Love is in the air and we here at Geek Speak are celebrating with a very special Geek vs. Geek about my favorite comic book pairing of all time: Batman and Wonder Woman. Throughout their incarnations (Wonder Woman was first introduced in 1941, Batman in 1939) the two have been teammates, friends, antagonists, and love interests. Many writers have explored, or a better word might be hinted at, their relationship across the DC Universe. Their relationship has also been hinted at on the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons that ran from 2001-2006.
In preparation for this debate I did some searching about the World’s Greatest Detective and the Amazon Princess and much like my fellow nerds at my local comic book store, the internet is just as divided about these two and their love lives. When it comes to Batman there is of course a very pro Batman/Talia al Ghul fanbase, arising out of the main DC Batman title. I respect their opinions and will acquiesce that those two have a deep connection. The two fell in love while Batman was trained by/working with Ras al Ghul. Batman and Talia have a child together, Damian Wayne, who, as the newest Robin, who may have more issues than any other Boy Wonder save Jason Todd. I can understand Batman falling for Talia: she’s intelligent, worldly, a master assassin, and a deep complex character. However, she is also crazy, evil, a terrible mother, and not the best woman for Batman.
There is also, of course, another pairing for Batman that people love, and that is with Catwoman/Selina Kyle. In several incarnations there has been a relationship of some sorts between Batman and Catwoman (such as in Burton’s Batman Returns, in Nolan’s abysmal – in my opinion – The Dark Knight Rises and, of course, in the comics). In the Golden Age Batman comics, Batman and Catwoman fell in love, got married and had a daughter who also became a superhero. Again I get it, but this was the Golden Age, and characters weren’t as deeply complex or written as they are now. When it comes to modern-day Batman, the pairing of Batman and Catwoman is completely senseless. A) Batman doesn’t allow himself to have romantic relationships. B) Batman would not fall for Catwoman. Bruce Wayne is a brilliant billionaire globe travelling superhero. If he was going to fall in love it isn’t going to be with some idiotic cat burglar whose greatest weapon is a slutty costume. Yes, I know it’s not her fault, it is mostly men who are doing the art. The only reason this relationship still exists or is hinted at is because of its history.
Meanwhile, the internet, like the DC Universe, isn’t quite sure what to do with the Amazing Amazon. There are some who think that she should be with Steve Trevor, her original love interest. In the Golden Age, Diana and Steve Trevor had a Lois Lane/Clark Kent relationship and eventually got married, had a daughter who became the superhero Fury and during the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths (when DC rebooted the universe) they were allowed to live on Mount Olympus. The next time Steve Trevor showed up in comics he was not Mr. Wonder Woman; as it should be. Their relationship is just too clichéd. All the writers did was copy Superman’s love story with Lois Lane and swapped genders. It’s not interesting.
There is also a very strong case for Superman/Wonder Woman. On the surface it makes sense. They are the two most powerful people in the DC Universe. Both are gorgeous. They are both outsiders, he’s an alien, she’s a mystical being from Paradise Island. The only thing wrong with this pairing is that it is too predictable. Something Diana herself has said. Clark and Diana are just friends and the only reason a relationship between the two of them exists in alternate stories (Kingdom Come, The Dark Knight Strikes Again) is because Lois Lane is dead. Clark Kent’s soul mate is Lois Lane—even if you don’t read comics you know that. Diana is not going to be with someone when she knows that they love someone else
This brings us to the main point of this debate: Batman and Wonder Woman. I’ll admit the last superhero one might expect to be a good match for Wonder Woman is the dark, grim and unlucky-in-love Batman, which is perhaps why Joe Kelly decided to explore such a relationship during his 2003-2004 run on JLA. During the storyline “The Obsidian Age,” the Justice League journeyed into the ancient past in order to save a time-lost Aquaman. While there, Batman and Wonder Woman prepared to fight their enemies to the death and, before doing so, they surprised one another (and a lot of readers) by sharing a kiss. Once all the resurrection, time-travel, villain-fighting and day-saving was out the way, the two put off having to talk about their kiss for awhile, with Batman being the more reluctant of the two, even standing Wonder Woman up on at least one occasion. (Which, yes, kind of dick move on his part.)
Eventually in JLA #90 there was a resolution to the twosome’s kiss during the Obsidian Age storyline. Wonder Woman puts herself into Martian Manhunter’s Martian Transconsciousness Articulator, a doohickey that plays out various possible futures in dream-like fashion for the user (it is a comic book). Some of which include her fighting crime alongside Batman in Gotham as Batwoman, her killing the Joker after he has killed Bruce—and perhaps one of the sweetest moments with Diana and a very, very old Bruce on Paradise Island right before his death. However, because writers love to tease and not give fans what they want the relationship never really started, even though it is clear that neither one of them are happy about it.
In 2003 Matt Wagner also showed his support for Batman/Wonder Woman in his mini-series Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity. The three issue run is a re-imagining of the big three coming together for the first time. It also includes a great moment when Batman sees Wonder Woman bathing on Themyscira and is apparently overwhelmed by her beauty so rushes to her and kisses her. Mind you, she then punches him, but it’s awesome nonetheless.
The Justice League cartoon also hints at the feelings/tension between Diana and Bruce. In the episode “The Brave and the Bold” (01.14/15) Diana is crushed under a missile and Bruce, looking distraught, begins to dig when all of a sudden Diana throws the missile off of her and is right as rain. She notices the dirt/mud on Batman’s costume and kisses his cheek. In the episode “This Little Piggy” (01.05) Wonder Woman is transformed into a pig by Circe (apparently her magic resistance doesn’t exist on the cartoon) and Batman admits his feelings about Diana to Zatanna while requesting her help to change Diana back. He also sings to Circe in order to change her back and that’s good television. Batman and Wonder Woman also kissed in the episode “Starcrossed” (02.51) while trying to hide their faces from Thanagarians. In an episode when the Justice League were turned into children (yeah, it’s a kids’ cartoon) Wonder Woman constantly flirts with Batman and youngster Green Lantern John Stewart tells young Batman: “Your girlfriend sure is bossy.”
After the events in JLA, the relationship between the two pretty much was non-existent in DC Canon, though it appeared in some alternate storylines. Then in the 2009-2010 mega story Blackest Night was published and Diana’s love for Bruce was finally confirmed. In Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2, Wonder Woman is possessed by an evil black lantern ring (it’s complicated) and has killed Cassie Sandsmark/Wonder Girl, her also-possessed sister Donna Troy, and is about to kill her mother when a batarang hits her in the face. She looks up and sees Batman who tells her to stop, but Black Lantern Wonder Woman attacks him. He grabs her by the throat and tells her that this is not her. Her inner voice stammers that this cannot be real, that Bruce is dead. The two then kiss while Diana’s inner voice says “Bruce” and breaks the connection between Wonder Woman and the black lantern ring. Now, all of this was in a place that Aphrodite created so Diana didn’t actually kill anyone but it is such a beautifully sweet scene to see how evil Diana was and the only thing that could save her was her love for The Dark Knight.
There was also one issue of The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold in 2011 in which Batman and Wonder Woman had been hit by Eros’s arrows and he asks her to marry him, and she says yes. Though it was a single issue and I don’t really care for the campiness of the comic, it is still really sweet and quite funny. Especially when Robin doesn’t understand why Bruce is getting married until he sees Diana in a wedding dress and quickly shuts his mouth. Of course they don’t get married, but it’s such a cute little tease.
Batman and Wonder Woman are my favorite comic book relationship, even though they have never really gotten together in a canonical timeline. Their relationship is such an interesting study in contrasts. You have the ultimate human in Bruce Wayne, who is the very embodiment of the human spirit and potential. Then you have Wonder Woman who is a creature of myth and magic. It is interesting to see the man of science who has become, quite literally, a god-killer (he killed Darkseid) being paired with a woman created by the gods from clay. Batman is a warrior, more so than any other Wonder Woman love interest. Wonder Woman is the ultimate warrior. They work together because of how they are simultaneously similar and complete opposites. They work because of how well an immortal warrior with amazing powers can humanize the bravest and darkest human male in the DC universe. If only the writers would realize that.
Maybe the DCEU ones will?
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BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN: SUPER-CREEPY
BY RACHEL HYLAND