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.