Love is a fickle thing, ask anyone who thinks they are in love, or have ever been, and you'll hear countless variations of how they felt and what it meant to them. It's one of those emotions that is so hard to narrow down, because it truly is such a biased concept as it's unique to each and every person, just look at the following descriptions of what love IS:
- The physicist: 'Love is chemistry'
- The psychotherapist: 'Love has many guises'
- The philosopher: 'Love is a passionate commitment'
- The nun: 'Love is free yet binds us'
- The romantic novelist: 'Love drives all great stories' [source]
Each of these descriptions has a unique take on what love is, and how it affects us - which just goes to show how easily it is to interpret what love is and means. Love in comics is an entirely different creature, one that is even harder to pin-point because you're dealing with fictional situations, characters and there's bound to be a few relationships formed in love only to crash and burn.
Ultimately it's the interpersonal relationships (romantic or not) between characters that drive us to read the comics. We love the characters themselves and then when you add in a romantic twist, it just makes the story all the more enjoyable - even when that relationship is bound to bring disaster and dysfunction. Here are 5 fairly prominent ones.
Shadowcat & Colossus
This is one of those relationships that on the surface doesn't seem so odd. At least before you realize that Shadowcat is a 14 year old girl basically trying to proposition Colossus who was at least 18 when they met. Yup, that's what is so dysfunctional about this relationship. Shadowcat (Kitty Pride) made her first appearance in Uncanny X-Men, nearly 35 years ago, and she made a point immediately to show her interest in the steel-skinned Colossus (Piotr Rasputin). Shadowcat was introduced around the time that Jean Grey died - the first time, that is - and her immediate interest in Colossus elevated the two to the series' primary romantic leads.
Colossus was hesitant at first to enter into a relationship with her because of her age, even though she pursued a more intimate relationship constantly. Colossus stood his ground and refused to sleep with her, but had no qualms about the regular extensive make-out sessions.
Dick Grayson & Helena Wayne
Now this may not seem a strange relationship, but once you have the whole story it gets a bit more unorthodox. Dick Grayson is the unofficial first son of Batman, as he was basically raised in Wayne Manor and mentored for years by the Dark Knight and his alter ego Bruce Wayne. Helena being the alternate-universe daughter of Batman & Catwoman, was also raised in Wayne Manor and makes the two either foster-siblings or possibly step-brother/sister.
The two often would have flirty training sessions that led into more extensive training *if you catch my drift*. Dick even went so far as to break into Helena's apartment while she was in the shower - there was never really anything 'right' about this relationship from the start.
Captain America & Sharon Carter
Who would have thought that the pinnacle of goodness and wholesomeness would be at the center of a dysfunctional relationship. At the core the relationship is similar to that of Shadowcat and Colossus, seeing as Captain America is a super solider is decades older than Sharon Carter (technically) even though they appear to both be of a similar age, because the captain never aged while frozen in the ice. What makes this relationship truly out-there is the fact that before being frozen the Captain was in a serious relationship with Peggy Carter. Yeah, Peggy just happens to be the aunt of Sharon.
So the Captain moved on from one Carter woman, and eventually started a relationship with her niece. I'd call that a bit dysfunctional.
Hal Jordan & Arisia
Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, is generally seen as being on an equal footing with Superman when it comes to relying on a high moral standing and righteousness, so how could he possibly have a relationship that is innappropriate? -- Well, this is how. Enter, Arisia - an alien who came to Earth to assist in fighting off the countless villains here. She, like Shadowcat to Colossus, made it implicitly clear that she was attracted to Hal. Hal, with his high sense of right and wrong, shot Arisia down right away saying that he was twice her age. She ran away in tears and that should've been the end of it right? - Yeah, not so much. Arisia had other plans, she used her rings power to age her body into a woman in a matter of hours.
The two now 'physically' near the same age get it on, and Hal's iron will is thrown out the window and the two start dating as if it's normal even though Arisia still has the mentality of a pre-teen with the body of a voluptuous woman.
Ms. Marvel & Marcus Immortus
This relationship is just wrong on every level, and that means that it's without a doubt deserves a perennial appearance on the list of most unorthodox and dysfunctional relationships ever. Here's the gist of it - The Avengers find Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) who had been absent for a couple weeks, suddenly 8 months pregnant. Strange, right? Well it only gets odder. Apparently she was abducted by Marcus Immortus to an alternate dimension and while there Marcus manipulated Carol's emotions subliminally and made her love him. Marcus impregnated her with literally his own seed, then sent her back to the moment she left with no memory of her time.
Carol literally gave birth to baby Marcus, who matures rapidly and eventually reveals what had actually transpired. Pretty whacked relationship if you ask me.