Today I’m going to do something fun.
After all my Justice League related posts I’ve been anxious to do more, I have fun pulling things out of those old memories.
So, just to be different, I want to talk about superhero relationships. (Yes, that was a joke.)
Still the reason superhero relations ships are so fun is because they take the same problems real relationships have and blow them up to a much bigger scale.
Actually, a good rule of thumb when you’re judging superhero films and comics is to ask if the supers are dealing with common problems but on a magnified scale, like Spiderman/Peter Parker always is. I find that to be the most believable, because it doesn’t matter how may powers you have, you’re still human.
That especially applies to relationships.
I have two couples in mind today. I’ll be referring to the JLU show again, and the Mr. Miracle comic, because the similarity between these two couples struck me almost as soon as I read the latter.
I present for you consideration the power couples Batman and Wonder Woman, and Scott and Barda.
You may not like the Batman–Wonder Woman dynamic, but it’s the best one to serve my purpose so bear with me.
Over the course of the first two JLU seasons the writers teased the viewers with hints that Wonder Woman and Batman had, in their words, “a quasi relationship.”
I think it started from the moment Batman saw her take out some alien freaks in the first episode, and gradually they built up a mutual respect and trust, Wonder Woman somewhere along the line earned both his and Superman’s secret identity and became one of the big three. She keeps a good balance between the two more sober men.
But Batman eventually began to feel like they were getting too close and started saying he had no time for a serious relationship. Wonder Woman thought this was crud, but she couldn’t really force the point.
Scott and Barda I’ve already covered, they met on the hellish world of Apokalips, she saved his life, then followed him to earth, he saved her life, she stuck with him and it was a match made in heaven.
But if we were to take a closer look at these couples we could compare a lot of their stories.
Batman and Scott both share a traumatic past, losing their parents, and having few friends. They also share a talent for escaping and a love of justice.
Barda and Wonder Woman both share a fierce loyalty and a quick temper when they feel they or their friends are disrespected or threatened. They both were raised to be tough warriors, the best of their kind, and they both left that life, though for different reasons. (Not so different if we went by the old Wonder Woman, but the JLU one is not the same.)
They even look a lot a like.
But when we put these two couples together, there’s a huge difference in how they interact.
Wonder Woman did almost all of the advancing in the relationship, and not in what I would consider a bad way. Batman thought none the worse of her for it, I think he liked it. That was actually the trouble. Batman would not be honest about how he felt. Though on several occasions he showed a preference for her that was almost foolish, (and very cute,) he would never admit to it afterwards. She spelled it out as far as a woman can with any self-respect.
Those of us who have studied Batman’s character know the reason he was so hesitant. He is scared to be close to anyone, most especially someone he could really love, and more than that, someone like Diana who he could not control or intimidate, and who is not a criminal. She was his equal and that’s what freaked him out, because he couldn’t use any of his typical excuses not to let people get to him. (Which is always they are either too young, they work for him, or they are evil.)
How many men, and women, see themselves in Batman? They may date people, but they date people who are no good for them, who they could never marry, or whom they feel distant from. If they ever meet a person who would really challenge them, they back off because they’ve been hurt too badly in the past.
I think with Batman, and most of us, it goes back to being left alone and helpless by his parents, with neither him nor them being able to do anything. He is always afraid of the same thing happening again. And he knows even Wonder Woman is not safe from all his enemies, though his fear that they could go through her to get to him seems a bit ludicrous. She faces enemies just as bad or worse than his on a regular basis and nothing he could do is going to change that. If they aren’t after him they’ll be after her.
Wonder Woman herself seems to realize this is stupid and even insulting, but we never hear a satisfactory end to that conversation.
This is known as a dysfunctional relationship. Notice that Wonder Woman is mostly the functional part of it, she had a secure bringing up, though she couldn’t’ begin to understand what men are really like, and Batman knows it; but she’s at least willing to go there. She has a lot less issues then him, but he doesn’t want to mess her up. The thing is, he probably wouldn’t. It’s just an excuse.
That’s where we get to Scott and Barda.
Scott takes a similar path to Batman, but he starts it when he’s a lot older, though young in doing the right thing. Scott also realizes that relationships should not be avoided, though he does not take them as seriously as some. He quickly makes friends with his assistant Oberon, and with other people he meets. He is similar to Bruce Wayne in that he has an older and (inferior in ability )servant/friend. And that eventually he has a young prodigy.
But Scott wants to involve Barda in his life and his work almost as soon as she shows up. When she first saves his life, his one regret is that she would not come with him. Perhaps from the beginning then Scott learned that you can never be quite satisfied when you leave people you care about behind.
The best men in real life, and women too, are the ones who bring their friends and family along for the ride. They are willing to show them what they do. But they aren’t pushy about making them join in. They invite and encourage but they don’t force people to be part of their lives.
I’ll close with Barda and then the rest will have to be in part two.
Barda is by nature a small circle person. Like Diana she often is the one to advance the relationship, not by trying to however, just by being herself and being honest. What you love about her is that Barda never wastes words. She says what she feels plain and simple.
She’d jump down a shark’s mouth for you and never expect you to thank her for it.
Barda, to put it succinctly, does not over complicate. She is not catty. She doesn’t nag or do things for selfish reasons. I’ll get more into this in part two.
Until next post–Natasha.