When you talk about the trinity at DC Comics, you’re talking about the Big Three – Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. But you know that old saying that states behind every good man (or woman) is a good woman (or man)? Yeah, that’s why I’m talking about DC’s ‘other’ trinity today – Lois Lane, Catwoman, and Steve Trevor.
Lois Lane and Superman
Sadly, since the soft reboot of the DC Universe with The New 52 back in September, this couple is no longer a couple. I’m not happy about that at all. I’ve written a lot about Lois Lane. Here‘s a whole blog entry about her, and from the same blog, here’s my reaction to the editorial dissolution of Lois and Clark’s marriage:
…we are also back to square one with Superman. The Clark/Lois/Superman triangle is back. I thought we were done with this kind of deceit. If Superman was as true blue as he’s always pretended to be, this cruelty would have ended decades earlier than it did. I’m telling you, if Lois shot Clark to death with kryptonite bullets after finding out he’d been yanking her chain with the whole double identity thing for so long – even Judge Judy would acquit her. I don’t want to go back to those dark days, but I think I’ve written enough about that already…
Well, as noted earlier this month here at Biff Bam Pop, at least theirs is not the only marriage killed by editorial edict. While in my opinion, Peter Parker could be said to have had many possible loves, it’s always been a done deal that Superman and Lois Lane are/were soul mates. Much of the 1990s TV series “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” was built upon this theme. Theirs is a love for the ages, one without the other is incomplete. Yeah, there’s your mush content for this Valentine’s Day season – but it’s essentially true.
You can look upon other couples in this “Our Favorite Couples” series as just that, as couples, but Lois and Clark are a team, two parts of the same whole. Lois has come a long way from that dimwitted harpy who only wanted to prove Clark Kent was Superman in the 1950s. The truth is she has reverted, back into that gutsy reporter of the 1940s who was based on Torchy Blane, who was not only any man’s equal, but Superman’s as well.
In their sixteen years of marriage, Lois has proven the advantages of knowing the double identity, and working with Clark and Superman, rather than against them. She makes him stronger emotionally. Superman too has seen the plusses of a companion he doesn’t have to lie to, and it’s trust and cooperation that holds them together – against everything but comics editors.
I admit I have enjoyed the New 52 Superman by writer Grant Morrison, but the erasure of the marriage is a pain that still hurts. It’s a loss for the characters, and the readers who love them.
So who is Batman’s better half? And it’s only funny once if you answer Robin.
There are so many women in his life. There’s Lois Lane wannabe Vicki Vale, Golden Age fianceee Julie Madison, Linda Page, Jezebel Jet, Vesper Fairchild, Shondra Kinsolving, even the original Batwoman, Kathy (as opposed to Kate) Kane. That’s a long list of old flames – Julia Pennyworth, Nocturna, Rachel Caspian, Sasha Bordeaux, Dawn Golden, heck, I could go on forever. Silver St. Cloud is one of my favorites from the Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers run, in the animated universe, there was Wonder Woman and Andrea Beaumont, and looming higher than anyone on the list is the daughter of his enemy Ras Al Ghul and the mother of his son, Talia.
But let’s face it, Batman is a player, and so’s Bruce Wayne. That’s why the woman for the dark knight would also have to be a player. Winner is… the Catwoman. Selina Kyle has been there from almost the beginning, Batman #1, at first more foe than friend but eventually she became a lover, in various versions aware of the Bat’s dual identity in others not, but always a hot love/hate relationship.
It is notable that the Golden Age Earth-Two versions of these characters married and their daughter became the Huntress, as if destiny brought them together. Throughout the decades Catwoman has become a self-reliant anti-heroine, even protecting her own section of Gotham City, what better companion for the caped crusader than a kindred spirit. Speaking of spirits, Catwoman has that of a cat, a wanderer, what better companion for a man whose priorities to a war against crime are higher than those of his relationships.
Unlike Lois Lane and Superman, little has changed in the Bat and the Cat’s relationship in the New 52, in fact the first issue of the new Catwoman featured a much-talked-about and controversial sex scene between the two. I guess that cements that in the new continuity. There may be others, for both of them, but both Bruce and Selina always return for each other.
Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman
Steve Trevor began as a tough guy template of the 1940s. He was a fighter pilot, dashing blond good looks, bad ass military Captain – this guy could’ve been Hop Harrigan or Blackhawk easily, but then he crashlanded on Paradise Island, and became the male damsel in distress instead.
In the first two examples, I talked a lot about equality, sadly, this last couple in the other trinity doesn’t live up to that, at least not yet. Steve Trevor is the poster boy for comic book boy toys. He has always been on the rescuee end of the rescue, rarely able to defend or protect himself, forever awaiting his ‘angel’ to come and save the day.
This is a shame. Despite gender differences, this relationship should work just as well on the equality scale as the others, but I guess the writers just don’t allow it. And when I say that, I am looking directly at Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton, and the writer who followed him for a couple decades, Robert Kanigher. They didn’t let it happen. Even when Wonder Woman was neutered, and effectively became a ‘girls comic’ in the 1950s, Steve Trevor was never the hero. It was always left unsaid, but everyone knew Wonder Woman could break him in two if she wanted.
Later writers handled things differently. They killed Trevor, or advanced him in age so as not to be a romantic interest any longer, a la Denny O’Neil and George Perez. He was killed off multiple times, married away to other women, even turned into a villain. At least Roy Thomas attempted to update Steve by making him an astronaut. Steve Trevor has rarely been used to his true potential, outside of the 1970s TV series that is, thank you, Lyle Waggoner.
As with Lois Lane and Catwoman, the New DC 52 also has plans for Steve Trevor. What they are is unclear for the moment. Steve hasn’t appeared in the new Wonder Woman series yet, but we are promised a major role in the new Justice League, a title in which the Amazon princess appears. I guess time will tell. Let’s hope for a romantic reunion, of equality.
So there you go, the big three couples of the DC Universe. Never doubt the power of woman, or man, behind the super-powered champion.
Copyright 2012 Glenn Walker