Any cinephile of modern, mainstream cinema knows that Marvel Studios have a broad commercial appeal, which is reflected by a loyal fandom, critical acclaim and financial success. The latest installment of the Avengers franchise grossed over two billion at the worldwide box office! One of only four films in the history of cinema to achieve such an impressive feat, but despite the box office receipts, my favourite superhero team are DC comics counterparts…

The Justice League.

I am not talking about 2017 big screen adaptation either! My reference is completely within the realm of the source material…comic books. How can you not love a team whose core members consist of, some of the most popular heroes in pop culture; Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern and the Flash.

So, imagine this…

Imagine DC’s most iconic super-team faced a threat only the combined efforts of the Justice League could take down and let’s push the boundaries of our imagination even further and envisage a situation that goes a little something like this…

Wonder Woman: “The evasion is coming to Earth; our only hope is to face it together! Who’s with me?”

Green Lantern: “I’m with you Wonder Woman, let’s go!”

Superman: ”As long as we stand together I think there is a good chance, we could bring this threat down. Are we ready team?”

Flash: “No!”

Aquaman: “No!? Flash, what do you mean?”

Flash: “I just can’t do this without Batman!”

Green Lantern: “Flash you’re the fastest superhero alive! You don’t need Batman!”

Flash: “I just can’t do this without Batman present! He’s an icon and without him, I have no self-worth! Sorry guys…I’m out.”

Can you imagine if Flash, the fastest superhero on Earth, no longer had faith in his abilities, simply because another team member wasn’t present? Or even worse the Flash believed his sense of value carried more merit because he was in a team with Batman. You wouldn’t have many great adventures if the whole team relied on Superman to realise their individual potential or only felt a sense of self-worth because they’re associated with Wonder Woman.

Any regular or semi-casual readers of this blog may have noticed I took a brief hiatus, and that’s not because the love I have for this space has diminished, but simply because I’ve made more of a commitment to enjoy life outside of the digital. I got married over the summer and am currently enjoying a relationship dynamic I never thought possible for someone like me to achieve.

Once you get married it’s almost like being the most popular kid in the playground; high fives, warm hugs, glowing smiles and sooooooo many well-wishers and compliments. But once I sauntered down from cloud 9, I couldn’t help but notice the number of people (with good intentions) who imply that a lifetime commitment with someone will suddenly make me feel whole. Among other things, I have heard “Congratulations! Now that you’re married you are complete!”

But…

Am I?

Now maybe I’m being a little naive here but I think I can offer my wife a lot more because I sit at the table of this union with a sense of who I am. I have a willingness to take responsibility for my own deck, while not looking for my wife to hold all the cards. In a similar way, I would hope a surgeon arrives at the operating theatre with the relevant knowledge, experience, and skills; not assuming the patient has read up on the ultrasonic aspiration technique.

I can tell you with great certainty this is going to be the first and last time I get married. I certainly don’t want to discredit the value of marriage. It is the most incredible feeling to know you’re in partnership with someone who embraces who you are without wanting you to fit into a mold that was never designed to fit in the first place. But marriage isn’t exactly what Disney implies it should be and although society suggests marriage is the ultimate relationship goal, it isn’t necessary a dynamic suited for everyone…

In my case, it took a while for my mentality to mature, develop and truly feel the concept. If my wife depended on me to complete her, we would be hurtling towards the gates of divorce court pretty quickly. My wife has a sense of who she is, with a fully formed personality I hope to “compliment” rather than “complete”.

Perhaps instead of thinking that marriage will make any individual feel whole, it might be nice to remember there is nothing wrong with being an individual who is developing an independent understanding of themselves regardless of relationship status. It’s possible to be married and feel isolated, it’s possible to be alone and feel content.

I was an oddball comic book geek before I married and I will continue that tradition even though I have graciously gained the title of husband; because the beauty of any team (whether it be a superheroic or otherwise) is each member has individual strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities. It is those unique characteristics which contribute to an overall team dynamic, which can only result in a stronger team.

Until next time.