Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through the Silver Age Flash series, cataloging character appearances. I’m almost done – only 25 issues left – but it reminded me of something:
Why is it that super-hero weddings are almost always interrupted by super-villains – even when the hero’s identity is secret?
Is it just that readers expect a story with some sort of fight in it, and if it’s just a wedding they’ll be disappointed?
Consider these examples:
- Flash II (Barry Allen) and Iris West: the wedding is interrupted when Professor Zoom disguises himself as the groom, and the Flash has to get rid of him and then make it to the wedding himself.
- Flash II (Barry Allen) and Fiona Webb (after Iris’ death): Zoom returns, Flash spends the whole day chasing him around the globe, and eventually Fiona gives up and runs out of the chapel, just in time for Zoom to try to kill her. (Flash stops him with a last-second choke-hold which breaks his neck, leading to a manslaughter trial, the disappearance of Barry Allen, and finally the cancellation of the series.)
- Flash III (Wally West) and Linda Park: at the moment the rings are exchanged, Abra Kadabra kidnaps Linda, sends everyone home, and casts a massive forget spell, erasing all memory and records of her back to the point she met Wally. Eventually she escapes, Kadabra is tricked into reversing the spell, and they hold a new wedding – 18 issues later.
And it’s not just the main characters who get this treatment:
- Mary West (Wally’s mother) and Ernesto Varni: the minister is caught in a traffic jam caused by mad scientist T.O. Morrow, and her ex-husband (Wally’s father) shows up with a demon as his date.
And before you think this is limited to the Flash:
- Nightwing (Dick Grayson) and Starfire (Koriand’r): Raven shows up, kills the minister, causes massive destruction and lands Starfire in the hospital. The wedding is never finished.
- in Superman & Batman: Generations (an alternate universe in which characters age in real time), the son of Batman (Bruce Wayne, Jr.) and daughter of Superman (Kara Kent), now Batman and Supergirl, are to be married – only to be stopped by Lex Luthor and Superman’s brainwashed son (Joel Kent). Luthor kills Lois, while Joel kills his sister, only to die himself hours later, a result of the formula Luthor used to give him temporary super-powers.
…or that it’s limited to comic books:
- On Lois and Clark, Lois was kidnapped and replaced with a clone. Clark ended up marrying the clone instead, and after the clone died Lois came back with amnesia, and the show avoided marrying them until the end of the season. By which time I had stopped watching. (There’s a long-standing belief in television that any show which has sexual tension between the leads as a key element will tank as soon as they get together. Because of this they tend to resort to more and more ridiculous ways of keeping them apart, causing the show to tank by the time they get the characters together.)
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yes, she’s a super-hero – she just doesn’t have a costume), Xander and Anya’s wedding was interrupted by a demon trying to convince Xander to call the wedding off by pretending to be his future self. It worked.
Getting married “off-camera” seems to be the best bet: Ralph (Elongated Man) and Sue Dibny, Jay (Flash I) and Joan Garrick, Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle, The Tornado Twins (Barry & Iris’ children) and their spouses – the weddings you hear about instead of seeing never seem to be crashed by crazies with super-powers or ray guns.
In fact, of the ones I’ve read, right now I can only think of one “on-camera” comic-book wedding that hasn’t been stopped or delayed by a villainous attack: Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) and Terry Long in The New Teen Titans. Wolfman & Perez actually took the risk of focusing a double-sized issue on just the wedding – but then the series was as much about the way the characters interact as it was about fighting evil.
Rick Jones got his wedding interrupted by every Hulk villain (if not Marvel villain) ever invented. Of course, they were “invited” by the Impossible Man, and I don’t recall a fist fight breaking out, thanks to the intervention of people like the Silver Surfer, but still a great issue.
It’s been awhile, but I’m pretty sure that the wedding of Aquaman and Mera went off without a hitch. Their life after the wedding wasn’t ideal, however.
Cyclops and Jean Grey and Peter Parker and Mary Jane, weren’t those OK?
Do villains have it any better? No villainous weddings spring instantly to mind, but I think in comics and the Buffyverse, all such events are doomed.
I’ve been trying to think of some married villains all evening, and I just can’t come up with any. I finally decided to flip through the DC Encyclopedia (it’s incomplete, inaccurate, heavy and overpriced, but it’s relatively current and I had a gift card).
I’ve found a handful of villains with estranged, deceased or ex-spouses in their backgrounds, two ex-villains who reformed and married heroes (one only in flashback), several second-generation villains where you figure the previous one probably got married… during the 30 years he wasn’t being used as a villain! Only three villainous couples: the Joker and Harley Quinn, the Top and Golden Glider, and Punch and Jewelee. Of those, only Punch and Jewelee are married, and it’s not clear whether that was before or after they became villains. One villain (Blacksmith) who was introduced as another villain’s (Goldface) ex-wife.
I don’t know how it is in Marvel, but in the DCU, it looks like villains don’t get married until long after they retire.
Starfire and Nightwing should have gotten married. Plus Starfire needs a new look. Raven’s a bitch.
The Fantastic Four started this tradition. On the wedding of Sue Storm and Reed Richards Dr Doom arranged the villains to attack. Too bad every hero in the Marvel Universe at the time was attending…
Bruce Banner’s marriage to Betty Ross was interrupted by a crazed, drunken, gun-wielding soon-to-be-father-in-law, Bruce’s nemesis and sometime-ally General “Thunderbolt” Ross. He shot the best man, Rick Jones, before Betty yelled him into submission. Her haircut was atrocious.
The marriage of the very first Superman (the Superman of Earth-2) to Lois was the most normal of all. At the time they got married he had forgotten he was Superman and she didn’t discover the truth untill well after they were hitched. Superman was amnesiac because the Wizard hit him with a magic spell. Lois discovered that Clark was invulernable and stuff far later and figured the whole thing out. By taking the super out of Superman, albeit temporarily but in all ways, the normality of the union was insured. Until the Anti-Monitory attacked twenty or thirty years later.
The wedding of the Vision and Scarlet Witch…. I can’t remember. According to Marvels, written by Kurt Busiek, there were protests by normal non-super humans outside the church. That’s more of a recap/flashback than a genuine story.
The wedding of Havok and Polaris was screwed up by Chuck Austen, but they probably would have gotten together earlier if not for Polaris getting possessed by Malice, Havok secretly moving to Australia along with the rest of the X-Men while the world thought them dead. I don’t want to get into it.
Spider-Man got married twice with no problems (one marriage was in the daily newspaper comic strip and the other was in the Marvel Universe comic book).
Animated Spider-Man ended up marrying a Hydro-clone of Mary Jane and the ceremony was interrupted by an army of Mega-Goblin robots.
The second Green Goblin got married without problems.
I’m trying to think of more examples but I am blanking. Quicksilver’s marriage to Crystal was not notable. Good for them!
[…] Bridegroom Too Many.” Barry finally marries Iris West… but Professor Zoom tries to take his place. Guest star cameos galore. […]
That Lois and Clark technique is often used to keep people coming back for more. It usualy ends up being an extra few sequals which tries to drag out every last bit of juice from the story.
I think the term is “Jumping the shark”.
[…] Reposted from K-Squared Ramblings […]
The wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey in X-Men #31 might just be the most 90s wedding ever, as it includes both an appearance by Cable (the alternate future son of the groom and a clone of the bride) and a set of commemorative trading cards bound into the issue that gave Cyclops the dorkiest glasses known to man.