Warning: SPOILERS for The Batman & X-Men Weddings
There’s a few universal constants with Marvel and DC superheroes. They fight crime, they have an identity outside their hero persona and they have some manner of a tragic backstory. Now, a new trait can be ascribed to the Big Two’s characters: they suck at getting married.
In the past month or so, DC and Marvel have both big wedding issues commemorating two of their most popular relationships. Kitty Pryde was marrying fellow X-Men, Colossus and Catwoman was tying the knot with Batman. Neither wedding went to plan.
We won’t go into spoilers too much for both weddings. The only thing that we’ll really say is that neither nuptial had what could be called a “happily ever after.” The reasons for why vary, both in terms of quality and specifics. It is safe to say that no fan cried tears of joy reading how either wedding went down.
The two wedding issues, X-Men Gold #30 and Batman #50 were both sold and presented as huge landmark issues that would forever change the lives of their heroes. However, that’s not what happened. Nothing changed for the heroes or the readers... besides making everyone a little bit miserable.
Even worse the issues were sold as the first chapter in new superhero sagas. Batman #50 was used to launch a new solo Catwoman series. Meanwhile, X-Men Gold #30 set up the new series Mr. and Mrs. X. At best, this narrative bait and switch is dishonest. At worst, it’s just plain manipulative and greedy.
Both weddings presented an opportunity to dramatically change the status quo of their heroes. Yet the finale of each bent over backwards to restore the same old situation for both couples. This, obviously, is a huge problem.
The truly frustrating thing is that neither wedding had to go down like it did. The phenomena of superheroes melting down at the altar is a very recent event. Superheroes, on both Marvel and DC, have gotten married in the past and there’s only been good, or at least interesting, outcomes to their happy romances.
Lois Lane and Superman got married in the mid 90’s and are still together, with a child no less. 2006 had Marvel’s Jessica Jones and Luke Cage solidify their relationship with a marriage after that had given birth to their daughter Danielle. Green Arrow and Black Canary’s wedding was crashed by a bunch of villains, but they still tied the knot. Even though Marvel infamously retconned Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker’s marriage out of canon, they were in domestic bliss for years.
This false notion that supeheroes can’t be married seems to have started in 2013, when DC declared that Batwoman couldn’t marry her fiancee, Maggie Sawyer. The reasoning being that happy heroes don’t make for good stories. This just isn’t true. The only determination of a good superhero comic is the combination of writing and art. It has nothing to do with the hero's relationship status.
True, there is a very timeless and cyclic nature to comic book stories. Heroes never really die and no matter how many times they are defeated, supervillains always come back. Even when something does change in a superhero’s story, a new creative team can come along and undo or retcon all those changes. Change doesn’t always, or even mostly, stick. This is just that state of comics.
Yet some growth should be allowed to happen, especially when it comes to serious superhero relationships. Batman has had other love interests than Catwoman but no one else has ever been as serious or popular as The Cat. The same goes for Kitty Pryde and Colossus. Kitty’s been engaged to Star-Lord but Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin is still the love of her life.
Neither couple is really going to end up with anyone else. So, they should be allowed some measure of happiness. At least, we can't help but think that's what their fans would agree on.