Coupling in the DC Universe: Highs and Lows

Valentine’s Day got us thinking about love in comics, and how the romantic chemistry between characters can really enhance or diminish a story. Since we’re primarily DC gals, we’re presenting a sampling of DCU couples we love — and those that leave us cold. In no particular order:

HOT!

Renee Montoya (The Question) and Kate Kane (Batwoman): As a couple, Kate and Renee shared a relationship that was tender and passionate. But even before they became superheroes — Renee was a cop and Kate was a soldier — these two could kick some serious ass. The relationship proved too turbulent to last, though issues of 52 and Detective Comics indicated that these two still love each other. Maybe their troubled past or their vigilante alter egos are keeping them apart, but the sparks are definitely still there.

Sasha Bordeaux and Michael Holt (Mr. Terrific): For starters, these two are equals in the hotness department, especially in Lee Bermejo’s cover art. The secrecy of their relationship in Checkmate made it kinda naughty, and it was obvious that they had a deep connection. But once they were found out, duty trumped desire. Their romance, woven into the overall awesomeness of Checkmate, was a Grade-A love affair. Michael watching Sasha “die” in Final Crisis was devastating.

Black Adam and Isis: Isis made Adam a better being, and her love redeemed him. She softened his edges, making him a viable and sympathetic anti-hero as opposed to a one-dimensional, all-powerful villain. Her death, and his subsequent suffering, was incredibly moving.

HATE!

Dick Grayson (Nightwing) and Koriand’r (Starfire): We get it. Starfire is essentially a stripper with superpowers, and we’re certainly not mad at her for rocking Nightwing’s world. But alas, she’s no Barbara Gordon, and their relationship always struck us as, well, lame. It appears that Dick thought so, too, given his final answer to Kori’s do-you-love-me query: “No.”

Dinah Lance (Black Canary) and Oliver Queen (Green Arrow): Let’s face it; Green Arrow is a well-known douchebag, and their marriage completely undermined Gail Simone’s development of Dinah in Birds of Prey. (And how come every time this super-couple gets called to action, the comic cuts to a scene of them getting out of bed and/or Dinah in some truck-stop lingerie?) The nail in the coffin was Ollie’s utterly fucked-up decision to send away Dinah’s adopted daughter, Sin — and letting her think the child was dead before explaining. Dinah can do so much better, and she doesn’t need Ollie (or any guy) to be awesome.

Diana (Wonder Woman) and Tom Tressor (Nemesis): Chocotaco said it all in his earlier guest column. Diana is way, way, way out of Tom’s league, and she’s destined to be with Bruce Wayne anyway. Go, BatWondy, Go!

Tomorrow: Five moments in comics that made us swoon.H34QFP8ZRFQN

15 thoughts on “Coupling in the DC Universe: Highs and Lows

  1. The Flash-es always seem to have it together…

    Jay & Joan Garrick
    Barry & Iris Allen
    Wally & Linda-Park West

    Nightwing’s a little flighty… Barbara Gordon seems more like a young crush turned into close friendship, Starfire seems to have been first love as a teen but got too complicated… I always thought he should be with Donna Troy!

    Plus, I was kinda rooting for Ted Kord getting together with Babs…. unfortunately, a bullet put the kibosh on that.

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  2. Montoya & Kane: I turned on one because she killed the Question, and never bothered with the other past 52. This is me yawning.

    Bordeaux & Holt: One’s another boring Rucka character, and the other is another black male DC hero interested in anyone but a black woman (though he’ll never top John Stewart in that department.) I’m not against interracial relationships, but it would be nice if two black people could get together for once in the DCU besides Mal Duncan and Karen Beecher (currently separated.)

    Black Adam & Isis: That worked, until Isis got stuffed into a refrigerator.

    Dick Grayson & Koriand’r: Ditto. I never liked Starfire. I very much prefer Babs Gordon, but barring that, I always wanted to see him with Donna Troy or Huntress.

    Dinah Lance & Oliver Queen: I’m torn here. The two work well together because of their long history, but Black Canary is a much better character without Green Arrow. I think they were apart for too many years to believably patch things up, so I’ll agree without as much strength of conviction.

    Princess Diana & Tom Tressor: Ugh. No one deserves to be treated as a poor man’s Steve Trevor, and that’s all Nemesis amounts to these days. I still hold out hope Wonder Woman will go back to being a closeted lesbian, like she was when Perez wrote her. Turning her into notches in Superman & Batman’s utility belts disgusts me.

    Jay & Joan Garrick are a great old couple, but I find the Alan Scott & Molly Mayne have a more interesting dynamic.

    I kinda hate Wally & Linda, but they deserve each other. I dislike Iris Allen, but I guess she works with Barry. I like Lois & Clark a lot, and miss Ralph & Sue.

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    • *sigh* Isis did get stuffed into the fridge. It was lame.

      Ralph and Sue! They were a great couple. I suppose I’m okay with Lois and Clark. I don’t read the Supes books now, but I was reading Action for a bit. There was an endearing moment or two between them. I can’t talk about Dinah & Ollie, I’ll get pissed. I hope Simone ends that relationship, or makes Dinah way less sucky in spite of him.

      So, not a huge fan of Rucka, Frank?

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  3. I think I’m one of five people in the world who isn’t crazy about the Lois/Clark relationship. I respect the history behind it, but it’s not one of my favorites. The only high-profile black comics couple coming to mind right now is Storm and Black Panther. Their marriage is what drew me into the Panther comic for a while, but … well, I think we all know how that turned out. V. and I have had some interesting conversations about black women in comics and the desirability-to-heroes (in other words, writers) issue. I’m still giving it some thought, but I hope to turn that into a coherent post one of these days.

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  4. E.P., there are tons of people who hate the Lois & Clark marriage, for a variety of reasons. You are so not alone there. I actually think defenders are in the minority, though its probably 60-40% or so.

    On the other hand, I HATE the T’Challa & Ororo coupling. It’s like whenever they have Superman and Wonder Woman hooking up. Isn’t it a little like kissing a sibling, putting the male & female heroic archetypes of their respective races together, and crossing continuity hurdles to do so? I wish I had a file somewhere that I could cut & paste with all my reasons why BP & Storm getting married diminished both characters and damages them henceforth. GRR!

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  5. I love T’Challa and Ororo. 200 years of comics and one black couple (and that’s too much for SOME people) I despise Ollie and Dinah.

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    • Lala, you’re RIGHT. I have never seen Cyborg with a love interest. I know he’s mostly metal and circuits, but still. I heart John Stewart, and I’d like to see him take on a more prominent role in some of these DC events. T’Challa and Ororo sure are gorgeous together, but I dropped out of the Black Panther comic years ago. Is it worth picking up these days?

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  6. Only thing these broken relationships are teaching kids and adults is that if you go with what is the normal accepted ways of life you end up miserable. I don’t understand why writers for commics tend to want to portray pain and suffering with normal accepted relationships.

    Barbara Gordon ends up with the black dude because it didn’t work out with Old man Bruce Wayne.

    In real life, Barbara and Robin would have hooked up and had kids. No misery, no crazy interracial longings from our favorite neighborhood DC writers.

    Green Lantern would be happily married to a beutiful black knockout babe and hawk girl would be getting it on with Bruce Wayne.

    These revitalizations of old series suck.

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  7. Tumultuous relationships are a drag in real life, but I think writers are drawn to those kinds of stories because they’re interesting. The drama is right there on the surface. I appreciate stories about stable, long-term relationships, but it’s probably harder to make them interesting over a long period of time — and superhero comics aren’t exactly known for their subtlety.

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  8. Starfire is basically a stripper with superpowers? So, basically you know nothing about her except that she has a nice body and superpowers…and no, she’s no Babs. Babs is bland, boring white bread next to Starfire, and selfish to boot. Especially when you compare Starfire’s relationship with Grayson to Gordons ret-conned BS.

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  9. Eh. I don’t hate Starfire, but she doesn’t move me. Sure, she’s got a hell of a backstory and a long history in the DCU, but I’ve never felt a connection to her character. Besides, isn’t it just as harsh (and perhaps unfair) to label Barbara as boring/bland/selfish? I think we just disagree, and that’s OK. Comic book fans are passionate about what they like — or don’t!

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