Kitty Pryde’s rebound boyfriend Iceman

I like Kitty Pryde, not just because she’s one of the few superheroes we’ve seen grow up over the decades (like DC’s super popular Nightwing), but because her moral integrity remains immensely strong — even when it only serves to ruin her day.  So many X-Men waver that good/evil line (like the two current faction leaders Cyclops and Wolverine).  And while the Marvel universe allows their superheroes to explore their dark sides before returning back to the light, we’ve never had that problem with dear Kitty.  Which causes a horrific mess of her personal life.  We’ll explore the full Kitty/Iceman relationship in the following issues:
Wolverine and the X-Men #14, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Jorge Molina
Wolverine and the X-Men #15, written by Aaron and drawn by Molina
Wolverine and the X-Men #24, written by Aaron and drawn by David Lopez
Wolverine and the X-Men #32, written by Aaron and drawn by Nick Bradshaw
Wolverine and the X-Men #34, written by Aaron and drawn by Bradshaw
Wolverine and the X-Men #37, written by Aaron and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli
X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2, written by Aaron and drawn by Camuncoli & Esad Ribic

But before Kitty can become madly infatuated with Iceman, she has to take care of one loose end: her current boyfriend Colossus.  For some background, we start smack in the middle of the Marvel event Avengers vs. X-Men.  Currently, the Phoenix Force has inhabited five X-Men (including Colossus).  It gives them godlike powers, but y’know how godlike powers end up — evil.  You can click the second picture below for a larger version.



You can probably guess what Kitty wants to discuss.  Y’see, she’s concerned the Phoenix power is being misused or brainwashing or whatever it did that last few times it made Jean Grey a supervillain. But c’mon, those who fear the Phoenix Force simply don’t understand its capabilities and don’t trust its users — like those pesky Avengers.  And Kitty.



Way to confirm all her suspicions, Colossus.  Tantrums and anger are associated with bad guys.  The good guys get depression and guilt.  Except for Wolverine, who gets all four.  Now in a normal fight, Kitty could probably take Colossus as super strength and durability can’t really protect from Kitty’s phasing thingie.  But now he’s a god and Kitty’s wearing her nicest dress; still can’t fault her for trying.




Lighting your girlfriend on fire usually signals a looming breakup.  Colossus, purged of the Phoenix power near the end of the event, nowadays returns to fighting the good fight.  But Kitty won’t date him anymore — she prefers men who haven’t threatened to destroy her school with all-consuming god fire.


She’s amazing, isn’t she?  We assume if Kitty joined the X-Men as a preteen, she’s probably in her early to mid-twenties in current day.  And my goodness has maturity and responsibility smashed her in her tired soul.  School Headmaster Wolverine spends every other issue slashing ninjas, leaving Kitty in charge of the entire place.  But if you’re a fan of strong, powerful women (and I don’t mean in the physical manner) then feel free to root for Professor Pryde.  And honestly, she needs someone lighthearted and silly after that whole Colossus debacle.



Ready for their first date (nine issues later)?  It combines all the soap opera of the X-Men with the horrible awkwardness of actual dating in your 20s.  I mean, if we all had superpowers and ran a school for mutants and saved the world multiple times and had both previously dated supervillains.



But Kitty’s smart.  And she makes a suggestion that saves both of them from explaining to a hungover Wolverine why they came back wafting an uncomfortable aura combo of friendzone and blatant lies. I’m kidding, of course.  Wolverine doesn’t care how their date goes.





I cut Iceman’s romantic final line (it was attached to Wolverine/Storm flirting), but I’ll write it here.
Kitty: “We’re X-Men.  We don’t get to grow up and live happily ever after.”
Iceman: “Maybe not … But at least we’re growing up.”
Cue the kissing.  I know he’s a fictional character and all, but even I felt a slight attraction to him after that killer comeback.  And so the two date for about thirteen issues.  Like all superhero couples, they bond mainly through missions, because banter in between jump kicks makes for fun dialogue.  Oh, and if you’re not familiar with Iceman’s expanded power set, this should fill in all the blanks.




And the beauty of Iceman’s ice mech:



But then came the X-Men crossover event Battle of the Atom.  If you’re not familiar, Beast brought the five original X-Men from the past to convince misguided present-day Cyclops of his wrongdoing.  But then they became stuck in the present and joined Wolverine’s school under Kitty’s mentoring.  Like all good comic books, this caused the future X-Men to transport to the present and attempted to force the original X-Men to go back to the past.  It’s complicated.  Even the battle scenes:


I’ll do my best to explain some back story before Kitty yells at everyone and we end the article. Wolverine’s group (including Iceman) attempted to send the original X-Men back without the original X-Men’s consent — Kitty sees that as abandoning them, not protecting them, etc.  Cyclops’ group jumped at the chance to allow these five to do whatever they darn-tootin’ want to do.  Kitty agrees with Cyclops.  And that effectively ends Kitty and Iceman’s relationship.




Iceman and Kitty’ll both land on their dating feet soon enough.  They gave it a good run, but you can’t hope to outrun the dreaded status quo.  Though no matter how emasculating Kitty’s final words were, she’ll always be better than Mystique.

The love story of Iceman & Mystique, Pt. 3

While Iceman has had his heart broken once and then stomped on a second time by Mystique, don’t think this X-Man hangs his head alone each night as a single tear drips (and then freezes) down his cheek.  Bobby Drake — who is a thirty year-old man still going by the name Bobby — has had quite a fair amount of lovers and girlfriends.  Today, he attacks all of them, but we’ll get to that. In Astonishing X-Men #62-65, written by Majorie Liu and drawn by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Iceman currently dates Kitty Pryde.  She’s way out of his league.


But the title of the article includes Iceman and Mystique, so what’s she up to nowadays?


Mystique only takes baths because she was born before showers were invented.  Look, this arc doesn’t focus solely on our two former lovers.  Mystique only contains a part of the story that leads up to character development through the influences of his ex-girlfriends.  But unlike Kitty, Opal, Lorna, and Annie — his other flames — only our shapeshifting supervillain knows when something’s wrong. After all, she’s instigated these sorts of situations for decades.

While the next scene doesn’t really advance the narrative, you want to see Mystique fight Gambit?





Tentacles are new to Mystique, I know.  She had some power boosts recently.  But something is wrong with Iceman, and at least she’s making an effort to correct this problem.  Probably more so she doesn’t get attacked in the bathtub again than out of genuine affection for the X-Man, but let’s be fair — Bobby’s morals rest squarely in the category of superheroes that don’t ambush naked ex-girlfriends from a shower drain.


Notice the harsh words our dear Bobby uses?  If you can’t tell something’s off, you will now:




So a month ago, the X-Men fought some Celestials (giant alien gods?) and a shard of Apocalypse went missing.  You can probably guess where it is.  Y’see, because while Beast, a man of eloquent speech and even more eloquent science, fights the good fight to save and protect mankind, his alternative dimension supervillain self — creatively titled Dark Beast — tends to do the opposite.  Like shoving a shard of pure evil into Iceman’s frozen chest.


Now, Mystique is tough.  She can take damage far beyond that of normal people, but she’s by no means invulnerable.  And even with her flailing tentacle powers, she doesn’t stand a chance of beating Iceman, much less evil huge Iceman.  But her strengths have always lied in manipulation and deceit. Her words hold far more power than any gun or laser beam, and her patience borders on legendary. Why not let the stronger people do all the heavy lifting until opportunity arises?  Watch her brilliance:





If you read the dialogue again, Mystique tells not one lie.  She just meshes easier with supervillains, which currently describes huge winged Iceman.  Though dear Mystique has the same personality mishaps that all Marvel characters possess, at least her desires never change.  She only wants one thing: everything.

Oh, and the big guns get called in to deal with this chilly problem.


And witness Apocalypse Shard Mystique:


Y’see, she told Iceman the truth right from the very beginning.  She didn’t want him, she wanted what he had — namely that piece of Apocalypse power he had lodged in his chest.  When Thor eventually emerges victorious and shatters our antagonist, Mystique seizes her chance.  And then gets beaten. But more importantly, she allows Iceman to embrace that side of his personality he suppressed since childhood.  Supervillainy is all the joy and none of the moral responsibility.


Since this moment, the two haven’t had any significant interactions.  I’m sure they will again one day, but we know which line Bobby chooses.  Despite a terrible youth, being hated by his own country, and accidentally destroying the lives of hundreds of people, Iceman will always be a hero.  We love superheroes because we admire those that rise up from adversity even as it’s kicking them on the ground.  But you know what we love more?  When superheroes rise up from that adversity in giant ice monster combat.




The love story of Iceman & Mystique, Pt. 2

The love part of our story has long since ended.  The two aren’t so much exes as bitter, vengeful monsters that prey on trust to deliver fatal emotional blows.  Well, the blue one anyway.  Today, we check out X-Men: Manifest Destiny #1-5, written by Mike Carey and drawn by Michael Ryan, that forces us to recall when Mystique delicately placed neural inhibitors in her lady parts to defeat Iceman a few issues later.  His problem’s flaring up again, like a robot STD.


At least this time Iceman has a loving and caring girlfriend by his side.  It’s a delicate time in his life to be eradicating Mystique residue from his body (and memories), but what could go wrong here? Certainly not months of planned relationship building serving only to heighten the sharp pain of another broken heart, right?




He doesn’t deserve this.  But you know the whole deal with supervillains — even their good intentions are caked in murder, deception, and trauma.  And by good intentions, I mean to turn their targets into unfeeling lying murderers.  Mystique, despite being born in the late 1800s, still hasn’t evolved past that idea.  Anyway, Iceman survives, though not for much longer at this rate.



What’s she want with him?  Something villainous to pass the time mainly, but she does claim all this nonsense and life-ruining in the name of science.  Unwilling and non-consensual science.



Over the past decade or so, Iceman has evolved into a phenomenal powerhouse.  He’s practically invulnerable, able to splinter himself into different bodies, and may very well qualify as a top level Omega mutant.  Y’know, the mutants with unimaginable power like Jean Grey, Vulcan, Franklin Richards, etc.  She’s attempting to either callously push Bobby Drake to his full potential or kill off a man she showed weakness in front of.  Either one fits her usual M.O.

Oh, he also survives the syringe.




It’s probably not a good strategy to rely on Mystique tapping into her sentimentality.  She’s legitimately a psychopath, and no amount of nostalgia or good vibes will allow her to release the trigger.  But remember that whole thing about Iceman being crazy powerful?


IcemanMystique33 IcemanMystique34


Iceman follows a fairly standard Marvel personality protocol: despite amazing superpowers, superheroes’ biggest enemies usually ends up being themselves.  Self-loathing, guilt, anger, mistrust, doubt, etc.  Mystique figures she could give Iceman that confidence he so sorely needs.  It’s what has held back his powers for all those years and allows him to keep his frustrated school boy persona.  Iceman may be many things, but mature isn’t one of them.

Luckily, growth takes baby steps, and their final confrontation of today gives Iceman that tiny victory. Oh, Mystique called in a bomb threat over a San Francisco bridge.  She’s a flirt.


Look, no matter what the nursery rhyme says, words hurt.  Sometimes far more than ice beams and gun shots can.  Because while Mystique leaves this fight physically unharmed, Bobby unleashes a kung fu blast right in her cold, dead heart.





Luckily, if you agree with Iceman’s diagnosis, then you experienced a delightful burst of character development for our shapeshifting supervillain.  If you believe Iceman’s talking out his butt, that’s fine too; it’s only his opinion and not the opinion of Marvel or any of the wildly angry fans that yell from YouTube videos — though personally, I agree with Iceman.  And that brief moment of revenge she promises?  That’s for Monday.



The love story of Iceman & Mystique, Pt. 1

It’ll be three parts total, but only today will have the romance and passion that comes from a comic book relationship.  Superheroes fall in love so much harder and so much faster than us real-life folks. Maybe the DC and Marvel universes exists entirely inside an Axe Body Spray commercial.  Though definitely try to enjoy today, as the rest of the week consists mostly of disillusion, brokenhearted resentment, and uppercuts.

We’ll see the entire span of the Iceman and Mystique relationship using pieces of X-Men #189-203, written by Mike Carey and drawn by Chris Bachalo & Humberto Ramos.  Before you question Iceman’s judgement (and you will), Mystique currently has full X-Men membership.  Redemption can be romantic.


Definitely a more attractive way to save someone’s life than CPR.  Mystique grew up in the Victorian age, but she can still seduce men a fourth of her age.  Thus the two bond the basic superhero way: combat banter.








The suspense/their growing love includes all sorts of wildly sappy moments.  It’s as if you’re getting slammed over the head with a bat full of basic cable teen dramas.


Crazy dramatization.  I’ve read this page three or four times and I still have no idea what point she’s making — I think she’s trying to justify child abuse.  Either way, after the emotional vulnerability, their relationship can finally proceed to the inevitable climax.  And one more insanely soap operatic monologue.




Do you feel uncomfortable?  Me too.  Oh, and y’know how Mystique uses deception as her go-to strategy?  It also applies to her atonement.




Honestly, I can’t root for the idea of Mystique shoving neural inhibitors up her privates to defeat Iceman a few issues later.  It’s gross and unnerving and says far more about Mystique than any previous villainous plot has.  But just like She-Hulk sleeping with Juggernaut, so too must the wheel of bad superhero hookups never stop spinning.

We end today with the couple’s final scene in the arc a few issues later.  It’s just as emasculating and somewhat touching as you expect it.




Tony Stark should have released a PSA years ago about the dangers of shacking up with supervillains.  Iceman could have been saved this whole ordeal.  On Wednesday, he gets closure.

The further animated love of Mr. Freeze & Nora

To summarize last article, Mr. Freeze’s love for his former wife, then popsicle, then ex-wife Nora bleeds so deeply that the supervillain would rather see Nora happy with another man than settle for the robot head he is currently.  But the heart wants what the heart wants, even when one doesn’t actually have a heart. We pick up with the second half of today’s love story in Batman: Gotham Adventures #51, written by Jason Hall and drawn by Brad Rader.



You may think Nora’s husband D’Anjou as petty or jealous (of which he’s a twinge of both), but can you blame him?  We assume that Nora knows Mr. Freeze faked his death.  Mr. Freeze hangs out in Arkham Asylum and anytime a supervillain gets punched by Batman, I bet it would make the papers. Though it has to have been years since they’ve seen each other.  Surely, Nora doesn’t feel the same way about Victor Fries nowadays.



Love re-ignited!  Just going by how many women Beast and the Thing have dated, women rarely get turned off from a horrible physical condition (blue fur, rock skin, icy robot bodies, etc.).  But if Mr. Freeze has an arch-nemesis, I’d argue for the status quo.  Because any character that’s entire motivation revolves around pining for his star-crossed wife, it’ll have to return that way.  Like with this shocker:



But instead of a radical change to the comic book universe, Mr. Freeze gains character development, usually the plot device used in place of permanent changes.  I’m not being negative either — we as readers feel the same satisfaction with the added benefit of expecting an infinite more stories.  Plus, I have a soft spot for Gotham City’s goo monster:




Okay, so I lied.  I wrote a hundred words of nothing.  Y’see, comics based on the animated series aren’t subject to the same strict rules of canon the “main” universe is forced to abide by — such as Earth 2, Ultimate Marvel, and any comics where superheroes go into the future.  So the two’s love story comes to an end in Batman Adventures #15, written by Hall and drawn by Kelsey Shannon.

Remember a few pages back when Nora’s husband D’Anjou hid Mr. Freeze’s letters?




To be fair to her husband, Mr. Freeze does have hundreds of comic issues where he’s been a homicidal maniac.  Like most Gotham supervillains, he kills more of his henchmen than the Bat family knocks out.  He has really no hesitation in killing all sorts of innocent and not-so-innocent people. Kinda hard to root for the guy.  But he did spend his entire life trying to perfect Nora’s — and it cost him everything.  A part of me really does want him to win, at least until whenever he pops up later and turns a bank vault into an ice rink or whatever.  For now, watch for that solitary tear about to roll down your cheek:




While Mr. Freeze may have attempted to start over far away from anyone he could hurt, the Dark Knight doesn’t forget crimes past.  Or forgive.  Or anything that doesn’t involve a batarang to the skull. Enter the roadblock to love, the one man who abstains from killing everything but romance




Robots don’t count as murder, so Batman can fly home with a clear conscience.  Look, while you can no doubt figure out this story doesn’t have a happy ending, it does have end hopefully.  Batman can perform miracles, but even with a utility belt full of deus ex machinas, he can’t roundhouse kick true love.  And despite Mr. Freeze’s body count (all fictional people so we let it slide), don’t the two deserve a second shot?




The animated love of Mr. Freeze & Nora

Since comic book characters are fictional characters, there can be many different versions of them running around at once.  Thank goodness too, because that just means more Batmen chucking batarangs at bad guys.  And so while the animated shows don’t classify as the canon stories, they still tell stories.  Good stories.  Like the romance between animated Mr. Freeze and his wife, animated Nora Fries.

The tragic origin of Mr. Freeze premiered on the cartoon and then transferred over to the comics, where if you don’t know — meaning you’re most likely my parents — Victor Fries’ wife fell into a deep illness.  To save her life, Victor cryogenically froze her.  An accident followed and Victor Fries’ body chemistry altered to only allow survival in below freezing temperatures.  Hence the suit he now wears. But in the animated world, Victor (now the supervillain Mr. Freeze) and his obsession with curing his wife comes to an end in the movie Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub Zero, setting up a much different dynamic in future stories.  An adapted version of the film came out in comic book form in Batman & Robin Adventures: Sub Zero, written by Kelley Puckett and drawn by Joe Staton.



You can argue morality or ethics, but threats tend to work fairly well in the comic book world.  And while superheroes and supervillain roll through the revolving death/resurrection door like it’s a Sunday brunch, civilians don’t have that luxury.  Basically, Gregory is totally going to find an organ donor.  As I skip the entire plot and jump right to the finale, the status quo changes forever:




Dear Nora now walks among the living fully cured.  Though Mr. Freeze remains one of the most brilliant scientists and powerful bad guys in the DC universe, I’m more impressed he befriended two polar bears.  Off topic, but just so you know, Mr. Freeze and Nora’s relationship isn’t the only one that warmed up during the movie/comic:



The next part of our story lies in cartoon form only.  Here’s where my stash of images can’t help you. Check out The New Batman Adventures episode “Cold Comfort” for the full version, but I’ll spoil it now if you wish to save twenty minutes (YouTube has it if you want to watch it).  So Nora totally waited for her dear Victor to return to her outstretched arms.  He did not, but his reason is valid — y’see, spending every single moment of his time searching for Nora’s cure neglected his own condition.  He was doused in experimental chemicals after all.  So now he has no body, just a head that runs around on adorable spider legs.  And to make a bad situation even worse, with no word from Victor, Nora gets sick of waiting and marries her Wayne Corp doctor instead.  

We pick up soon after that in Batman: Gotham Adventures #5, written by the wonderful Ty Templeton and drawn by Rick Burchett.





This moment melts my heart, because for all the evil and apathy that Mr. Freeze claims, it’s a selflessness that drives his love for Nora.  He doesn’t care that Nora’s happy with him — he simply cares that Nora’s happy.  It’s beautiful, and something endearing we don’t normally see in supervillains.  I mean, I don’t think the Joker wants Harley Quinn to be happy, much less happy with him.  Lex Luthor’s only love is that smug face staring back at him in the mirror.  The list goes on, though you should know that on the hero side, Supergirl once dated her horse.  That’s a DC fact Flashpoint can never erase.

Anyway, as the story above wraps up, one important detail about Victor and Nora’s relationship remains unchanged:


New husband with Scorsese eyebrows aside, Nora will always love Victor.  Always.  We’ll pick up with the second half of the love story next time complete with a real ending and everything.  You’ll be wiping that single tear off your cheek as you close this tab on Monday, so make sure you have a Dido CD ready for full effect.

Hellcat’s return, Pt. 2

I’m not saying that Hellcat and Daimon Hellstrom’s marriage wasn’t going to work out (real names Patsy Walker and Daimon Hellstrom respectively), but one’s a former fashion model and the other’s the Son of Satan, evil incarnate.  Still, there’s no reason the romance couldn’t play out in standard comic book drama, like in Defenders #116, written by J.M. DeMatteis and drawn by Don Perlin.



Nine issues later in Defenders #125, written by DeMatteis and drawn by Perlin, the two get married. Like all good superhero weddings, the normal matrimonial events occur:


But we know the morbid finale to their tale.  Hellstrom’s mischievousness lives on as he continues to manipulate living playthings while Walker has to rebuild her life from scratch after being trapped in Hell for years.  Normal divorce stuff, and most importantly, Walker begins a new life sans-Daimon Hellstorm.  Unfortunately, she can’t completely escape her past in the miniseries Marvel Divas #1-4, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and drawn by Tonci Zonjic.

To sum up the plot — Good friends Hellcat, Firestar (Angelica Jones), Black Cat (Felicia Hardy), and Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) hang out together to gossip, get drinks, and punch criminals.


While all four have a central role, Hellcat’s part in the story gets appropriately shoved to the side in favor of this more traumatic shocker:




Essentially, Firestar’s mutant power dishes out radioactive microwave energy.  Unfortunately, her own body isn’t totally immune from the excess radiation and hence the cancer diagnosis.  While this story’s both bittersweet and a fascinating look into a seemingly forgotten part of everyday life (illness), I’m focusing on Walker and Hellstrom’s sweet-talk.  They go pretty much as you expect:




Hellstrom’s a mysterious character in the Marvel universe.  He constantly switches from the superhero to the supervillain side.  His battle costume is a pentagram strewn on his shirtless chest.  But we can all sort of agree that Daimon Hellstrom fits in that prestigious Loki category of characters whose only side is themselves.  Sadly, the Son of Satan’s pessimism holds up in this case, as poor Firestar’s cancer and subsequent treatment force dear Hellcat to make a drastic, desperate, and slimy choice.



Look, Hellstrom’s not a total creep.  The two’ll go on a date first, where they can reminisce and banter about days past.  Or future, considering Hellcat’s now trapped in Hell for an eternity.  For the third time I’ve shown you.  Cue the ol’ Hellstrom charm:




Even without Walker’s insanity driven suicide, I can’t imagine the marriage’d last much longer than it did.  Note Hellstrom’s wallet chain.  No one’s going to ruin the Son of Satan’s credit or steal his social security number if he can help it.  Chauvinistic attitude aside, our half-naked antagonist should have known this plan wouldn’t work when he resides so clearly on the evil side of that hero fence.  Even Wolverine knows that “no means no” as he propositions ladies in between his beer burps.



Superman has kryptonite.  Daimon Hellstrom has his unwavering and all-consuming narcissism.




I believe that’s the last time the two of them have seen each other.  Hellcat shows up sporadically in various issues after this, but nothing substantial.  Hopefully her face’ll pop up in a starring role sooner or later — she’s the Hawkeye of superheroes with cat names.

Nothing romantic about Harley Quinn & Joker

In an effort to scrounge up some inspiration/desperately hope something triggers an article idea, I googled “best superhero couples.”  Three results on the first page have Harley Quinn and Joker on their list.  I googled “best DC couples.”  Two results on the first page have Harley Quinn and Joker on their list.  What’s going on?  Why are they on those lists?  One can’t justify anything sexy about a psychopathic abusive manipulative violent egotistical supervillain dating anyone, much less the emotionally-shattered and deranged Harley Quinn.  I don’t want to judge the readers’ personal preference, but tell me, what’s romantic about this?







Harley Quinn has only existed for a little over twenty years.  And while comic books haven’t always been kind to women (though they’re definitely getting better), is it romance we feel for Harley’s affections?  What about uneasiness?  Frustration?  Anger?  Even if the Joker’s capable of love of any sort (which is highly debatable), it’s Batman who has his heart, not Joker’s bubbly sidekick.  Look, I love the Joker.  I love Harley Quinn.  Those two endlessly fascinate me and both are such rich, bold characters.  But we shouldn’t celebrate the two of them being together and I hope to prove it.

I’m going to use the following issues today:
Batman: Harley Quinn, written by Paul Dini and drawn by Yvel Guichet
Gotham City Sirens #19, written by Peter Calloway and drawn by Andres Guinaldo
Gotham City Sirens #21, written by Calloway and drawn by Guinaldo
Batman #13, volume 2, written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo
Suicide Squad #14-15, volume 3, written by Fred Glass and drawn by Fernando Dagnino

After her huge success in Batman: The Animated Series, it was only a matter of time before she premiered in the comics.  Her first appearance took place right in the middle of the Batman event No Man’s Land, where like pretty much every appearance Harley Quinn and the Joker have together, her dear boyfriend attempts to assassinate her:




Be honest, do you feel romance or pity for poor Harley?

I’ve posted these next series of images before (also because Gotham City Sirens constantly delighted me), and any comparison between the Dark Knight and Joker’s obsessions (each other, essentially) hits a nerve we don’t like to admit.  Superman’s the perfect one, but Batman’s as wildly emotionally damaged as the Joker.  Though without the murdering.



After this conversation where Catwoman and Harley Quinn both realize they love emotionally unavailable men, Harley Quinn figures she should solve her lingering kryptonite the ol’ supervillain way.



To be fair to Catwoman, Batman has never tried to explode his paramours.  And while we constantly wonder why Harley Quinn goes back to that psychopath, it’s important to know that the dear girl’s just as messed up as her remorseless boyfriend.  Or at least as delusional.







This scene may be one of the finest I’ve read in a long time.  You see all that anger slowly fade to a mush of only the happy memories to give us a small glimpse as to why she returns infinitely to his open arms.  Thankfully, I think the Batman event Death of the Family that recently took place ended the two’s rendezvouses for a few years.  Status quo’ll demand she’ll eventually get smacked by a giant axe or suffer acid burns at the hands of Joker, but trust me — Harley came out of this event with some serious trauma.




Skinned face Joker is super scary, right?


While some critics complained of too many lengthy, philosophical Joker rants filling the pages, I’ve always been a sucker for insane supervillain speeches.  This new Joker feels that any PTSD main course must come with an appetizer of a lecture.  Sure, everyone from Nightwing to Batgirl to Robin to Red Hood to Batman received their Joker speech, but Harley Quinn’s hits especially hard as she’s spent half her life making out with that dude.



I don’t think we’re witnessing any revelations here.  Harley’s almost certainly the first and only one, as Joker pulled similar stunts with the Batkids.  If you like, pick up Harley Quinn #1 released a few weeks ago.  I’m really hoping for success with her new solo series.  Fictional as she may be, I’ll always be rooting for Harley Quinn.


Peter Parker loves Carlie Cooper

Or at least strongly like — let’s not put a label on things.  Peter Parker certainly doesn’t.  While Peter’s a good-looking, fit, caring, and hilarious man, he also comes with major emotional issues from the whole blame-himself-for-everything tantrum that he does whenever anything goes wrong.  Usually every other issue or so.  But in Amazing Spider-Man #647, written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Max Fiumara, dear Spider-Man gets that moment (though brief) of happiness he so badly deserves. I’m excited too.

Carlie Cooper, introduced a hundred issues previously, serves the New York City Police Department as a forensic scientist.  She and Peter crush on each other and go on a few dates.  Keep in mind, this is the first girl he has dated since his marriage dissolved with Mary Jane.  I mean, he went out with Black Cat a few times, but romance won’t bloom when the evening’s spent clawing terrorists.




Look, love takes a long time.  Especially for Peter, who’s notoriously bad at women despite having previously married a supermodel.  And while I would like to break down his romantic faults, Mary Jane does it far better than I would in six pages from now.  But to be fair, very few superheroes can maintain a healthy relationship — and not just because they’re constantly shot at by aliens and lasers.  Y’see, writers understand characterization.  And unfortunately, the most interesting characters also tend to be the most flawed.  Simply, superheroes suck at relationships — whether that be status quo reasons or deep personality faults.  Except Superman, because he’s perfect.


I enjoy the choices of costumes at the party.  Especially Betty Brant’s obscure Jewel outfit.




Peter getting shut down by Carlie hurts way more than Rhino’s uppercut or Shocker’s gauntlets.  His body has been forged into a powerful concrete wall able to withstand the force of any evildoer’s blows, but his emotions still remain that cracked glass window with a small tap shattering his fragile, unstable heart.  More importantly, Peter dressed up as J. Jonah Jameson.



Spider-Man does eventually ruin Peter and Carlie’s relationship.  Just like it ruined Peter and Gwen’s as well as Peter and Mary Jane’s.  Sadly, Spider-Man has to sacrifice for that great power he holds dearly.  Great responsibility or something like that.  But with a job like Spider-Man’s, which involves mainly dodging pumpkin grenades and punching sand monsters, a cheerful personal life can definitely offset the downsides of the superhero gig.  Plus, readers want their favorite characters to be happy — and today, despite it being only momentary, Peter embraces that rare joy.  Thank goodness.



The marriage (and divorce) of Storm and Black Panther

Their marriage lasted six years and one month.  In real time.  That’s like four months of comic book time.  In late 2006, the Marvel world realizes that the King of Wakanda looks silly without a wife, but sadly, a suitable candidate to help him rule his tiny African nation can be difficult to find.  That and Man Ape’s taken.  So, why not that young white-haired girl that he fell in love with as a teenager, who now resides as the sometimes leader of the X-Men?  She’s totally a catch.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at the following issues:
Storm #4, volume two, written by Eric Jerome Dickey and drawn by Lan Medina & David Yardin
Black Panther #18, volume four, written by Reginald Hudlin and drawn by Scot Eaton
Avengers vs. X-Men #8, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Adam Kubert
Avengers vs. X-Men #9, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Adam Kubert
Wolverine and the X-Men #24, written by Aaron and drawn by David Lopez

Anyway, they met and celebrated a fairly emotional courtship as youths.  Young love, right?



I mean, they didn’t remain terribly close as their paths led them to opposite ends of the world.  Storm threw hurricanes at Juggernaut while Black Panther did Wakandan stuff, I guess.  I’m behind on Black Panther comics.  But they’ve always loved each other, because political marriages are so old fashioned and readers don’t tolerate passion out of convenience.




I would like to mention that while both Black Panther and the Black Panther Party (for non-Americans, an African-American radical socialist political organization of the ’70s and ’80s), they’re not connected.  It’s quite a coincidence though.  As you’ve (hopefully) read some of my previous articles starring the married duo, their marriage turns out to be surprisingly happy and interesting.  Plus, I like it when characters I like are happy — always for a fleeting moment though, as joy bores writers.

During the Marvel event Avengers vs. X-Men, the two find themselves on opposite ends of the conflict. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem — Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman butted heads during the Civil War — but then that pesky Namor does this:


Namor’s abs are so powerful that even the Phoenix Force can’t create him a shirt.  And when the Atlantean X-Man destroys the country that has never been conquered (except by the affable Doctor Doom), it tends to burn any bridges of goodwill between Wakanda and the X-Men.  That and Black Panther clawing all their faces the past eight issues.


I enjoy Black Panther, I do.  But while still somewhat justified for his forced course of action in the next picture, it’s a wildly cold moment that makes you want to smack T’Challa as hard as he slapped Tony Stark the previous issue.


Hurts, right?  Politics and such.  I personally loved this event, but it did take a while before the superheroes started acting heroic.  Both sides overreacted and punched way too early — that’s actually probably why I loved it so much.  But it took Spider-Man to really show the others heroes how to act, that all this brawling only served for the Marvel universe to sneer at the childish actions of their protectors.  Witness some true heroism for a change:


Sorry, wrong moment.

Black Panther and Storm remain friends.  I’m serious.  Good friends.  Though heartbreak isn’t easy to break free from, and sometimes it takes a little help.  Short, furry, smelly help.




I’ve mentioned before that superheroines love Wolverine.  I don’t know why.  And while there’s definitely a manly ruggedness to him, Wolverine also has more back hair than Beast.  Look, I’m not here to judge taste.  If Storm wants to rebound with the tiny Canadian, she deserves it.  She could do far worse.