Tag Archives: Kate Bishop

Bad Romance: Poll-What is the Most Toxic Relationship in Comics?

7 Apr

With so much history behind them, comic book couples are bound to have some dark chapters, but these relationships stand out as uniquely detrimental for one or more parties involved. So, who do you think wins the title of the most toxic relationship in comics?


Hank Pym (Ant Man, Giant Man, etc) & Janet Van Dyne (Wasp)

“Dammit Janet”

hank_pym_slapHank Pym has never been a model partner. He has kidnapped, beaten, and attempted to murder poor Janet over the years. While their drama makes for a compelling read, no good can come from this pair being together.

Hank has suffered from a variety of mental illnesses, some prompted by his exposure to unsafe levels of chemicals, some generated from his deep-rooted Napoleon complex. Whenever he is feeling down, Janet makes a perfect scape goat.


Bruce Wayne (Batman) & Talia al Ghul

“She’s a Maniac”

deaddamianNo one has ever accused Bruce Wayne of making constructive decisions, but taking the daughter of one of his (many) mortal enemies as a lover may have be one for the books. Talia genetically engineered a son, Damian, by combining her own DNA with Bruce’s. As time past, she systematically abused the boy as part of his assassin’s training. After he came to live with Bruce, and formed a relationship with his father, Talia returned to kill the boy, robbing Bruce of the son he had come to know and love.


Dinah Lance (Black Canary) & Green Arrow (Oliver Queen)

“She’s a Good-Hearted Woman in Love with a Good-Timin’ Man”

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So, Dinah and Ollie have been on-again, off-again for the better part their existence. Oliver Queen was a bit of serial philanderer, which never bodes well for a couple. Dinah also had great misgivings about the ethical ramifications of beginning the ‘normal’ life she so wished to have with Oliver. She believed that bringing children into the world was irresponsible for two people who led such dangerous lives. Oliver died tragically in a battle over Metropolis, but was later resurrected. The pair reunited shortly, but a combination of jealousy and apprehension in regard to the new young female ward in Oliver’s care caused her to break things off again. The two reunite and marry, at a ceremony that is (of course) interrupted by super villans. During the course of their marriage Oliver continually undermines Dinah professionally, and often uses his own judgment to dole out justice. Eventually his subterfuge goes too far, and Dinah dissolves the marriage, while Oliver sits in jail for murdering a supervillan.


Mary Jane Watson & Peter Parker (Spiderman) … & Gwen Stacey

“Keep On Lovin’ You”

gwenmjspiderPeter loved Gwen Stacey with all his heart, until that one time he accidentally broke her neck while he was trying to save her life. I mean we have all been there, right? So how will he move on? Enter spunky, gorgeous, driven Mary Jane Watson. It should be a happy ending, but alas, Peter is a bit of a workaholic. He has great responsibilities to attend to after all. Mary Jane never fully moves out of the shadow of Gwen Stacey’s memory. Peter’s grief and guilt only exasperate the problem. Oh, and eventually he sells his marriage to Mary Jane to the devil (Mephisto) in return for Aunt May’s resurrection from the dead.


Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) & Vision

“Just My Imagination”

scarletvisionShe is the child of Magneto, and he is the brain-child of Ultron, the pair seem wired for failure out of the gate. There’s another fact that foreshadows an ill-fated romance: Vision is an android (read robot). Initially the couple was unable to have children (because Vision is not human) but eventually Wanda acquires the psychic energy required to become pregnant. She gives birth to twin boys, William and Thomas.

Some time later, Vision tries to take over the world. This goes about as well as one would expect. He is eventually kidnapped and dismantled. When he was reassembled, his personality was severely changed, and things became strained. At the time of his destruction the twins were reintegrated to the soul of Mephisto and cease to exist. Wanda then becomes a bit unhinged herself.

Her mental breakdown eventually resulted in the manifestation of chaos magic powers, that cannot be controlled. She projected a world in which Vision was back to his old self and the boys were still young and in need of her mothering. She eventually used those powers to wipe out mutant powers across the globe leaving only a handful able to access their powers.


Carol Ferris (Star Sapphire) & Hal Jordan (Green Lantern)

“Fly Me to the Moon”

halcarolIt’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl; boy gets ring becomes super powerful; girl gets gem and does the same; alien race hypnotizes girl into trying to kill boy because they want her as their queen… You know, just the standard romance stuff.

Carol and Hal start out as a forbidden romance. She is the heiress to the company that employs him as a test pilot. However, when cosmic forces get involved, things get much more complicated. Hal became a Green Lantern.  Upon inheriting Ferris Aircraft from her father, an alien race, the Zamarons, chose Carol as their queen. They gave her a powerful gem which gave her extraordinary abilities, and she became Star Sapphire. Initially Star Sapphire was reluctant to leave Earth because of her love for Hal. The Zamarons then hypnotized her to believe that Hal was an enemy. Over the years a pattern emerged, Start Sapphire and Green Lantern would battle, Hal would win and then fix Carol.After getting rid of the Star Sapphire identity seemingly for good, Carol began a relationship with a male component of her own personality called, Predator. Throughout the series Carol tries to deal with the power associated with the Star Sapphire aspect of her identity, and grapples with her feelings for Hal. The two can never seem to get their footing.


Betty Ross (Red She-Hulk) & Bruce Banner (Hulk)

“Monster Mash”

redhulkhulkBruce Banner was bombarded with Gamma rays, and turns into a giant green monster when he gets angry. This does not look promising for his love interest. Betty is the daughter of “Thunderbolt” Ross, and she loved Bruce before he had anger management issues. Aside from the obvious “getting caught in the crossfire” problems, Betty eventually became ill with radiation poisoning from prolonged exposure to Bruce’s Gamma rays. When he tried to perform a blood transfusion using his own blood, the Gamma particles in his blood killed her.

We are talking comics here, so of course Betty is not really dead. She reemerges as the Red She-Hulk. When Betty reappeared in the civilian world she refused to be reunited with Bruce.


Emma Frost & Scott Summers (Cyclops)

“Grey Cloudy Lies”

scottemmaThis is another love triangle, or quadrangle, or other geometric figure yet unknown to us used by soap opera writers to construct their stories. Scott and Jean Grey were written for one another. Since the earliest days of the X-men, the two have been a steady center of romantic focus. When Jean exits, to go do her whole Phoenix thing, Emma enters beginning a telepathic affair with Scott. When Jean returns, Emma is reluctant to forfeit the bond she feels with Scott. She poses as Jean to confuse him, and continues to attempt engage him telepathically. Exit Jean again, and Emma and Scott are back on. Emma will never live up to Jean for Scott, despite whatever telepathic messages she sends from beyond the grave that the couple is making out on top of (Yes, really). She and Scott are constantly haunted by the memory of Jean Grey.

hawkeyeKate Bishop (Hawkeye) & Clint Barton (Hawkeye)

“I Hate Myself For Lovin’ You”

kateclintThe tension between these two is so thick you could cut it with a knife. They obviously have feelings for one another, but are too stubborn to let on. While Kate occasionally reminds Clint of the impropriety of his tendency to treat her like a romantic partner, she is guilty of the same thing. They rely on each other in real ways, and seem to feel a genuine respect for one another, but the fact remains that Clint is an indiscriminate lover who cannot take anything seriously. He cares deeply for Kate, but cannot see what is right in front of him.


Anna Marie (Rogue) & Remy LeBeau (Gambit)

“Killing Me Softly”

Gambit5touchingAside from the fact that the couple cannot touch because it would result in Remy’s death, well no, that’s really it. Rogue’s powers would harm Remy in unimaginable should their skin come into contact. This equals endless frustration. For a brief time, when they are both powerless, the couple lives a happy, normal life. However when they regain their powers, the loss of physical contact proves very stressful for the pair. Oh, and Gambit becomes one of the four horseman of the apocalypse (Death) and tries to kill Rogue a few times.

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Oh, Kate. Lah te dah.

31 Jan

For a while now, I have been loving Matt Fraction’s take on Kate Bishop in Hawkeye. She is tough, but he doesn’t make the mistake that so many writers do of taking away all her femininity. We have seen her go toe-to-toe with bad guys, risk her life to go behind enemy lines, put Clint in his place, and retain an impeccable sense of both humor and fashion. She is badass.Image

Once I saw her driving a purple Volkswagen Beetle, I realized, in my eyes at least; she is the Annie Hall of comic books. She is a girl I would totally have a beer with (my criteria for whether I like a character or not involves the shared consumption of alcoholic beverages, its a very highbrow technique for analysis).


Unfortunately something slipped in the most recent issue. At first I couldn’t quite put my finger on the problem, but after revisiting it, I realized what happened. Fraction had started making fun of her, which is fine, but here, it didn’t feel like she was in on the joke. Its unfortunate for the creative team that they put her story side by side with Clint’s, because the disparity between the treatment of the characters crystalizes due to that format. While Hamm seems a promising artist, something about his work here exasperated the problem for me.   

While Clint is selflessly accompanying a tenant of his building to see about his father, Kate is going to a silly engagement party. I do not infer that the party is silly, the creative team has told me as much, through the ridiculous wording of the invitation and the caricature of Kate swooning over it. (When I look at this image I hear the opening lines of Pride and Prejudice, and not in a good way hawkguys) When she tries to tell Clint about the party, he responds, “Yeah I don’t care,” and as charming and on-point as that is; it sucks for Kate’s character. I think she needed, or deserved a chance to tell us why she is braving hell and high water (literally) to go to this thing. I am not saying we need a long-winded explanation, just something other than: she is a girl, and girl’s love weddings. I don’t necessarily need Kate to be sagely, burdened by emotional baggage, or full of deep brooding feelings. She is perfect the way she is. The guys should respect what they have created enough to let her speak for herself. Kate can love weddings; she can want to go catch up with an old friend; she might just want to go see what everyone there is wearing. That’s all fine, just let her be a character with a motivation instead of a stereotype with a silly hat. Image

She is also referred to as Clint’s ‘ward,’ which she disapproves of, and given an opportunity to show her ineptitude and silliness; by giving Clint Scotch tape to close a box of canned goods. 

I would like to take a moment to remind you that this is the woman who drove the car in the third issue of the series, she saved Clint’s ass a few times, and now she does not understand the function of self adhesive sealing implements.Image


When Kate first appears in her “bridesmaid to-be dress” I thought, ‘that looks like a bridesmaid’s dress from 1978,’ only to realize that it is supposed to be a designer piece of couture that she loves. Would the same woman who wears an asymmetrical purple jumpsuit flawlessly, or dons that stunning gown in issue 2, touch this dress? Let alone lament its demise? If the guys at Hawkeye are going to make fashion a part of Kate’s character (which they evidently are *see mention of two designers by name in issue 7) then they themselves should take the time to see it through, and make it believable. Otherwise its just a ‘bitches love shoes’ joke, and really who needs more of those in their life? (Imagine if a female writer did that to quickly characterized a man in a story, “that new quarterback is great on defense,’ he said”)


I wish they hadn’t chosen Kate as the vehicle of the, ‘everyone can be a hero,’ message in this story. After being made to look like a silly immature girl in the exposition, she should get to prove her metal in the end. I would have forgiven a lot then. Instead, her bravery looks like foolishness. As she confronts the thugs in the pharmacy, she decides to impersonate a Batman villain, talking through a crucial strategy point. After being knocked out cold by a can of baked beans. She wakes up to find the good people of New Jersey have all come together to save her ass.

This is a triumphant moment… for the people of New Jersey (especially the one holding hedge clippers,) but Kate fails so completely. You have to wonder how she holds it together posing as super villains and facing off against hordes of circus-trained cronies, when she cannot manage a couple of looters in a pharmacy. 

I lived through Katrina, I know how beautiful and wonderful people can prove to be when they band together after a tragedy. My father-in-law and his buddies took pirogues down to New Orleans and pulled people off rooftops. Trust me, this a inspiring thing that needs to be said. People do rise to the occasion.  I am just so disappointed that they used Kate to say it. 

Guys, you have made a wonderful female character. She is dynamic. She is an individual. She has her own interests. Don’t lose her. I cannot wait to eat my words after the next issue.


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