The most romantic day of the year is here. It seems that everyone either has strongly positive feelings about Valentine’s Day or strongly, well, opposite feelings. Although Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the glory of love, love isn’t always about dinners, roses, and marriage. In fact, in the comicbook world, crime and mayhem is often the “romantic” activity of choice for some couples. In honor of this polarizing holiday, here’s a list of villainous couples that have found love in their respective universes, whether it be on the page or on the screen.
Thanos and Hela
Thanos, the villainous Titan who brings death to half the universe, is the wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet. What woman could possibly be a better match for Thanos than the embodiment of death herself? The comicbook iteration of Thanos courts a character by the name of “Lady Death,” who turns out to be none other than the evil Asgardian goddess Hela. Although the two seem like a match made in Hel, Thanos repeatedly attempts to win Hela’s affections by killing people but is never able to get the girl. Occasionally, the pair share moments of happiness together, but in the end, their relationship seems to be more of a wartime romance than a “stop and smell the roses” type of love.
The Joker and Harley Quinn
Where would we be without this benchmark of villainous love affairs? It all started as law-abiding Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychologist trying to do her job with just another Arkham Asylum patient, met and fell under the spell of the manipulative and charismatic Joker. They soon became one of the most notorious couples in Gotham history. Harley started out as a sidekick to the Joker but her popularity with the fans has made her a memorable villain in her own right. The duo creates the perfect mix of craziness and fun (although not much fun for Batman and Robin) in every tale they appear in, and that’s something worth celebrating.
Carnage and Shriek
Carnage, formerly known as Cletus Kasady, is the most manic of the Venom symbiotes. He also seems to have the biggest heart… sometimes. In the original comicbook run, when Carnage broke out of prison he also helped bust out a fellow inmate, a woman named Shriek who had the power to control sound in a weaponized way. The two super-powered criminals seem to have a lot of fun wrecking New York together, but there are some storylines where Carnage leaves Shriek behind to get arrested while he escapes. Although their relationship is tumultuous at times, later stories present the couple as strong, crazy, and in love.
The Kingpin and Vanessa
The story of Wilson Fisk and his wife Vanessa also has had its share of ups and downs. Although Vanessa Fisk was initially unaware that the charismatic businessman she married was also a violent crime lord known as the Kingpin, she sometimes blurred her own moral lines when it came time to protect herself and her family. After learning of his role as the Kingpin, Vanessa gives her husband an ultimatum to leave the world of crime. Out of love for his wife and son, Wilson does so. However, as time goes on, the beloved son of the Fisks, Richard, comes to resent his father. He attempts to kill Wilson, which leads Vanessa to kill Richard herself. This dark deed sends her down a spiral of madness and deception as she arranges murders and frames others for her crimes, to name just a few unlawful activities that Vanessa participates in. Although she doesn’t become a “supervillain” like her husband, Vanessa Fisk sure learned from the best when it comes to corruption.
Magneto and Mystique
Both Magneto and Mystique are vastly misunderstood. Their status as villains has always been subjective and debatable. The pair are often affiliated with each other because they share the same radical belief that mutant rights are of paramount importance, even if it costs some humans or fellow mutants their lives to enforce these rights. The comicbooks portray both characters as drifters when it comes to romance, each with an impressively long list of ex-lovers. But the films show the pair having an on-again-off-again romance during their long careers as mutant menaces. Their periodic romances never last very long, but there’s no doubt that the combined powers of Mystique and Magneto make for one formidable duo.