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So they creep: Scandalous superheroes and '90s R&B

By Stephanie Williams
X-Men Unlimited #11

I like my superheroes the most when there is a main course of drama with a side of saving the day. It reminds me that they might be extraordinary but not extraordinary enough to avoid personal chaos in their own lives, especially the havoc they cause themselves.

Like some of my favorite '90s R&B songs about secret lovers and scandalous affairs, I have a shortlist of superhero couples who embody those songs and are, therefore, my guilty favorites.

Vision and the Scarlet Witch #9 (1985)

Crystal and Norman Webster

If Crystal of the Inhumans had a favorite TLC song, it would be the '90s R&B classic "Creep." Crystal almost creeps her way into her deathbed, making this relationship even juicier.

She meets Norman, a real estate agent, at Wanda and Vision's Christmas party. Crystal and Quicksilver are having some marital issues due to his neglectfulness towards her and their newborn baby. He lives in the same neighborhood as her sister-in-law, Wanda Maximoff, and she uses that to her adulterous advantage. The thing is, Crystal is an Inhuman, and there is only so much time they can spend on Earth before the pollution makes them ill. In fact, Crystal has to take an anti-pollution serum each time she visits her man on the side.

But Crystal has needs, and her husband isn't filling them, so one thing leads to another with a lustful moment between her and Norman. She frequently starts visiting Earth, using the excuse to check up on her pregnant sister-in-law. Quicksilver is none the wiser because he is so caught up in his little militia in the Inhumans' kingdom. I'm not sure what kind of loving Norman was putting on her, but it was good enough for her to visit Earth to the point of poisoning herself.

Quicksilver and everyone else finds out about the affair because Norm seeks help after Crystal passes out. It blows up into an ugly situation, and Quicksilver ends up going missing. Once she's feeling better, Crystal returns to Earth to seek out Norman to let him know that if her husband doesn't return, she'll receive a divorce, allowing them to get back to their relationship without sneaking around. Unfortunately, the divorce doesn't come about as quickly as the two wanted, and also Crystal is in love with Johnny Storm while still married to Quicksilver, resulting in the two of them never getting back together.

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

Wonder Woman and Aquaman

The Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox animated movie is, for the most part, the same as the comic series, except it takes the drama between Wonder Woman and Aquaman up a messy notch. Actually, that's not a fair assessment. It takes the drama between the two and then adds an Acme vat of mess.

Unlike some of the other couples on this list, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are out in the open with their creeping, or at least out enough for his wife Mera to see. Diana gives Arthur the f***-me eyes the moment he and Mera greet her and the rest of the Amazons. Wonder Wonder has a lasso of truth, but her eyes don't lie either.

If this moment could be a '90s R&B song, it would be Mary J. Blige's "Not Gon' Cry," but it would be Mera J. Blige. She was his lover and his secretary working every day of the week to keep the Atlantean kingdom secure, but it just wasn't enough to keep his trident to himself. This creeping results in Mera getting herself beheaded, which ultimately leads to the destruction of the rest of the world because I guess that was a step too far for Aquaman. Although this entire scenario was Barry's fault, the Aquaman and Wonder Woman affair is one worth having on this list.

Avengers #8 (1998)

Wonder Man and Scarlet Witch

Wonder Man and Scarlet Witch's situationship may not officially count as creeping in the same way as some of the other couples on this list. In fact, their entire relationship is scandalous in an AOL Instant Messenger kind of way. For those who don't know, Scarlett was once married to the Vision, an android imprinted with Wonder Man's brain waves. Long before Wonder Man joined the Avengers, he was believed to have died while trying to save them after initially betraying them. The Avengers recorded and kept his brain waves in hopes of bringing him back to life, and that's where the Vision enters the chat.

If I haven't lost you yet, the fact that Wonder Man and Vision are pretty much the same — meaning that neither of them is human — is one of the reasons why his situationship with Scarlet Witch is so chaotic. Long before they got together, Wonder Man, who eventually joined the Avengers after coming back to life, was already developing feelings for his work wife, Wanda, while fighting alongside her actual husband, Vision.

The '90s R&B song that might fit this entire situation would probably be Usher's "You Make Me Wanna," but it's Wanda's song. Wonder Man was her shoulder to cry on when she and Vision were at odds and again after Vision (kind of) dies. His memory is erased, and his original body destroyed. Wanda has a thing for artificial men, so it all checks out. She loves him so much that she brings him back to life after he dies. They even have a full-blown conversation about why they both have feelings for one another and why they're ready to take the next step and make their on-again/off-again work spouse relationship official. The conversation centers around the fact that Wonder Man is basically Vision, so why the hell not.

Their relationship is complicated, to say the very least.

Civil War #6

Namor and Sue Storm

Namor and Sue Storm's is another situationship on this list that might not actually count as creeping because, unfortunately, Sue loves her infuriating husband. But that doesn't stop Namor from trying to get in wherever he can fit those winged ankles. For that reason alone, they deserve to be on this list. There are several times Namor has made it known that Sue should be with him, even after Sue has Franklin, her first child with Reed. There has been an equal amount of flirting on both sides — OK, maybe Namor more than Sue overall — but there is something there. If there is a '90s R&B song best to explain Sue's dilemma with the Atlantean prince, it would be Erykah Badu's "Next Lifetime," a song about wanting another man but not acting on those feelings because you are already with someone.

During the first Civil War event, Sue leaves Reed in the middle of the night after a Tony-Stark-made Thor clone kills Goliath and she realizes that Reed knew all along. Sue joins Captain America's secret Avengers team and is sent by Cap to talk to Namor about helping. Cap knows, as well as everyone else, the unique relationship Sue has with Namor even if she can't admit it. Namor calls her out when she denies it. Her heartbeat in his presence gives her away. Unlike Sue, Namor is very straightforward with how he feels about her.

When Reed disappears and is assumed dead by everyone except Sue, Namor doesn't waste any time playing the sympathetic "friend" role. In reality, he is just dirty-macking on a presumed-dead man's wife. Namor isn't alone in his attempts either, because The Thing was also trying to do the same thing, just a lot slower. How terrible of a husband is Reed Richards that the moment he is thought to be dead, even his good friend felt like he had a shot with his wife. Yikes.

Marvel Unlimited

Scott Summers and Emma Frost

Scott and Emma's relationship starts in their minds, literally. Scott is still very married to Jean Grey when he and Emma start having "therapy" sessions together in their thoughts. A bold move, given how Jean is also a telepath and at the time still had the cosmic holy spirit known as the Phoenix Force within her. What Scott and Emma had going on was another version of the '90s Dru Hill R&B hit "In My Bed."

The bed is quite literally in Scott's mind and Emma is messing with his head but Jean is the one on the receiving end when it comes to the violation of trust. While they never physically touch one another while Scott and Jean are married, they still do some pretty adulterous things in their minds, including roleplay that involves Emma dressed up as Jean Grey. Their mental affair begins because Scott is having trouble connecting with Jean after Apocalypse takes over his mind for a short time, revealing some things about himself that leave Scott rattled. He feels like he is unable to go to his wife about it, in fear of letting her down, so he does what makes total sense and seeks out Emma for help. I'm being sarcastic, by the way.

Seriously, though, Emma Frost is a psychologist and the only telepath at the Xavier Institute attempting to help students and some of the members of the X-Men deal with their baggage, so I get it. Emma doesn't mean to fall in love with a dweeb like Scott, but she does. Fortunately for them, Jean keeps dying on Scott. In fact, she dies shortly after finding out her husband is engaging in mental afternoon delight sessions with Emma. So, all is fair in love and X-Men or something like that.