Comics On TV

The Top 5 (and 2 Worst) CW Superhero Romances

"Crisis on Earth-X" crossover event highlights The CW superheroes' romantic couplings.

by | November 28, 2017 | Comments

The CW superhero couples (Diyah Pera; Bettina Strauss; Michael Courtney; Dean Buscher; Bettina Strauss /The CW)

This year’s Arrowverse superhero crossover event, “Crisis on Earth-X,” on The CW may seem like a titanic struggle between our heroes and their Nazi doppelgangers, but it is also, oddly enough, a story about love. Some of the characters are fulfilling traditional heterosexual expectations of love and romance. Others appear to be running from those expectations. And yet still others are smarting from the lack of traditional — or nontraditional — romantic experiences.

The anchor to all of the romantic pondering is, of course, the wedding of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West (Candice Patton). After four years, two parallel worlds, an ex-fiance erased from existence, and a threat from a future Flash, the pair are finally getting married — well once they deal with the invasion from Earth-X, which itself seems to be motivated by a great love.

Emily Bett Rickards, Danielle Panabaker, Candice Patton, Grant Gustin, Carlos Valdes, and Chyler Leigh in Supergirl -- "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1" (Bettina Strauss/The CW)

(Photo by Bettina Strauss/The CW)

Back in the pages of DC Comics, Barry and Iris’ marriage stood the test of time and even beyond. On The Flash, their love often wavered as the story line demanded. In fact, all of the shows have a spotty record with relationships, but a handful certainly stand as memorable or as meaningful as Barry and Iris. Here are five of the best (and two of the worst) relationships on Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.


1. Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer

Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers and Floriana Lima as Maggie Sawyer in Supergirl -- "Far From The Tree" (Dean Buscher/The CW)

Even though it ended recently, Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Maggie (Floriana Lima) represented the best possible relationship one can find in superhero television. They weathered so much together — both in terms of Alex learning how to be with someone and alien invasions — and seemed to grow with every misstep and argument. Sadly, there was one difference of life goals they could not agree on: children. But even in acknowledging they could not compromise on the issue, their bittersweet farewell was the sort of thing everyone hopes they’ll experience if they have to call it quits with someone special.

The relationship, dubbed “Sanvers” online, became a rallying point for those who had never seen a lesbian relationship portrayed with such sensitivity. It also came as quite a shock when the series announced Lima would not return as a regular in its third year, forcing the series to make the relationship’s end as natural as it could be. Nonetheless, some remain hopeful that the pair will be reunited sometime in the future.


2. Barry Allen and Patty Spivot

Shantel Van Santen as Detective Patty Spivot and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen in The Flash -- "Potential Energy" (Katie Yu/The CW)

Since Barry and Iris were always fated to be together, Barry’s other romantic entanglements lacked a certain energy — anyone remember Linda Park? One exception to his uninspired love life was Central City Police Department officer Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten). Perceptive and dedicated, she was a match for Barry as he tried to conceal a temporary blindness during their first date. The pair had mad chemistry together, and he admitted his secret to her long before he told Iris! Alas, Barry’s One True Pairing was fated in the timestream (and Earth-2), so Patty took a train out of town. Curiously, her major relationship qualm — Barry’s secretiveness — would become a major issue for Barry and Iris in the show’s third season.

In the reality of the production, it seemed a decision was made to bring Iris and Barry together quicker than originally conceived; thus the effort in making Patty an appealing and interesting character ended up a waste. Thankfully, she made it out of town safely and not on a slab like other former Team Flash paramours.


3. Kara Danvers and Mon-El of Daxam

Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Chris Wood as Mike/Mon-El in Supergirl -- "Nevertheless, She Persisted" (Bettina Strauss/The CW)

Always a controversial pick for those who hated Mon-El immediately upon his debut, the pairing of Mon-El (Chris Wood) and Kara (Melissa Benoist) was well-drawn — even if Mon-El had to grow a conscience overnight so it could happen. There was an obvious attraction from the get go, even if his bad-boy ways chaffed against Kara sense of duty. He eventually came around to her point of view — and not just for the chance to date her, but also because his heart was in that morality all along. Sadly, it seems his marriage to Imra Ardeen (Amy Jackson) of the Legion of Superheroes has put an end to Karamel forever.

The pair drew the ire of fans interested in the dynamic that seemed to develop between Kara and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath). Others felt Mon-El’s character changed too sharply in order to get the two together as fast as possible. Back in the comics, Mon-El and Kara were teammates in The Legion of Superheroes, but were never romantically linked. The (relative) success of the pair as an on-screen couple was one of the great surprises of Supergirl’s second season even if it continues to be contentious among fans.


4. Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak (Take Two)

Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen in Supergirl -- "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1" (Bettina Strauss/The CW)

Admittedly, Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) were insufferable the first time around. In giving the fans what they believed they wanted, the relationship took a lot of the bite out of Felicity and made Oliver more of a jerk than usual. This time, though, they come off as complimentary people working toward common goals. We’ve seen them tentatively include William in the dynamic as well, which may be why it is working better this time. The year apart probably helped as well, even if both tried to move on and failed miserably. A helpful explosive device care of Prometheus (or was it Helix?) also put them on the road to reconciliation. But as the only couple on this list still together, there is plenty of time for them to screw it up again. They made a good go of it at the rehearsal dinner!

The key to making it work, of course, is Rickards ability as a performer. She was the reason why “Olicity” took root with fans in the first place. In fact, she may be the reason the entire Arrowverse works as well as it does. Introduced as a recurring character, she was essential by the end of the first season. She also introduced the world to Barry Allen. So, hopefully, she can make the long-term relationship of Oliver and Felicity something fans want to see last.


5. Iris West and Eddie Thawne

 Candice Patton as Iris West and Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne in The Flash -- "Out of Time" (Diyah Pera/The CW)

Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) was a victim of fate. As established in The Flash pilot, he and Iris began dating while Barry was in his six-month coma. And while Barry was blinded by jealousy after he woke up, the two were actually a very sweet couple. Unlike a traditional romantic obstacle or a “Captain Suitable” type, Eddie was portrayed as a caring, dedicated man with a bit of an edge to him. He also became friendly with Barry — after decking him, of course — and the rest of Team Flash.

Their relationship was strained when he agreed to hide The Flash’s identity from Iris — a recurring theme over the years. Though it pained him to keep Barry’s secret, he eventually concocted a lie to pacify his inquisitive would-be fiancée. Keeping the secret might have impacted their potential marriage if not for the Reverse-Flash revealing the fate of Iris West-Allen to Eddie. Learning the truth, he broke things off with Iris and sacrificed himself to erase the Reverse-Flash, his descendant, from the timestream. And even that sacrifice was somewhat in vain with remnants of the Reverse-Flash lost in time and space.

Talk about a raw deal. Thanks to Cosnett’s performance and the surprisingly even-handed writing of a character who could easily be an antagonist, Eddie deserved better. Maybe his life is better on Earth-19.


And the Worst …

2. Tommy Merlyn and Laurel Lance

Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance and Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn in Arrow -- "Unfinished Business" (Cate Cameron/The CW)

Oh, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). A hangover from Arrow’s initial mix of Smallville and Gossip Girl, he played the spoiled playboy archetype despite attempting to date the socially conscious Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). Looking back, all of their scenes together seemed to come from a different, backlit show. Granted, a number of those scenes took place at the Verdant night club. In the midst of this, his father Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) cut off his trust fund, forcing him to grow up a little and move in with Laurel. The two make the best of it for a time, until Tommy realizes Oliver still loved Laurel. Or, at least, that’s the way he perceived things. Time would prove Laurel and Oliver’s love for each other was never quite as romantic as Tommy believed.

In fact, Oliver and Laurel made for a terrible couple as well.

But perhaps the worst part of the Tommy-Laurel pairing comes after Tommy’s death. For much of the second season, Laurel spent her life in a drunken, despondent stupor and nearly ruined her career. Although the latter had as much to do with the Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro) situation as it did her chemical dependencies.

Laurel eventually recovered, but considering the wobbly writing of both Tommy and Laurel at the time, they easily earn a spot on this short list.


1. The Hawks

Falk Hentschel as Carter Hall/Hawkman and Ciara Renee as Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl in DC's Legends of Tomorrow (Michael Courtney/The CW)

But by a wide margin, the worst of the couples ever presented on the four CW superhero shows has to be Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel) and Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renee): the Hawks of Legends of Tomorrow.

Kendra was introduced as a love interest for The Flash’s Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), but soon learned she was fated to stand beside a be-winged drink of water named Carter Hall. The two had always been together. Well, at least since their first life ended in a battle with Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) over a piece of Nth Metal. Born time and again, the two were fated through a mix of mysticism and science to always find each other and always die at Savage’s hand.

And even lives in which one or the other survived, misery was also their constant companion; as Kendra learned when she encountered an earlier incarnation of herself during a time travel trip to the Old West.

For most of their season on Legends, Carter was dead, killed after an early attempt to end Savage. But other versions of him and flashbacks to previous eras attempted to keep the flame alive. A version of him from Savage’s dark future even joined Kendra in the 21st century! Unfortunately, the writing and performances failed an interesting hook, based on an early 2000s comic book revision of Hawkman. The show attempted to course-correct by bringing Kendra together with Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), but the relationship could not survive the hand of fate. Kendra and Carter literally flew away at the conclusion of Legends‘s first season to discover what their lives will be like without the threat of Savage.

You’ll note they have never been invited back for crossover events like this week’s “Crisis on Earth-X.” They will likely remain in St. Roch until the end of time.


Tag Cloud

Amazon Studios joker Focus Features christmas movies DC Universe Biopics Oscars theme song Marvel Studios A24 rt labs Pirates mcc comic book movies rotten Ovation Starz GoT documentaries SDCC what to watch boxing Sundance cancelled TV series stand-up comedy spinoff spain HBO Go PaleyFest Rocky Winter TV spanish language live event new zealand Star Trek obituary halloween tv Best Picture Best Director australia supernatural obi wan Pop The Walking Dead Comedy Captain marvel Walt Disney Pictures TCA deadpool CMT leaderboard docuseries zero dark thirty Universal HBO Max VOD french sequel The Academy 24 frames art house Classic Film Paramount Network BBC The CW animated hispanic heritage month Turner Classic Movies 2016 suspense Endgame Crunchyroll GLAAD Disney VICE Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt quibi basketball 45 WarnerMedia Summer royal family 4/20 Anna Paquin 72 Emmy Awards BAFTA E! worst movies war Rock ABC Family black comedy japanese Legendary Comic Book medical drama Fantasy justice league indiana jones summer preview zombies Spring TV romance Trophy Talk 71st Emmy Awards IMDb TV Marvel robots Paramount revenge Brie Larson television rt archives Spectrum Originals Election Universal Pictures Crackle Pop TV Acorn TV crime Elton John History critics Superheroes Amazon Winners Mindy Kaling Tarantino teaser Set visit The Arrangement politics The Witch razzies Comedy Central telelvision anthology IFC OWN TV renewals finale Valentine's Day Quiz blockbuster directors Mystery Chernobyl romantic comedy scary movies films Rom-Com Fall TV TV Land Country Food Network independent live action anime universal monsters summer TV preview Tubi young adult Sony Pictures Year in Review streaming 2021 Broadway dramedy Fargo Binge Guide Esquire Paramount Plus cults name the review LGBT dreamworks genre Holidays FXX 2017 batman Family debate PBS strong female leads superman halloween rt labs critics edition A&E Vudu dark thriller DirecTV Columbia Pictures USA TCA 2017 90s 007 Sundance TV Spike doctor who biopic Best Actress crossover TCA Winter 2020 adaptation crime thriller versus ratings blaxploitation kids cats political drama Ellie Kemper Writers Guild of America E3 RT21 new star wars movies james bond FOX Creative Arts Emmys Opinion Super Bowl ghosts TruTV satire vs. Countdown kaiju Photos legend Song of Ice and Fire period drama See It Skip It green book Television Critics Association El Rey scene in color Action Disney Plus BET Awards olympics BBC One worst binge CW Seed Interview Bravo jurassic park Tokyo Olympics Arrowverse YouTube Red classics canceled documentary elevated horror laika Exclusive Video AMC Plus franchise toy story NBA canceled TV shows Tomatazos Character Guide Television Academy Best Actor Neflix prank werewolf reviews wonder woman asian-american Premiere Dates VH1 Dark Horse Comics First Reviews Musicals cancelled President blockbusters casting award winner 21st Century Fox Academy Awards historical drama Podcast Box Office Pixar spider-man CBS All Access San Diego Comic-Con Superheroe Mudbound sports movie golden globe awards Marvel Television Adult Swim psychological thriller BBC America Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Heroines Shondaland diversity Video Games comic book movie psycho Britbox spanish sitcom TCA Awards nbcuniversal action-comedy mutant comic books SXSW 2022 Music archives rotten movies we love RT History foreign king kong USA Network 79th Golden Globes Awards YouTube Premium science fiction marvel comics football spider-verse Marathons true crime remakes Lucasfilm Tumblr Women's History Month Cannes renewed TV shows New York Comic Con mission: impossible sequels parents Netflix Logo ESPN Film stoner Stephen King marvel cinematic universe Martial Arts Hulu FX 1990s international hollywood boxoffice HFPA Mary Tyler Moore screen actors guild TIFF Awards Tour MTV series TV One reboot child's play Nominations Calendar X-Men Freeform comedies scary Western Baby Yoda video American Society of Cinematographers TCM CNN SundanceTV dragons transformers aliens MSNBC trophy Funimation movies Wes Anderson pirates of the caribbean cartoon screenings godzilla popular Travel Channel stop motion richard e. Grant YouTube natural history Paramount Pictures based on movie Emmys Awards First Look Polls and Games South by Southwest Film Festival singing competition superhero Toys AMC cancelled TV shows twilight Extras gangster Mary poppins video on demand Tags: Comedy monster movies feel good Apple Watching Series 93rd Oscars dexter 2015 Apple TV+ cooking Shudder Disney+ Disney Plus Apple TV Plus all-time crime drama Grammys Hallmark latino Emmy Nominations Pacific Islander cinemax GIFs hispanic Schedule dogs chucky target 94th Oscars zombie FX on Hulu hidden camera posters Trivia news Instagram Live game of thrones black comics slashers 2018 Fox News breaking bad dceu toronto new york Hallmark Christmas movies biography ABC Signature The Purge comic Animation ITV concert nfl nature Nat Geo BET Trailer emmy awards festival free movies Reality Fox Searchlight criterion APB fresh scorecard travel Certified Fresh Lifetime docudrama adventure Holiday space ABC south america Disney streaming service YA 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Image Comics Comic-Con@Home 2021 children's TV jamie lee curtis miniseries Discovery Channel 2020 best streamig Prime Video DC streaming service 2019 hist Amazon Prime Best and Worst king arthur Oscar Warner Bros. police drama disaster Masterpiece Red Carpet italian dc ID TLC know your critic harry potter die hard Amazon Prime Video Cartoon Network Cosplay NYCC Reality Competition Alien TV movies Disney Channel IFC Films heist movie golden globes japan Black Mirror Pet Sematary National Geographic Avengers festivals cops Black History Month tv talk MGM Thanksgiving Peacock spy thriller Rocketman 99% TNT cancelled television Drama cars streaming movies rom-coms Infographic Epix lord of the rings Pride Month saw broadcast Netflix Christmas movies a nightmare on elm street NBC kong SXSW vampires witnail Comics on TV Lifetime Christmas movies Mary Poppins Returns aapi TV facebook Kids & Family high school Syfy Star Wars mob trailers Ghostbusters slasher PlayStation sopranos fast and furious Nickelodeon TBS mockumentary 73rd Emmy Awards talk show DGA composers adenture Film Festival Showtime DC Comics Christmas Sneak Peek social media The Walt Disney Company 20th Century Fox women CBS LGBTQ venice Horror HBO Teen comiccon book adaptation summer TV OneApp Turner technology Lionsgate discovery serial killer unscripted Sundance Now Hollywood Foreign Press Association critic resources Sci-Fi book ViacomCBS game show MCU Hear Us Out sag awards indie Musical WGN