The DC Universe has been expanding exponentially for the last eighty years, and through this process, an endless number of characters, stories, team-ups, and dimensions have arisen. If you want to know the true extent of that explosion, read Crisis on Infinite Earths. But one incredible aspect of this rapid development is the evolution of the relationships between characters, be it, fathers and sons, sisters and brothers, and the ones you know we’re really looking at, the couples.
There are, of course, the more obvious ones. The Superman – Wonder Woman dynamic, which has inspired an entirely new stream of stories in the New 52 series, entitled Superman & Wonder Woman, and the first volume of the series is called, “Power Couple.” Subtle.
There was even the less famous but still powerful Batman and Wonder Woman coupling, from the Justice League animated series as well as in Matt Wagner’s Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity comic book.
Finally, there is the ever popular, ever disastrous relationship between the Joker, under his many nom de plumes, and our beloved Harley Quinn, a character drawn up first in Batman: The Animated Series, as a partner for “Mr. J”, and whose popularity rose to such heights, so quickly, we had to have her keep coming back.
But now, let’s take a look at a few of the relationships you probably didn’t know were floating out there in the comic book world. In fact, some of these stories even put everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure soap operas to shame. Here are the Top 10 Greatest Love Affairs of the DC Universe.
1. Wonder Woman and Aquaman
Wonder Woman and Aquaman, in The Flashpoint Paradox (2013),
That’s right. Our Amazon Princess of badassery and the blonde haired, fierce-hearted king of Atlantis once shared more than just a friendship. In a storyline entitled Flashpoint, the scarlet speedster finds himself in a world where everything is topsy-turvy. Batman uses guns. Superman doesn’t seem to be around. And the world is on the brink of Armageddon, at the hands of the Amazonians and the Atlanteans and there is no Justice League anywhere to be found. The story of this particular power couple (Superman, eat your heart out), is that the Amazons and the Atlanteans decided to form an alliance, which is how the two leaders met. It didn’t take long for them to strike up a hot and fiery affair, much to the rage of Mera, Queen of Atlantis and Wife of Aquaman.
2. Harley Quinn and Deadshot
Harley Quinn and Deadshot, in Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014).
Anyone who has seen Suicide Squad (2016) knows these two names, played by actors Margot Robbie and Will Smith respectively. What some of you might not know is that in the DCAU movie, Assault on Arkham (2014), the animated movie encompassing a similar story about the Suicide Squad (A.K.A Task Force X), these two law-breakers do more than just exchange glances. Harley finds herself sick and tired of the Joker’s endless torment (one can only hope so), and waits for the strikingly good-looking marksmen in his room, wearing…. well, let’s just say she left little to the imagination. From that moment on, I don’t think it was in the smooth-talking slayer’s control anymore.
3. Green Lantern Jon Stewart and Hawkgirl
Hawkgirl and Green Lantern, in S02E26, Justice League (2001-2004). And yes, they are flying.
Traditionally, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are the ultimate couple. Reincarnated souls destined to find each other every lifetime, again and again like clockwork. However, every few lifetimes or so, things are bound to change. The heart wants what the heart wants. In the Justice League animated series (2001), Jon Stewart, the third green lantern of Earth, alongside Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner, finds himself inexplicably falling in love with the winged spitfire from Thanagar, Shayera Hol. After a long drawn out courtship, the two finally get together at the end of the second season. And I have to admit, it is adorable. But the relationship is short-lived, though they both continue to hint at buried feelings through the course of the Justice League Unlimited series.
4. Carol Ferris and Hal Jordon
Carol Ferris and Hal Jordon, in Year Two of Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Hal Jordon, the first man from Earth to be formally inducted into the Green Lantern Corps, was a pilot for the US Air Force before his out-worldly duties were appointed. After that, he joined notable aeronautics company, Ferris Aircraft as a test pilot, and maintained his rank as the best pilot in their field. The company is run by Carol Ferris, a brunette bombshell, with a mind to match. She is responsible for building most of the planes (on Earth) that Hal Jordon flies. And Hal trusts her with not just his life, but his heart, as she is depicted as his constant love interest in most stories. Along with being his boss and his girlfriend, Carol Ferris is also his greatest enemy. Having been intercepted by an alien race known as the Zamarons, they bestowed on her the gem of their people, making her their powerful ruler, the Star Sapphire. Needless to say, their lovers’ spats can get a little heated.
5. Harley Quinn and Nightwing
Nightwing and Harley Quinn, in Batman and Harley Quinn (2017).
The Boy Wonder is all grown up. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed. For those of you who don’t know it, Nightwing is the name the very first Robin, Dick Grayson, took for himself, when he wanted to break away from the Bat. In the recently released movie, Batman and Harley Quinn (2017), in which the jilted jester girl is voiced by Melissa Rauch of The Big Bang Theory, the spandex-laden hero and our favorite clown queen create a dynamic duo of their own. After being released from Arkham, Harley tries to go straight (boy, does she), and when she’s approached by the Caped Crusader’s partner, now gone solo, it really seems to rile her up. In fairness to our man in blue and black, he makes a sincere attempt to say no. But what Harley wants, Harley gets.
6. Nightwing and Star Fire
Nightwing (Robin) and Star Fire, in Teen Titans (2003-2006).
Aside from his one-in-a-million fling with Joker’s sometimes girlfriend, the young apprentice to the Dark Knight is actually for the most part in a strong and steady relationship with Star Fire, warrior and princess from the distant, hostile planet of Tamaran. She crashes on Earth while being pursued by militants (in some stories from her own country, courtesy of her sister, and in others from neighboring warring planets). Her first interaction with Dick Grayson was as Robin, as can be seen in both the Teen Titans animated show(2003), as well as in Teen Titans: The Judas Contract(2017), when mid-way through that first battle, as he attempts to rescue her, she plants one hell of a kiss on him. Eventually, it’s revealed that that’s how her people learn a language. But it was one hell of a way to say thank you. And he never forgot it.
7. Supergirl and Brainiac 5
Supergirl and Brainiac 5, in S03E10, Justice League Unlimited(2004-2006).
Supergirl, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is Superman’s cousin Kara-El from Krypton, daughter of his father’s brother. Though on Krypton, Kara was much older than Kal El (Clark Kent, A.K.A Superman), due to some complications in the travel process, Kara reached Earth and was discovered much later, when Clark was well into adulthood. He inducted her into the Justice League, and with the help of his fellow heroes trained her. BRAINIAC, otherwise known as the Brain Interactive Construct, was a technological creation of Krypton, built to catalog and analyze all data in the galaxy, that led to and partially caused the eventual destruction and extinction of all Kryptonians, save the single city of Kandor that he shrunk and contained on his ship. Now I know what you’re thinking. Modern relationships are all well and good, but this particular union might be pushing it. But here’s the thing. Though the original Brainiac was mostly mechanical, with very little organic content, once he had been captured and contained by Superman, a thousand years later the Legion of Superheroes (the Justice League in the 31st century), managed to recreate Brainiac to do good. They made him more organic than machine, while still allowing him to maintain a 12th level intellect. You can see the couple fall in love in Season 3 of Justice League Unlimited, in an episode entitled, “Far From Home.” In fact, in the comics, Supergirl and Brainiac 5 eventually got married.
8. Babydoll and Croc
Babydoll and Killer Croc, in “Love is a Croc,” S04E09, Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995).
This has to be my favorite – no, second favorite – pair-up in the DC universe, particularly the DC Animated Universe. In an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, entitled “Love is a Croc,” we see two of Batman’s lesser known, but equally disturbed adversaries. The first is Mary Louise Dahl, a woman in her thirties, afflicted with a condition that causes her physical appearance to remain like that of a child, even as she aged. After a failed career as an actress and buried in her own loneliness, she snapped. She took up the name Babydoll permanently and stuck with the childlike ruse. On the other side, we have Killer Croc, also born with a condition causing him to take on the appearance and many attributes of crocodiles, including their strength and ferocity. He also likes money and women. Touched by his plea in a courtroom about how nobody understood him for his differences, and how that pushed him to a life of crime, she breaks him out of prison, and the two go on a Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque crime spree. But a crocodile can’t change his scales, and the relationship ends in disaster, mitigated only by the presence of the Dark Knight.
9. Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing
Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing, in Year Three of Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Though the two may seemingly not have much in common besides their love of the green, I am truly surprised that there haven’t been more incarnations of the two side by side, greening up the whole planet. Even in the Batman and Harley Quinn movie, Poison Ivy was found alongside Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man, devious and psychotic, but nowhere near as powerful as the Swamp Thing. Written by the brilliant Alan Moore, the Swamp Thing was once Dr. Alec Holland who, after a bomb was planted in his lab, was consumed by the swamp in Louisana where his lab was located when the chlorophyll in the swamp reacted with a powerful biochemical growth enzyme he had been experimenting on. The result was a creature made fully of plant life, replicating the human shape and internal organs based on the memories in Hollands mind. The Swamp Things only true goal has been to protect the green, the waves, the stones, and the skies, which he does with his power to control almost all aspects of nature, as his power grows (read Swamp Thing: Trial By Fire). In a brief fight in Year Three of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Poison Ivy is pulled from her home and forced to battle the Swamp Thing. But mid-way through the fight, the antics of the other Superpowered characters cause the forest they are fighting in to come ablaze. Despite their forced enmity, Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing share a moment of common love, for their brothers and sisters in the green as they realize they must unite to save the forest. You just don’t get passion like that in day to day situations.
10. Ralph and Sue Dibny
Ralph Dibny, in Identity Crisis, Issue #20.
This is my favorite pair in the DC Universe. Ralph Dibny is a hero, part of the International Justice League (as depicted in the show Justice League Unlimited), named the Elongated Man. Before his powers emerged, he was also a detective and took to fighting crime on his own mostly before being inducted into the Justice League. Sue Dibny is his longtime wife. They grew up together, along with friend and fellow superhero, Barry Allen (the Flash). In the comic book series, Identity Crisis, Ralph gets the story rolling, by recounting the tale of how he met his wife. Flash was the big man of Central City at the time. “It was like trying to compete with Sinatra,” Ralph says, “But that’s why ice cream stores don’t just sell chocolate and vanilla. Every once in awhile, someone walks in and orders butter pecan.” Sue Dibny may not have had any superpowers, but her love and support for her husband and his friends was undeniable. Ralph was the first hero of the Justice League to go public with his secret identity, and together Ralph and Sue Dibny became the face of the Justice League.
Here’s a little added bonus for you! One last surprise couple you may not have known about :
Katherine Kane and Renee Montoya
Katherine Kane (Batwoman) and Renee Montoya, in Year Two of Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Renee Montoya was an officer, and then later a detective for the Gotham City Police Department. She would also eventually come to take on the role of The Question, following Vic Sage. She was one of Jim Gordon’s people and one of the few good cops on the force. She struggled for years with alcohol and pill addictions, but things eventually turned around after she met Kate. Katherine “Kate” Kane was the daughter of a retired army Colonel and in her day job, thanks to her step-mother’s wealth, spent her time as a wealthy socialite party girl. Eventually, she established her night job as none other than the incomparable Batwoman. She works rigorously to maintain her strength and occasionally teams up with the rest of the Bat-family though she usually works alone. Though the two struggled with their own demons, they managed to maintain a relationship and eventually got married, and fought crime together, as was seen in Year 2 of Injustice: Gods Among Us. They are also briefly seen at the beginning of their relationship in Batman: Bad Blood (2016).