Welcome back to Love and Comics!
This week premiered the long awaited arrival of the final Defender to join the Netflix Marvel Universe: Danny Rand AKA Iron Fist. Among the anticipated roster of the Defenders comes some of the strongest street-level Avengers of the Marvel universe and this week we are taking the time to appreciate some of their romances and heartbreaks in these amazing covers.
Daredevil Vol 2 #94 (Milla Donovan and Matt Murdock)
Although Elektra is the most well known love interest of Daredevil, Matt Murdock has had several relationships with non-super heroes such as Karen Page and former assistant DA Kirsten McDuffie. In this issue we take a look at his only official wife, Milla Donovan. Milla was just another pedestrian saved by Daredevil from a similarly fatal accident that caused Matt’s blindness. Upon saving her he realizes that she is also blind. Also during this time there was a rumor going around that Matt Murdock was in fact Daredevil. Intrigued by this, Milla Donovan tracks him down and courts him to the point where they start dating. They eventually get married but their ending is far from happy. As the defender of Hell’s Kitchen, Daredevil has a long list of enemies that look to take advantage of his loved ones including Milla. A series of events leads Milla Donovan down a dark road and she eventually ends up in a mental institution thus ending their relationship.
Daredevil Marvel Knights #11 (Maya Lopez and Matt Murdock)
Another highly sensate individual, Maya Lopez aka Echo was a deaf assassin raised by the Kingpin after her father was killed by him. Unbeknownst to her she was told that Daredevil had killed her father, which fueled her hate and malice for Daredevil. She has hypersensitive visual memory that allows her to mimic any fighting style or skill that she sees including hand-to-hand combat or weaponry accuracy. She eventually almost kills Daredevil until his identity is revealed to her realizing that it is her new lover, Matt Murdock. He also sheds light on the truth about the Kingpin and how his father was also killed by the hands of the mob boss. A great issue showing how a relationship can cross barriers of senses; for instance the challenge there is in going out on a movie date and how they help each other enjoy the experience regardless of being deaf or blind.
Elektra: The Hand #5 (Kagenobu Yoshioka and Elektra)
Although their isn’t a specific romance between the ancient Hand leader Nobu and Elektra, the Hand has an important role in the Netflix Daredevil series. Making their presence known in season 1 and returning in force during season 2, the origin of the hand is very shortly mentioned in the series. Elektra: The Hand was a comic book mini series that is built around the origin of the ninja organization. Set in feudal Japan we find the true origin and age of Kagenobu Yoshioka or Nobu. The cover of this issue features an homage to a famous painting by Gustav Klimt known as “The Kiss (Lovers)”, which is why it has made it’s way into this week’s Love and Comics.
Daredevil Vol 5 #7 (Elektra and Daredevil)
Elektra makes a big appearance in season 2 of Daredevil and is one of the main love interest of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Born to a Greek ambassador, Elektra was a student of the martial arts when she met Matt Murdock in college. The origin story of Elektra in the Netflix series stays fairly true in terms of the kindling of their relationship but creates a much more blood-thirsty albeit sexy character played by french actress Elodie Yung. There are plenty of covers featuring Elektra and Daredevil but this being the most recent one, straight from the latest 2016 series, makes it’s way to the top of the list.
Thunderbolts Vol 2 #30 (The Punisher and Elektra)
Another major character that makes their debut in Daredevil is Frank Castle AKA The Punisher. Played by The Walking Dead star, Jon Bernthal, Punisher spends most of his role as what seems like a manic killer cleaning the streets of Hell’s Kitchen permanently. Again, Netflix does a great job of developing concise origin stories for their new audience of Marvel Netflix enthusiast. They take direction and some influence from the comics but not directly which can make some hardcore fans rally like an angry mob. In the more recent Marvel Now! Elektra and The Punisher actually have a short physical romance in the Thunderbolts series that ultimately ends once the Punisher leaves the rogue team.
Max Imprint: Cage Vol 2 #3 (Luke Cage and Misty Knight)
It’s probably not Misty Knight on the cover of this mature audience Luke Cage series but it does depict our street level Avenger getting handsy in an explicit way. There is a definite attraction between Misty Knight and Luke Cage but fun fact, Misty Knight was actually Iron Fists’ girlfriend first in the comics. The Netflix series Luke Cage was one of the best things to happen to the Marvel universe and Mike Colter is hands-down one of the best actors to play him. The series was a stand-alone look into the world built around the Hero for Hire but also had major high points celebrating black culture. Particularly of interest was the choice of literature that was featured and referenced in the series including Walter Mosley’s Little Green and Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. Luke Cage actually made his on-demand premiere in Jessica Jones, which brings us to the final stop on our Netflix tour.
The New Avengers Annual #1 (Jessica Jones and Luke Cage Wedding)
Jessica Jones rounds out as the lead female for The Defenders. This series marks only the second time in recent Marvel media that an entire show has been dedicated to a female lead, the first being Agent Carter. Luke Cage even makes his first appearance in Jessica Jones as a hot fling for the detective. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones truly are involved throughout the comics and as evident as this beautiful wedding cover, eventually get married and have a child together. Drawn by Marvel artist Olivier Coipel, this cover depicts the two super heroes on the day of their wedding. A great wedding issue to recommend to any Marvel fan, the New Avengers Annual #1 shows that even the crime fighters are also fighters for their perfect love story.
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