Thursday, September 24, 2015

Would You Rather... They'd Played "The Break-Up Song"?

Doug: From time to time, in an effort to angst-up our funnybooks, authors will throw us a curve aimed right at the soap opera aspects we love. For example, way back in Fantastic Four #4 Stan Lee and Jack Kirby decided it would be a good idea to have Sue pine for Namor, effectively creating a love triangle that for all I know persists to the present. About a decade and a half later Chris Claremont attempted the same trick in the X-Men with Wolverine and Jean Grey, sometimes leaving us to wonder if ol' Scott Summers would be on the outside looking in.

Doug: So that's your discussion prompt for the day -- Where were those love triangles that you, well, loved, and where were the ones you loathed? And, how about love triangles you wish would have swung the way of the forbidden fruit? Or, maybe it's not a love triangle at all... Maybe you would have preferred further exploration of the affair between Hawkeye and the Black Widow rather than her progression away from him and finally ending up with Daredevil.

Doug: I have a few suggestions to get you thinking, but feel free to toss out your own ideas -- especially if they involve non-Marvel characters, as we always like to broaden our zuvembie-like horizons!


Anonymous said...

Another love triangle was Bruce Banner, Betty Ross and Glenn Talbot.

Anonymous said...

By the way, General Thunderbolt Ross is no longer the Red Hulk - he was cured by the green Hulk a.k.a. Doctor Green (long story). Just in case anybody wanted to know :)

david_b said...

The triangles I enjoyed were the Silver-Aged innocent ones like Speedy and Kid Flash both liking Wonder Girl, and the occasional jealousy of GA over Black Canary's occasional flirting with Bats in the JLA although I don't recall Batman reciprocating much.

The one-ish triangle in B&B 78 with WW and Batgirl vying for Batman's heart was kinda cute.

ColinBray said...

Good topic, Doug. Back in the day I radiated disdain for soap operas on TV but held onto a guilty secret - that comics were my own personal fix.

In the words of New Order I especially enjoyed Bizarre Love Triangles - Thor/Sif/Jane Foster was a good one. Vision/Wanda/Wonder Man too. But possibly topping them all for strangeness was Vision/Wanda/Mantis/Swordsman. What was that, a love square?

If anyone tells you teenage boys don't want to read romance, it's a lie. But it helps if the characters are variously, an alien, a witch and a synthezoid.

dbutler16 said...

Just off the top of my head, it didn't seem like the Wolverine/Jean/Scott triangle was really much of a triangle, except in Wolvie's head. I don't think Jean originally would have given Logan the time of day, though of course Claremont later changed this, I think perhaps first in the Classic X-Men backup stories. I think the Sue/Reed/Namor thing had a little bit more three way juice to it, though the fact that Namor lives in the ocean, rather than on land as a member of the FF, makes that a relationship that if going to have very long dormant periods.

Another love triangle that never was that got my attention was the Timber Wolf/Light Lass/Saturn Girl "triangle" where Light Lass broke up with Timber Wolf because she thought that there was something going on between him and Saturn Girl. There wasn't, but I think it was a long time, if ever, that they got back together again. Then Light Lass would up dating Shrinking Violet, which I suppose makes another love triangle. Poor Timber Wolf.

Doug said...

As I recently wrote about the Vision/Wonder Man throwdown (pictured), another of my favorites (which we've also reviewed) was the Human Torch/Quicksilver tussle in FF #158. I'm still a Johnny-loves-Crystal guy, and cold as it may seem, the way the Crystal-Pietro marriage ultimately turned out was fine by me.


Doug said...

Time out, DB -- Light Lass dated Shrinking Violet? Which of the umpteen Legion reboots contained that storyline?


david_b said...

Actually Colin the Englehart four-way in Avengers was **always** my favorite as well..., I just didn't want to repeat myself since I've mentioned it several times here in the past.

It was one of the coolest subplots the Avengers ever had, in my humble opinion.

Another warm favorite was the Peter/Harry/Mary Jane triangle.

Anonymous said...

@ Doug: The affair between Crystal and Pietro was probably the first one that actually affected me! I'd grown up with Supes and the LLs and various triangles of those sorts, including the time-honored Superhero/ine/Secret Identity/Love interest, but the FF/Inhuman romance being broken up by an Avenger interloper (while his sister was frantically getting the team to search for him!) blew my adolescent mind! (Plus, I kind of always thought that Pietro was a little gay, so his sudden interest in Crystal was a surprise!)

Anonymous said...

I'll echo Colin's "guilty secret" sentiment and throw in Tony/Pepper/Happy and Cap/Sharon/Peggy.


Anonymous said...

I vaguely recall the suggestion of a Conan/Belit/Sonja triangle.... Conan/Sonja crossovers were always a bit iffy, with some sort of contrived plot device generally getting in the way of the necessary sword fight - what was that all about? (Thats a rhetorical question, btw)


Redartz said...

David_b: Pete/ MJ/Harry was a long, involved triangle! Our Mr. Parker seemed a bit of a ladies' man, looking back. There was the Black Cat/ Peter/ Debra Whitman/ Mary Jane thing, too. And early on, Pete wanted Betty Brant and was pursued by Liz Allen...

Anonymous said...

Personally, I never was a fan of Jane Foster. I would have preferred the noble warrior woman Sif over the fawning Jane Foster any day. Namor and Sue on the other hand was a much more interesting triangle. Namor's dynamic, haughty personality was a real contrast to the cool cerebral Reed Richards. You gotta keep your wife close when the King of Atlantis wants her! By the way, the current Spider-Man daily comic strip has Namor wanting to wed Mary Jane Watson of all people! Let's see how that one plays out.

Logan/Jean/Scott? Nah, this was too contrived for me. I love Wolvie as much as any fanboy, but Jean was better off with Scott, bland as he is.

- Mike 'homewrecker' from Trinidad & Tobago.

dbutler16 said...

Doug, believe it or not, Light Lass (or Lightning Lass, whatever) and Shrinking Violet were an item as part of the original continuity. I don't remember exactly when, but it was p but prior to Magic Wars (though I think it was after Crisis on Infinite Earths), and therefore before any of the kajillion reboots.

As far as Crystal, I do prefer Johnny and Crystal to Pietro and Crystal. By the way, didn't she have an affair with a regular guy some time in the 80's?

Garett said...

There was some rivalry amongst Warlord's women-- Tara the barbarian princess, Shakira the cat girl, and Mariah the archaeologist.

I see there's a new Archie comic out with a new style art. Looks quite good, surprisingly, with art by Fiona Staples: Archie #1

Anonymous said...

@dbutler16 Crystal had an "almost" affair with the Black Knight when they were Avengers...but Pietro showed up and Sersi got Dane Whitman instead, IIRC.
"Logan/Jean/Scott? Nah, this was too contrived for me. I love Wolvie as much as any fanboy, but Jean was better off with Scott, bland as he is."
Jean was in a more likely triangle back in the early X-Men days, and was fought over by Angel and Cyclops. It seemed like a nerdy wish-fulfillment that the guy who had to wear glasses 24/7 (and was NOT the buff dude that he is today!) was chosen over rich, handsome Warren Worthington III, the very embodiment of an "Angel"!
I thought I'd also throw in Supergirl's "triangle" with herself and Comet the Superhorse, who fancied her always, but romanced her as Bronco Bill when he was able to obtain human form!

pfgavigan said...


The Archie Syndrome, when two hot girls are interested in the same guy leaving the observer with the strong desire to punch the twerp.

I enjoyed most of the romantic entanglements listed above, but, except for Johnny/Crystal/Pietro always felt that it seemed more like an obsessive impulse on the part of someone trying to break up an established relationship. I might have found these a bit more interesting if there had been a female writer behind the story for a different sense of perspective.



Karen said...

I always thought that the Jean/ Scott/ Logan thing really existed mostly in Logan's mind -at least in the pre-Dark Phoenix days. Maybe it was retconned (in classic X-Men?) into something more tangible.

The Wanda/Vision/Wonder Man thing really came full circle during the Busiek run on Avengers when Wanda and Simon became involved. Ultimately they decided they were better off just as friends but it went on for a good while. It looked like Vision and Wanda might get back together but it never really happened. And then Vision got torn in two for Avengers Disassembled, so...

The Namor-Sue-Reed thing was always interesting, because I could never see what Sue saw in Reed. He just seemed to ignore her until she was kidnapped by someone, and then he proclaimed his need for her. What was really intriguing was when Sue ran off with Namor in the 70s and Medusa took her place- I always thought she and Reed might have been romantically involved, but nothing overt was shown. Still, I got the impression something was going on behind closed doors in the Baxter Building.

Martinex1 said...

In the early days of the Vision/ Scarlet Witch/ Wonder Man triangle, I had interest in seeing Wanda with Simon and explore Viz possibly being a mere copy. But I lost interest as it dragged on and on. Once Wonder Man became more the ionic entity and he became more confident, it all felt forced.

I know the Avengers Proctor storyline from the 90s (full of bad hair, posing, and bomber jackets) was disliked by many, I kind of enjoyed the Sersi / Black Knight / Crystal relationship soap opera with manipulated emotions and jealousy.

On the other hand I really disliked the Thing/ Alicia / Torch nonsense.

Humanbelly said...

So, the Bruce/Glen/Betty triangle was just a mere piece of the LONGEST FLIPPIN' SOAP-OPERA IN COMICS! What actually brought it to a huge head was Bruce/Hulk's falling head over heels for Jarella in ish #140-! Bruce even makes his own peace with the fact that what he had with Betty was great, but this was where his true heart now lay. . . or some such. But man, offshoots and consequences of that basic plot thread went on for years and years and years.

Crystal did indeed fully carry on with some normal guy for a bit. I think it may have been in . . . the Vizh/Scarlet Witch maxi-series? It just came across as trashy and distasteful, not really "soap opera".


Anonymous said...

It would have been super to see a love triangle between Medusa, Reed Richards and Susan Storm. Medusa and Reed would have made a great couple. It is too bad Marvel did not experiment with the concept!

Humanbelly said...

No. . . no, I couldn't disagree more, I'm afraid.
That would just be descending into tawdriness for its own sake, and would've been wildly out of character for Reed in particular, since he would've been the party most at fault in that scenario. I only mention it because clearly the thought had been floated at some point, since Medusa does admit (to herself) to having some growing feelings for Reed during her stint on the team. And then, IIRC, she was helpful in getting the estranged Richards couple back together. To me, this suggests that the writer and editor purposely put the idea out there in order to quash it. Which (IMO) was a deft and correct move.

HB-- the Alistair Cookie of Comics

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