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Love For Dummies - The Top 50 Fictional Relationships Thread

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Erim: You are strong, Maxim. What is it that gives you strength to battle on?
Maxim: I have someone to protect...
Erim: That Woman beside you? You would risk your life for one woman?
Maxim: To me, she means more than life itself.


I had Lufia and Maxim's descendent as #9 on my list.

Lufia: I was much happier in the short time I was Lufia than in the eternity I was Erim.

Roman: She's different from the Lufia you knew.
The Hero: I don't care, as long as she's alive!
Roman: Even without her memories? She doesn't remember you!
The Hero: That's alright. We'll make new memories.
 
I played Lufia II first, and completely unspoiled. I'd never seen a game where the main heroes died at the end, and it blew my mind and broke my heart. I had these two at #24. I'd also never seen that kind of banter in a JRPG before.

As soon as I saw the other pairing I knew immediately who the highest voter would be. Our favorite Lufia 1 stan.
 

Solitayre

Circumstance penalty for being the bard
(He/Him)
Now that I've finally gotten Lufia onto one of these list, my destiny has been fulfilled and I can retire from Talking Time.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)

But there was only one (weird) bed!
I've never heard of this show before now but had to note that this is a very cool image.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I've never heard of this show before now but had to note that this is a very cool image.
I've always wanted to go back, but the Backlog keeps growing and I'm in a position n my life when if something takes more effort than typing in a streaming service search box it'll probably not get watched - and I think Utena didn't even get distributed in Europe? Who know who has the license right now.

In any case, we're now in the home stretch!
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)


#12

Cecil/Rosa
63 points • 3 mentions • Highest rank: #5 (Issun)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRXSSLPuMF4


Fandom: Final Fantasy IV
Relationship type: they-did-and-you-missed-it, canon
AO3 Factor: 101

When FFIV came out it blew my mind for two reasons.

One, the storyline was a lot more “mature”. Those quotes are in there because, c’mon, at one moment somebody gets cured of their amnesia by being hit on the head with a pan. But there were some character interactions that I hadn’t even contemplated could happen in a videogame - specifically, a serious romantic relationship.

And the second reason - it’s an established, solid romantic relationship.That was new. Even in my teens I was so used to find love stories in media that centered around just implying the attraction between protagonists or, at most, the courtship and the thrill of a new relationship that Cecil and Rosa having an established, stable and strong relationship by the time the game begins was really novel. It’s also stable as a rock, which is nice. Even the mandatory love triangle is entirely one sided from the third wheel - their faith in each other never waves. It was different from what I had seen.

When we meet them, Cecil is a Dark Knight at the service of the King of Baron. Yes, it’s as bad a job as it sounds, and while Cecil is loyal to his king, it’s obvious that the raiding of innocent villages is taking its toll on him. One of his few spots of solace is Rosa’s love - she’s a white mage at the service of the court, and the first interaction we see of the is her meeting him in his room to offer him comfort (not *that* comfort, this is still a SNES game).

Eventually Cecil starts his quest of redemption and becomes a Paladin, a warrior of light who is destined to Save The World, and a great part of that is due to Rosa’s faith in him, because she has always seen the good in him. And Rosa gets to do stuff in the plot, too. While Cecil is out slaying Elemental Fiends and such, Rosa gets kidnapped and spends a considerable amount of time tied to a chair.

Hey, the game was novel, I didn’t say it was progressive.

Rosa does get to join the party once rescued, though, and she holds her own and is in the party during the final battle when Cecil defeats the Space Flea behind it all. And while their romance never really takes the front row of the story, it’s still there, and the game ends of their wedding and ascendency to the throne of Baron.

Yeah, things happen in that game.

Anyway, they are probably one of the most memorable couples in videogames, even if they have their flaws (like Rosa’s tendency to being kidnapped and Cecil’s awful child-naming skills),

uc
You know it’s true love when you like being around your SO, when their presence soothes you and their encouragement makes you want to be a better person. But if when you’re together you hear an exclusive kick-ass love theme composed by Nobuo Uematsu, it’s definitively for keeps.


 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)



#9 (tie)

Max/Chloe
64 points • 2 mentions • Highest rank: #1 (Issun)

Hey folks, is it gay to break into a pool at midnight and go underwear dipping with your crush?


Fandom: Life Is Strange
Relationship type: partners-in-time, hella-gay, canon
AO3 Factor: 3038

What would you be willing to sacrifice for love?

Life is Strange blew me away when it came out. It is a modern version of a graphic adventure game, very focused in character integrations rather than a storyline. Its main gameplay hook, the protagonist's ability to rewind time, feeds into this, because you can “take back” decisions and explore mutually exclusive conversation branches before committing to one.

And then there’s Max and Chloe.

Max is a teenage woman who comes back to her town of Arcadia Bay after having moved out several years before - and suddenly, out of nowhere, she somehow gets time travel powers. And she discovers them by saving the life of Chloe, her former childhood friend whom she ghosted back when she moved. And while life has been good to Max, Chloe has been kicked by it - she has lost her father, has a new stepdad she doesn’t click with at all, she lacks real friends and her ex-girlfriend vanished without a trace a few months before.

And wile their first meeting is a bit tense, Max and Chloe quickly click as if no time had happened. And it works because both us and Max are discovering who Chloe is as they explore Max’s powerset together and Scooby Doo the disappeareance of Chloe's ex - despite their refound closeness, they are not the same girls they were in their pre-teens, so they have to rediscover themselves and each other.

A lot of the game’s gravitas rests in your relationship with Chloe. Most of the game’s episodes revolve around Max having to find a way to keep Chloe from harm - almost as if the universe herself wanted her out. And that’s a freaking big clue to the game’s conclusion, where you have to decide just what and how much Chloe means to you.

But I think the game works better in its small moments. My most vivid memory of the game is a scene when Max wakes up in Chloe’s room a morning after having crashed her school’s pool at midnight on Chloe’s insistence, and she spends a bit of time just lying there, taking it all in. Not long after that, Chloe will dare Max to kiss her, and Max can do it, or not. That’s the moment where you, the player, decide what this relationships means, because the game doesn’t make you stick into one decision or the other - you can take it back. You have to intentionally decide that Max is into Chloe in that way, and then deliberately decide that's the way it's gonna go. You have to be brave - and it's beautiful.

uc
Dces your crush like you back? Here’s how you can tell.

They confess toyoue they have super powers -> odds are 50/50
They commit breaking and entering with you -> outcome looks good
They are willing to let spacetime unravel just to spend more time with you -> seal that deal already
They’ve kissed you after sleeping in your room where there’s only one bed -> sorry, strictly platonic


 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
Yes, #9 is a triple tie - and in case you haven't noticed, I post ties in ascending order of fics they have in AO3. So as high as the number is for Max and Chloe, the other two #9s I'll post tomorrow are even higher.
 
I'm not sure if Max and Chloe are my absolute favorite couple in media, but they're definitely up there, and the last time I had a chance to get LiS on one of these lists I didn't game my list and missed out, so I was not going to lose another opportunity. Max and Chloe are very special characters, and their chemistry is one of the biggest reasons why the first game is so good, and the reason the other games in the series aren't as good is that their leads just aren't quite as charismatic or complex.

The reason I love Cecil and Rosa is because, like PB said, it's very difficult to find main characters in any medium who are already together at the start of the story. Sure, it's wonderful to watch people fall in love, but there's something special about a couple that's already there and can focus on more important things like kicking the snot out of a tornado lady in a bikini.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I had Cecil and Rosa on my list too, for all the reasons PB and Issun already stated. I've long since moved on from feeling like FFIV has a particularly impressive plot (though it was, for the context and the time), but the main couple stands up as an anomaly among JRPG relationships in all the best ways (except for the periodic damsel'ing).
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)



#9 (tie)

Korra/Asami
64 points • 2 mentions • Highest rank: #2 (Kirin)

Water, Earth, Fire, Wind, Heart


Fandom: Avatar (not the blue one)
Relationship type: heartbender, canon
AO3 Factor: 6473

I honestly thought this was the creators trolling us.

The Avatar creative team is young enough to have grown with the Internet and they know how shipping works. They like teasing the fans - and if you don’t believe me, once they spliced together a fake Season 4 trailer for The Last Airbender using nothing but Zuko/Katara fanart. They know what they’re doing. So when this scene aired:

uc


I was sure they were just setting up a pull on our collective rug. Haha, just joking, here, have your bland Mako pudding instead, you’re welcome.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

Korra is the Avatar - the flesh-and-blood incarnation of an ancient spirit who can control all four elements in a world where people, benders, can only control one. She’s hot-headed and used to punch through most problems, which has landed her in more than one tricky situation, although the fact that she’s really skilled at punching things helps to get her out of those situations. And during one of her adventures she met Asami.

Asami is the daughter of a wealthy industrialist responsible for mass producing novel inventions like cars and bender-disabling electrical gauntlets. Ooops. Yes, turns out, Asami is the daughter of a mad scientist, even if she wasn’t aware of it at the time. While she lacks bending skills, her resourcefulness and clever thinking is an asset to the Avatar. The fact that she took over daddy’s empire and has access to his weapons doesn’t hurt either.

They also dated and dumped the same guy. Awkward.

Korra and Asami were originally vertices of a love triangle, but once they put that past them, they really clicked and became close friends. And they really worked well as friends, the show dedicating scenes to them just having fun together like the time Asami tried to teach Korra to drive stick (didn’t take).

And then Korra almost died. Long story, but Korra took some years off adventuring to recover, alone, and ironically it was during this time when they grew closer, as Asami would be the only person Korra would write back during her recovery and would confess her fears and sense of inferiority to.

That scene up there? Their first meeting after three years (for them) and half of a new season (for us). It’s a blink-and-you-miss-it frame, really, but it was there, and it was then when it hit me that their feelings had shifted into something more. There had been clues before, but just like Asami and Korra I was in denial - them because they were friends and you know how those feelings get fuzzy, me because I know my political climate and same-gender relationships just didn’t exist in big name western animation shows for kids. And no way the creators were brave enough to pull the trigger of Chekov’s shipping gun to let the girl get the girl. They had to be trolling us.

But they did pull that trigger.

It was a gun with a sliencer, mind you, almost no sound. No kiss, but a longing stare and walking into the sunset hand in hand. The comics would get more explicit about the fact that, yes, these ladies are smoochin', but even without being too explicit about the romantic aspect this was a major milestone in western animation, nonetheless.

But even without the context, they still make a good couple. Not everybody can make Korra open herself emotionally and confess she’s not as though as she presents herself to be, And not everybody can make the big bad Avatar blush.

uc
Dating your ex’s ex might sound awkward, but it gives you a good topic to talk about during the first date to keep the conversation flowing - so it is, for practical purposes, awkward-neutral, and less embarrassing that admitting what anime you’re into.


 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
#9 (tie)

David/Patrick
64 points • 2 mentions • Highest rank: #1 (Beta Metroid)

I hope I google the right people


Fandom: Schitt's Creek
Relationship type: from-business-partners-to-business-partners, canon
AO3 Factor: 7255

With over 7,000 fanworks in AO3, this is the most popular pairing in the whole list. Really. Schitt's Creek is a larger phenomenon than I expected, which is weird because I had never heard about the series before this list.

I did try to research, and fro what I gather David is Moira and Johnny’s pansexual son, who had to move with them to the titular town. Patrick is a late addition to the cast, being introduced in Season 3, first as his business partner, but things escalated quickly.

David’s past relationships tended to be ephemeral and superficial, but that changed with Patrick, who was The Real Deal and actually cared for him. The relationship quickly became the emotional core of the series - when your final episode is dedicated to the wedding of a couple who took 5 seasons to get to the altar, you have an idea how important they are to the heart of the series.

I must add, just like with other relationships in this list, it’s nice to see same gender relationships being normalized in mainstream media; having them steal the spotlight like David and Patrick have is even better.


uc
Next time you do a Top 50 Ships List, provide a whitelist of the fandoms you are familiar with that people can vote on to prevent small write-ups like this.






uc
The list can be just one entry long! Finally, Jonny Quest and Jessie Bannon will get the #1 they deserve!


 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
More of mine! In addition to being the top vote for KorrAsami, I also had, uh... Davrick? Patrid? on my list.

I don't have a lot to add though I'm afraid, because that LoK write-up was already pretty darn comprehensive, and I binged through Schitt's Creek pretty quickly long after it was over, so I don't remember a lot of thoughts other than the fact that they're freakin' adorable. Actually I do also remember I appreciated a few times when they hit some tough patches, and managed to work through them like adults, despite David's frequent Issues with Adulting in general.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Hang on, Schitt's Creek has a higher AO3 than Korra/Asami??
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him)
Agh, I totally meant to provide some info on David/Patrick, but a week-long, multi-state family road trip with young kiddos and a doggo complicated things!

The post does effectively sum up the relationship. I'll just throw a few other thoughts in spoilers to be safe:

On its face, this relationship threatens to be "unbalanced." David enters the series spoiled and selfish, and while he has made great strides by the time the couple meet, he is still noticeably more of both than Patrick. But he's aware of those tendencies, and while he never changes his identity, he does strive and succeed at being better. And Patrick certainly brings his own baggage to the relationship, as it's the first one he's entered upon realizing he's into dudes. While he's (broadly) sensible and grounded in contrast with David's sheltered upbringing, David's experience lets him be the guiding one in the relationship in some scenarios.

They also nicely balance their own interests,
sometimes giving each other's a try, and other times acknowledging that it's totally fine for them to have their own pursuits. (See: the obligatory Baseball Episode, which is super heartwarming for their interactions, as well as some father-son moments with David and Johnny. As well as a minor moment in a later episode where a very sports-averse David makes an effort to enthusiastically watch a key baseball game Patrick has been anticipated, and both quickly agree to just let Patrick enjoy it himself. I'm so used to that kind of thing being painted as a "relationship is in trouble" kind of thing).

There's also the episode Patrick comes out to his parents and introduces David to them
, which is something I can't speak about with any personal experience or authority, but, like most things Schitt's Creek, is handled very positively and supportively.

And it's cool to see how Patrick integrates with the rest of the cast.
By default, he's much more polite and gentle than David and his sister, but as he gets more comfortable with the family, you see him (still very lightly) jumping into the verbal fray with the siblings. And Stevie, David's ex-turned-best-platonic-friend, is the lead in-universe shipper for the relationship from the beginning (another refreshing take, this time on "exes interacting with current significant others")
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
Hang on, Schitt's Creek has a higher AO3 than Korra/Asami??
I was surprised too, but I did a double take and did check how the decimal system works and, yup. It is *really* popular.

That said, Schitt's Creek has 8000+ works while the Korra series has over 15,000. Most fans of Schitt's Creek are David/Patrick shippers, but not everybody wants to focus on Korra and Asami in Korroa fic... Maybe Avatar has a larger cast, thus a larger spread?

Anyway, work has been kicking my butt and it has finally eaten my backlog so today's entry might be a tad late. Keep ya posted.
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him)
Schitt's Creek is unusual in that both its overall popularity AND its critical accolades both exploded late in its run. It really picked up viewer traction when Netflix picked it up prior to the 4th season. Critically, it didn't get a single Emmy nomination until its 5th season (4 noms, 0 wins), and then it won All the Emmys during its final season (9 wins, including being the first comedy season to ever win all of the "major" ones, and a handful of additional noms). On paper, you would think Season 6 is way better than anything before it, but I would say the show started good, peaked in late Season 2, and stayed on top of the mountain all the way to the end. I won't say that's the consensus, but I don't think that's an uncommon view.

I don't really have a clear point with this, just lending a bit of context to its meteoric rise in the pop culture sphere.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)


#8

Garnet (Sapphire/Ruby)
64 points • 2 mentions • Highest rank: #2 (Johnny Unusual)

Not related to Pokemon


Fandom: Steven Universe
Relationship type: better-halves, canon
AO3 Factor: 1503

This is an interesting pair because they are literally halves of a single being.

In the world of Steven Universe, Gems are beings that can fuse into a single being - Dragon Ball Z at global scale. These fusions tend to be unstable, but sometimes the bond between fusers is so strong that it sticks for a long time.

When we meet Garnet, a member of the Crystal Gems team that hangs with Steven Universe, there’s nothing to make us think that there is anything too weird with her. She’s fast, she’s strong, she can see the future, and she has some cool shades. Her self-assurance and her tactical abilities, enhanced with her future vision, justify her spot as the team leader, even if she is a bit impulsive at times.

And then we find out she’s the stable fusion of two gems, Ruby and Sapphire. They were a soldier and a noble somewhat attracted to each other who fused practically by accident - and caused a major scandal, as fusions between different gems was a major taboo, so they ran away so Ruby, the commoner, would not be executed. Several thousand years later, they are still together, and very much in love.

Garnet is a relationship given physical form, and her personality is literally the sum of the strengths of her halves. Like with any good relationship, she’s more than the sum of her parts.

uc
Remember that gems are beings with particular powers - when people talk about your better half, they mean that figuratively. So put that scalpel down, Victor Frankenstein.


 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)


#7

Elly/Fei
92 points • 3 mentions • Highest rank: #1 (Positronic Brain)

~True~ love


Fandom: Xenogears
Relationship type: ~contact~and~antitype~, canon
AO3 Factor: 6

To explain this one fully I’d need a whiteboard, several colors of markers and a lot of post-its, so I’ll simplify it. A lot.

Fei is an amnesiac teen living in an idyllic village - like tradition dictates a jRPG protagonist ought to - whose life gets upended when a pilot crashes a stolen gear, a giant humanoid mecha, while trying to run from the army she stole it from and his village gets wiped.

Driven to exile, she meets in the forest the escaped soldier, who is trying to get back to her army. Despite initial mutual distrust, they save each other’s lives and travel together for a bit. While the soldier, Elly, goes back to her army from the floating city of Solaris, Fei falls with and joins the opposite side, a rebellion trying to free the continent from Solaris. Elly and Fei cross paths several times, earning their mutual reluctant trust, until Elly, fed up with her army’s secrets and its penchant for mass atrocities, defects and joins Fei in his quest. And yes, they fall in love.

She’s also her mother.

OK, yes, I skipped like 50 hours of jRPG story between paragraphs. You see, my love for the Elly and Fei ship is not due to execution (it’s OK, but is a bit heavy-handed at times and loaded with cheap symbolism, like Elly losing her gear Vierge after she and Fei sleep together for the first time, uh, uh, get it?) but for scope.

Elly and Fei are just the latest cycle of the reincarnation of two persons who are destined to meet each other again and again, forever. Long ago, a multidimensional engine got tangled with the consciousness of a young kid, Abel, and this engine created a physical incarnation using the kid’s memory of her mother as a template. This pseudo-avatar, this woman, is the original Elly, and she’s the ancestor of almost all mankind.

(the previous paragraph is terribly simplified - Xenogears’ plot has several layers of bonkers)

In any case, long story short, Fei and Elly’s consciousness is tied to this engine and to each other, so they are fated to reincarnate at the same time through the ages and to gravitate to each other. Sometimes they recover their memories from past lives, sometimes they don’t, but they always meet and fall in love. When Xenogears starts they have lived Deus knows how many incarnations and we learn of a few through flashbacks (one of the party members is, simplifying things a lot again, their daughter from a previous incarnation). Thing is, they always end in tragedy - Elly’s kind hearted and self-sacrificing personality means that she often trades her life for Fei’s (because you don’t live thousands of years tangled to a dimensional engine without making enemies). And Fei’s hot-headedness means that he doesn’t last long without Elly, forcing the engine to recycle their souls and try again.

The plot of Xenogears deals with the debris caused by dozens of tragedies - two of the major villains are motivated directly by the last Elly’s sacrifice - and by Elly and Fei’s efforts to break the cycle they are trapped in. For me, the idea of two souls destined to find each other, and who still persist in finding each other despite the tragedy they know they can find, is a powerful one. And at the end of Xenogears, Fei will have learnt to control his impulse for vengeance and will have gone all over the world and beyond it to try to rescue Elly from herself. Literally and figuratively.

That’s love.

Even if she’s also his aunt, technically. But that's a story for another list.

uc
Asking for a genealogical tree before the first date might be a good idea, particularly if you’re prone to reincarnation and your state doesn’t make exceptions for those.


 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
For the record, trying to sum up Elly and Fei's really messy intragenerational relationship in a single post is a herculean task and I don't know if I managed to pull it off. I love Xenogears, but a concise and streamlined plot is not one of its strengths.

Still, I find the idea of Fei and Elly reincarnating, gravitating to each other and then dying because of their same patterns, fascinating. And the fact that they find the strength to break the pattern because all their past mistakes come home to roost at the same time in an spectacular way is *chef's kiss*
 
For the record, trying to sum up Elly and Fei's really messy intragenerational relationship in a single post is a herculean task and I don't know if I managed to pull it off.
I think you did all right for a Surface Dweller ~Lamb~.

Fei and Elly were my #7. Their relationship, like Xenogears itself, may not be as deep as I thought it was when I was 20, but I love it nevertheless.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Garnet/Sapphire were up at #3 on my list - they are a conversation. And they're stronger than you.

I often wistfully regret that I burned out about 2/3 of the way in and never finished playing Xenogears back in the day. I should really just look up and watch an LP or something one of these days. I remember having a friend who was really into it and all the additional backstory that was in the Perfect Works book and other sources.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)


#6

Peter Parker/Mary-Jane Watson
95 points • 4 mentions • Highest rank: #5 (Beta Metroid)

Face it, Tiger, you hit the jackpot


Fandom: Spider-Man
Relationship type: with-great-love-comes-great-relationships, canon
AO3 Factor: 1145

Hey, we all know this couple. They are one of the most popular in pop culture, in spite of their editors trying to keep them apart.

So our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has had a lot of romantic interests across the years, but none as long-lived as Mary-Jane Watson. They meet in a blind date set by MJ’s Aunt Anna, and started an on-off relationship that got kicked into the next level in the mid 80s, when it became serious enough that MJ confessed she had always known Peter was Spider-Man almost since the moment she met him, and had covered for him for years.

Oh, and they also got married.

Yeah, small thing that. One of the most important editorial decisions ever for our Spider-pal that other editors have tried to undo since then for various reasons - they age the character too much, people can’t relate to Peter is he’s married to a supermodel, they can’t introduce new personal conflicts if Peter has a stable love life…

If you ask me, each and every one of those reasons is bollocks and lacks either empathy or imagination. And this is a continuous war that had MJ killed a couple times, then “resurrected”, then estranged, and then it had Peter cloned and replaced by another Spider-Man so they could remove MJ out of the picture… Eventually, by editorial decree, Peter sold his marriage to the devil so he never was married. Yay.

Thing is, while editors try to keep Peter and MJ apart, every single time Marvel writers have the opportunity to do an alternate universe story with Spider-Man in it, they end up together again, usually with a kid. Almost every media adaptation has MJ as a love interest, because that’s what everybody amd their dog know about these characters: Peter Parker loves Mary Jane.

And wether we’re talking about comics MJ, with her acting and supermodeling career, or the friendly girl next door or the feminist rebel from the movies or the close friend from the animated adaptations, Peter and MJ’s relationship is always, at its core, an encarnation of Peter’s, our everyday man's, desire to be loved and accepted for who he is, Spider-Man and all. And in the end, isn’t that the most relatable concept there is?

uc
I can’t believe I have to say this, but don’t sell your marriage to the devil to save your elderly aunt. Just don’t.



 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)


#5
Scott Free/Big Barda
106 points • 4 mentions • Highest rank: #2 (Rascally Badger)

The one chain he doesn’t want to escape from


Fandom: The New Gods
Relationship type: he-small-boi-she-protecc, canon
AO3 Factor: 37

And on the other end of the superhero spectrum, let me introduce you to one of the most stable couples ever, from the pen of Jack Kirby himself.

Scott Free is the son of Highfather, the ruler of the New Gods from New Genesis, and while he was a kid he was exchanged to Apokolips for Darkseid’s son as a guarantee to keep the peace between factions. Scott grew in Apokolips, not knowing his heritage but nonetheless rebelling against Darkseid’s fascist regime. And then, when he was old enough, he escaped to Earth, where using his natural talents for escapism and the high tech gadgets he carried from Apokolips he donned the mantle of Mr. Miracle.

During his time in Apokolips, Scott met Big Barda, the lieutenant of Granny Goodness’ Female Furies - in other words, the leader of the elite fighting force from Apokolips. Influenced by Scott, Barda followed him to Earth and defected as well.

They are a very unusual couple, and visually distinctive. The usual gender dynamics (nimble woman, strong man) are delightfully reversed here, with Big Barda being the muscle. Also, unlike other stereotypes, Big Barda is not a dumb brick - she’s as clever as Scott (Female Fury leader, remember?) and they work great as a team. Which brings up another personality quirk - they just want to be a family, you know? They are a couple first, superheroes second.

It’s some kind of miracle (heh) that editors have never been able to break Scott and Free apart. They have tried, of course, usually for melodrama, but it never takes. I wonder if it is in part because unlike Spider-Man, who spent a couple decades single, people can’t remember a time when Big Barda and Scott weren’t together. If they remember it at all, so nobody is nostalgic for a single Scott Free. And Mr. Miracle is not Superman, so it’s easier to keep a small profile and not become a cheap target for drama.

It could also be that they don’t want to separate what Jack Kirby has joined together. On the Top 50 Ghosts You Don’t Want Haunting You, Jack places really high..

uc
A height difference is not an obstacle for a romantic relationships - in fact, makes things more convenient, as you will have more potential hiding places for that box of chocolates.



 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
(He, Him)
I hope MJ got a good malpractice settlement from the plastic surgeon that made her nipples point that way.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I voted MJ and Peter but while I know a lot of people were invested in the marriage the fact is there marriage really wasn't that interesting to me. I voted them more on the strength of the early issues where MJ is a mystery lady Aunt May is trying to hook him up with and then proves to be a fun romantic rival/counterpoint to girl-next-door Gwen Stacy. She comes in like a hurricane, whisks Peter off to get photos on the Rhino and generally comes off as a much more exciting love interest than some of the others (it's easy to forget Betty Brant and Liz Allen were treated as potential romantic partners).

My memory of the marriage is that it did feel weird and I do like single Peter figuring himself out but there really is no reason the relationship can't be written well nor did we need more increasingly contrived reasons to push them apart.

Garnet was high on my list. She's a cool character and she seems like an aloof badass with a softspot for Steven but when you realize what the two of them are like apart it paints a much more complex picture. I do like in the last season they realize they are OK with growing as people independently of each other and coming back to each other at the end of the day.

Scott Free and Big Barda were ones I came into only in the last few years. I remember when Barda showed up in JLA, she seemed like a generic warrior lady but in Mr. Miracle she's the most interesting character... AND beyond that, I feel like her love of Scott really enriches her. I also love that she has her own army of defecting assassins from her fascist Hell planet and I wish that the Female Furies were used as unstable good guys more often rather than placing them back on the baddies side more often.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)


#4
Clark/Lois
109 points • 4 mentions • Highest rank: #1 (Rascally Badger)

Superman and wife


Fandom: Superman
Relationship type: intrepid-reporter-and-her-sidekick, canon
AO3 Factor: 3156

There’s classic and then there’s classics. As long as there has been a Superman, there has been a Lois Lane.

Superman has gone through several variations during the years - from the jumping strongman in his origins passing through the sci-fi outrageousness of the bronze age to whatever the New 52 was. He has gone through several personalities, keeping only intact his core of fighting for the lesser man.

Similarly, Lois Lane has gone through several variations - from the feisty woman in his origins to the damsel in distress to whatever the New 52 was. She’s been reporter, news anchor, super-heroine and more. What has remained intact? She’s in love with Superman, and she’s better at her job than him. And that’s what makes Lois a different love interest than the others. Clark Kent is a good reporter, but Lois Lane is just as good or better, and that’s impressive given that, well, Clark is Clark.

Of the many iterations of this couple, I like those where Lois falls in love with Clark once she gets past the infatuation she has with Superman. And I particularly like those where writers remember that Lois works better as a sidekick than as damsel in distress or as unattainable love interest - it takes a special woman to stand side to side with Superman in spite of being human, and the best writers don’t make us forget it.

As for Clark, it’s easy to see what drives him to Lois in all his incarnations - nothing like love born out of respect. That’s why all other love interests don’t have the sticking power that Lois has.

By the way, while Clark and Lois married in the comics, editors have tried to separate them (the New 52 comes to mind) and it has never managed to stick. Recently they finally gave in and they made Superman a Superdad. If you ask me, it works even better.

And lastly, I’m going to cheat by giving you my favorite Clark/Lois page of all time.

uc


The way Lois accepts just who Clark is, and Clark finding joy and domesticity in the fact that he can cross the globe in seconds. How can you not love them?

uc
We all are human and limitations in our skills - like poor facial recognition ones - or our health - like allergy to rocks - are not an obstacle to having a fulfilling relationship.


 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)


#3
Eleanor/Chidi
112 points • 4 mentions • Highest rank: #3 (Issun)

Even the bad place is a good place with you


Fandom: The Good Place
Relationship type: hot-for-teacher, canon
AO3 Factor: 333

The number of works when I consulted this was 333, which is half of 666 - I’m taking that as a good omen!

Anyway, I can’t talk of the Good Place without giving The Twist away, and while I think most people know The Twist by now, I'd rather play it safe.

So. Eleanor one day opens her eyes and finds herself in The Good Place, where really good people go after they die. That’s right, Eleanor died and now she has to spend eternity in paradise with her own One True Soulmate, plucked from all the other souls destined to the Good Place, the and that's Chidi. The only problem? Eleanor is not the right Eleanor - she was a bad, petty, selfish person, and she’s in the Good Place by mistake, taking the place of somebody else with her name. As a result, everything is tailored to somebody else - including her Soulmate.

Eleanor can’t keep up the pretense for long, and soon she manages to convince Chidi to help her keep the charade of being the other Eleanor, because if she's discovered as the bad person she is, she’ll end up in the Bad Place, where all the lawyers live. That’s the basic premise, and it goes wild from there.

In any case, Eleanor and Chidi do like each other very very much. Eventually. They start as complete opposites - he’s a philosophy teacher specialized in ethics, so they clash right out of the bat - and they drive each other insane. But eventually they start finding commo ground and meeting the person behind each other’s facade.

And here’s the most beautiful lesson in the Good Place - we humans are not bound by fate, but we make our own. Eleanor and Chidi eventually help each other grow (Eleanor finds the good in her, Chidi learns to assert himself and be less of a stick in the mud) and in the process they transform themselves into soulmates.

uc
Hell is other people, but heaven can be other people too. Just embrace what makes you different, and if that fails just nod at the appropriate parts when your SO is explaining boring stuff.


 
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