Monday, October 22, 2018

You Always Battle The One You Love

(with a nostalgic nod to Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher)

As a companion piece to an earlier post which took a look at pairings of Marvel characters that didn't quite work out romantically, it seems appropriate to flip the coin and look in on couples whose romantic ties were more stable (or in flux) but who, from time to time, were perfectly willing to take off the gloves and resort to duking it out to resolve their differences, just like any other couple. Except that when we're talking about super-powered characters, there's every chance that a fight will turn into a full-fledged battle, possibly to the death! Ain't love grand?

Yikes! You real-life husbands out there had better watch your backs!

Around the time that the Vision proposed the formation of an Avengers branch on the west coast, Hawkeye and Mockingbird were newlyweds--and while it's probably rare to hear of newlyweds having a fight, these two are about to take the word "spat" to a whole new level when Hawkeye passes over Bonita Juarez (a/k/a Firebird) for Avengers membership in favor of the Thing, and Mockingbird becomes incensed that her husband could be so insensitive. On a more entertaining note, how many young couples do you know who settle their differences armed?

Hawkeye has already learned the most important lesson a new husband should master: compromise. That, and "Make sure you have a quiver full of arrows within reach when your wife wants to talk."

Nothing like that is going to work for Daredevil and Elektra, whose relationship is somewhere between mercurial and doomed. Elektra, who's been hired by the Kingpin, has just threatened the life of reporter Ben Urich, a friend of DD's--and when DD gets wind of it, he moves to confront her. After seeing the result, we all might have a better understanding of how the phrase "love hurts" got its start.

Yes, I'll say it--Daredevil fell hard for this woman. (heh)

Next, we have a good example of what a man means when he tells his lover that she isn't in her right mind, though most of the time he's speaking figuratively. But it's literally so for the Scarlet Witch, when she becomes possessed by the Dread Dormammu and is ordered to slay the one she loves, the Vision. Unfortunately, the Vision is forced to fight on the defensive, and pays the price.

Gosh--so far, it's looking like it's always the woman who turns out to be either the instigator or the outright aggressor in whatever dispute we're walking in on ... and, all right, yes, that seems to be the case in all of these examples. Please don't throw tomatoes at the messenger; instead, take your grievance directly to the good folks at Marvel Comics. They probably have it coming, because this really is a disturbing pattern we're looking at.

Then again, if you're Bruce Banner and your life has become a living hell because you've been turned into the Hulk, it seems only fair to make the life of Betty Ross into the same kind of hell and turn her into the Harpy. For what it's worth, however, this isn't the same Betty Ross who usually resorts to crying in her soup. This time, she's out for blood!

Nice feint, Ms. Ross.  And just look at this victory lap:

Unlike Mockingbird, Betty doesn't seem to be in a forgiving mood. And you can bet an offer to compromise wouldn't have stopped her from delivering the killing blow.

That's also the case when Psycho-Man gets his hooks into Sue Richards, provides her with some tacky lingerie, and sets her loose as Malice. The first man she goes gunning for is her husband, Reed, and the only thing she wants from the encounter is to cause him a lot of pain. And since Reed doesn't realize that this woman is his wife, she has the advantage of surprise. (Which she'd arguably have even if she arrived unmasked!)

(Come on, Reed, who are you kidding, trying to compose yourself? She nailed you good, man!)

Naturally, when the mask comes off, Reed starts putting clues together--and when he learns the Hate Monger is involved, as well, he reasons that the best defense is a good offense. In Sue's case, however, that translates to administering both abuse and humiliation.

Jeez, Reed, I'd say I didn't know you had it in you, but we've seen this side of you before.

There's another kind of possession at the heart of a dispute between Scott Summers and Jean Grey--at least as far as Scott is concerned. Certain that the woman who was found in that shuttle pod is not only Jean but also Phoenix, he finally confronts her with his suspicions--but Jean knows there's something deeper at the heart of it all.

And on the subject of being slammed around by your girlfriend, have a look at Tony Stark's predicament, when he confronts his lady, Whitney Frost (a/k/a Madame Masque) about the disposition of her father, Count Nefaria. The moral of this story: Never confide in your girlfriend about one of your multi-million-dollar inventions--and never lend her the operating manual!

Accidents will happen--which is along the lines of what happened when Janet Van Dyne was assisting her husband, Hank Pym, in developing an antidote to the virus that had trapped him at ant size, and decided to test the serum herself. (Even though she wasn't in need of the cure--how sensible was that.) The result was an adverse effect to her body chemistry, to say the least--as well as to her temperament.

Hank and Jan aren't out of the woods yet--though as we know, that would turn out to be equally true of their marriage in general.

But let's cut to a marriage already on the rocks--that of the Avenger, Quicksilver and Crystal of the Inhumans. The time was when Crystal, still seeing the Human Torch, limited any disagreements between them to harmless horseplay (though whipping up mini-tornadoes might not qualify as "harmless" to those caught up in them).

But Quicksilver, as we'll see, is another matter to Crystal, who has reached the limits of her tolerance of his crazed outbursts. Their marriage coming to an end, it's time for these two to have it out once and for all.

Finally, we come to the extreme of our running theme here--and you'll likely agree that the possession of a corpse who, reanimated, returns to confront her lover over his seeming betrayal is off-the-charts extreme. But Captain Marvel isn't about to let the memory of his former love, Una, be desecrated.

Someone should really introduce our characters to the time-tested, all-purpose appeasement of flowers and candy--or, failing that, an open-ended charge card. Surely an Amex bill would be preferable to bear traps or taking a brutal beating. (Though in matters of love, one never knows.)


Colin Jones said...

Mockingbird mentions Encyclopedia Britannica - when I was in school in the early '80s studying history my history teacher (Mr. Lindsay Evans, a graduate of Oxford University - gosh!) had an entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica on his bookshelves. Unfortunately the set had been published in 1932 so it was 50 years out of date.

Comicsfan said...

Ahh, but history is timeless, Colin! :D

George Chambers said...

I'm kind of sorry that "Grape-face" never caught on like "Web-head" and "Shellhead" did.

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