My Top 10 Comic Couples

Inspired by the fantastic relationship that is being portrayed by Big Barda and Scott Free in Tom King and Mitch Gerads amazing Miracle Man run is my favorite comic couples. Also, another plug, if you like comics, you should be reading it. There are several favorite couples in comic books books. Everyone has a different one. To be clear, these are couples that are either hinted at, have happened, or interest presented in comic book form. These aren’t ships as much as they are the couples I love to see most. One of them will venture into ship territory, but I feel justified in the choice (stay tuned for that). Additionally a few characters will show up in multiple different relationships. I hope this will make sense for you all once you actually see them.

COUPLE 10

10. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne

There is a lot to unpack with this relationship. Hank is famous for slapping his wife, and there were a ton more images of abuse on the web than their were of them being a happy couple. I am not here to defend abusers, or suggest that the couple was wrong in splitting up. Quite the contrary, I love this couple because they split up. Both are founding members of the Avengers and their relationship was a shining point in the initial Avengers run. You had this sweet super couple between two people with the technology to shrink. This later expanded as Pym graduated to Giant Man (he changes identities a lot). Yet overtime, Hank became more and more obsessed with his work. Eventually Pym inhales chemicals that give him schizophrenia. The pair marry in the 70’s. After being suspended of duty by Cap, Hank eventually strikes Jan in a fit of rage. This leads to the couple divorcing and Hank being expelled from the Avengers. And here lies Hank’s greatest failure. His marriage. It was not the creation of Ultron, it was the dissolution of his marriage. Janet represents Hank’s bearing. Without her, he quite frankly is nothing. She is his lightning rod, and only after she left, could Hank realize that. Janet made the right choice. Yet Hank isn’t a monster that many people generally consider him to be, he’s a brilliant man who doesn’t have anything. Reed as family and Stark has wealth. Pym, arguably a greater mind than both of them has nothing. He could save the world, but without Jan at his side he is nothing more than a broken man. In case 300 words didn’t make it apparent. I love Hank Pym. Top 3 favorite Marvel characters.

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9. Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon

There are two dominant loves in Dick Grayson’s life. Babs and Koriand’r (referred to as Starfire from here on out). While I like the Teen Titans, and I grew up and loved the animated show, The first couple is still my preferred relationship for Grayson. The orphaned ward of Bruce Wayne and the brilliant daughter of GCPD Chief Jim Gordon. Both donned a mask early on in their lives, and were forever thrust into Batman’s endless war on crime. Yet while Bruce sought solace in beating more criminals, the pair eventually found companionship with themselves. This only grew after the events of the Killing Joke. As Barbara embraced her new roll as Oracle, and kept constant vigil over the Knights of Gotham. This couple, as well as Bab’s paralysis have been undone since the beginning of the New 52. Replacing the love with melancholy and a bit of animosity. Fortunately Gail Simone gave us the wedding we all deserved in her Convergance book. So at least we have that.

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8. Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance

Why wouldn’t this show up on a top 10 couple list? This arguably should be further on the list, but it didn’t quite cut it with the competition. What else is there to say? Ollie and Dinah are perfect for each other, and despite barely interacting in the New 52. Ben Percy and Otto Schmidt rekindled their spark in Rebirth. One of the headlining plots in their run on Green Arrow is the deep love that the characters have for each other, and how that love was as intense on day one. They love each other, despite often not finding reasons to love themselves. They help each other get past their own issues and make them that much stronger together. They have had their fair shares of ups and downs. Yet through it all, they always come back together.

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7. Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown

One of the 90’s greatest power couples. Most kids growing up in the 90’s immediately found a connection with Tim Drake’s Robin. I was no exception. His budding romance with the Spoiler, captured my young heart. The couple stuck together through some of the worst moments in Gotham, like No Mans Land. Eventually Tim supported Steph through her pregnancy (Tim was not the father), and helped her come to the decision to put the baby up for adoption. The couple drifted apart, largely due to Steph faking her death in War Games. Yet the spark always remains. Steph was absent most of the New 52 (as was Tim’s personality). Yet recent events in James Tynion’s Detective Comics have revitalized that romantic spark. While the couple is currently on the rocks, they clearly care about each other.

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6. Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince

This is a shout out to the threads plotted in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Both series’ showed off mutual attraction for one another. A smart move since Clark has Lois (I hate Clark and Diana, spoiler, that couple isn’t on the list). It not only helped serve as some character growth for the both of them, but also made for some humorous situations. Diana’s naivety paired well with Bruce’s surly attitude. The episode, ‘This Little Piggy’ should leave no one without at least a small support for this relationship, as Bruce turns Gotham upside down looking for Diana (she was transformed into a pig). Despite being utter filler, it is incredibly sweet and solidified this couple in my head from a young age.

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5. Bruce and Selina

Yes, the first duplicate character showing up. How do you not love this duo? Especially with Tom King’s run on the characters, and their impending marriage. They have shared a dangerous attraction with each other for several decades now. One of the best stories showcasing their relationship was Hush, which is a masterpiece in its own right. Selina has always tread the line between good and bad, but always trends towards good when paired with Bruce. Tom King plays their relationship as a mutual partnership. They need each other to keep going. They love each other, while recognizing that they are equally hard to love. The couple always drifts away from each other. Sometimes it is due to Selina and sometimes it is because Bruce. While I am sure the couple won’t stay married for long, I will love every single second that they are together.

Couple 4 best couple

4. Ted Kord and Barbara Gordon

This is a personal favorite of mine. Ted is my absolute favorite hero and my comic book idol. Barbara Gordon is the greatest Batgirl and one of my all time favorite heroes. They had an unlikely flirtation throughout the original Birds of Prey run. Both figuring out each others secret identities because they are smarty pants. When they became close, the couple naturally broke it off. Babs has always had Nightwing, listed above. They have a great deal in common, and would have made a very cute couple. For Ted, it remained unrequited. Barbara stuck around as his friend long after the rest of the hero community wrote him off as a joke. The last time we see this couple mentioned, is in the panel above. From Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1. If you haven’t read it, make sure you do. It’ll make you fall in love with Ted and break your heart.

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3. Archie Andrews and Veronica Lodge

Yes, this is my preferred ship for Riverdale’s lovable goof ball. Sure Betty is generally considered to be the better pair, but I don’t like him with the girl next door type. Having him step out of his shell and explore the often hilarious life of the fabulously wealthy. This always puts him in the cross hairs of Hiram Lodge, which make the Archie experience all the more enjoyable. Mark Waid’s seminal run on the title has only fleshed out Veronica more. Changing her from haughty heiress to down to Earth girl. Sure she is still very rich. Yet she is a much more relate-able character. One that I fell for, when I never had thought of Veronica in that way before. In the arc that introduces Cheryl Blossom we see Veronica show off all the good she learned from Archie and the gang. Call it perfect writing and great characterization. This book is one of my all time favorite books, and this is one of the reasons why. I have seen the first season of Riverdale, and somehow I got through it. I don’t intend on watching it again. This opinion is 100% formed by the comic books.

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2. Jean Grey and Scott Summers

I am a 90’s kid. Thus X-Men is deeply ingrained in my being. From the abundance of comic books (and so many shoulder pads). To the animated series, and the excellent theme song that accompanied it. What struck with me most of all of them was Scott and Jean. I always loved Cyclops. Still do. He is hands down my favorite Marvel character. I also have always have, and always will hate Wolverine. So this works not only to make a point for my favorite couple, but helps me debunk Jean and Wolverine. I will not spend this article defending Scott. He is a bit of a scoundrel, and I agree with none of it. But when I picture Jean or Scott, I always picture them together. That is how I choose to see them, and if Scott doesn’t have Jean in his life, Scott is always lesser to me. Also the fact that Scott exists as a hollow shell without Jean in so many different mediums, just shows his dedication to her. Why does Scott have to suffer so much? Can’t we just let him have something?

Couple 1

1. Lois and Clark

Duh? Do I really need to explain this? They are the poster child for greatest comic book couple. The addition of Jonathan has only changed their dynamic for the better. Long live the Super-Family!

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The Old 52

With the most recent announcement that 4 original DC titles are getting the ax (Superboy, Birds of Prey, Batwing, and All-Star Western) in August, the remains of the “New” 52 are all but gone. Of all the books DC publishes now, only 21 original titles remain. That’s less than half of the books that were launched. While their are exceptions (Suicide Squad and Teen Titans are getting relaunched, JLI was scrubbed for story purposes, etc) it is still rather alarming to think that the original New 52 has dwindled this far. While DC has added solid replacements such as Earth 2 and Harley Quinn, those serve as the exceptions to DC’s line. The ongoing series’ and the once that have survived are the 21 I have noted above. Of all the books launched to replace books, very few of them exist. Of the Second Wave only Earth 2 survives, with Worlds Finest now joining Batman Inc, Dial H, The Ravagers, and GI Combat. Of the Third Wave, we Phantom Stranger is joining Talon, Sword of Sorcery, and Team 7. The next few launched were JLA and Katana, also now gone.

While I will give DC credit for trying new things, with only 23 books on the shelf that have proved to be tried and true, a problem has emerged. Only time can tell if some of DC’s more recent gambits such as JLU, Infinity Man, Constantine, JL 300, and the Superman-Batman/Wonder Woman books will test as well as Earth 2 and Harley Quinn have thus far. To truly succeed and gain back market share, DC is going to need to be bold, but also smart. I posted previously how I felt Marvel’s Hawkeye strategy was effective, and should be emulated. DC needs some help adding titles that can survive in the long run. And with characters like Cyborg, Captain Marvel, and even Lex Luthor gaining increased popularity, DC has the characters to do it. Once again, I’m all for them trying new and bold things, but they need to balance that with books that can and will sell. I may not know exactly what those books look like, but I’m pretty sure all of us out there have many ideas that DC could utilize. For that we’ll have to wait and see what we get to replace these books come October.

What are your thoughts on the matter? What do you think DC has done right and how do you think they could improve for the future?

Until the next time, Rn

Ravingnerd Reviews: Mr. Freeze #1

Mr. Freeze was not another issue I had no particular interest in. I had mixed feelings about Snyder’s redesign, but ultimately like the direction the character appears to be taking in the New 52 given his interactions in Batman, Outlaws, Birds of Prey, and the Night of the Owls. Bringing on the team of Grey and Palmiotti was a brilliant choice as the two rarely do poor work. So with all that in mind, here is what I liked about the issue:

1. The dialogue is cold, calculating, and spot on for Mr. Freeze. Absolutely incredible.
2. His eerily red glasses seem to have text scribbled across them, and on closer inspection “Kill Batman” is scrawled across his eyes. And at another moment they say “Say Grace”. This was not only fascinating, but clever.

Rating before reading: 6
Rating after reading: 6

This book falls just short of great for two primary reasons. Jason Masters’ art is fine, but it isn’t exceptional. The innovative text scrawled across the lenses was incredibly clever, but the art itself seemed to lack a lot to be desired. It was hard to determine what was going on in a few of the panels, and it just couldn’t match up to the writing. Granted that’s pretty hard to do, given the team.

The second thing this book falls short on is content. Not only do we see him awkwardly try to assert himself as the father of his step-mom and step-siblings, but we get too much flashback to his story in Batman Annual #1 from last year. Multiple panels are just rehashed from that, without so much as a reminder that this is a flashback. It prevents the comic from seeming especially fluid, and wastes space playing catch-up. I understand the reasoning was to let us know the new Nora status quo, but it could have been done much simpler and far better without the pages of flashback. That also draws negative comparisons between Batman Annual artist Jason Fabok, and that of Masters’ art.

So while the scripting and dialogue are almost spotless, the plotting and the art take away from what the book could be. Given slight adjustments to the plot, we would have been given a smooth narrative all about how cold and callous Mr. Freeze is. And while we got close, this issue didn’t quite get there.

Stay tuned for my chilling double feature!

Until the next time,

Rn

Ravingnerd Reviews: Katana #1

It’s been quite a while since I made a post, the less busy I am, the harder it seems for me to be able to commit to a blog. But here I am now, to deliver one last piece of rhetoric before we count the votes for last week and go head long into this Marvel VS DC Monday.

Now, I’m sure you have all heard mixed stories about Katana #1. If you have still not picked it up, or have not found a reason to pick it up, I’m here to discuss just what I loved about this issue. And there was so much about it I loved.

1. The art is vivid and beautiful. I really enjoy it.
2. Though set in America, the story showcases many Japanese themed locations. All of which are wonderful.
3. We meet more artifacts. Katana wields the Soultaker. And her enemy wields an awesome ribbon sword.

Rating before reading: 7
Rating after reading: 8

The comic not only shows that Katana is a bad ass, but shows why. We get to read her internal monologues. We see what she is thinking, and why she does what she does. The result is, we get to see some of the best characterization out of this character we’ve seen this side of the New 52. We see a smart, capable, and deadly woman. While not a huge fan of having heroes kill, it works for Katana. She’s a ninja and a samurai. Pretty sure she’s supposed to kill people.

I know I haven’t said much of anything, but I enjoy watching characters get their chance in the sun light. Especially when it’s a character that has so much to offer. Katana #1 is every bit as spectacular as I had though it would be. The brilliant internal monologues only made the issue more stunning. It stands out as not only reason for fans to love the character, but for fans to be excited about JLA as well.

Very soon all of these thoughts and more will be compiled in our weekly Marvel VS DC Monday’s post.

Until then,

Rn

The Fourth Wave of America

As most of you know, two thirds of DC’s 4th wave were revealed today. Previously we had 3 unannounced mystery titles, and now we have just one. The most surprising aspect of the reveals was that they both had direct ties to the new JLA (also launching in february).

Katana #1 will be written by Catwoman Scribe Ann Nocenti and will spin directly off of Birds of Prey. Whether this means she is leaving the team for good has yet to be seen, but it could be very likely given her new stint on JLA. The Katana solo series will be set in Japan as we not only learn more about the character but as we watch her gain a rogues gallery and confront her past.

Vibe #1 was the most shocking and easily the most unattractive teaser to come out of DC in quite a while. Like Katana, VIbe’s series will tie directly in as Paco’s life is turned upside down when his powers become apparent to the government. It appears that Detroit will serve as America’s Cardiff in a Doctor Who style spacial rift. Vibe’s unique set of powers allows him to sense the activity of the rift when no one else can. This comic will be helmed by the creator of Arrow.

Finally news more along the piss-your-pants-out-of-excitement came out. Ann Nocenti will be leaving Green Arrow. So that Jeff Lemire can hop on board with art from Andrea Sorentino. Lemire promised a return to classic GA believing that this would help bring back disillusioned fans back to the character.

We all knew JLA was going to be important, but who knew it would be this important. Will the last title also tie in with JLA or do you expect something else is in the works?

Until the next time, RAO BE PRAISED Lemire is on GA.

Rn

What to Expect from DC’s Third Wave

I know that I’ve been on a New 52 kick as of late, but honestly, it’s all I think about. Well that and everything else nerdy. Most readers were surprised by some of the titles launched in the New 52, and again questions abounded in the Second Wave. I have compiled my thoughts and taken some of what my followers would like to see and discuss the probability and logistics behind them. So here you have it!

Captain Marvel/Shazam. I know that DC is now naming him Shazam, but I will always refer to him as Captain Marvel. He was the first, the best, and the most iconic character to bear that name. While only a back up feature in Justice League currently, Geoff Johns has said he will tie into the DCU and Justice League as a whole more in the future. This is complimented by the appearance of Black Adam in the teaser for Trinity War (which I am excited about). Despite the need to make him more prevalent in the DCU I doubt that he will star in his own solo series, and if he will, it will not be in the Third Wave. Cap has always had a hard time connecting with modern audiences, so while he had the longest running series from the 40’s-50’s, he has never made a huge come back in the modern market. I wouldn’t however doubt his appearance in DC Universe Presents. That would allow the best “next step” for the character, testing the market that would hopefully lead to his own solo series come the Fourth Wave, which is sure to happen (at least it should happen).

Cyborg. I have discussed numerous times how much I’d like to see a Cyborg series, and when talking to my followers, they all seem to agree that a Cyborg series should happen. The fact that DC needs to solidify his importance in the DCnU more, and the fact that all of DC’s diversity heroes were eliminated in the first cut, so while half man half machine, Vic Stone is an African-American. Not only that, he is high-profile, allowing DC to add back some much-needed diversity and give the only member of the big 7 without a solo series, a solo series.

Milestone Characters. Speaking of diversity, where’s Icon? Seriously the only Milestone characters we have seen were in the Static Shock title, and we know how well that went. Perhaps if you added an Icon series within the Edge or Dark Universe and tie it in with a struggling series like Stormwatch to refresh the quality of the older series, but confirm importance and continuity of the new series. It’s just a thought that a few of my followers have, one that I could easily get behind.

Wildstorm. Speaking of struggling titles: Stormwatch, Grifter, and Voodoo are the only Wildstorm titles still in the fold, and none of them have really done all that well. While Stormwatch is the most high-profile of the three, it is far from well done. The best answer I can imagine for this problem, would be to launch a new Wildstorm title, like The Authority, fold the contents of Stormwatch into it, and link it to the DCU. The problem with at least Stormwatch and Grifter is a real lack of link. There has yet to be a justification for why Stormwatch should exist when there is the Justice League, provide me a legitimate answer, get a solid writer that can stay with it for more than 6 issues, and let it do well. While this might be less about adding more Wildstorm content, I want them to make the existing Wildstorm content better. This could be done by changing the name, and tweaking it some, I think.

The Outsiders. Let’s face it, the Bat-Titles are some of the best selling franchises on the market. They almost always score within the top 50 every month, most within the top 25. Adding the Outsiders seems like the next logical step, in my mind. It would give characters like Metemorpho (or Element Woman, whichever), Black Lightning, and many other heroes a home within the New 52. You could have characters like Katana join the team, and set up an efficient force. One that not only Bat-Fans, but normal readers would probably come to enjoy.

Justice Society. While Earth 2 is busy introducing them, it will not be an on going series about the team. DC could further expand the multiverse by adding a JSA title, as either a spin-off or replacement for the Earth 2 title. The most ideal option would be to have an ongoing Earth 2 title not focusing on the team with a second one focusing on the JSA team. A special shout out to @Kapellusch for this great insight.

More Multiverse content. Why stop at Earth 2? DC could easily re-boot fan favorite characters like Ted Kord and Wally West, in another universe. While Earth 4 isn’t an appealing title, fans would read a title with Wally West or Ted Kord in it. In addition to this, The Crime Syndicate is an integral part to DC comics. All of the Earth 3 content could easily be rebooted, and an Earth 3 title does sound appealing, because any DC fan knows what that means. A reality in which our greatest heroes are all villains, fighting off our greatest villains (who are heroes), each other, and the governments of the world. It would make for some dark, edgy, but brilliant material.

The Losers. DC seems to want to have military/soldier combat in the line up, with Men of War and Blackhawks being replaced by G.I. Combat. The Losers is a fan favorite, that has generated positive media buzz, and one that could buffer DC’s soldier/military line up stronger than any other title.

Well, those are just some of my thoughts, if you have your own, I’d love to hear them. Disagree with my list? Let me know! Have your own thoughts/insights as to the Third Wave of DC, post it here! I’d be happy to discuss it.

Until the next time, live long and prosper.

Rn

For those of you who have searched and read my predictions here, I suggest you follow the link below to another post updating with more likely and rumored DC Third Wave titles. And refer back to here as we get closer to September, as I will have more in depth DC coverage than most major sites, including Comics Alliance, Comic Book Vine, and often Newsarama.

DC’s Third Wave: More Thoughts
https://ravingnerd.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/dcs-third-wave-more-thoughts/

Battle Between the Green and the Black

My informant conducted research and determined that Captain Marvel (Shazam) only has mental immunity while at the Rock of Eternity, this being said, J’onn J’onzz would have a handy victory.

Today two of DC’s most proficient experts will clash.

DC’s (and comics in general) ranged combat master Green Arrow has served on almost every version of the Justice League. Not only is he a master archer, he is also one of the most proficient swordsman and hand to hand fighters in the DCU.

His opponent, is the master of Stealth and one of the deadliest assassins in the DCU, Katana. Her skills with the sword are unparalleled. In addition to this, she is considered to be one of the DCU’s most respected martial artist, proficient in hand to hand combat and acrobatics. This is only aided by her mastery of stealth.

The winner is up to you. Green Arrow or Katana. Leave a comment here, on facebook, or twitter with your grounds as to why.

Until the next time, live long and prosper.

Rn