DC announced that today would be Bruce Wayne’s day, a day to celebrate the history and the life (real or not) of one the most iconic heroes ever created, Batman, the Dark Knight. It’s important that we recognise all that he has done, despite being a fictional character Batman has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to be better and to do right. However he would not be the man, the hero or the icon he is without the people in his life and while Robin, Gordon and Alfred are pillars in his character it’s perhaps the women in his life who have had the most profound impact on him.
This list is only a fraction of those in his life (Wonder Woman Batwoman, Talia Al Ghul), but for me the list below contains the women I feel have shaped him the most as the vigilant guardian watching over Gotham city.
If the name or the face doesn’t like familiar then stop reading this list and pick up a copy of ‘Mask of the Phantasm’ right now! Andrea Beaumont is the first love of Bruce Wayne, the pair were engaged having met at Gotham University. Their relationship caused Bruce a lot of conflict for him, having to choose between his love for Andrea and the promise he made to avenge his parents by healing Gotham, Bruce actually chose Andrea but their engagement didn’t last after Andrea fled with her father to Europe.
She would return to seek revenge against the men who killed her father and her feelings for Bruce would resurface forcing her to choose between her own path and her heart.
Andrea didn’t disappear after the movie, she would resurface in Batman Beyond, in future comics and her name and equipment would be dropped as Easter Eggs in the Arkham games.
She was the answer to a Catwoman audiences were beginning to feel attached and sympathetic for, Pamela Isley was a botanical biochemist before she turned eco-terrorist. Her character has seen a massive evolution since her introduction in Batman #181 1966 and not just in terms of her powers and abilities. She has blossomed into one of the most formidable enemies Batman has ever faced but we’ve learned that despite her preference for flora, she still has a heart and despite her disdain for humanity she has recognised that not all are bad and Ivy has even teamed up to help Batman and other heroes in Gotham (although the last time she was with the Birds of Prey there may have been some betrayal!).
At a time when Batman was growing close to Catwoman, Isley stepped in to remind him that women can be just as deadly as men.
First introduced in 1961 Batgirl wouldn’t gain popularity until 1967 when the alterego was adopted by Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Commissioner Gordon and while many have since worn the title it’s only ever been Barbara fit Barbara the best.
She may have been created to add some femininity to the original duo of Batman and Robin but her character quickly became more than just a woman under a cowl. Barbara became a key member of Batman’s team and even after an attack by the Joker left her paralysed Barbara still continued to aid Batman and even lead the Birds of Prey team as Oracle. Her computer skills were only matched by her intellect and leadership qualities and when a risky surgery was proposed that could possibly restore her ability to walk, Barbara put her life on the line all for the sake of once more becoming Batgirl.
While she may have worked with Batman, she never acted like a sidekick offering him a partnership as opposed an apprenticeship.
Selena and Bruce have always been my Romeo and Juliet.
Growing up my first experience with Catwoman was Michelle Pfeiffer kickflipping across rooftops, scratching out bad guys and going head to head with Batman and so began my own personal love for one of the greatest characters in the DC Universe! It may seem like many to be a case of ‘will they, won’t they’, Batman and Catwoman, Bruce and Selena are fully aware of how much they love and need each other, they have a bond that has driven them both together when needed and further apart. Both recognise the pain in each other, the darkness and neither wants the other to burden it for them.
Selena/Catwoman is the greatest love of his life but even so her past, his responsibilities and both their natures make it an impossible love and they both resent and respect each other for that.
I didn’t want this to read like a list or a countdown, there will always be women in Bruce’s life, they will come and go, they will help, hurt and hinder him but no woman can ever claim to have a hold over him like his own mother. Martha Wayne, born Martha Kane, daughter and heiress to the Kane family fortune was never one to shy away from a party or the spotlight. Considered by man of Gotham’s elite to be one of the most beautiful women in the city Martha really had it all and while money made life easier Martha chose to use her family fortune and connections to help the less fortunate lending her name to many charitable causes in Gotham.
While her murder left her eight year old son an orphan, her legacy and generosity would go on to spur him to become one of the greatest heroes in the world.
Just as a tiny fyi, in the Flashpoint Universe, Martha witnessed her son being murdered and became unhinged, scarring her face into a smile and adopting the name ‘Joker’ becoming a force of chaos and evil in Gotham.
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!