We turn our regard this week to that indispensable member of the comic book fraternity -- The Girlfriend:
Let's examine the options, shall we?
- Black Cat (Spider-Man):
First of all, she's dangerous and sexy, which is a hard combination to beat in a love interest. However, she's also a criminal, which makes a serious hook-up problematic. Besides all that, though, her super-power is bad luck, and anyone who's ever broken up with a woman (and that includes other women) can tell giving your new ex the power to make Bad Things happen in your life would be catastrophic. Get it, "cat"astrophic? I'm on fire here, people!
- Mary Jane Watson (Spider-Man):
Mary Jane Watson needs no introduction from the likes of me. She's probably right up there with Lois Lane in terms of being both well-known and integral to the life and story of her love interest. You almost can't think of Spider-Man without thinking of Mary Jane, they're that closely linked. She doesn't have her own super-powers, but she has achieved success on her own terms, and that's cool.
- Lois Lane (Superman):
Not a lot of comic book love interests have had their own comic book series, but Lois Lane has. Nor have many shared top billing in a television series. But Lois Lane has. She's tough, smart, resourceful, and arguably the most important thing in her boyfriend's life. She's independent and strong, but still needs rescuing on a fairly routine basis, so her beau gets to feel manly. She's an intriguing blend of independence and dependence, enormously appealing without being overtly sexualized. She has no super powers of her own, but still manages to be a powerful force for good in her community in her own right.
- Lana Lang (Superman):
Betty to Lois' Veronica, poor Lana has a long history of being the also-ran in the race for Superman's affections. But there's always something special about the First Great Love, and at least Lana has that. Plus, redhead. BONUS!
- Betty (Archie):
Look, Betty is flat-out nuts. She's that bullet you dodged when you almost married that crazy girl, the one who keeps sending you creepy texts years after you dumped her. She's not the One Who Almost Got Away, she's the One You Almost Didn't Get Away From in Time. MightyGodKing does a great breakdown explaining how Betty isn't "The nice one", she's "The crazy one."
I mean, it's flattering and all to have someone think you're worth being fanatically devoted to, but I think Betty's crossed the line from "lover" to "stalker" and there's no uncrossing it.
- Veronica (Archie):
Quoting the aforementioned Mighty God King:
1.) She is rich. This counts for a lot.
2.) She is unpredictable and fun.
3.) She doesn’t care much what other people think of her.
4.) She is rich, yo.
5.) Most importantly, she is not Betty Cooper.
That about sums up the "for" case. However, personally I never was that excited by her. She's just kind of boring. She doesn't seem terribly bright, and she doesn't seem all that into anyone but herself.
- Carol Ferris (Green Lantern):
Like Lois Lane, she's got dark hair. Like Veronica, she's rich. Like the Black Cat, sometimes she's a super-villain.
Unfortunately, like Betty she's nuts.
Granted, she doesn't know she's nuts (at least the last time I checked in with Green Lantern, which I grant you was a long time ago). I like a strong, powerful, assertive woman as much as the next guy, but I think mind control to the point that you make Superman kiss your boot in public is a bit much.
- Jean Grey (X-Men):
On the one hand, she's attracted the love of two super heroes, one a total dweeb and the other arguably the baddest of the bad boys.
On the other hand, when a regular girlfriend breaks up with you, the worst you usually can expect is maybe some miscellaneous car damage or embarrassing Facebook posts. When Jean Grey breaks up with you, she might just eat your whole planet. That's bad mojo. Plus, you will never ever convince me that dating a woman who can read your mind is a Good Idea. Nuh-unh.
- Black Widow (Daredevil):
That accent ... that long, flowing red hair ... that toned, athletic body ... that determination to spy on the United States for the nation that was in an undeclared war with it at the time.
Hmm ... She's pretty awesome, but I don't know that there's a level of awesome that's awesome enough to overcome the idea of betraying your country. This is not necessarily a problem for those of you who are not from the U.S. but it's something I couldn't personally handle.
- Elektra (Daredevil):
Heroes dig hot villainesses, it's just a fact. And they don't come much hotter than Elektra. You can certainly argue that this was the super-hero/super-villain love tangle that defined them all. Girlfriends of super-heroes had died before (see Stacy, Gwen), but not super-powered ones. Elektra was such a great character in her own right, so capable of going toe-to-toe on his own terms with her boyfriend, that she was enormously interesting. To have her assassinated, ironically even though she was an assassin herself, had a huge impact on the larger comics community.