There's no doubt that being a hero and having a girlfriend do not go well together in the Marvel Universe. While heroes like Superman can marry Lois Lane and live happily ever after, Marvel thinks their heroes are much cooler when being dragged through emotional barbed wire. Here are some of the more famous "tough love" scenarios:
1. Daredevil and Elektra
This one has to start the group simply because it was probably handled better than any other. Matt and Elektra were lovers, and then years later ended up as enemies. Neither really wants to hurt the other, but at the same time they can't seem to live and let live.
Elektra's death soon after her initial appearance was a real shocker to comic fans everywhere. The storyline seemed to just be taking off and full of potential when suddenly she was killed by Bullseye.
Of course, who stays dead in comic books, right? So a few issues later she's back and has been pretty much ever since. And yet they still can't seem to hook up. It's a tragic ongoing love story that probably will never have a happy ending.
2. Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy
Why do I list this one above Peter and MJ? Because Peter willingly chose to give up MJ forever to save Aunt May, while Gwen's death was unwanted. She was arguably at the height of her popularity with Spider-Man fans and the doorway seemed open for a bright future.
For the time, Marvel took a big risk in killing her off. They hadn't really taken a chance like that with a big character up to that point. Her father, Captain Stacy, had been killed earlier which set up this "I blame Spider-Man" sub-plot that had great possibilities. Unfortunately, she never found out that Peter was Spidey before she was killed.
Of course, Marvel had to completely destroy her memory a few years ago by bringing in this stupid storyline where she had actually been Norman Osborn's lover and had his children. But that's Marvel for you. They love to do horrible things to childhood memories in the name of "pushing the envelope".
There are still those today who think Gwen should have been left alone and MJ should have been the one killed. Who knows which would have ended better though? Maybe she got out while the getting was good.
3. Bruce Banner and Betty Ross
While Spider-Man's enemy killed his girlfriend, it was Banner himself who had a hand in killing his own wife. After years of being exposed to radiation by being around Bruce, Betty found out she had gamma radiation poisoning and was dying.
The Abomination found out about Betty's condition and hastened things along with a blood transfusion of his irradiated blood and she was dead. We never liked her father that much, but this may have been one of those cases when the daughter should have listened to dear old dad and stayed away from the giant green man.
There are a lot more wonderful Marvel relationships that didn't end well that I'll hit in future posts. For now, who do you consider a tragic relationship for Marvel that I didn't mention?