- You've always loved women dark and dangerous-- yet if they do something dark and dangerous-- you can't love them-- and therefore, you've never really loved any woman at all.
- --Natalia Knight
Batman is probably the character with the highest number of romantic relationships in the DC Universe. Unlike Superman and Wonder Woman, who are characters that have been in publication as long as Batman, the Dark Knight has never had a a leading partner and instead, he has been constantly switching interests when it comes to romance. This is due to the nature of the Batman character, who cannot mantain 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 relationships as Bruce Wayne, but he would often flirt as Batman with occasional villains, among which was Catwoman. The strong influence of Superman's success, forced the creators of Batman to introduce a serious female figure who can eventually become Batman's partner. Thus, Vicki Vale was introduced in answer to Superman's Lois Lane, but the 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 and that was with Talia al Ghul, but this never came to something 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 ladies were introduced in 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 which have lasted long enough to set a "record" and others which were merely used for the sake of a story. Even though, most of his relationships are with ladies from his own Rogues Gallery, the constant in every scenario is Batman's unwillingness or inability to mantain a relationship longer that 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 an actress and she eventually adopted the artistic name of "Portia Storme".
- In the Earth-Two continuity, Julie and Bruce broke up as she expected him to become something more that 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, se wed someone from the 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 Bruce 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 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 Batman broke up with her after he discovered she was after his fortune.
The photographer/reporter, Vicki Vale was initially introduced as a woman smart enough to expose Batman's secret identity using her images. In this quest, she became involved with Bruce Wayne, as she suspected him of being Batman and she was determined to find the evidence. Her true feelings for Bruce Wayne were not developed in the time she was introduced and her stories often involved the same plot.
- Vicki disappeared from the Batman comics when Julius Schwartz took over the editorial office of Batman in 1964, but she eventually returned in the early 1980s, brought back by Gerry Conway and his effort of bringing back old forgotten characters. Unfrortunately, this idea proved ill-adviced 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 of slowly removing Vale from Batman's love life in after he took the writing chores from Conway, but she was later used as a recurrent love interest for Bruce Wayne by many other writers. Most recently in Bruce Wayne: The Road Home, Vicki finally learned the truth of Batma's identity, but she was developed into a confident 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.
You're a complex, many-sided man..."
- Selina Kyle
Catwoman is the most enduring and fan favourite Batman relationship. Although there has been many events in which the two of them decide to become a regular couple, their unconventional lifestyles and personal choices makes them always grow apart from each other, making it sort of a "running gag" in the Batman history. The excuse some writers come up with is that "Catwoman loves Batman, but she loves outsmarting him even more!"
- 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 were 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 part of the vigilante team in Gotham City. Coincidentally, Bruce Wayne also started a romantic relationship with Selina Kyle. Despite this developments, Catwoman realized Batman and Bruce could not totally trust her and she would always leave Gotham, to keep away from both men who were one and the same.
- Batman and Catwoman have had several romantic encounters in the New Earth continuity. The most prominent one is probably from the storyline Batman: Hush, in which Bruce finally revealed his identity to Selina and invited her to become part of her 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 strongly hinted that they still love each other deeply.
- 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 well as comparing that relationship with Terry's and the current 10 of the Royal Flush Gang. 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 for 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.
The daughter of the supervillain, Ra's al Ghul, Talia's father has encouraged the relationship in hopes of recruiting Batman as his successor. Unlike Catwoman, Talia is more than willing to play second-fiddle to Bruce's mission.
- During their first encounters, Talia has shown 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.
- In Batman: The Animated Series, she 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 destroy Gotham City, following her father's mad design.
Poison Ivy is a villain who often relies on seduction and manipulation of pheromones to drive men around her to obey. This is no different with Batman, who initially confused his lust and desire caused by Ivy's methods, for love. There have also been several instances in which Poison Ivy approaches Bruce Wayne to manipulate him, but she rarely makes distinction between her victims. As previously mentioned, there are elements of lust and desire between them, but there is not a real love or romantic interest between them
- In the Batman and Robin film, Poison Ivy, portrayed by Uma Thurman, she acts exactly as her comic book counterpart, often relying on chemicals to hypnotize men, forcing them to lust and fight for her.
This list includes all those women who have sporadically appeared as romantic partners of Batman:
- Linda Page: A character adapted from the Batman serial (1943), Linda Page was adapted 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, instead of falling into the stereotype that rich women were spoiled and lazy. She dated Bruce for a few issues, but later fell between the cracks and disappeared.
- 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 often published. Batwoman's love for Batman was never reciprocated and was only seen as a good friend. On Earth-Two, Batwoman resignated 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, Batwoman was never romantically interested in Batman, except for a couple of stories by Grant Morrison, who liked to use Silver Age content as reference in his works.
- Zatanna: The first occasion in which Zatanna was portrayed as a strong romantinc 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.
- 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 Bruce Wayne's alter ego. However, she couldn't handle being involved with someone in such a dangerous line of work. When Silver returned to Gotham, she and Bruce tried to work a serious relationship in what could possibly be the best attempt by Batman to have a normal relationship, but as usual, things fell apart. This happened on the storyline Batman: Dark Detective.
- Rachel Caspian: In "Batman: Year Two", Bruce Wayne falls in love with Rachel. Unfortunately, Rachel's father moonlighted as a murderous vigilante who committed suicide once, losing a battle against a gun-wielding Batman. 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 himself to end his crimefighting career to marry her.
- Natalia Knight: The most remarkable of his love interests at the time was Nocturna, aka Natalia Knight, created by Doug Moench in the early 1980s. She was a jewel thief who briefly adopted Jason Todd and knew that Bruce Wayne was Batman. What made her remarkable was that she 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 deep 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 she carried in her skin 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 presummed dead, although other versions of the charcter have appeared after the Crisis, but they are different from the Pre-Crisis Nocturna.
- Julia Pennyworth: The daughter of Alfred and French Resistance fighter Mlle Marie, Julia was brought in by Doug Moench in the early 1980s, but their efforts to make her a romantic partner of Bruce Wayne were impossible because of the presence of Vicki Vale and Nocturna
- Vesper Fairchild: Fairchild was a 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 desecrated as a plot device by Greg Rucka when he had Vesper killed by David Cain on orders from Lex Luthor in order to start the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive storyline.
- 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.
- Sasha Bordeaux: Assigned as Bruce Wayne's bodyguard, Sasha deduced that Bruce was Batman. She was framed for Fairchild's murder and later joined Maxwell Lord's Checkmate organization. During The OMAC Project, Bordeaux was turned into a cyborg OMAC, but this incident has since been resolved. While Sasha and Batman kissed near the end of The OMAC Project, their relationship seems to have passed on.
- Wonder Woman: Diana and Bruce briefly dated  but nothing came of the relationship and the two remained friends.. This is echoed in the Justice League animated series, where producers decided to pair Diana with Bruce instead of Clark because the show's creators disliked pairing Wonder Woman with Superman.
- Black Canary: Although Black Canary has a relationship with Green Arrow, she has shown an attraction to the Dark Knight and she and Batman have shared kisses from time to time.
- Harley Quinn: Best known as "The Joker's Girlfriend", Harley has had occasional romantic encounters with Batman, most notable her big smooch with him on the episode Harley's Holiday from Batman: The Animated Series and most recently, in the The New 52, there have been a couple of Harley Quinn stories in which she becomes infatuated either with Bruce Wayne or Batman.
- Barbara Gordon; Batgirl: The daughter of police commissioner James Gordon, Barbara was shown as a romantic interest of Bruce Wayne in the DC Animated Universe. In Batman Beyond it was even strongly hinted that the two of them had sexual encounters and that Barbara was pregant as a result. In the recent animated adaptation of the Killing Joke, Batman and Batgirl have a serious relationship, even having a distasteful sexual encounter in a rooftop.
Most of the following ladies are often ignored and their past relationship with the Caped Crusader is mostly forgotten:
- Jillian Maxwell: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1, during the beginning of his career, Bruce find himself attracted to a woman who called herself Jillian Maxwell after meeting her at a costume party. However, Alfred's suspicion of her led him to checking her background, discovering a criminal record of a woman, whose description matches Jillian's, who used the aliases of Kathryn Cole, Christine Gherard, Diana Lopez, Pamela Weisman, and many other identities to seduce young wealthy men for their fortunes, then later arrange events that led to their deaths so she can claim their wealth. After Alfred told Bruce of this, he was heartbroken, but Bruce kept an eye on the woman. When she used the identity Audrey Marguerite in Brazil, Bruce, as Batman, sent her a note, telling her to confess all her crimes.
- Batman and Orion's wife Bekka, had a strong attraction to each other after she rescued him from Darkseid's forces on the planet Tartarus. She was later murdered.
- Lorna Shore: In Batman Confidential "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 he was 8 years old after 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.
- Jezebel Jet: A wealthy woman of African descent who had lost her parents. She is said to own an African province. She worked for the Black Glove, and gained his love as part of a plot to destroy him during "Batman R.I.P.". She was later killed on Talia's orders.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chase Meridian: Batman's love interest in Batman Forever.
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Links and References
- ↑ Adapted from Batman #390 - Courtesy of Doug Moench
- ↑ Batman and the Mad Monk #6
- ↑ Brave and the Bold #197
- ↑ Batman: Son of the Demon
- ↑ Young Justice (Volume 2) #12
- ↑ Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #3
- ↑ Batman: Poison Ivy
- ↑ Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Vol 1 61
- ↑ JLA #80
- ↑ JLA #90
- ↑ Brave and the Bold #166
- ↑ Birds of Prey #90
- ↑ Superman/Batman #37-Superman/Batman #42