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Back Issues: Love Laboured

Back Issues: Love Laboured



Believe it or not I’m a huge romantic at heart. I love love! This isn’t going to be some soppy, Cecelia Ahern, touchy feely nonsense! Love is as terrifying as it is beautiful, a burden that can weigh you down just as much as it lifts you up. Comic books have offered readers a look at all sorts of relationships and the many frightening and fantastic forms love can take. We’ve seen heroes and villains alike fall in and out of love, characters torn apart and consumed by their feelings and we’ve seen them grow and develop because of love as well.

For ‘Back Issues’ this week, I want to look at some of my favourite pairings and just how love has affected them as individuals and couples.


Catwoman and Batman

For the record, this couple have never been official. Neither one has ever made the move or asked the question to ground their relationship. Selena Kyle and Bruce Wayne, aka Catwoman and Batman, are probably one of the most iconic comic couples but they’ve never actually had a relationship bycatwoman1-1 conventional standards. They are the Romeo and Juliet of panels and text bubbles; star-crossed lovers on a path that has brought them together so often only to tear them (and each other) apart.

For me, the most powerful scenes between these two can be found in Catwoman #1 and #2, released in 2011. There has always been tension between the pair, like stolen kisses and flirtatious banter, but these scenes saw them succumb to their passion, their lust and their love. Whenever either is in trouble, in real danger, the other will appear to help. They have been, at the worst of times, sworn enemies and cagey allies at the best.

These scenes, while depicting the more carnal side of their relationship, also shows their human side. The close-ups show the duo grappling at first but, as it escalates, their embrace softens. At all times, however, the costumes remain on, while they’re prepared to let themselves give in to their wants, their identities must remain secret.

Catwoman and Batman show that love isn’t always pure, it’s carnal, painful, raw but above all else, it’s human; a need to reach out to someone else and feel connected, even if it’s for a fleeting moment.

Hulking and Wiccan

The Young Avengers couple had been dating since their first appearance in the first issue of Young Avengers 2005 and they quickly became fan favourites. Teddy and Billy, aka Hulking and Wiccan, might have at first seemed like a very mismatched couple but their differences quickly became their strength, both bringing something to their relationship.

Though they first appeared as a couple, their relationship was never fully expressed until #9 of The Children’s Crusade, a Young Avengers miniseries released between 2010-2012. Written by Allan Heinberg and illustrated by Jim Cheung, the couple and their teammates find themselves on anff2dab6b37715473b89321cae434e796 impossible task, to track down Wanda Maximoff and protect her from those who would seek to harm her or use her.

The journey for Billy is particularly hard. As he examines his own origins and the uncanny similarities between him and his brother and the Maximoff twins, he believes himself to be the lost son of the Scarlet Witch. The entire time he grapples with this idea, Teddy stands by him. When they must decide to obey or strike out, Teddy is there with him and in issue #9 we finally see the young adults embrace and share a tender kiss in a large panel with a white background, emphasising the importance and power of this kiss. Teddy, the taller of the two, lovingly embraces Billy, his arms drawing him closer and protecting him.

It’s not long-lived, though, as the pair and their moment are interrupted by Captain Marvel.

Special props to both Heinberg and Cheung for creating characters and a relationship that for nearly six years went without a kiss but managed to convey their monogamous love in a very genuine and heartwarming way.

Alana and Markotumblr_m0vr1iQzP31qg1iejo1_500

When it comes to lovers that never should have been, Image Comics’ Saga boasts a couple that defy all odds; the real Romeo and Juliet of comics. Alana and Marko aren’t just from opposing families, though, they are from warring species, locked in a generational war that has torn both worlds asunder. So why do they fall in love? Why do they by some miracle have a child together? Why do they stay together?

Unlike our first two couples, there are no stand out-issues or moments for this pairing because every single chance they have together they embrace it. They’re aware that their relationship and their child could cost them their lives, they’re aware that they shouldn’t work, but despite all of that they’re in love. They are willing to die to protect their child and each other with both putting themselves in harm’s way time and time again to save the other.

Alana and Marko are a testament to the fact that love is never easy but, if it’s worth fighting for, then you have to give that a shot!

Kitty and Piotr

Surprise! It’s not Jean and Scott! Or Jean and Wolverine! Or Cyclops and Emma! Or Rogue and Gambit! It’s Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin, aka Shadowcat and Colossus, who are untouchable mutants. Kitty phases through solid matter and Piotr can just crash through it unharmed. However, the same cannot be said for their love lives, especially together.


Instantly drawn to each other, Kitty and Piotr’s relationship raised eyebrows from not only fans but people in the industry; 19 yr old Piotr pursued the 14 yr old Kitty. From the origins of their relationship, it was clear that this wasn’t going to be easy and sometime later Piotr ends his relationship with Kitty, having fallen in love and lost someone else.

Over the coming stories it became more and more apparent that, while they weren’t together, their love for each other did keep bringing them back into each other’s lives, even if it was just platonic. Remaining close friends, the pair still cared deeply for each other, putting their other feelings aside and hiding them as best they could. After Colossus’ sacrifice to save the world from the Legacy Virus, Kitty is left devastated, spreading his ashes over his homeland. She mourns a friend, a lover and what could have been had they had time. In the Astonishing X-Men arc written by Joss Whedon, we quickly see just how much of an impact his death had on Kitty but it’s his return from death that truly sends her into a spiral.

Kitty and Piotr showed me that love isn’t always the greatest feeling in the world; love means letting it go even when it’s all you’ve ever wanted. Love is a sacrifice, pain and heartache.

Do you agree with my pairings? What comic couples do you admire? Let me know in the comments!