Femme Fatales of Batman

 Bruce Wayne

Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, has a reputation as a playboy. In fact, he designed it that way so that he would not have to deal with a relationship and the pitfalls that would accompany it. The major one being an adversary finding out about a particular relationship and using that information against him. He dates women for very short periods of time to prevent this from happening. Another thing is the amount of time it would consume. It is bad enough he has to maintain the Bruce Wayne persona and does not need another distraction from his war on crime. As a result, there is a long list of characters he has had some sort of relationship with. Here are some of the most important relationships in Batman’s life.

 

Catwoman

A sometimes love interest of Batman and sometimes rival. A burglar and thief by trade, Catwoman uses her incredible athletic prowess to get into the tightest places and escape traps. She is one of Batman’s oldest characters premiering in the same issue as the Joker in 1940. She has gone through a great transformation over the years, perhaps the greatest of all of the characters. She has run the gamut from a burglar in a green dress to a full cat outfit with tail and large ears. Their relationship has run from hot and cold, to steamy.

In one instance they have even been married. Yes, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle married after Bruce retired from being Batman and they had a daughter. She would later become The Huntress. This was during the Golden Age, now known as “Earth 2” of the DC multiverse. Catwoman’s character is later reworked into a figure that is similar to her modern rendition. Her second appearance on the silver screen was a culmination and combination of all the forms before. Michelle Pfeiffer in this role embodied the character like never before. Owning the character and bringing the powerful sensuality and fiery independence that makes Catwoman one of Batman’s more popular and enduring characters. She walks the line between adversary and ally by keeping to her own code of ethics and killing only when a crime has been committed against her or someone she cares about and it is so heinous that jail is way too soft a punishment.

Many women have played this symbolic character. Julie Newmar was the famous of the three in the sixties. Lee Meriwether was Catwoman in the 1960’s movie which the television series was based on. Michelle Pfeiffer, as mentioned before was the Catwoman of the 90’s while Anne Hathaway is the latest to wear the ears.

Julie Newmar had the grace and sex appeal that the character embodied. Dressed in the black body suit revealing her long shapely legs, she was stately and rebellious. Anne Hathaway channeled that essence into her portrayal of Catwowan in the The Dark Knight Rises. The comparison ends with her appearance. She has no cowl, or tail, or cat ears on her head. She does wear a form-fitting leather suit. In the heart of the character, she is a modern woman with a fighting spirit. Embodying the spirit of the comics with an edge of realism, Hathaway cuts a mean and gritty character.  Much like, Hathaway, Michelle Pfeiffer injects traits from the comics, but unlike Hathaway, Ms. Pfeiffer ramps it up by infusing a bit of goofiness that all of Tim Burton’s movies have. Though it is a dark portrayal, she throws in a subtle purr and growl in her voice. This harkens back to the silver age wackiness of the comics. This combined with her in a latex suit and cat-like cowl flipping around like a gymnast make her the quintessential Catwoman.

The first to portray the Catwoman on the silver screen was Lee Meriwether in the 1966 movie. She was the prototype on which Ms. Newmar improved upon. Eartha Kitt had a brief stint as Catwoman. She appeared in 5 episodes of the television show giving the character a bit of a different spin. There is one more actress that probably should be mentioned, though it is a bit of a stretch. Halley Berry starred in the movie entitled Catwoman, though it has very little to do with the Batman series. The character was changed completely; from the origin story, to even her name. Ashley Judd was slated to star in the film but after Ms. Berry won the Oscar, it was announced she had the role. The producers at the time stated they wanted to veer away from the comics and do their own interpretation. After release, it was heavily panned by the critics and a huge box office flop. Just goes to show that when dealing with beloved icons such as Batman and Catwoman one should never stray too far away from the source material.

Catwoman - newmar-meriwether-kitt-pfeiffer-berry-hathaway

 

Talia al’Ghul

She is the daughter of Ra’s al’Ghul, and the second in command of the League of Assassins. She appeared in the early 70’s and is one of the few people to know the Batman’s secret identity. She removed his mask when he was unconscious to better tend to his wounds. Her father, Ra’s al’Ghul, deduced Bruce Wayne was Batman by noting his various assets and his social patterns. She is the best assassin and is deadly at close range. She is fiercely loyal to the League, though not always to her father. She will contradict her father in an instant if his plans endangered her beloved, Bruce.

great-marion-cotillard-was-talia-al-ghulHelen Slatter voiced this character in the animated series giving her a passion that reflected the comics. It was as if she was ripped straight from those pages. Marion Cotillard portrayed her in her debut on the silver screen in The Dark Knight Rises. While it might not have been the most ideal way to bring this character to the screen, it worked for the most part. Talia is leader of the League of Assassins. Not just the leader, she is the field commander usually leading the missions personally. She is highly trained in the martial arts and is one of their best marksmen. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty. I do realize Ms Cotillard did come into this part after having a baby. In that knowledge, she carried the part with ease though the part wasn’t very large. It was revealed toward the end she was the main adversary carrying on where her father left off. It would be something that Talia would do though she would do it in her own way. Although, she does not particularly love her father, she respects him highly and his cause. However, in the comics, she would have saved the city when she found out Bruce was Batman believing they were destined to be together.

Marion Cotillard - Talia Al Ghul

 

Vikki Vale

Appearing in the 1950’s she is a reporter for the Gotham Gazette. She was an occasional love interest of Batman. She disappeared from the comics for a long time. She, briefly, returned in the early 80’s. The love interest of Batman in the 1989 movie, she is a photojournalist that is interested in capturing the Bat in action. She snaps compelling pictures of challenging situations. No one has seen this bat in Gotham and many think this is a hoax or a myth. She sees the opportunity and travels to Gotham to reveal the truth about the legend. Though, she falls deeper into the truth than she ever intended. She finds out the real story behind the Batman and begins to care deeply for this mystery man. Vale appears later in the Arkham video games, but only as a minor character seen briefly in each game. Kim Basinger had the honor of bringing this character to life on the big screen.

17_Batman_and_Vicki_Vale (1)Kim Basinger is a good actress and a beautiful figure on the screen. While she is not the best actress, she does a decent job in this film. She brings an intelligence to an otherwise limited, and vapid role. There are some scenes where she regresses to the traditional “damsel in distress” mode and becomes a helpless victim crying out. It works and yet, it doesn’t. She has been in war zones and all types of unsavory places around the world. It illustrates she is a survivor and can take care of herself. But when the Joker shows up, she suddenly becomes helpless and does not know what to do? She forgets everything that helped her survive? It could happen, but more than likely not. Her character is a mid point between the stereotypical victim and the modern Heroine. Kudos to her for trying to bring out a better character.

Vikki Vale - Kim Bassinger

 

Batgirl/ Barbara Gordon

Introduced in the Batman television show of the ’60’s to get girls interested in the show and widen the audience base, she is the daughter of James Gordon. She is a librarian that is interested in fighting crime along side Batman and Robin. She makes a suit that is in the likeness of Batman and follows them around helping out where and when she can. There have been a few interpretations of Batgirl over the years; many within the last ten to twenty years. Batgirl was presented in Batman and Robin (1997). This time she was the niece of Alfred and went by the name of Barbara Wilson. She is technically the same character. She was very spirited and challenged Dick Grayson to races to prove herself when she could. She discovered the Batcave and Bruce asked her if she was willing to take on the challenge of joining the team. She agreed and Alfred just happened to have a suit ready for her to wear. These two stories do not show Batman and Batgirl together. They did for a time in the New Batman Adventures (4th season of Batman: The Animated Series). In this series Batgirl became a partner of Batman after the first Robin left to be on his own. In the Batman Beyond series that spun off from the original series, it is discovered these two heroes were “together.”

Yvonne Craig played Batgirl in the 60’s television series while Alicia Silverstone put on the cape in the movie, Batman and Robin. Yvonne Craig’s performance was good for the time. 3493106-batgirlShe was not seen as often as one would like being introduced in the third and final season. She added a breath of fresh air to an already crazy cast and to some outrageous plots. Yet another masked hero running around Gotham in broad daylight in a flashy costume added to the silliness of the show. However, her costume seemed to fit better and made her a bit more heroic, or at the very least more appealing. Alicia Silverstone’s interpretation in 1997 made her more independent and feistier. Though Batgirl wasn’t the kick-butt, powerhouse she is today, it was a step in the evolution of that character. Today, Batgirl is able to hold her own on the streets of Gotham. Though, Barbara no longer was Batgirl due to a tragedy, she was able to adapt to a new role in the crime-fighting world as Oracle. A new person then stepped into the mantle of Batgirl. She is on par with Nightwing and the rest of the Bat “family.” With the “New 52” reset of the continuity, Barbara is now back in the suit.

 

Chase Meridian

She was in Batman Forever. She is a psychiatrist that becomes interested in Batman. She wants to know how he thinks, why he goes out at night dressed up as a bat. She is searching for his motivations and not just the superficial. She wants to probe that damaged mind and possibly try to heal it. Nichole Kidman is a great actress and is very attractive, but that role did not fit her. One can see she is trying to fit into the role, but she comes across as being a bit of an airhead. Whether that was intentional or not is tough to discern. The character is supposed to be well educated. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was bad on that movie. When the script is bad, more often than not all else is bad.

Batman - Chase Meridian

 

Julie Madison

The earliest of Bruce Wayne’s love interests, she was an investigative reporter who always managed to get into some sort of peril. She dated Bruce Wayne in the comics for the longest time, but then disappeared from the pages toward the end of the 1950’s. Essentially, she was the counter-part of Lois Lane in Metropolis.

She was brought to life on the big screen in the movie, Batman and Robin. The one who they got to play this distinguished part was Elle MacPherson. Little more than eye-candy in this movie, Elle is beautiful. The part was small and not very meaty. It was written to be a showcase part where an attractive model stands on set and does what they do best. Not faulting Ms. MacPherson, she did her best. The writers and director fumbled the ball when it came to this part. They could have done more here. However, so much was going on with the other characters it was difficult to maintain focus on everything. Thus with too many balls in the air, the juggler eventually drops one, or two, or three.

 

Lois Lane

While mainly existing in the Superman realm, living in Metropolis and pining over Superman, she has had a brief stint with Bruce Wayne. Lois and Bruce dated briefly and after that maintained a close friendship even after she married Clark Kent (Superman). In the animated series, a special three-part crossover story was created. It was called World’s Finest, and had Bruce Wayne visiting Metropolis to broker a deal with Lex Luthor. She meets Bruce to get an interview and is swept up by his charm. lois_wedding_03 (1)They date, much to Clark’s chagrin and eventually she finds out about his secret. They split because they live in two different cities and she didn’t think she could cope with the fact he led a double life. Many ladies have brought this classic character to life. The ones that concern this topic are Dana Delaney who voiced the character in Superman: The Animated Series and the Justice League; and Amy Adams in Man of Steel.

As Lois Lane, Dana Delaney was good. She seemed competent and experienced when it came to her job. Through her voice, Ms. Delaney projected a believable and modern image of the intrepid reporter. Amy Adams is the current Lois Lane. She has done a remarkable job given that there have been a few actors who have played this character previously. She has brought a confidence and a tenderness that none have provided before. Though, Lois Lane still remains a character with a penchant for getting into trouble, it remains to be seen whether anything will happen between her character and Bruce Wayne in the upcoming movies, specifically in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Amy Adams - Lois Lane

 

Diana of Themyscira

In the comics, Bruce Wayne and Diana dated for a short time. Though afterwards, they remained good friends with each knowing the other’s secret identity. His being Batman and her’s Wonder Woman. This relationship wasn’t even in the main books. It was in the Justice League comic books. This was reflected in the Justice League animated series were it was hinted at, but never expressly shown.

c23oyqefg3xatgeicxtvThere have been a few actresses who have had the honor to portray this important character over the years. Linda Carter, Susan Eisenberg, and Gal Gadot to name a few. Linda Carter was the Wonder Woman of the 1970’s era. While her character never interacted with any of the other DC Comics characters, it is worth mentioning her since she was the first portrayal of that character, that I have found. Susan Eisenberg was the voice of Diana for a long time in many of the animated renditions of the character. She was Diana in all of the Justice League series. She has a strong voice, lending a powerful presence to the Amazon Princess. It is not a testosterone-induced, body-building voice. It is a rich and strong voice that commands authority and gives credence to Wonder Woman’s outer femininity, and at the same time hints at the power she holds inside. She has the strength and confidence to get dirty with the boys and then clean up and hang with the girls. It was a perfect fit for the shows. Gal Gadot has yet, to make an appearance on screen. She will be the Amazon Princess in the new live action movies. It will be interesting to find out what she brings to the role and what events transpire between her and Bruce Wayne.

Wonder Woman - Gal Gadot

 

Zatanna Zatara

zatanna2010series11She is one of his closest friends. They dated when he was younger. It was while he was training to become Batman that this relationship blossomed. Bruce was learning the skills of the escape artist under her father Zatara the Magician. Later, Detective Comics #843 and #844, he met up with Zatanna and she asked him if they could ever have a deeper relationship. She realized in the end there could never be anything more, because Bruce cannot give more. His dedication is to the city and the lonely life he leads. In Batman: The Animated Series, Zatanna makes an appearance. Their history is illustrated through flashbacks and the feelings bloom again. It is a very nice episode, but in the end, as in the comics, they agree to keep the romance to a minimum and maintain a working relationship.

 

Pamela Lillian Isley

Ever since her origins in the 60’s, she and Batman have had some sort of flirtation relationship in the comics. Though at times, it is one sided. More often it is Batman pursuing her. Who could blame him? She is a very attractive woman. It does help that she is a skilled botanist and chemist and has designed a powerful compound to attract men to her. At least, that is one version of her character. The latest version is, she is part plant and emits that aroma along with various toxins at will: hence the moniker Poison Ivy. She was featured on the animated series, but no relationship developed between them. In the movie, Batman and Robin Uma Thurman portrays this vixen of the vines.

She was visually stunning and for the most part fit the character. The lines that she had to spit out were atrocious. Her delivery of them needed work. Whether she researched the character or not and understood where the character was coming from, remains to be seen. If she did her due diligence, then it did not show through to the final edit. This movie was a mess with little direction as far as over-all understanding of the Batman mythos and concepts therein. Hopefully, the next time Poison Ivy is on the silver screen it will be done correctly.

Poison Ivy

 

Rachel Dawes

Though she appeared in the Dark Knight Saga, and was Bruce Wayne’s long-time friend, she has never appeared in the comics. In researching, it appears she was an entirely original character. Ms Dawes was well written and fit the storyline, being fleshed out more than some of the past women. Played adequately by Katie Holmes and excellently by the talented Maggie Gyllenhaal, this character helped reveal a personal side of Bruce Wayne’s psyche. She brought a bit of pathos to the story, especially in The Dark Knight when the stakes were raised and the situation became more personal. The audience felt the pain and loneliness of Batman like never before. Ms. Gyllenhaal brought the gold in her performance and developed the character into a solid three dimensions. It was partially due to this that helped the series become the hugely successful trilogy both in the theater and on home media platforms. It would not be a stretch if Rachel Dawes is imported from the silver screen and adopted into the comics in the near future.

rachel_dawes

As mentioned before these are a select few of the love interests of Bruce Wayne. There are many others. In fact, one can name just about any female character from the DC Universe and dollars to doughnuts Bruce has had some sort of fling with them. The guy gets around. One wonders with that many flings, spending that kind of money on these dates (he usually wines and dines them in high style); wouldn’t he be broke by now?

About Erich Appelhans

Erich is the author of the thriller, Is Love Everlasting? He has a BA in Communications from Colorado State University. He lives in Arvada, Colorado with his cat, who always tries to help him with his writing. He enjoys watching movies, writing poetry, or reading a great book. Follow Erich on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/erichswritingspot. Get his book at Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/410406





About Erich Appelhans

Erich is the author of the thriller, Is Love Everlasting? He has a BA in Communications from Colorado State University. He lives in Arvada, Colorado with his cat, who always tries to help him with his writing. He enjoys watching movies, writing poetry, or reading a great book. Follow Erich on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/erichswritingspot.
Get his book at Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/410406