Comic book love: Marvel's screen couples and their comic book counterparts

  • Books
  • Tuesday, 14 Feb 2023

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us a few superhero couples, and today we compare them to their comic book iterations. – Photos: Marvel Comics

It is Valentine’s Day today, and with another major Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie coming up – featuring not one, but two Ant-Men and Wasps – we’ve decided to take a look at some of the most prominent superhero couples in the MCU and how they compare to their comic books versions.

By “superhero couples”, we mean that both partners are established superheroes within the MCU. For that reason, we’re ruling out Peter Parker and Mary Jane, Doctor Strange and Christine Palmer, and also Bruce Banner and Betty Ross.

We’re also ruling out Sersi and Ikaris of the Eternals, because, well, technically they’re gods, not superheroes.

Anyway, bring on the romance!

Ant-Man and The Wasp

Ant-Man and The Wasp have one of the most turmulous relationships in comics. – Photos: Marvel Comics.Ant-Man and The Wasp have one of the most turmulous relationships in comics. – Photos: Marvel Comics.In the MCU:

In the movies, there are actually two Ant-Man and Wasp couples – Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne, and Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne.

Just like in the comics, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is actually the second Ant-Man, having stolen his suit from the original, Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas). However, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) was actually created for the MCU – she is the daughter of Hank and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), who was lost in the Quantum Realm and only rescued in the Ant-Man And The Wasp movie.

In the comics:

Since Hope was created specifically for the MCU, we’ll focus more on Hank and Janet, who are actually founding members of the Avengers.

While they seemingly have a healthy relationship on-screen, Hank and Janet have one of the most tumultuous relationships in the comics – having gone through marital trials and troubles of all sizes.

The lowest point of their relationship came when Hank slapped Janet in 1981’s Avengers Vol. 1 #213, and he was thrown out of the Avengers as a result.

Scarlet Witch and Vision

In the MCU:

Scarlet Witch and Vision meet during the Avengers: Age Of Ultron movie, and by the time we see them again in Captain America: Civil War, they seem to have formed a strange bond and romance.

In Avengers: Infinity War, Wanda is forced to kill Vision to destroy the Mind Stone before Thanos gets his hands on it, but it is ultimately in vain after the Mad Titan reverses time with the Time Stone.

In WandaVision, Wanda and Vision show up in a small town called Westview where they seem to be living like a normal couple but it turns out to be a manifestation of her chaos powers.

Scarlet Witch and Vision are one of Marvel’s mos complicated couples.Scarlet Witch and Vision are one of Marvel’s mos complicated couples.

In the comics:

They were not a couple at first, having met in the pages of Avengers (Vol. 1) #76 (Wanda had been captured by Arkon The Magnificent, and the Vision was part of the Avengers rescue team).

Later, during the Kree-Skrull War (Avengers #91), Wanda finally shows her affections for the Vision, and they became an item in Avengers #108, tied the knot, and became parents (Vision And Scarlet Witch (Vol. 2) #12).

However, the couple’s life came crashing down when it was revealed that Wanda’s kids were just a figment of her imagination, which eventually drove her insane.

As for Vision, he eventually “moves on” from Wanda in Tom King’s Eisner Award-winning 2016 limited series Vision, in which he literally creates his own family, with two kids and a wife named Virginia whom be based on Wanda’s brain patterns! So much for moving on, eh?

Star-Lord and Gamora

Gamora even kills Star-Lord at one point in their relationship!Gamora even kills Star-Lord at one point in their relationship!In the MCU:

Peter Quill is a human from Earth who was “kidnapped” and raised by a crew of space pirates and grows up to be quite the fighter. Gamora is a daughter of Thanos who falls in with Peter and a bunch of other misfits, including a talking racoon, a sentient tree and a muscular dude named Drax, and saves the galaxy as one of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

In the comics:

He’s Star-Lord, an Earthling who happens to be the son of J’son of Spartax, Emperor of the Spartoi Empire; She’s Gamora, daughter of Thanos and widely known as the most dangerous woman in the galaxy. But their relationship in the comics is not as straightforward as in the movies.

This current modern iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy team was formed around 2007-2008’s Annihilation: Conquest, when Star-Lord assembles a team, including Gamora, to fight Ultron, who nearly conquers the universe.

Gamora was actually with Peter’s friend, Richard Ryder, a.k.a. Nova at the time, but he and Peter got trapped in the Cancerverse with Thanos. Peter later escapes and does get together with Gamora, but things get a lot more complicated after that, with multiple deaths, alternate timelines, and events screwing things up for the couple. Gamora even kills Peter at one point, but he is resurrected after that, obviously.

Captain America and Captain Carter

In the MCU:

Ok we’re cheating a bit here, because in the main MCU timeline, Peggy Carter isn’t exactly a superhero (though she WAS a founder of SHIELD). Meanwhile, the superhero version of her, Captain Carter (featured in the What If animated series), isn’t really in a relationship with the Captain America version of Steve Rogers (The one in What If actually pilots the Iron Man-like “Hydra Stomper”).

But in both alternate realities, both Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter are an item, so we’re going with it anyway!

Captain Carter and Steve Rogers ge cozy in the 'What If' Disney+ series. – Photo: Disney+ HotstarCaptain Carter and Steve Rogers ge cozy in the 'What If' Disney+ series. – Photo: Disney+ Hotstar

In the comics:

In the comics, the disparity between the two could not be bigger. While Steve is one of the first and most popular characters in Marvel Comics, Peggy made an obscure, unnamed debut in a single panel in 1966’s Tales Of Suspense as a wartime love interest of Captain America, and only got the name “Peggy Carter” in issue #77. Ah well, at least she has the distinction of being created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, AND got a much bigger boost in the MCU.

Thor and the Mighty Thor

In the MCU:

Thor is banished to Midgard where he not only falls in love with scientist Jane Foster, but also becomes one of its Avengers. After two movies of being the token love interest and disappearing for Thor: Ragnarok, Jane returns as the Mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Thor and the Mighty Thor in 'Thor: Love And Thunder'. – Photo: Walt Disney Studios MalaysiaThor and the Mighty Thor in 'Thor: Love And Thunder'. – Photo: Walt Disney Studios Malaysia

In the comics:

Jane was the original love interest for Thor, having served as his original alter-ego, Dr Donald Blake’s nurse.

In 2014, Jane officially took on the mantle of Mighty Thor, when Thor Odinson (the original Thor) was deemed unworthy of wielding Mjolnir during the Original Sin event.

Like many comic book romances, however, their relationship has gone through numerous challenges, from angry All-Fathers to ex-husbands, and sadly, breast cancer. Throughout the ages, however, Jane has always been one of Thor’s most beloved, and even though her story gets pretty tragic due to her battles with cancer, Thor has always been there for her.

Iron Man and Rescue

ironmanironmanIn the MCU:

Tony Stark is Iron Man, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Pepper Potts used to be his assistant, then his lover, then during the Blip, his wife and mother to his daughter. She then shows up in the Endgame final battle in an armoured suit, codenamed “Rescue”.

In the comics:

Tony’s playboy and womanising antics are well-documented, so let’s focus on Pepper here. Virginia 'Pepper' Potts worked for Tony, and was promoted to his personal assistant after saving him a lot of money by spotting an accounting error.

She held a candle for Tony for years, but the relationship never really took off. They did share a kiss at one point but they decided that it would be better to remain friends.

Pepper has since become one of Tony’s strongest supporters and also greatest allies, whether as the head of his companies, or as Rescue.

Hawkeye and Mockingbird

Hawkeye and Mockingbird are frequent partners both professionally and personally.Hawkeye and Mockingbird are frequent partners both professionally and personally.In the MCU:

Clint Barton is an established member of the Avengers despite his lack of powers and reliance on a bow and arrow to fight his battles. He is married to Laura Barton, who seems like an ordinary citizen at first but in the Hawkeye series, she is shown to have had connections with S.H.I.E.L.D. in the past.

She is also shown wearing a watch engraved with the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo and the number “19”, which names her as Agent 19, which is the alias used by Bobbi Morse a.ka. Mockingbird.

In the comics:

Hawkeye is “an orphan raised by carnies, fighting with a stick and a string from the Palaeolithic era”, who is part of the Avengers and also an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. at one point. She is a secret agent working for S.H.I.E.L.D., codenamed “Agent 19” and also the superhero Mockingbird.

Together, they have been partners both professionally and personally, having both worked as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and superheroes, even establishing the “West Coast Avengers,” together.

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Culture

Dutch artist on why her Malaysian roots matter in her art career
Nigeria's new media seeks to cover Africa's ignored stories
Ancient DNA technology revolutionises the way we study human history
Singapore Writers Fest celebrates Datuk Lat, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Spivak
Here's a new museum to visit if you love jewellery and art
Unearthing ancient histories
In Ipoh, an old world photography enthusiast builds his own wet plate camera
Weekend for the arts: Tiger photo exhibition, Sarawak's rattan masters
KL's Exposure+ Photo festival: seeing the world in a different light
Booker Prize 2023 shortlist offers 'terrors' and 'pleasures'

Others Also Read