Superman and Lois Lane. Mister Fantastic and Susan Storm. Superhero comics have tons of iconic relationships that have stood the test of time. But what about the relationships that never really took off? There have been plenty of near misses in the comics, either due to scrapped storylines or momentary lapses in judgement.
So instead of talking about comics' greatest relationships, here are five of the ones that got away:
Batman and Zatanna
Batman's brooding demeanor, unlimited wealth, striking chin line has ensnared many women, but his unusual friendship with Zatanna is one of the more popular "what ifs" in the DC Universe. Bruce Wayne and Zatanna were childhood friends, and Bruce even picked up some of his escape tricks training under Zatanna's father.
After both became superheroes, Batman and Zatanna's relationship took a turn for the worse when he discovered that Zatanna had wiped the minds of several supervillains during the Justice League's early days and had wiped Batman's mind to help keep it a secret. However, following Infinite Crisis, the two patched things up and finally addressed the possibility for a relationship. Sadly, both Batman and Zatanna knew that he only had time for superheroics, although future comics hinted that Zatanna still carried a torch for her longtime friend.
So why did we almost get a Batman/Zatanna relationship? Fans can thank Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini. Dini (who's married to a stage magician in real life) was a fan of Zatanna and teased the idea of a Batman/Zatanna relationship in several of his cartoons. He then brought that relationship into the comics when he wrote a lengthy run on Detective Comics.
Jean Grey and Wolverine
If you've only ever watched the X-Men movies, you'd think that mutantkind's greatest romance is between Wolverine and Jean Grey, two mutants who never dated in nearly 40 years of X-Men comics. Chris Claremont first teased the idea of Jean Grey and Wolverine when Wolverine showed up at Jean's hospital room with flowers when she was recovering from the crash that turned her into the Phoenix. Upon seeing Scott (AKA Cyclops, Jean's soul mate and longtime boyfriend) blubbering like a baby in Jean's room, Wolverine instead tossed the flowers and left without seeing Jean.
Like so many other of Claremont's storylines, the Wolverine/Jean romance disappeared for several years. It didn't pick up steam until Jean had come back from the dead and Scott was struggling whether he should be with Jean or with his wife who looked exactly like Jean. Wolverine and Jean shared several steamy kisses in the 1980s, but the romance never went anywhere because Scott and Jean were destined to be together.
Future X-Men writers kept the Wolverine/Jean flame burning, even after Cyclops and Jean got married. Grant Morrison brought back the romance during his New X-Men run, as Jean struggled with Scott's emotional distance (he had recently returned from the dead himself) and eventual psychic affair with Emma Frost. However, the closest Wolverine and Jean came to hooking up was when the pair kissed shortly before Jean's Phoenix powers re-activated and she died....again.
Fans did get a Wolverine/Jean Grey romance of sorts in Ultimate X-Men, as Jean initially dated Wolverine before she found out that he was one of Magneto's agents. Jean never forgave Wolverine, even after Wolverine romantically attempted to murder her new boyfriend Cyclops and lied about it for months. Flowers might have been a little more effective there, bud.
Aquaman and Wonder Woman
DC finally pulled the trigger on the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship they've teased intermittently for years, only to discover that it was about as exciting as watching paint dry on C-SPAN 2. Now that relationship is done and buried, laid to rest alongside the last time DC flirted with Wonder Woman romancing one of her Justice League teammates.
Aquaman and Wonder Woman had a multi-year flirtation that never amounted to anything. Peter David first floated the idea of the two royal superheroes hooking up in a flashback story in which Aquaman saved a young Diana from the Greek God Triton. The two harmlessly flirted for years, before Aquaman finally kissed Wonder Woman to save her from a fairy tale-like spell.
Although Aquaman was Wonder Woman's prince charming, their relationship never progressed any further. And with Aquaman's wife Mera now back in the picture, it doesn't look like DC will ever revisit it.
Namor and the Invisible Woman
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought Namor back from comic book limbo to act as one of the Marvel Universe's first true antiheroes. As if threatening to invade New York every week wasn't enough, Namor made it clear that he wasn't a good guy by constantly putting the moves on Susan Storm, the Invisible Girl and romantic partner to Mister Fantastic.
Although Susan always rejected Namor's advances, it was clear that she carried a torch for the angry Atlantean. It's unclear whether Susan was attracted to the washboard abs, the sculpted eyebrows, or the pointy ears, but her mind wandered to Namor whenever Reed started ignoring her for his true love, science.
Susan and Namor couldn't even pull the trigger when Susan thought Reed was dead. Although Namor rushed to Susan's side, she convinced him to help in the search for Reed. At least he got a good smooch out of Susan before Reed miraculously came back to life.
Captain Marvel and Spider-Man
When Marvel erased Spider-Man's marriage in 2007, they largely kept his romantic misadventures contained to his own corner of New York City. However, Marvel did flirt around with the idea of a Spider-Man/Captain Marvel for a couple of years.
Although it seems like an odd pairing on the surface, the relationship actually makes a lot of sense. Spider-Man brought out Captain Marvel's less serious side and Spider-Man never had to worry about one of his supervillains killing Captain Marvel out of revenge. Sadly, while the two shared a lot of laughs and flirty comments, they never made it past a first date. Now, Spider-Man's a billionaire while Captain Marvel is one of the most hated superheroes on the planet after Civil War II. Perhaps they could both use the other in their lives once again.