never really covered on my channel.  It’s going to be fun, painful, terrifying, and sometimes, a combination of all three.  Consider this my warning dear viewer, this is not an article for the faint of heart.

So buckle up, get ready to shudder, and prepare yourself for the all time worst relationships in the history of Marvel and DC!  Enjoy…



Black Panther and Storm

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First up on the list is an easy one, since most people I know agree this was a rather pointless relationship.  Two reasons really cement this one’s place here.  First, this really didn’t have any meaningful set up.  These were two characters that though they do have some things in common, like they are both regal in their behaviour and do have a strong history with leadership, they never had much history together before, well, getting married.  I’m honestly racking my brain trying to figure out why they were paired off together and the only reason I can come up with is that they are both black and from Africa.

That’s… borderline out and out racist of Marvel, and it’s not an easy accusation to throw out there, yet I have trouble coming up with an alternative explanation and I know I’m not the first person to speculate that this was the case. And while that might be reason enough to put that on this list, the other reason this is here is that this relationship was ended just as suddenly and abruptly during Avengers vs. X-Men.

Black Panther just marched right up to Storm and was like, yeah, our marriage is over.  Like it was nothing, because, well, it kind of was nothing.  Though they had shared a few moments together during their marriage, it really felt like the whole thing was completely pointless.  As far as poorly handled relationships go, this one easily takes the cake, with both their wedding and divorce basically being a wasted side show for Civil War I and Avengers vs. X-Men, with a couple of stories thrown in between these events that pretty much just focused on only one of the two characters to begin with.

Since then, the relationship has basically been forgotten, with a few tense moments between the two and T’Challa just begging her not to hook up with Wolverine, and Storm promptly going ahead and doing exactly that.  Hooray?



Donna Troy and Terry Long

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So this is a weird one, mostly because it takes place right near the end of one of my favourite Teen Titans runs ever, the Wolfman/Perez era.  It’s an unusual situation, overall.  That much is clear.  What happened, exactly, to create this situation?  That is less obvious, and we’re going to have to delve into this one a little bit.

It was roughly in the midst of Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans run, and the team was doing well with the series and had earned quite a name for themselves.  With the Judas Contract, a story that since then has come to be viewed as one of the best Teen Titans stories and just one of the better superhero stories out there in general, Wolfman and Perez were flying high and had the attention of the comic book community.

[Related: Click Here For Comic Island’s Full Top 10 list]

Everything was going great, right up until Terry Long started appearing.  Here was a character whose origins and purpose has been a matter of debate among the fans, but looking back at it, I think this is basically writer Marv Wolfman in comic form.  This is a bad example of his own wish fulfillment – a man without powers heading towards his middle age suddenly thrust into the centre of a fantastic world where all these cool superheroes come to not only accept him, but like him, to the extent he even got to bang one of the hot chicks!

That’s… creepy, and it shows in the work.  Terry is introduced as a professor seeking tenure at a college that Donna Troy is attending, which is questionable to begin with, and the two hit things off, ultimately getting married, until, well, pretty much everything fell apart.  George Perez left Teen Titans and the series never quite recovered.  Within the story, Terry and Donna had a son and he would have been destined to turn into a great evil one day and that was a whole thing.  The marriage was eventually broken apart and Terry Long was later killed off-panel.  The whole thing has been forgotten in continuity as best as the writers and editors could manage.

Sadly, the damage was done.  Teen Titans, which had such a great run going for them at the time and really presented the team in a fun and interesting way, was basically thrown into disarray, and perhaps worst of all, Donna Troy, an already confusing and complicated character, was made that much more harder to understand and follow, or even just to like as a person. It’s hard to relate to somebody whose actions don’t make a lot of sense, and this was one in a long line of decisions that made Donna Troy famous for being the character with one of the most convoluted and insane backstories ever.

The rest of the Teen Titans didn’t fair much better, blindly and almost suspiciously accepting Terry Long and Donna’s decision to be with him.  The wedding went off without a hitch – no villains to throw a wrench into the mix, nor any hints of something darker going on.  Donna apparently just decided to marry a professor, ten years older than her, and yeah, that’s just a little weird, especially for her character.  The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is that, I think, somewhere, on some level, there was some purpose to all of this.  I think Wolfman was trying to give the series a sense of unpredictability.  Instead of going the obvious route and having Donna pair off with Robin or something, he wanted to throw a curve ball at the readers, and in a series famous for being dark and edgy, he went for something light and without a secret agenda behind it to throw fans off.

That was the idea, at least I think, behind this, but like I said, what happened was closer to a somewhat perverted wish fulfillment fantasy where Wolfman put himself into his own story – a terrible idea, and fell for all the traps associated with doing something like this.  Terry Long is perhaps the biggest example of a self-insert character ever created – only ever depicted as a nice guy, one who had a daughter and an ex-wife, cementing the whole creepy vibe considering how Donna was only like, 18 at the time, but otherwise just a normal, nice dude, with no discernible traits or qualities that might suggest why Donna would be interested in him.  Yet because he was Wolfman’s stand-in, he got to marry the character and never really showcased any humanizing flaws.  It was a disaster on a level few other relationships have achieved, and is a reminder that even good writers can fall for bad writing traps.  Wolfman is still one of the best Teen Titans writers to have ever worked on the series, but this was not one of his better moments.



Havok and Nurse Annie
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I almost missed this one, but this last minute addition to the Top 10 really feels like it deserves a spot here.  This one hails from Chuck Austen’s X-Men, and… ugh… do I really have to get into it any further than that?  This is the guy who took the X-Men in all their greatness and turned them into a bunch of gibbering lunatics.

In this relationship, Havok fell into a coma and became enamoured with a nurse.  While in a coma.  Through a psychic connection.  Why?  How?  You are already putting too much thought into this thing.  After Havok woke up, he did the only sensible thing, abandoning his fiance Polaris at the alter, who he fell in love with in a boring, non-coma state, and running off with Annie and her son.  This new and completely out of left field relationship never went anywhere and later fell apart off panel.

It was terrible, but not surprising form Austen, who was just never a good fit for the series.  This pairing suffers from everything awful from this era and every mistake Chuck kept making – bad and silly writing, taking mature content and approaching it in a completely childish manner, and everyone acting selfish or out of character.  The story itself is basically a train wreck so bad I’d almost want to throw Polaris into this mix, too, since she factors heavily in this story.  But it’s really Annie that was the source of all the trouble and silly conflict and pages upon pages of useless, preachy dialogue that makes no sense.  Annie was basically banned by every writer since Chuck Austen from showing up in the comics ever again, and, as far as I’m concerned, the more we can forget from this era of the X-Men and purge out of continuity, the better.



Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon
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Well, we’re really starting to venture into awkward territory, here.  This is a relationship that on the very surface, most people will tell you is just plain wrong.  It would be one thing if this were just a matter of an age difference.  There’s nothing wrong with a May-December romance, and we shouldn’t look down on such things even if you find it “icky.”  However, Bruce and Barbara present a host of problems, the biggest being that Barbara is Jim Gordon’s daughter.  Sleeping with like, one of your closest allies and friend’s daughter is generally frowned upon and for a good reason.  It’s just plain skeezy, and when you get right down to it, wildly out of character for both Batman and Batgirl.  But even taking all that aside, Batman very much is a mentor to Batgirl, and thus sleeping with her feels very much like an abuse of power that goes way too far for Bruce’s character.

[Related: Click Here For Comic Island’s Full Top 10 list]

And perhaps what is most mind-boggling is that this actually has happened twice.  One incident has become rather infamous for being a big part of the animated adaptation of The Killing Joke and probably a big reason as to why that movie kind of sucks.  But what you might not know is that this ugly business had already appeared once in the pages of Batman Beyond 2.0.  There, not only did Bruce and Barbara sleep together, but they did it at a time when she was with Dick Grayson.  Even worse, Bruce actually impregnated Barbara during this affair and the whole thing led to a messy fight between Dick and Bruce that never really got resolved.  And in all of it Bruce never even seemed to show a lot of contrition for his awful, awful behaviour.  It’s all pretty terrible, when you get right down to it.  Batman might be broody, sure, but he’s not a sociopath, nor would he have any reason to do this.  And Barbara isn’t really all that broody to begin with, so this seems entirely out of her wheelhouse.  It’s one of the worst and most ugly relationships out there.  An insult to fans and completely counter to the story and established cannon of Batman.  By far, this is one of the lowest moments Batman has ever sunk to in any media and continuity, and the only part that amazes me is that somehow, this is only number seven on the list.  But just you wait and see how low things get….



Ulimate Scarlet Witch and Ultimate Quicksilver
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Ugh, gross.  You know, I did enjoy the Ultimate comics, to a degree.  They did some cool things and definitely had some moments.  But one thing that did not work was the questionable decision to pair off Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, heavily implying the two were in an incest-based relationship together.  That’s just… gross.  That’s gross!  There’s no way around it.

The only reason this doesn’t top the list is that a part of this writing might suggest it’s supposed to be a weird relationship to the reader.  Maybe that’s the case, but if so the comic is also super inconsistent about this.  In the story, the only person that has a problem with these siblings having sex with each other is Captain America, yet the rest of the team just sort of brushes this whole thing off.  Wasp basically tells Cap he’s being an old fogey for not embracing this brother-sister power couple.  As if we in modern times would be totally okay with this and the only reason to question this relationship were if you were airlifted from the 1940s.

This was all done at the hands of Mark Millar, suggesting, along with a mountain of other evidence, that this guys has some really weird and outright incorrect views about human sexuality.  Honestly, the less we dwell on this, the better.  It’s wrong.  Incest is wrong.  That is NOT how we make a race of mutants!  At least not the cool kind of mutants… you know what, I’m moving on.

 10 Worst Superhero Relationships Part 2

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