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75 Greatest Friends and Foes of Batman: Allies #20-16

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17. Wonder Woman

Created by William Marston, Wonder Woman and Batman are two-thirds of DC’s “Trinity,” but honestly both of them tend to relate more to the third hero in the Trinity, Superman, than they do to each other. That said, there’s clearly a close bond between the two fellow Justice League members. For a time there in Joe Kelly’s JLA they almost got together as a couple.

Their coolest interaction, though, in my opinion was in Greg Rucka and JG Jones’ graphic novel The Hiketia, where a young woman murders her rapists in Gotham City and then flees to Wonder Woman’s embassy and invokes a protection custom that puts her directly under Woman’s protection. Batman as a problem with this, but what can he do?

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Awesome stuff.

16. Batwoman (Kate Kane)

Batwoman (created by Greg Rucka, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and Mark Waid) is a bit of an odd Bat-character in that her interactions with Batman have been a bit sparse, as she was introduced in 52, a storyline that was based around the notion that Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman were gone for a year. Thus, when Batwoman shows up in Gotham City there IS no Batman there…

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Kate Kane grew up in a rich family but also a military family (her mom was a socialite and her dad was a Colonel). She was kicked out of a military academy because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. She spiraled out of control for a while there and was just a wild socialite. However, after Batman tried to save her from a mugger (that she managed to take out on her own), she was inspired to become a vigilante. Eventually her father discovered her activities and decided to help her, as well as provide her with a fancy Bat-suit. She has since become one of the most successful heroes in Gotham City.

She finally encountered Batman during a Batman Incorporated story…

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53 Comments

Lol at Ace’s imagined Infinite Crisis history. Save yourself some time and make a “murdered/raped/mutilated/eaten by the Joker” keyboard shortcut for this list.

joe the poor speller

April 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

glad to see that bullock made it into the top 15 (at least).

did montoya ever encounter bullock after becoming the question?

Yes. He somehow managed not to attack her because she was a lesbian (sorry, I still harbor a grudge over the implication that Harvey Bullock was so awful that Montoya felt that she never would have lasted on the force if he had known she was a lesbian. Not just “He wouldn’t have liked it” but “He wouldn’t have let me stay on the force”) Rucka is an amazing writer, but damn, he had it out for Bullock something fierce).

joe the poor speller

April 29, 2014 at 10:54 am

brian, where was that implied? gotham central? i’ve read GC and remember only bullock telling her that she could’ve told him, as they were partners and friends

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW YEEEEAHHHH!!!!!!!!! ACE THE BAT-HOUND UP IN THIS!

brian, where was that implied? gotham central? i’ve read GC and remember only bullock telling her that she could’ve told him, as they were partners and friends

She says she never could have come out while partnered with Bullock.

AverageJoeEveryman

April 29, 2014 at 11:24 am

That scorpion chick is . . . . . something. And man as soft a spot as I have for Krypto is equaled by the hatred of Ace (in terms of serious story stuff). As comedy Ace is awesome (dog + domino mask = unidentifiable), but man I wouldnt be able to read month in and month out of him in the real Batman comic.

And then Grant Morrison came along and Talia raped Batman.

Raped. Batman.

@AverageJoe Everyman

I don’t think Ace ever appeared month in and month out. He was a sporadic guest star in the Batman books in the 1950s (and I think into the early 1960s). Kind of like Batwoman, but she appeared a lot more than Ace did.

The Comic Book Database shows 10 appearances prior to the New Look in 1964. The Comic Book Database is often inaccurate, but it’s probably accurate enough to show that Ace was an occasional guest star instead of a regular supporting character.

Oh yeah, Ace wasn’t a regular character or anything like that.

Renee’s first appearance in the comics is also one of the best storylines with The Ventriloquist and Scarface. It’s called The Return of Scarface, from 1992, and it ran in Batman #475, Detective #642 and Batman #476..

I really loved Ace on the Krypto the Superdog series. They write him as a very serious, almost grim Batman type, and it was funny as hell.

Hey, two from my list in this batch! I voted for both Ace and Talia.

One of the things I love about Batwoman is exactly why I didn’tvote for her: that she and Batman have hardly even met. She’s just off doing her own thing.

And still no Batman Jones. Can’t wait to see how high he comes in the top 15!

I fail to see how Batwoman is an ally of Batman, worthy of this high a place. She worked with him twice and he tried to stop her from doing her thing also twice, if I remember correctly. She doesn’t even belong in the top 50 of his allies.

@penguintruth

And then Grant Morrison came along and Talia raped Batman.

Raped. Batman.

Has Grant Morrison ever had an editor? Somebody to look over his shoulder? Somebody to say: “Maybe you shouldn’t compare Stan Lee to Mussolini. I know you’re trying to be all edgy and you’re not worried about political correctness, but it’s just stupid. I would assume that you are worried about being considered a pseud-intellectual douchebag.”

Also Talia is a weird inclusion, after what she did to him in Batman Inc. After that story she should be in the top 5 of his most bitter enemies.

Talia has almost always been a Batman ally. Her as some big villain is a recent and not terribly convincing thing.

I would be embarrassed as a Wonder Woman blogger that I didn’t vote for Diana, but like the writeup says, I don’t think of them as particularly close as JLA allies go. I’d probably have voted for Lois Lane before I voted for WW. But I’m still happy to see her show up.

– Tali is an interesting case. Really, I’d argue that Denny O’Neill and Len Wein treated her as more of a sympathetic villain in the “Batman won’t quite arrest her, she won’t let him die” mode than an outright ally. I mean, she’s perfectly willing to kill anyone else to throw Batman off her father’s trail or help along his plans in the original Ra’s al Ghul storyline, and after it she does stuff like scheme to loot a small country’s treasury in hopes of freeing Ra’s from prison in O’Neill’s “Emperor Penguin” story. And Wein had her flat out participating in a scheme to frame Batman for her own and her father’s murder. Was it Gerry Conway or Mike W. Barr who first had Talia simply join forces with Batman and directly fight her father rather than merely keeping Batman alive when daddy tried to kill him?

In many ways, the villainous version given to us by Greg Rucka (via brainwashing from her sister Nyssa) and Morrison tends to return to the more overtly villainous Talia of the earliest O’Neill/Adams stories. For that matter, as late as 1990 DC was still classifying her as a “Villain”: in its looseleaf Who’s Who edition. That said, I was unhappy with Morrison’s rape retcon, but a later flashback in his run sort of softened it and pretty well restored the sequence you see above, even giving her a bit of a sympathetic dimension and suggesting her Leviathan-era villainy was simply her finally snapping after years of tug-of-war between the two equally remote, unpleasable men in her life.

— The current Batwoman would have had a major conflict with with Batman if Didio hadn’t nixed it and effectively pushed J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman off the book.

I’m starting to worry that a few of my top choices are not going to make it now. But the list so far has been interesting.

Bill Williamson

April 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Batman and Wonder Woman had better chemistry on the Justice League animated series where a deeper relationship was often teased. I prefer that characterisation, which Bruce Timm and co pushed for because Bruce Timm resented the implication that Superman and Wonder Woman HAVE to get together. Which is ironic given the current climate at DC.

I think Talia worked best when she was torn between Ra’s and Batman. Not necessarily evil but not exactly good either. See, that was what was missing from The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan made her an all out villain who hated Batman for killing her father. She would’ve been better served appearing in Batman Begins where Nolan could have played up the Batman-Talia-Ra’s relationship for all its worth.

It IS weird that Renee Montoya hasn’t shown up in the New 52.

Ace was cool in Batman Beyond, too.

Have to confess, I prefer Montoya as a cop and not as The Question. I think that it has something to do with The Question’s classic look (featureless mask plus business suit) not translating well to a female character.

DiDio should hire Antoine Dodson to record ads for his version of DC: “The New DC: Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband too ’cause they’re raping everybody out there!”

Talia is by far my favorite Batman ally that isn’t Gordon, Alfred and Robin. And really, she’s my favorite over them but there is no way that she will ever break into that set. Maybe with all of the Robins splitting the vote, we might have a surprise but I’m glad Talia made it into the top 20. Surprised she isn’t more Top 10 material or at least above Wonder Woman.

I’ve only ever really liked Diana in JLA and when they decided to have Batman and her together, romantically, that was awesome! Shame that didn’t last too long. Brought out two awesome sides to both characters.

Bill Williamson

April 29, 2014 at 1:19 pm

trajan23: I agree, but for different reasons. For me, it’s the fact that the original Question was such an interesting character that almost no one has done anything with, coupled with the fact that making Montoya the new Question is just a half-hearted attempt at the paint by numbers diversity comics are unfortunately becoming known for.

The Renee Montoya/Question storyline called Pipeline is really good. It was the backup in Detective when Batwoman had her yearlong tryout, about #850, #860? Somewhere around there.

When I was reading Batman from 1994 to 2004, Montoya and Bullock were my favorites. Then I didn’t read comic for a few years and I got those issues of Detective as back issues and I thought the new Montoya was cool. But if I had been reading all that stuff as it happened, I probably would have been pissed.

Happy to see Montoya and Batwoman from my list. I felt Batwoman was worthy of a vote from her association with Batman Inc. One of my favorite things about her is that even before she was Batwoman, Batman tried to save her from the mugger, but she’d already saved herself. It was a great twist on the damsel in distress, and says a lot about her and her relationship to Batman. I know they’re not the closest allies, but she’s proven twice now (in 52 and during Dick’s reign as Batman) that she will defend Gotham as a Bat when Bruce is gone.

Pretty bummed that at this point it looks like Black Canary won’t make the list. Besides being one of my favorite characters, I think she fits on this list as a Justice League teammate who has spent a lot of time in Gotham.

It’s just as well Montoya has disappeared. They screwed the character up so bad. (Didn’t she start on the animated series?) It seemed like open-mindedness, but was just another stereotype that a self-sufficient, strong woman had to be a lesbian too. I mean, straight women aren’t butch enough to be cops, amiright? Which was still a better move than becoming the Question, which cuts out what was cool about her being a normal, competent, person, and takes away a GREAT character in Vic Sage. But whatever.

Those Talia scenes in the graphic novel were as sexy as anything in comics. So naturally Morrison turned it into rape. (Never, ever find online a fan flick “Death of the Batman”….)

M-Wolverine –

I get you, but it’s a sign of how hard it is to create or write any minority character. It’s a bit of a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t. I bet that a lesbian character in a “femme” profession would be criticized as a lipstick lesbian made to appeal to straight males, and if she were a reporter or other profession that has had classic female characters, people would say that a lesbian there is just to generate cheap surprise (“female reporters usually date the hero, but now this female reporter is a lesbian! Political correctness is ruining our female comic book reporters.”)

Whatever you do involving homosexuality, there is always a possible complaint.

If I had voted, Ace would have been on my list. For a split second I was upset that the Joker had killed him; yes, I would believe it, and part of me now expects to hear that it really will happen.

I agree with those who preferred Montoya as a cop rather than a superhero.

Happy Wonder Woman was as high up as she is! She was my #2 spot; for me, she is such a unique foil to Batman, and I’ll admit it – I loved Joe Kelly’s blossoming relationship between the two. For some reason, it just hit the right beats for me.

I can also tell that poor Plastic Man didn’t make the cut. He was such an excellent ally to Batman; I always found it very intriguing that Batman had him on several short lists for trusted allies in contingency plans. And of course their work together – especially in JLA #65 – is very memorable.

Rucka is an amazing writer, but damn, he had it out for Bullock something fierce).

This is probably better suited for when/if Harvey shows up on this list, but my sense was that Rucka really, *really* does not like the whole “old-fashioned cop who bends the rules and beats up suspects” idea behind Bullock. In Gotham Central, where Bullock hits his all-time low under Rucka’s pen, we also get stuff like Lieutenant Probst deciding in desperation to beat info out of the Joker only to end up dead for his troubles.

Eventually, Renee herself screws up the entire Jim Corrigan case for Internal Affairs after she beats him up for information that will “save” Cris Allen from charges after shooting down the second Black Spider in the line of duty. This is no small part of why Corrigan walks after killing Cris Allen at the end of the series. There’s a strong running plot element that police who use illegal or brutal methods ruin casework in that series; even Batman is as much a problem as he is an asset from the legal system’s perspective by the end.

Maybe I read it differently, but when I read the part about Batman claiming Talia drugged him and then they made Damian, I read it as Batman trying to deny his real attraction to a villainess like Talia and trying to tell himself that he didn’t really consent.

Or that Talia just drugged Batman but didn’t … ahem, “extract a sample” via rape but via medical type ways — no sex involved, then.

But that could just be me and my reading. I am known to miss stuff.

“This is probably better suited for when/if Harvey shows up on this list, but my sense was that Rucka really, *really* does not like the whole “old-fashioned cop who bends the rules and beats up suspects” idea behind Bullock.”

And with good reason. It’s not only a cliché, it’s an ugly one.

I like a Bullock who’s a jerk, but a good cop, ala B:TAS.

It’s quite instructive to compare the way Internal Affairs is portrayed in Chuck Dixon and Jim Aparo’s GCPD miniseries, where Bullock is undeniably the hero, and Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s “night shift” bits in Gotham Central.

In GCPD I.A. is a slimy guy named Gillen who goes after Bullock but ends up humiliated when it turns out he’s the department office supply thief; in Gotham Central, the I.A. officer is portrayed as a good man doing an impossible job who sacrifices his chance at getting the dirty cop Corrigan to help honest cops Montoya and Allen out of a jam.

I’ve wondered if the Latina cop from The Dark Knight movie was either supposed to be Montoya or was at least some sort of nod to her. The fact that the Joker forced her to help him would’ve made her seem less than heroic, so it may be just as well it wasn’t Montoya. Come to think of it, Gordon’s dirty partner from Batman Begins could’ve been an “evil” Harvey Bullock, too.

I really really hate Renee Montoya as The Question. If she comes back in the puke52, I hope she returns as a cop or detective

I’ve wondered if the Latina cop from The Dark Knight movie was either supposed to be Montoya or was at least some sort of nod to her. The fact that the Joker forced her to help him would’ve made her seem less than heroic, so it may be just as well it wasn’t Montoya. Come to think of it, Gordon’s dirty partner from Batman Begins could’ve been an “evil” Harvey Bullock, too.

Definitely influenced by her. The fact that she turned out to be a bad guy is why she wasn’t ACTUALLY her.

The Angry Internet

April 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

@Travis Pelkie: Maybe I read it differently, but when I read the part about Batman claiming Talia drugged him and then they made Damian, I read it as Batman trying to deny his real attraction to a villainess like Talia and trying to tell himself that he didn’t really consent.

Morrison claims he genuinely misremembered what happened in Son of the Demon (which would mean he didn’t bother re-reading it before starting a run that hinged heavily on that story, but dumber things have happened in comics…). As Omar Karindu noted above, he largely walked back the rape angle in a later flashback, though I don’t think it was ever specifically removed.

Bill Williamson

April 29, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Ethan: The latina cop in The Dark Knight was definitely influenced by Montoya. In fact, in the (largely ignored by Nolan) midquel Batman: Gotham Knight, she’s exactly like Montoya. Right down to working with Crispus Allen.

Gordon’s partner in Begins was Arnold Flass, the dirty cop that beats up Gordon and in turn gets beaten up by him in Batman: Year One. Flass in Begins just happens to look like Bullock by virtue of having an actor more similar to him than to comic book Flass.

More New Amalgam material, and there are some interesting combos Red Rum-18 did here to add to Iron Bat’s mythos:
-Renee Montoya was mixed with the Captain America supporting character Priscilla Lyons to make Priscilla Montoya, who became the second version of the Problem (the Question/the Scourge of the Underworld) after succeeding Vic Monroe (Vic Sage/Jack Monroe, the Nomad).
-Talia was mixed with Bethany Cabe to make Bethalia Tou, daughter of Iron Bat’s arch-foe Yao Mo’s Tou (Ra’s Al Ghul/the Mandarin), the leader of the League of the Hand (the League of Assassins/the Hand).
-Wonder Woman was mixed with Thor to make Thunder Woman, aka Princess Thorana of Themsgard (Themyscria/Asgard), champion of the Amazardians (Amazons/Asgardians) and wielder of the Enchanted Flail (Lasso of Truth/Mljonir).
-Batwoman (Kate Kane) was mixed with the minor Black Widow foe Iron Maiden to make Iron Succubus, an ally to Iron Bat and girlfriend to the aforementioned Priscilla Montoya.

Morrison compared Lee to Mussolini? How exactly did he make that connection?

nice to see Montaya and batwoman finaly show up and batwoman high being in the top twenty. plus interesting to find at last Talia show up on this list though had her somewhere more in the top ten.

Montoya and Batwoman are my first allies to turn up. #6 and #10 votes respectively.

Really though if I’d remembered Carrie Kelley Batwoman would have been pushed out.

@Fraser

Morrison compared Lee to Mussolini? How exactly did he make that connection?

It was in “Supergods.” He compared Stan’s Soapbox columns to Mussolini’s speeches from the balcony. It was pretty stupid. (Supergods is a mess, but this particular passage was so ridiculous that It’s stuck in my mind for years.)

thanks Hoosier, that saves me from every having to wonder “should I take the time to read Supergods?”

@renenarciso- I think everything you said is true. It just has the feel to me that with a character that is already a minority and female, “hey, let’s make her a lesbian too so we can fulfill all our quotas in one shot!” Though I have far more problem with making her the Question than I do making her a lesbian.

I have no problem with Batmwoman’s sexuality, because it seemed like a concept in the design of the character, and not just tacked on randomly later, with no sign or reason. Sure, it’s part of DC’s “diversity movement,” that sometimes feels forced rather than organic, but I’d rather they just create strong minority characters than try an shoehorn them into other characters. Batwoman is a safe compromise, because while an existing name, you’re not killing anyone off to take the title (Blue Beetle, Question), or even pushing someone aside who just doesn’t have their own title (Atom, etc). You’re taking a character that has history, but really hasn’t been used for a long, long time in any sort of regular way. And that’s far better than forcing it into some established creation. (Northstar was always gay? Yeah, I can buy that. Original Green Lantern suddenly needs to be gay? Feels more like marking off a diversity check list).

The excuse is “but new minority characters don’t succeed….” but yeah, well, looking at history, most characters of any type don’t succeed. You had the original golden age, the Silver age boom to start, a few strong 70’s holdovers….and you look at all the titles out there, and not too many are of anyone much newer than that. Make a good, original character, and it might stick. Or take a bad or forgotten one, and make him cool, or cool again. Bendis isn’t my favorite, but his man crush certainly took what could be a cheesy Power Man character and make him a cool second, if not quite first, stringer for Marvel. (And I was a fan of Power Man and Iron Fist). How Winter Soldier has come out and Marvel doesn’t even have a Falcon limited series hitting the shelves after the movie made him look so cool again borders on negligence. Talk about missed opportunities.

@M-Wolverine
Haha… Wally West… But yeah, I agree. Batwoman’s ORIGIN has her lesbianism as an important element. Changing a character’s race and/or sexuality leaves the unfortunate implication that those things don’t really matter, since they can just be switched like that. Unless they DO drastically change a character, in which case, MAKE A NEW CHARACTER! While DC’s answer is to “race lift” characters, Marvel at least tried something with Kamala Khan. I know part of the strength of that series is the writing (I’m Asian, but I can still relate to Kamala), and part of that is that the character is a teenager, but still. DC’s attempts at being diverse feel very forced.

Everyone I know who watched The Winter Soldier walked out thinking the Falcon was incredibly badass. I know Bucky is much more popular, but I also feel they missed an oppurtunity for a Falcon series. I know the comci costume might be a turn off, but just make some SLIGHT alterations (make it red wings on the underside (?) of the wings and black on the other side), and there you go.

I loved Renee Montoya as the Question. I’m still pissed that he was removed. And WHY? At least with Cass, I kind of get it.

I voted for Talia to be on the Villain’s List, because, seriously, there’s no going back for her. Her raping Batman was bad enough, but she was still a decent ally. Then more shit happened and damn… She’s a good villain, though.

Batman and Talia were married in the story “I Now Pronounce You, Batman and Wife” and was in DC Special Series vol 2 #15. and was written by Denny O’Neil and illustrated by Mike Golden. In a nutshell, Batman is working out in his gym on the punching bag when it suddenly releases gas that renders him unconscious. He regains consciousness just as Ra’s, who is officiating over the ceremony, pronounces he and Talia as Batman and wife. He and Talia go their honeymoon chamber. Cut to Lurk outside the door peering in watching as Ra’s comes up behind him and backhands Lurk for spying on them after promising them privacy. Talia disrobes and tells Batman he is the only man she could ever truly love. Batman says she is everything he ever wanted in a woman but couldn’t consider their marriage as real. He then asks her to forgive him as he punches her in the face knocking her unconscious before escaping to foil Ra’s plan of gassing the city and stealing a large shipment of diamonds.

Talia references this story in Son of the Demon as she beds him acknowledging that although Batman may not recognize the validity of their union, she does as a marriage in hers and Ra’s country only needs the consent of the woman to be valid.

The DC Special Series issue also has the Denny O’Neil prose story illustrated by Marshall Rogers “Death Strikes at Midnight and Three” which is really superb and a David B. Reed/ Mike Nasser story “Hang the Batman” which is pretty mediocre.

@Will I don’t think they killed Barry to make way for Wally though. It was more they wanted to kill Barry to make Crisis epic, but still wanted a Flash. And in this case has a guy perfect for succession in place. I mean, Barry and Hal and such are replacement guys. It can work. (Though at this point you’re talking about characters who had been around 15 years, not getting published anymore at that point, and guys who have been regularly around for almost 60 years, so there’s a bit more identification.)

I don’t have too much problem with Kamala Khan. Would I rather they be able to come up with an entirely new id for her? Probably. But it wasn’t like they pushed Carol Danvers aside to give her the identity. They gave her a “promotion” to Captain Marvel. So it wasn’t being used anyway. And it actually fits, because after the era where it was an old white guy’s idea of feminism, the name probably currently fits something a kid would come up with more than a fully realized woman. So in that case they’ve mostly done it right.

And if we can force Captain America into his lame pseudo movie costume there has to be someone creative enough to find a way to get Falcon into an outfit that isn’t complete movie “real/boring” and running around in red feathers. The movie reminded me why I like the Falcon as a kid, and how he always seemed to me to be one of the first superhero partners, not sidekicks.

Montoya and Talia were both on my list

I almost voted for the image at the top as one of the greatest Batman covers

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