Scott Lang is lovable in spite of all of his flaws, but no one’s going to accuse the Ant-Man of having his life together any time soon. It’s a miracle that he can even tie his shoes without Hope van Dyne, but, lucky for Scott, she remains in his corner (mostly). Don’t take any of that as a shot on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s favorite gone-straight criminal, there are plenty of superheroes, just like Ant-Man, who would be nothing without the women who support them.
With Ant-Man and the Wasp buzzing into theaters next week, let’s take a look at eight superheroes who are strengthened, supported, and improved by the women in their lives:
IRON MAN AND PEPPER POTTS
Whether it’s in the comics or on screen, in a relationship or merely partners, Tony Stark is nothing without Pepper Potts. Billionaire, genius, playboy philanthropist he may be, but not knowing your own social security number is a little bit more restrictive than one might think. It’s not all Tony’s fault, Howard couldn’t function on his own either, but that’s what Jarvis and Peggy were for. As hopeless as he may be, let’s call it a good thing that Tony’s found his soul mate in the saint that is Virginia “Pepper” Potts.
SUPERMAN AND LOIS LANE
Lois and Clark are the quintessential comic book ship. Even when Superman ends up in other pairings for one reason or another, it always comes back to one woman: Lois Lane. Lois doesn’t give Superman his powers. She can’t stop bullets, or run faster than a train, but she is a huge part of Clark Kent’s most important power: his humanity. The Man of Steel might be able to snatch a plane out of the air, but he’s nothing without his ace reporter.
THE GREEN ARROW AND FELICITY SMOAK/DINAH LANCE
Good old Oliver Queen has all the charm in the world and could split a strand of hair with that bow and arrow of his. He also happens to be a mess and a half without the women in his life. Dinah Lance is the perfect companion for Ollie’s comic book antics, falling in step with his swagger and having absolutely none of his nonsense. Television’s Oliver Queen might be a few shades darker than his comic book counterpart, but his sometimes agonizingly slow progress wouldn’t have even started without Felicity Smoak.
ZAN AND JAYNA
It’s impossible to have a list of male heroes who can’t function without their female counterparts without including the Wonder Twins. Their powers literally don’t activate without each other! Jayna needs Zan for her powers as well, but with Zan only able to become objects or substances, his super sister is still critical to his functionality as a hero.
THE HUMAN TORCH AND THE INVISIBLE WOMAN
Despite his occasional efforts to act otherwise, Johnny Storm is a hero. Each member of the Fantastic Four makes the team work, but no one has pushed Johnny harder than his sister, Sue. She’s calm in all the ways that he’s rash, and in turn he helps her take risks that she might not have every now and again. Like the Wonder Twins, this sibling superhero pair compliments each other nicely, but it feels safe to say that Johnny wouldn’t be the hero he is without Sue Storm.
HAWKMAN AND HAWKGIRL
If there’s one thing Hawkman makes abundantly clear, it’s that he can’t survive without Hawkgirl. Hawkman and Hawkgirl are literally linked across time and space through the power of mutual resurrection. On Legends of Tomorrow, their relationship was less than healthy, but once Hawkgirl started to get her memories back things got a little less pushy on Hawkman’s part.
SPIDER-MAN AND AUNT MAY
They say behind every good man is the woman that raised him. That phrase couldn’t be more right when it comes to Peter Parker and his Aunt May. Uncle Ben might have been the one to bestow the knowledge of great responsibility to Pete, but it was May who had to keep on living and raising a teenager who was still trying to figure out how to deal with being a superhero.
MON-EL AND SUPERGIRL
Kara Zor-El might have been a touch discriminatory towards Mon-El because of his Daxamite heritage when the two first met, but eventually they overcame their families’ prejudices and found themselves in a pseudo-relationship. When Mon-El returned from the future, he was hero who had realized that he needed to use his powers for good. This was all because of Supergirl’s influence. He founded the Legion of Superheroes in her memory, making her the reason Mon-El became the hero she knew he could be.
All of this is to say that Scott Lang, lovable mess, isn’t alone in his need for a smart woman to help him out every once in a while. All of these incredible heroes acknowledge that there’s no shame in that either. Just another trait they all share that helps make them incredible.