Going by the title you should guess where today’s blog is going to go.
That’s right it’s all about “happily ever after”, the good endings, the true ending. If you are an anime nerd than you’d know about “good/true” endings in visual novels.
I ask the question of do Superheros in any media of comics and movies really get to be happy or the happily ever after?
This came to me when I was reading a review on the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) about Thor: Ragnarok and it brought to my attention on the love interest with a phrase standing out “Thinly sketched love interest of portrayed by famous celebrity actresses”.
The ironic twist is that even if those ladies are your typical heroine with lacking personalities the ones on Netflix are fully developed and even Agents of SHIELD females like May, Daisy (Skye), Simmons and Mocking Bird. Yes that’s my bias talking and I’m just fine with that.
*Ladies of the MCU universe*
Thinking on the matter of the MCU and going by the history of the statement, I cannot find anything to dispute it due to that it was right. The MCU female love interest do lack in characterization even if they are part of it and can not get out of the trope of “the heroine”, the typical needs to be rescued or just for eye candy.
Granted as much as Marvel movies are praised for story (if you don’t count Age of Ultron) but they are on top of the world…except when it comes to the theme of this blog post.
*Sorry Pepper, not much to go one at times than worrying over Tony and being eye candy in the films*
Tony Stark and Pepper Potts had a thing for the trilogy of Iron Man but after that Pepper left him due to his dependency of using his armor and currently he still pines for her.
*The first couple to begin the MCU*
Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter; the two found romance while in World War 2 until a twist of fate caused him to be separated from her and they never really got passed just “having feelings for one another”.
*The one that could have been*
Same can be said with Steve and Sharon Carter, Peggy’s niece and even that was just a heated moment with the two in “Captain America: Civil War” and the two parted ways.
*I’d have like these two together even if it was short*
Black Widow and Hu-oh fuck no!! That was something that never should have even crossed Whedon’s mind.
Star crossed lovers (infatuation) of Scarlet Witch and Vision, it’s obvious they have a flame for one another but still no confirmation as of this point.
*Got nothing to say yet*
Even if in the end of those movies they are somehow able to be together in the end of the MCU franchise doesn’t mean it will stick. This also and especially goes with superhero comics books in the medium.
Superheroes can find happiness with getting the girl (or boy depending) and fly off into the sunset but is it really where it ends? Nope because the thing is the superheroes we root for to get the happy ending with their loved one to become a OTP (One true pairing) of a story and franchise, to see them claw for each other until they can come together to make our (fans) dreams come true and seeing it happen in the end makes it all worth it.
*Into the sunset*
Or so we think.
Even if that happens in a storyline, the character will always be used and even if they got the happy ending doesn’t mean that they will be with their love (depending) due to either a new writer shows and decides he (or she) doesn’t want this one to stick and come up with a way to end it or to add another wrench in the corner to break them apart as we are soon once again going through the process of a character trying to get their partner again.
This is an exaggeration on my part but it does hold water with the fact that a character will always need to keep on growing or at least have a reason for them to either be hithed or linked to someone.
There is this unspoken rule with comics that a writer and editor’s do NOT want characters being married due to a character having past glory like with Spider Man and Mary Jane in the 90’s.
They were one of the well-known coupling in Spider man but the writer(s) didn’t like them together as they wanted Spider Man to be single, like how he was when they were growing up. Apparently they tried to annul the marriage by making Mary Jane unlikable or trying to kill her off in a plane crash but then by the miracle of comics, she winds up back with Spider Man in the end, stronger (romantically) and being there for one another.
Yeah happily ever after right? I mean he and MJ were together throughout central points in Marvel during the massive events going on in Marvel around the mid 00’s and even after Civil War, they were still together but their time would be up when Aunt May is shot by an assassin trying to 86 Peter and low and behold there is nothing anyone can do to save her. Not Strange with magic or the smartest men in the Marvel universe. So what does Pete do in the end? Make a deal with the devil, Mephisto, to set back the status quo that he and MJ were never married due to, as the red guy states, his and MJ’s love is a rarity that comes a few millenia.
I’m paraphrasing that but you get the point. So using his magic he reverts everything to say the marriage never occurred and Spider Man’s identity is secret once again.
One More Day is considered taboo and infamous by comic readers, especially with the Spider Man fans that felt that should never happened in the first place. Editorial though got the last say for Spidey to be a bachelor and I believe he’s dated a few women during that time but still has yet to be with MJ.
So is that enough? Nah cause I have other examples that get my point across.
Batman and his many love escapades is also one to put on this ramble of list as he is a brooding character which get the ladies and even when he has them it always ends in the most basic way; he’s too dedicated to the work. His main waifu is justice with a capital J.
He is broken in the way that he can find love but never keep it due to his own personal demons he carries. The one at the top of my head is Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Those two are the definition of “love” or “lust” in this sense. Sure they have love for one another but Catwoman is the girlfriend that is not bad but you know she will lead you astray to make the loved ones worry for you.
Talia Al Ghul is one of Bruce/Batman’s love life is just toxic and I don’t mean complicated. If Catwoman is catnip than Talia is flipping heroin and you need to get rid of her ASAP. She is a mass manipulator and even possibly raped him when he didn’t know about it to have Damian Wayne.
If we are going to say lovers than I will add Barbara Gordon/Batgirl but that was more in Bruce Timm’s Batman the animated series canon and that was a schoolgirl crush turned scandal. It was more Batgirl’s infatuation with him which turned to general concern, unfortunately this caused a rift between her and Dick when he found out. It’s not until Batman Beyond that an older, cynical Barbara tells Terry, the new Batman, their history in a subtle fashion which left viewers and fans shocked.
Now I am only naming the most famous/infamous ones on his list and he has had many lovers, I think the one person that can give you answers is my friend Mike being the biggest Batman fans I know. And going by memory I get he is suave and the ladies like his brooding personality and give no fuck attitude due to him being an asshole at times but being with him in that capacity will not give an ending where he’s just in the upper part of Gotham with a black-fenced gate with guard dogs where the lady is raising Bruce Jr.
He has burned lovers in the past and that is something that will not stop as his publication will continue.
Another couple I was for when it came out of left field; Peter Quill/Star Lord and Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat , two literal star crossed lovers that came together in the storyline “The Trial of Jean Grey” where a time-displaced Jean is put on trial for the wrongdoings of her future self perpetrated when she went Dark Phoenix to destroy a star system and killed some Shiar. Kitty with the X-men of the past teamed up with Star Lord and his crew to save her and than the courting continued more or less through the various titles of the two’s respective series off and on panel at times until “Dark Vortex” saw the return of the team up of where they had to deal with the predicament.
By the end of that Peter proposed to Kitty who accepted and soon they were engaged!!
Engaged, after all this time of Kitty having been broken with Peter Rasputin/Colossus (but remain friends) and kicked Bobby Drake to the curb, she is finally going to get her happy ending!! Kitty with Peter Quill traveling the galaxy and working on a marriage and eventual kid!
Now with that phrase you are seeing me fan-boy out as I am getting into this and building their future already.
Well unfortunately that didn’t last. After all that and the eventual stopping of the destruction of the universe during Secret War and everything being right again things changed on a big level. In the ashes of “All-New, All-Different” Marvel titles we saw that Kitty Pryde was with the Guardians and taken of the mantle of Star Lord and Peter was ruling a planet for the time of the 8 month time skip than. I did read some of the earlier titles and low and behold drama occurred.
When Peter decided to take up the mantle of ruling a planet by ousting his dad, the distance had apparently strained their couple. After that scene Peter returned and he and Kitty looked about ready to try again, this time slower. But even that didn’t cement them as finally after Civil War 2 and the breaking up of the team, Kitty decided to break the engagment and effectively leave Peter.
This move was disappointing, I really felt that those two were good for one another; Peter with his good sense of humor and charming yet sense of integrity and Kitty with her being pragmatic but has her own brand of wit and kind nature (along with poster child of the X-men, sorry Jubilee).
I feel that with Guardians of The Galaxy movies being the unexpected hit with how different it was and general audiences say how come he (Star Lord) is with a character (Shadowcat) that they don’t know (and going by general audiences only know about comics in a superficial way and not giving it the time of day) it would be confusing along with, I see, some might want him with Gamora. However the movies are different iterations of the source material so if some have common sense or can think outside the box than that makes my side comment and saltiness of the breaking of that couple moot.
My theory is that due to the licensing of Marvel has with the X-men not belonging to them movie wise and only in literature only (and even that is debatable with how the X-titles and characterization of them is being handled and giving them another pile of shit to survive) along with Brian Michael Bendis being infamous for getting bored with what he writes (depending) is what niched the idea of those two being together.
Scarlet Witch and Vision (comics) are known for a foolish woman falling for an automata trying to be a man and asking one conundrum with another as a couple that, for some reason, worked but in a watching a train crash into another and being fascinated and appalled by the experience. I was never really interested in them as I was more of an X-men fan in the day but only know of their history on a superficial way and even than it seemed doomed to fail given they can’t have kids.
So despite being married and trying to build on a woman loving a machine, it was faulty and so she decides to use her extraordinary powers of hexing, later updated to reality warping and using chaos magic, to which after reading Scarlet Witch comics is just some branched off version of witchcraft in general, she is blessed with getting two twin baby boys. Of course due to comics it was complicated as she had willed these two into existence by somehow piggybacking off some major big badass demon by using a part of his power or soul in creation with them and the two were wiped clean from existence which caused her to have a mental breakdown.
After the events of Avengers Dissemble where she alone broke apart the Avengers by killing some of the current roster of the time, Vision being one of them, House Of M where by the end of that story she wiped clean 98% of the mutant population to being an asset of ridding the Phoenix Force and reigniting the mutant genome in Avengers vs. X-men to figuring out that Magneto isn’t her father, love for Wanda has been all but turmoil all due to finding love with Vision and marrying one without sperm.
I am aware she had other loves in the form of Wonder Man and Hawkeye but who cares about that, right? Their love is a castasphoe and they will not be together again. Or at least in my head canon.
Okay so that one was cynical and snark so I’ll use a popular one which really got me into “happily ever after’s” and that comes in the form of Scott Summers/Cyclops and Jean Grey/Phoenix. And later Cyclops and Emma Frost/White Queen.
The X-men have been known for a lot of things, harbingers as basis of prejudice wheather be in the form of race/religion/sex, all the biggies of the time and still a factor but I’d like to think with the changing of the times of nowadays being a melting pot, we can find a balance just like with everything.
Due to the 90’s X-men cartoon I immediately went to Cyclops as being my favorite character and him having someone like Jean Grey. Wolverine was annoying for liking her and trying to be a thing with her but I digress. In the comic medium these two were just made for one another since their creation in 1963. Both were shy with their feelings as teenagers and didn’t really blossom into love at least until the 70’s when Chris Clemont came and cleaned house and improving the X-men’s image with the roster and even bringing in a soap opera quality that made you come for the next issues.
Cyclops and Jean’s relationship was one filled with drama and sorrow as it seemed events were against them being together. From phoenix entering their lives, to her dying and coming back again, to finding out that Cyke married a clone of Jean by the name of Madelyne Pryor (no knowledge until it was revealed later) and having a son with her up until the 90’s where it seemed they were stable until a manipulated Psylocke set sights on straight arrow which was a minor fraction, to finally getting married in a story which is a famous comic cover of the two married after all this time!!
Stick up his butt Cyclops did it, he married the trophy-uh, love of his life with Jean being the one to propose! Happiness factor over the moon!! After dealing with the events of Onslaught, the duo seemed strong in their marriage and love for one another. Supporting and talking with each other. Another event of Cyclops apparently dying when he was possessed by Apocalypse and eventually freed after a time thanks to Jean and Cable (his son raised in the future) albeit leaving him with a grim personality.
Soon we enter the early 2000’s where Grant Morrison entered and changed the dynamic of the couple and adding, some would say, a realistic view to their marriage. Keep in mind that even during the couple’s off time they never did have a kid which should have come in the form of Rachel Summers but that never happened. In the stories to follow of Morrison’s run Cyclops and Jean had hit a reep in their relationship and marriage; the damage he caused with Cyke doubting his love for Jean as nothing more than a schoolyard crush or making it seem small as he states “hasn’t grown passed since we were teens” making it seem like the love story was just some infatuation or limerence.
Even when Cyclops tried talking to Jean Grey she did make it seem minor. On her part she was the headmistress of the school and given her own telepathic abilities could tell Scott’s mind frame and wanted him to work through the issue to get back to the guy she loved, stalwart, kind and stuffy. So both are at fault with the breaking of their marriage.
Here comes good old Emma Frost, reformed villainous who just so happens to be a qualified sex therapist helps Scoot with his inner demons which enacted in a telepathic affair. In true soap opera fashion the affair is discovered and shit hits the fan. Or in this case flames, as Jean was developing into the phoenix due to her own genetic make-up (I guess) and tore into Emma Frost with vengeance.
As the end of the story was coming to a close where the fate of New York was in the balance and the X-men flung to different parts due to the plot and a confrontation with Magneto (who wasn’t really Magneto) Xorn-Magneto gave Jean a planet size stroke killing Jean. Cyclops,who made his choice after everything calmed down (seriously read Grant Morrison’s run on X-men, it’s awesome) of choosing Jean or Emma as if he was Archie Andrews finally making his choice between Better Cooper or Veronica Lodge, cries her name, with Wolverine losing his shit and going into a berserker rage.
So Cyclops and Jean Grey, the love to stand the test of time has come to an end. With the death of one love comes another and the blonde comes into play.
Due to Scott making the choice to not re-start the school and X-men with Emma, the timeline takes a divergent turn bringing out a dystopian future. It’s thanks to Jean Grey after seeing that future of the world due to being birthed by a phoenix egg, losing her memories for a time and Wolverine of that timeline being the one to set her straight, Jean Grey ascends to a higher place of existence of the phoenix force where she burns away that future and as a final act of love or the notion of “Something is out of place” pushes a single thought to cyclops of the original timeline “to live”. Scott takes up Emma’s offer and the two rebuild.
Thus starts the Cyclops and Emma Frost portion and even though when I found out Scott had forsaken Jean for the blonde I was scandalized! One of my favorite couples shattered? Of course during the 2000’s I was out of comics and into anime so I didn’t get the full picture until reading those stories around 2010 when I had my kindle.
Going forward I saw Cyclops with Emma as a bad thing but then, when I got back into comics around 2006, and happen to see the two in a new light due to House of M event or something I was feeling them. This was a step up from Jean Grey (sorry Red), as the duo had fights and could at times be petty, the love was there more in actions with Emma testing Scott and him being a little less serious at points since he doesn’t have to put on a show with Emma.
It’s sort of like you can burp and fart in front of your significant other without caring with quips of controlling bodily functions but that’s not important.
And I have to say the duo were the central hold of OTP in the mutant and comic literature as everyone knew they were together even if one didn’t read the comics like a back of your mind info.
Unfortunately Cyclops and Emma had a fall out in the course of Avengers vs X-men when he took a portion of Ems part of the phoenix force. Than Scott soon became a zealot of protecting the mutant population where he made his own X-men with the duo playing guessing games if they should get together again.
Than a little thing called Death Of X happened which put a niche in the couple with the death of Cyclops and in turn causing Emma to go crazy with vengeance to start the events of Inhumans vs X-men.
The core part of this is that Scott made Emma a better person, she could know that a person could love her immensely as she is a cold woman being a diamond when she activates it for defense and cuts off her emotions. When she lost the only person that loved her and she him it drove her to madness of losing him.
Okay so using those prime examples of superheroes in literature can find happiness is one sided.
On the other spectrum is successful love stories and alleged happily ever after but even than it doesn’t end as it still continues.
Superman and Lois Lane’s love story is the most aspect everyone knows, he always saves Lois and she brings out Superman’s heroic nature of keeping him grounded in humanitiy. The duo have had ups and downs but always find their way back together which is noteworthy.
When some fans believe he should be with his equal, Wonder Woman, they don’t give Lois the time of day but even through the criticism she and Supes endure. Along with the fruit of their love is apparent when she gives birth to a son, Jonathan Samuel White and the duo deal with being icons and parents at the same time.
Yes they still have problems but none that really effects them to ever leave one another and even during the current event of Superman Reborn, they still will always be a factor with the trust and love they have for each other and lil Jon.
Now I’ve only recently gotten to be a fan of Superman due to, ironically, from Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and I saw the flying caped superhero in a different light. I’ve always been aware that Lois was for him but more like a trophy than an actual character. Then as I read the current story between the two their love story is grounded and not so dramatic like Romeo and Juliet or even have the sorrowness of Lancer and Guinevere. There’s feel real.
Another couple that has the happy love factor is from my favorite group that is still in limbo in the comics, Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic and Susan Storm (Richards)/Invisible Woman.
The duo are Marvel’s “First Family” of pioneers and even superheroes but a family at the end of the day. They have come far from the stereotypical mindframe of the 60’s of Reed being a chauvinistic asshole and Susan being the wallflower with the lame power of invisibility and working more in the sense of a ride along character and mother of the group and naive wide eyed girl.
Yes, I have no delusions that they were perfect back then, yes the team has had success saving the world and the like but the home life was mind numbing with the mindsets from the 60’s/70’s and a little bit of the 80’s. I think their characterization improved when Sue gave birth to Franklin in the 70’s but even than it was still the same.
The 90’s proved more eventful as it was a new time and with women growing in real life with jobs and the like and the “independent woman” was about to hit a peak, Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman’s marriage seemed to be keeping with the times, Susan was outspoken, became leader of the group and was all for maintaining the family keep together especially when it came to her children. Their talk patterns were improved and by 2000’s and beyond it seemed to stick, they had rough times and loving times but, using Clark/Lois, they were always together. And reading the comics and keeping somethings noted Reed and Sue is the love story some characters wish they had. Reed does get absorbed in his smart and Sue can be too nagging but it works as they do put each other first despite taking each other for granted.
In the end of the Fantastic Four after Secret Wars, the point where things were getting rebuilt Reed and Sue are together with their children and their wards rebuilding the multiverse. In the final panel with those two I could see the amount of love they had for one another, as if they were saying “we will continue this adventure and no matter what I will be with you and our kids” before vanishing into the ether.
Now as much as I am giving them praise I am all too familiar with Susan’s other love interest of Namor (as he is the most famous) and during the history of FF she has wondered what it would be like to be with him as he gives her attention when Reed’s busy with something.
Same can be said by Reed when it comes to finding someone who can talk nerd with him; Alyssa Moy, a former college lover and a mind that is almost equal with him. She appeared in their lives around Chris Claremont’s run of the FF and even though she knew Reed was married she made no play for him as she was respectable but one could tell there might be some jealousy as she and Reed do have a history with being super smart and Sue isn’t a super genius like her husband. This was more seen in another part of the FF comics written by another writer where he re-introduced Alyssa (so FYI she was created in Chris’s run!!!)
Reed and Susan’s love is that based on a crush that went to true love and that has also caused them problems. After the fall out of Civil War when the anti-registration force was free from charges Sue and Reed had a talk which she stated that despite knowing she loved him, it caused a riff in their marriage by being blinded by it by just going with it without really saying anything (I’m paraphrasing). They do decide to work on their marriage by being away from the team for a while but I’d say this was the point where she couldn’t see him in the same way a little.
And finally the question to this blog; is it possible? That question has differing answers in the grand spectrum of questions as long as the term superheroes have existed since their creation.
It depends on the structure of where writers and editors where they want to take the characters and granted, there does seem to be an enema when it comes “tying down” superheroes with loved ones due to how one can write about it and keep consistent with it. Which is why love and superheroes mix well but at the end of the day (and sadly) very few can get the white picket fence syndrome.
*Together forever to stand the test of time*
In all honesty that is what life is in a way. Even if you are able to find the one for you, courting than marriage and then kids, does it really end for you? We live our lives day to day and with each experience we learn to deal with the new reality which is our lives.
Superheroes can indeed find it but more than not they will never be crafted for say “happy ending” due to characters will always be put to use and either need to expand more on the current status quo or add something that could/will piss off fans of what they are used too.
As I’ve written this you’ve seen my own saltiness levels rise at the choices made. Happily Ever After is more what you think it is and for me it’s just them staying together through the good and bad but sadly that doesn’t always work.
That’s that for this blog post regarding superheroes happiness and my view laced with shock, cynicism and hope.
Till next time everyone.