I’ve showered a heap of love on one particular comic book couple since I started casually commenting on comics. In the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, I spent a bit of time (OK, way too much time) thinking about my favorite comic book duos. As always, additional comments or suggestions are welcome.
Here’s my frame of reference for defining the greatest twosomes to grace the pages of comic books:
- I’m looking almost exclusively at guy/girl duos in comic books. Like I said, Valentine’s Day got me thinking about the topic. Whichever way the wind blows for you, it’s all good. That’s just my frame of reference.
- I’m thinking mostly of duos that functioned as a self-contained team, or at least teamed up regularly enough that they’re linked in my mind.
- Romance not required, but the possibility of romance certainly helped some duos jump up in the rankings.
Let me start with some also-rans that fell off the list for various reasons:
Sue Storm / Reed Richards
In my youth, these two were the “first couple” of the Marvel Universe.
They lost too many points for the following:
- It’s called the Fantastic Four, not the Fantastic Two
- Reed is mostly a dismissive jerk to Sue
- Sue and Namor…
Spider Man and Mary Jane Watson
Cute couple, but not interesting enough since she’s not super-powered
Plus, I don’t want to think about “Brand New Day” any more
Batman and Catwoman
This couple came very close to making the list.
They had a great team-up in the video game “Arkham Asylum”. I liked the will they or won’t they aspect to the relationship, until Frank Miller trampled all over that with his recent run on All Star Batman and Robin. (And I know he wasn’t the first, but he was the grossest…)
But Batman’s sidekick will always be (one of the many iterations of) Robin. Bruce and Selena will never be together long or often enough to really qualify.
Aaron and Andrea
These two co-host the Comics Therapy Podcast. If you haven’t heard it, you’re really missing out. Aaron and Andrea verbally spar and bounce off one another effortlessly (well, from my perspective, Andrea does have to put in a little more effort to keep Aaron in line – but they’re not the ones on the therapist’s couch here).
They didn’t make the list because (as far as I know) they’ve never appeared on the printed page, but they are a terrific team-up and you should give their podcast a try.
Doctor Strange and Wong
Two bachelors just living the high life.
I include them because… well, they’ve been on my mind a lot recently. They’re probably one of the longest running, largely unnoticed, duos in the Marvel Universe.
I’m surprised that, with the current publishers’ race to be more inclusive of all lifestyles, Marvel hasn’t attempted to make more of this relationship. The concept of a “manservant” is so dated as to be offensive.(Not that Doctor Strange never dropped any racially insensitive comments).
It would make a ton more sense if Doctor Strange and Wong were in a committed relationship – one works outside the home (as Sorcerer Supreme) and the other chooses to be the home maker in their relationship.
Hey, my explanation actually makes a ton of sense and offers up a great solution to one of the more problematic relationships in the Marvel U – why would Wong stick around the Sanctum Sanctorum, clean up after this guy, make his meals, and entertain his guests? Sounds like most of the spouses of doctors that I know today.
Power Man and Iron Fist
Their bro-namic dynamic is undeniable. They are definitely near the top of any list of best duos that doesn’t have a Valentine’s Day undertone. More likely to be in a love triangle than to swap heart-shaped candy boxes. (And please no links to fanfic that might disprove that theory).
So – onto the list of the BEST comic book duos of all time.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird
Hawkeye’s had a bit of a resurgence, lately. Up until then, frankly, I thought the guy had WAY outkicked his coverage. A goofy archer who couldn’t really settle on a costume? Becoming leader of the West Coast Avengers always seemed like being sent down to the minor leagues.
It wasn’t until the recent Matt Fraction Hawkeye run that I thought the Marvel gurus had any idea at all what to do with this guy. And now it’s evident just how much untapped potential Hawkeye has always had.
Mockingbird always seemed like the power member of the couple, even though she was still a D-lister, hero-wise. Maybe that’s the 15-year old boy I was still speaking, but I always thought she was way cooler than him.
I didn’t even know she was “dead” in the Marvel Universe until they brought her back in Secret Invasion, and I instantly fell in love with this duo all over again.
Mister Miracle and Big Barda
I never read a lot of DC comics in my youth. But every story I recall about Mister Miracle, Big Barda is there. They’re like the professional, dynamic couple. They show up, do a job (and do it well), and get home in time for dinner. I love these two.
Vision and the Scarlet Witch
I don’t need to explain, do I?
Cloak and Dagger
So good. Cloak and Dagger are the super-duo that immediately comes to mind when the topic arises. The perfect duo, in fact.
Starting from their shared origin as outcast teens, they have a bond that few heroes share. The inter-related nature of their powers, creates a wrinkle in the nature of their partnership. No one else understands from the outset, and no team suits their dynamic.
At the outset, Cloak‘s darkness drives a deep hunger that can only be fed by the light of the living. If Dagger doesn’t provide that light, he has to drain it from the guilty. It sounds like a lot of lame vampire fiction. But, it works because the reverse is also true. Without releasing her light power, Dagger could burn up. They literally need to be with one another.
Already at an awkward age to navigate the boy/girl dynamic, their powers add a weird co-dependent factor to their relationship. I’ve always been fascinated by this duo and continually look forward to more from Tyrone and Tandy.
Anyone I missed?
2 responses to “The Official Casual Best Comic Book Duos of All Time”
Mockingbird is too good for Hawkeye. In every way. Unfortunately, that marriage wound up hurting her character. At this point, Mockingbird isn’t allowed to be her own character. She’s always linked to Hawkeye. She can’t even be a spy on her own – she has to be on a team with her ex. She needs to be in a book that Hawkeye’s not in, and she needs to be built back up as her own character, independent, totally separate from Hawkeye.
Cloak and Dagger are awesome. I love those two. The Spider-Island Cloak and Dagger mini by Nick Spencer and Emma Rios was amazing, and I want Spencer and Rios to get a Cloak and Dagger ongoing. And I want the characters to get a movie or TV show – they’ve got a cool concept, and visually interesting powers that would be cheap to pull off. They’ve even got the will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic.
I would add Hulkling and Wiccan of the Young Avengers. They’re a cute couple, and one hell of a power couple.
Spider-Woman and the Hulk should totally get a team-up book by Kelly Sue DeConnick. She gave them this weird friendship in Avengers Assemble, and it’s a pairing I never knew I needed. Spider-Woman got the Hulk to make her a sandwich. That is one awesome.
Al Ewing, in Mighty Avengers, has been making Power Man and White Tiger into quite the pair. I’m not sure if he’s moving them towards a romantic relationship – I’m guessing yes – but he’s given them a fantastic chemistry that lets them work together beautifully.
[…] we are, at the end of the line for this wonderful Marvel mini-series from the 80s, starring my all time favorite married couple – Vision and the Scarlet Witch. And, it’s been a heck of a ride. […]