There’s no doubt the Avengers are the World’s Greatest Superhero Team. Time and time again, they’ve proven themselves by defeating menaces across the globe and galaxy. When joined together, the male and female members of this team have shown themselves worthy.
However, when it comes to relationships … not so much. Particularly the men. Here are the times Avengers were good or bad boyfriends.
10 Bad: Peter Parker
This is a no-brainer. Though he was married to MJ at the time of the superhero Civil War, Peter made a deal with the devil, Mephisto in this case, to save Aunt May’s life. In turn, things would go back to the way they were before he and Ms. Watson hooked up.
Yes, one could say he performed a good deed to restore health to the woman who raised him. Still, it seemed sort of selfish when he agreed, even if MJ agreed to it. Luckily, balance has been restored in Peter and MJ’s relationship over the last decade.
9 Good: Thor
Thor and Jane Foster have had an exceptional bond since they were introduced. Jane’s connection to the God of Thunder has been so strong that it traversed times when she wasn’t romantically involved with him. In turn, Thor has been by her side or rescued her numerous times.
Their link is so powerful that Jane could lift Mjolnir after Thor lost his ability to wield it. As a result, she took his place as Asgard’s heroic representative. She continued his legacy until he became worthy once again. It’s a testament to Thor’s undying devotion to Jane.
8 Bad: Bruce Banner
Bruce abandoned Betty Ross as he became the Gray Hulk. He had a relationship with another woman as Mr. Fixit. He left Earth for at least a year (okay, that wasn’t his fault). He brought her back to life and, in turn, made her the Red She-Hulk and a creature that eventually ate him. Oh, and he never got along with Betty’s father.
Overall, Bruce has been selfish, rude, ignorant, and a bit misogynistic. He’s like a husband who cheats on his wife, says, “I swear, this is the last time,” then ends up cheating the next week. He constantly promised Betty he would give up his Hulk persona forever, but he always went back.
7 Good: Hawkeye
In the 1980s, Clint Barton did some soul searching in his first mini-series. Along the way, he got himself a new Hawkeye costume and was encouraged to start a West Coast branch of the Avengers. He also fell in love with Bobbi Morse — aka, Mockingbird.
Of course, like any couple with opposite personalities, the two street-level heroes initially clashed. However, by the end of the mini-series, Hawkeye’s charm and never quit attitude led the two into a romantic relationship. By the end of the series, they were already married. It shows how powerful Clint’s personality can be.
6 Bad: Hawkeye
Other than his relationship with Mockingbird, the dating history of the comic book Hawkeye hasn’t been as stellar. He had an on-and-off relationship with Black Widow for years but it never amounted to anything except a friendship.
In the series Hawkeye: Freefall, Clint is shown in the middle of a new relationship. This one is with Linda Cartner, known as the Night Nurse. How it turns out in the long run depends on the amount of maturity Clint has gained through his other relationships.
5 Good: Wolverine (Mariko)
Logan never gave up on Mariko. Despite how things fell apart right before their wedding, he made sure to keep watch on his former lover as they both went through numerous changes. It wasn’t an obsession. Rather, it was a connection between him and Mariko that went beyond a wedding ring.
That’s why her death by his claws makes him a good boyfriend. It wasn’t done in malice. Instead, it was performed because Mariko was already dying from a lethal dose of poison. Rather than committing seppuku, Logan saved her from the pain and potential humiliation of her death.
4 Bad: Vision
How can one be a good boyfriend, let alone a husband, when they have to be constantly rebuilt? Especially when their brain waves and memories can be destroyed, eliminating any emotion they had for their partner? The Vision should have answered these questions before he started his long-term relationship with Scarlet Witch, let alone try to connect with others like Mantis and Captain Marvel.
This doesn’t mean Vision should never be without love. Even synthezoids need to have some human connection. However, he needs to be a more stable partner. Going away for weeks or months while he’s rebuilt is not the way to bond with a partner.
3 Good: Tony Stark
The connection between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts is not simply MCU-based. Their on-and-off relationship over the years has gone past love, compassion, and general lust. These two know each other more than any other couple in the comic universe.
Even when Tony has been a total jerk, and that has been many times, there has always been a piece of him that kept the connection to Pepper a strong one. When all of the other relationships burn out or get retconned, the one between Tony and Pepper will remain, and that’s why he’s a good boyfriend.
2 Bad: Hank Pym
For this, we look to 1981’s Avengers #213. In one panel that initially wasn’t meant to be, Hank Pym transformed from a size-changing hero to a wife beater. It was a strike to his partner, the Wasp, while he was in a manic rage. He punched a woman he spent years dating but never had the guts to ask for her hand in marriage.
While he has redeemed himself time and time again, Hank still has a stigma attached to him four decades later. It’s like he has a figurative scarlet letter or albatross around his neck. This moment will continue to haunt him until writers decide to eliminate this part of his history.
1 Good: Captain America (Sharon Carter)
Steve Rogers has indeed had his share of relationships after he was thawed, but there’s no one that he’s more dedicated to than Sharon Carter. He has been at her side as both an ally and a romantic interest. He’s so dedicated that Sharon rescued him from an alternate universe and died in the process.
Even when Steve was restored to his normal age, Sharon came back to him, also slightly older. In the end, Steve could have walked away from the hero gig like his MCU counterpart did and lived out his life dancing in the living room with Sharon. It would be his reward for never giving up in any aspect of his life.
The male Avengers have proven to be great superheroes, but are they good or bad boyfriend material?