Batman is probably the character with the highest number of romantic relationships in the DC Universe. Unlike Superman and Wonder Woman, characters that have been in publication for as long as Batman, the Dark Knight has never had a long-standing leading partner and instead, he has been constantly switching interests when it comes to romance. This is due to the nature of Batman's character; it is difficult for him to maintain a serious relationship with a woman as a result of his obsession with his crusade against crime. On the other hand, Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter-ego, has managed to have a few relationships with ladies of his interest, but they always come to a rather abrupt end because of the lack of trust and constant absence shown by Wayne, which has earned him the reputation as a notorious playboy.
In the Golden Age, Batman had a couple of short relationships as Bruce Wayne, such as Julie Madison and Linda Page. He would often flirt as Batman with occasional villains, one of which was Catwoman. The strong influence of Superman's success motivated the creators of Batman to introduce a serious female figure who could eventually become Batman's partner. Thus, Vicki Vale was introduced as an answer to Superman's Lois Lane, but these efforts proved futile as the character couldn't be developed in the right direction. In the Silver Age and in response to various allegations which caused the Comics Code Authority to be created, Batman was given a female counterpart. Batwoman was introduced in an effort to give Batman a much needed female figure in his life, but again, the character became a caricature instead of a serious persona. By the end of the Silver Age, Bruce Wayne started seeing many ladies, with no serious intent of starting a relationship. In the first years of the Bronze Age, Batman had only one romantic interest, Talia al Ghul, but this never became serious as they were often at odds. It wasn't until the mid-70s that some writers started taking Batman's love life more seriously. By the end of this age, various women were introduced into Batman's love life such as Silver St. Cloud, Natalia Knight and Julia Pennyworth; while others were re-introduced, like Vicki Vale and Catwoman.
In the Modern Age of Comics until the present date, Batman has had numerous romantic relationships, in every different media, some of which have lasted long enough to set a "record" and others which were merely used for the sake of a story. Most of his relationships are with ladies from his own Rogues Gallery, and in recent years, his relationship with Catwoman has been given special attention; but the constant in every scenario is Batman's unwillingness or inability to maintain a relationship longer than the Batmobile's paint job.
Following is a list of those romantic partners that have been prominently portrayed in comics books and other media:
The first woman ever to date Bruce Wayne, Julie debuted in the Golden Age. Julie Madison was originally an actress, but her character was changed many times in the following decades.
- In the Earth-Two continuity, Julie and Bruce broke up as she expected him to become something more than a mere playboy, but when he refused, she left.
- On Earth-One, Julie's history resembled that of her Earth-Two counterpart, but after her break-up with Bruce, she wedded a man from European royalty.
- The New Earth version of Julie was slightly changed from her previous counterparts. In this version, Julie had auburn hair instead of black and she was the daughter of Norman Madison, a wealthy entrepreneur. She started a relationship with Bruce, but when she learned that he was Batman and that her father was killed as a result of Batman's actions, she left Gotham and her relationship with Bruce, choosing to become a missionary in Africa.
- In the current Prime Earth continuity, Julie is an artist and her father is Mallory Madison, an arms dealer who sold the gun that was used to kill Bruce's parents. Julie first dated Bruce Wayne during their teenage years, but met him again after his mind had been erased and he had forgotten ever being Batman. The two fell passionately in love, with Bruce being prepared to settle down and marry Julie. However, things got so bad in Gotham that Alfred realized Batman was needed and he and Julie were forced to give Bruce his old memories back, erasing his mind of the relationship.
- In Batman and Robin, Elle Macpherson plays Julie, though the character seems to have little in common with her comic book self. The character adds little to the plot, and many of her scenes were edited out of the film's final cut.
- In the comics of The New Batman Adventures, Bruce briefly dated Julie, but broke up with her after he discovered she was after his fortune.
- Vicki Vale
A photographer/reporter, Vicki Vale was initially introduced as a woman smart enough to expose Batman's secret identity. In this quest, she became involved with Bruce Wayne, as she suspected him of being Batman and she was determined to find evidence. Her character has undergone few changes over the years, and many elements of her original characterization have remained.
- Vicki disappeared from the Batman comics when Julius Schwartz took over the editorial office of Batman in 1964, but she was eventually reintroduced in the early 1980s, brought back by Gerry Conway. Unfortunately, this idea proved ill-advised as Vicki's character was not developed and instead, it was simply a modern take on the same old concept of learning Batman's secret identity. Writer Doug Moench was mainly responsible for slowly removing Vale from Batman's love life after he took over from Conway, but she has since been used as a recurrent love interest for Bruce Wayne by many other writers. Most recently, in Bruce Wayne: The Road Home, Vicki finally got proof of Batman's identity, but she kept it to herself and became a confidant and ally of the Batman family rather than a love interest of Bruce Wayne.
- Vicki Vale was portrayed in the Tim Burton Batman film by Kim Basinger. This version of the character was a renowned photographer, but aside from playing the damsel in distress role in the film, there is little significance to her role. She was the first version of the character to learn the identity of Batman without seeking it.
- In various other continuities, Vicki Vale is portrayed as an occasional date of Bruce Wayne.
Batman's relationship with Selina Kyle, the Catwoman, is the most enduring and iconic of his relationships. Unfortunately, their unconventional lifestyles and personal choices have often caused them to grow apart from each other, although there have been many stories in which the two of them have decided to form a serious relationship.
- In the early Golden Age comics, Batman often flirted with Catwoman, as he was charmed by her beauty - although not so much by her methods. Their history on the Earth-Two continuity developed to the point where Catwoman reformed and Batman admitted his love for her, formally marrying shortly after and having a daughter, Helena Wayne, who later became the Huntress.
- On Earth-One, Catwoman and Batman were often at odds since they were on different sides of the law, but eventually, Catwoman reformed and Batman accepted her as a vigilante in Gotham City. Coincidentally, Bruce Wayne also started a romantic relationship with Selina Kyle. Despite these developments, Catwoman realized Batman and Bruce could not fully trust her and she left Gotham.
- Batman and Catwoman have had several romantic encounters in the New Earth continuity. Their most prominent love affair is perhaps from the storyline Batman: Hush, in which Bruce finally revealed his identity to Selina and invited her to become part of his life. Things went awry when Batman learned of a massive conspiracy organized by Hush and he decided he couldn't trust in her anymore, ending their relationship. However, in later storylines, like Batman: Heart of Hush, it has been shown that they still loved each other deeply.
- In the current Prime Earth continuity, Batman and Catwoman began a formal relationship after years of mutual attraction, and Bruce proposed to Selina shortly afterwards, which she accepted. However, in a usual turn of events, Selina left Bruce at the altar and the wedding was called off.
- In Tim Burton's Batman Returns, Selina (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) seems to be the true love of Bruce's life, as not only their costumed identities but also their disturbed psyches are described as similar. Their relationship becomes intensely dramatic toward the end of the movie, to the point where Bruce actually implores her to abandon her vendetta against Max Shreck and come and live with him in Wayne Manor, to no avail.
- In Batman: The Animated Series, Bruce Wayne regularly dates Selina Kyle. In Batman Beyond, Bruce hints at a relationship with Selina in his past. As in the comic books, sexual tension between their costumed characters is a major story point in Batman: The Animated Series.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the two regularly flirt, which others notice. Alfred even goes so far as writing a story about them where they marry, similar to stories from the Silver Age of comics.
- In Batman: Arkham City, although their love is not explored, Catwoman constantly flirts with the Dark Knight whenever they meet. Catwoman even gives up her sure escape from Arkham City to go back and help the injured Batman. A hidden radio reel reveals that Catwoman has a slight grudge towards Batman, though, since he knows her secret identity but she doesn't know his. However, by the time of the events of Batman: Arkham Knight, Selina is aware of Batman's identity as Bruce Wayne, addressing him as such after he rescues her from the Riddler.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Selina (played by Anne Hathaway) does not develop a romantic interest in Bruce until later on in the film. In the end, the two are shown to have developed a relationship when Alfred sees them sitting at a table nearby him at a cafe in Florence.
- In almost every other alternate universe and continuity, Catwoman is depicted either as strongly interested in Batman/Bruce Wayne, or vice-versa.
- Talia al Ghul
The daughter of the supervillain Ra's al Ghul, Talia's father has encouraged his daughter's relationship with the Dark Knight in hopes of recruiting Batman as the successor to his League of Assassins. Unlike Catwoman, Talia is more than willing to play second-fiddle to Bruce's mission. Talia is also notable as the mother of Bruce's son, Damian Wayne.
- During their first encounters, Talia showed a devotion to the Dark Knight as strong as her love for her father, often saving Batman, but always choosing to remain by her father's side. After several encounters with Ra's, Talia and Bruce eventually had a sexual encounter, from which their son Damian Wayne was born. Over time, Talia became more antagonistic towards Batman, seeking to fulfil her father's goals and rule the world with Batman at her side, and declaring war against him after his refusal.
- In Batman: The Animated Series, Talia was portrayed similar to her Silver Age appearances. She later returned in Batman Beyond, but Bruce was horrified to learn she had given up her body for her father.
- In Batman: Arkham City, Bruce and Talia have some romantic background and they truly care for one another, as both of them risk their lives to save the other.
- On Earth-16, Bruce broke off all ties with Talia because of her conflicted morals; her love for Batman on one side, her devotion to her father on the other, but mostly, because she considered the two equal.
- In the The Dark Knight Rises film, Talia, portrayed by Marion Cotillard, poses as an executive member of Wayne Enterprises and becomes romantically involved with Bruce Wayne, only to take control of his company and attempt to destroy Gotham City, following her father's mad design.
Minor Love Interests
This list includes all those women who have sporadically appeared as romantic partners of Batman:
- Amina Franklin: Bruce first met Amina, a nurse working at Leslie Thompkins' clinic, at a party and the two dated for a short time. Amina's brother Wayne operated as the criminal known as Grotesk, and she was killed by her brother during a confrontation between he and Batman.
- April Clarkson (Midnight): April was a GCPD officer who briefly dated Bruce Wayne and assisted him as Batman in tracking down the criminal known as Midnight, who had begun terrorizing Gotham and gruesomely murdering the city's most corrupt. Bruce developed strong feelings for April and was devastated to eventually discover that she was in fact the deranged murderer all along.
- Bekka: Batman and Bekka, the wife of Orion, had a strong attraction to each other after she rescued him from Darkseid's forces on the planet Tartarus. She was later murdered.
- Black Canary: Although Black Canary has a long-standing relationship with Green Arrow, she has shown an attraction to the Dark Knight and she and Batman have shared kisses from time to time.
- Charlotte Rivers: A Gotham City news reporter and brief girlfriend of Bruce Wayne, Charlotte desired to leave Gotham, which put a rift between her and Bruce. After being seriously injured in an attempt on her life by her twin sister Jill, Charlotte called off her relationship with Wayne and accepted a job offer in Paris.
- Dawn Golden: Dawn was the daughter of Aleister Goldon, a member of a cult that practiced dark magic. She was a childhood friend of Bruce, and later his girlfriend in college, where she was said to have broken his heart. Dawn went on to become a socialite in Gotham, until her father murdered her as part of a ritual to grant himself eternal life.
- Harley Quinn: Best known as "The Joker's Girlfriend", Harley has had occasional romantic encounters with Batman, most notably her kiss with him in the episode Harley's Holiday from Batman: The Animated Series. Recently, in the The New 52, there have been a couple of stories in which Harley became infatuated either with Bruce Wayne or Batman. These attractions appear to be entirely one-sided and Batman has shown no signs of attraction towards Harley.
- Jaina Hudson (White Rabbit): Jaina is a Gotham socialite of Indian descent who met Bruce at a charity fundraiser and later went on a few dates with him. He later discovered she had the unique power to duplicate herself into two separate beings: herself and a scantily clad criminal called the White Rabbit. The White Rabbit worked against Batman and often led him to other villains such as the Joker and Bane.
- Jezebel Jet: A wealthy woman of African descent who lost her parents, Jezebel was a model and was said to own an African province. She secretly worked for the Black Glove, and gained Bruce Wayne's love as part of a plot to destroy him during Batman R.I.P.. She was later killed on Talia's orders.
- Jillian Maxwell: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1, during the beginning of his career, Bruce found himself attracted to a woman who called herself Jillian Maxwell after meeting her at a costume party. However, he later discovered the criminal record of a woman who had used many aliases to seduce young, wealthy men, then later arranged events that led to their deaths so she could claim their wealth. After Alfred told Bruce of this, he was heartbroken, but he kept an eye on the woman. When she used the identity Audrey Marguerite in Brazil, Bruce, as Batman, sent her a note, ordering her to confess all her crimes.
- Julia Pennyworth: The daughter of Alfred and French Resistance fighter Mlle Marie, Julia was introduced by Doug Moench in the early 1980s, but efforts to make her a romantic partner of Bruce Wayne proved difficult because of the presence of Vicki Vale and Nocturna.
- Kathy Kane (Batwoman): First introduced as a female counterpart for Batman, Batwoman developed into a romantic partner in the Silver Age, where many Imaginary Stories featuring Kathy and Bruce getting married were published. Batwoman's love for Batman was never reciprocated and he only saw her as a good friend. On Earth-Two, Batwoman resigned to live without Batman's love, and in the Earth-One continuity, Kathy Kane was murdered by the League of Assassins. In the New Earth continuity, Kathy Kane was romantically interested in Batman in a couple of stories by Grant Morrison, who liked to use Silver Age content as reference in his works.
- Linda Page: A character adapted from the Batman serial (1943), Linda Page was introduced into the comics during the Golden Age as a romantic partner for Bruce Wayne. A former socialite, she dedicated her time as a nurse for the elderly, disproving the stereotype that rich women were spoiled and lazy. She dated Bruce for a few issues, but later fell between the cracks and disappeared.
- Lorna Shore: In the Batman Confidential story Lovers & Madmen, Bruce met museum curator Lorna Shore during the beginning of his career. It was love at first sight as Bruce was able to find peace when he was with her for the first time since his parents' murder. However, after his encounter with the Joker and realizing that there would be more enemies like him, he broke off their relationship to protect Lorna. Lorna later left the city, feeling that Gotham wasn't safe anymore because of Batman and The Joker.
- Mallory Moxon: Mallory, the daughter of mob boss Lew Moxon, knew Bruce as a child and the two briefly dated as children before drifting apart. They later met again in adulthood, and Bruce dated her while suspecting that she was continuing her father's criminal operation, but he never found conclusive proof.
- Natalia Knight (Nocturna): The most remarkable of Batman's love interests in the early 1980s was Nocturna, aka Natalia Knight, created by Doug Moench. She was a jewel thief who briefly adopted Jason Todd and knew that Bruce Wayne was Batman. Natalia suffered from a rare "light sensitivity" disease and her skin was bleached white. Nocturna was said to use a special narcotic as a perfume, which caused every male to fall deeply for her. Batman was no exception, and the two of them started a relationship as they were both equally fascinated by the other. Eventually, Batman realized his love for Nocturna was an obsession caused by the drug and he struggled to stop thinking about her. Nocturna disappeared during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, after being stabbed by her brother, floating into the crimson sky of the Crisis in her balloon. She was presumed dead, although other versions of the character have appeared since, however they are different from the Pre-Crisis Nocturna.
- Natalya Trusevich: A Ukrainian concert pianist and girlfriend of Bruce Wayne, Natalya grew frustrated with Bruce's closed-off demeanour, until he was urged by Alfred to reveal to her his secret identity. Shortly after, Natalya was abducted by the Mad Hatter who attempted to torture her into revealing the identity of Batman. Natalya refused to divulge Bruce's secret and was thrown by the Mad Hatter from a helicopter to her death.
- Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy): Poison Ivy is a villain who often relies on seduction and the manipulation of pheromones to drive men around her to obey. This is no different with Batman, who initially confused the lust and desire caused by Ivy's methods for love. Ivy has a somewhat love/hate relationship with Batman; on some occasions she claims to love him and desires his affection, while on others she is more than willing to kill him. Bruce and Pamela had a brief but genuine romantic relationship after he helped to cure her of her condition, but this came to an end when Pamela seemingly died in an attempt to turn herself back into Poison Ivy.
- Rachel Caspian: In Batman: Year Two, Bruce Wayne fell in love with Rachel. Unfortunately, Rachel's father moonlighted as a murderous vigilante who committed suicide. Discovery of her father's evils drove Rachel to pay her father's penance on his behalf by enrolling in a nunnery and breaking off her engagement with Bruce Wayne, who had prepared to end his crimefighting career to marry her.
- Sasha Bordeaux: Assigned as Bruce Wayne's bodyguard, Sasha deduced that Bruce was Batman and briefly fought at his side. She was framed for the murder of Bruce's girlfriend Vesper Fairchild and later joined Maxwell Lord's Checkmate organization. In The OMAC Project, Bordeaux was turned into a cyborg OMAC, but this incident was later resolved. While Sasha and Batman kissed near the end of The OMAC Project, their relationship seemed to have passed on.
- Silver St. Cloud: Featured in the storyline Strange Apparitions from the late 1970s, Silver St. Cloud was a socialite who dated Bruce Wayne and managed to deduce the secret of his alter ego. However, she couldn't handle being involved with someone in such a dangerous line of work. In Batman: Dark Detective, Silver returned to Gotham years later. She and Bruce tried to make a serious relationship work, but things fell apart after she was kidnapped by the Joker. Silver was later tragically murdered by the villain Onomatopoeia.
- Shondra Kinsolving: Shondra was a psychic and the half-sister of Benedict Asp. She had a brief love affair with Batman, having been brought in to help him when Bane broke his back. Before Bruce could officially commit to her, Benedict kidnapped her and turned her abilities to evil use. Batman eventually defeated Benedict, but the damage to Shondra's mind was too great. As she healed Bruce's lingering injuries, Shondra's psyche regressed back into childhood. Bruce paid for her care at a psychiatric institution, ensuring she received the best treatment for the rest of her life.
- Vesper Fairchild: Vesper was a popular radio host from Gotham, and her relationship with Bruce Wayne was established during Doug Moench's second run on Batman in the 1990s. She left Gotham after the No Man's Land crisis and was later killed by David Cain on orders from Lex Luthor, starting the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive storyline.
- Wonder Woman: Diana and Bruce briefly dated but nothing came of their relationship and the two decided it would be best to remain friends. However, they still care deeply about one another, and this is evidenced by Wonder Woman's love for Batman allowing her to become a member of the Star Sapphire Corps in Blackest Night. Their relationship is echoed in the Justice League Animated Series, where producers decided to pair Diana with Bruce.
- Zatanna Zatara: The first occasion in which Zatanna was portrayed as a strong romantic interest of Bruce Wayne was in Batman: The Animated Series, where the two of them met in their youth and were interested in each other, but Bruce gave priority to the pursue of his training to become Batman. As adults they met again and realized they cared for each other, but nothing came out of it. This history was later introduced to the comics. Batman and Zatanna had a major falling out after Bruce found out Zatanna had mindwiped him after he walked in on her mindwiping Doctor Light at the Justice League's instruction. Batman made it clear that after these incidents, he no longer trusted Zatanna. However, the two eventually resolved their issues and became close friends once again.
- Andrea Beaumont: In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Andrea is a woman that Bruce Wayne was briefly engaged to prior to becoming Batman. She broke off the engagement when she and her father had to flee the country to escape the Mob. She later became the title villain to get revenge on former mobsters.
- Barbara Gordon (Batgirl): The daughter of police commissioner James Gordon in the DC Animated Universe, Barbara hinted at having been in a brief relationship with Bruce in Batman Beyond. In the recent animated adaptation of the Killing Joke, Batman and Batgirl have a distasteful sexual encounter in a rooftop.
- Chase Meridian: Batman's love interest in Batman Forever.
- Lois Lane: When The New Batman Adventures crossed over with Superman: The Animated Series, Bruce developed a relationship with Lois Lane, much to Superman's annoyance. Lois discovered that Bruce was Batman and broke off the relationship, but kept his secret.
- Rachel Dawes: The childhood friend of Bruce Wayne and, later, his love interest in the Dark Knight trilogy.
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Links and References
- ↑ Adapted from Batman #390 - Courtesy of Doug Moench
- ↑ Batman and the Monster Men #4
- ↑ Batman and the Mad Monk #6
- ↑ Detective Comics #152
- ↑ Batman Annual (Volume 3) #2
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #197
- ↑ DC Special Series #15
- ↑ Batman: Son of the Demon
- ↑ Young Justice (Volume 2) #12
- ↑ Superman/Batman #37-Superman/Batman #42
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #166
- ↑ Birds of Prey #90
- ↑ Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #3
- ↑ Batman: Poison Ivy
- ↑ Batman: Gotham Knights #65
- ↑ Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Vol 1 61
- ↑ JLA #80
- ↑ JLA #90