Hrm I have ambivalent feelings towards these two.
imheliababe said: Um, I don’t know if you’ve written about this before, but whenever I mention Talia my friends always say she’s “Bruce’s ex”, which I hate ‘cause she’s so. much. more. So in retaliation, may be you could comprise a list of *her* lovers?
Sure! I agree that it’s annoying that people tend to see her that way. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bruce, but we never hear of Bruce being referred to as “Selina’s ex” or anything, and Dick Grayson is never “that guy who dated Babs and Starfire.”
I’m obliged to point out that onlytalia has also recently done a post regarding Talia’s past romances, with commentary on other aspects of Talia’s life that people should read because it is, as always, good.
[Personal note: Actually, this topic is important to me because I used to be one of the people who just thought of Talia as Bruce’s ex. Though I’ve been a comics fan since I was about six, it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I realized what a great character Talia is. When my best friend was watching BTAS for the first time because she wanted to get into it, when Talia first appeared in “Off Balance,” my friend asked me who that was, and I even said: “Oh, that’s just Talia. She’s not important,” then explained that she chases Bruce around is Ra’s al Ghul’s kid. Embarrassing confession there. Yikes. But I can see where your friends are coming from because I used to be of their opinion.]
In terms of past lovers:
Talia’s greatest love has always been Bruce. Obviously.
It’s easy to write her off as just his ex (I certainly did once), but I think it’s important to consider that not only does she love him, but he also was (or is, depending on the writer) in love with her as well. Talia was specifically designed to be the one woman Bruce could actually successfully love, per her creators (sorry, haters, it’s canon).
While her love for him has resulted in the occasional emotional breakdown, even people who don’t like her must concede that it has also resulted in a number of Bat-victories, the defeat of Ra’s al Ghul just when he was about to destroy the entire Justice League (and the world), Bruce gaining access to resources he might have otherwise had to work for, the corporate downfall of Lex Luthor, a biological Bat-son who has become a fan favorite and who creates a dynamic within the Bat-family that is truly a joy to read, and, in the controversial Morrisonverse, a war of such a grand scale that Batman couldn’t even conceive of it until it was too late.
The best result of her love for him, in my opinion, was this:
Forgive the page curvature, damn my clumsy scanning abilities)
For those who aren’t familiar with that image, it’s from Batman: No Man’s Land #0, when Gotham has been destroyed by an earthquake (after it was already partially destroyed by a plague Ra’s unleashed on it)… and Bruce has given up on the city. Yep. Retired the cape and cowl and gave up. Talia arrives in Washington to slap the shit out of him and remind him that he’s Batman. In fact, while I can’t find the next page on my computer right now (though I could have sworn I scanned it once), she cites her love for him as one of the reasons he must go back to Gotham: not only does he dishonor himself by running and hiding, he dishonors her. Bruce sees reason after their evening together.
In other words, her love isn’t something to be written off.
Talia had eyes for no one but Bruce from 1971 until the 90s, at which point she met (on two separate occasions and in two separate stories) the original Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley) and Bane.
I can’t say much about her fling with Azrael, as I only have a couple of issues of that storyline, and, unfortunately, not the issues in which Talia expresses a romantic interest in him. Instead, I have the issues in which Talia tries to counsel people on their fashion choices. Onlytalia knows more about this one than I do.
Now onto Bane. If it’s not obvious from some of my past posts, I love me some Bane. He has been one of my favorite comics characters for years, so therefore A) his meeting with Talia in Bane of the Demon was of great interest to me when I became a Talia fan, and B) I approve of what Nolan did.
While Talia’s relationship with Bane went in a horrifying direction, it started out well enough. He admits to her that he has no idea how women work and proves that when he kisses her while talking about being her mate:
But Talia warms to him for some reason (probably a combination of her vulnerability following Bruce’s rejection and an admiration for Bane’s abilities), and she does sleep with him consensually following that awkward kiss:
I’m not sure, ultimately, what Talia actually felt about him there. She certainly isn’t falling in love with him. But she did like him enough, albeit briefly, to present him to Ra’s as something of a gift and enough to sleep with him once. (Discussion of where that went can be found here, since it’s not relevant, by that point, to this topic.)
Then, in the 2000s, she engaged in a sexual relationship with two unexpected men, Jason Todd and a member of the League of Assassins who was never named (I just always refer to him as Unnamed Minion and I think a few others do too.)
We never learned anything about Unnamed Minion or the details of their relationship, but two things were pretty obvious:
1) The guy actually saw Talia in her private moments of uncertainty, and Talia actually discussed her plans and her uncertainties with him:
2) He took the opportunity afforded him by his position to try to give her useful advice, even though that advice wasn’t something she wanted to hear.
In the above scene, Unnamed Minion acknowledges Talia’s love for Bruce. He definitely doesn’t think he’s The One for her, and he seems genuinely concerned that she’s playing with a fire that will burn her rather than redeem her. I loved his fearlessness with her in that moment, and the fact that he doesn’t try to stake any claim on her.
Then, a couple of issues later, Talia slept with Jason Todd.
Some readers hated this moment with a fiery passion, but I loved it (that post used to be on my Tumblr but I can’t find it now, so I’m using someone else’s reposting of it, which used to link to an old blog…complicated).
For all his batdickery, Bruce is still the angelic good boy who
requires inspires Talia to work for a more humanitarian definition of the greater good, but Jason is the archetypal bad boy in the leather jacket with the motorcycle. He provides a kind of moral freedom for her, safe from judgment from either her father or Bruce, that she has never experienced before.
So she hasn’t had as many exes as, say, Bruce or Dick have had, but she certainly hasn’t limited her romantic/sexual interests just to Bruce. And while those other affairs have been very brief, I think they’ve all served a distinct purpose in her characterization.
To sum up: She made Batman be Batman again when he chickened out. Hardly “just an ex.”
(Sorry for the length of this one. I rambled.)
Obligatory Talia blog commentary:
I loved this movie, but wasn’t entirely pleased with Talia, who played a major role in the comics, being relegated to a silent role at her father’s side. However, I do think they managed to show a great deal of her character in just those brief moments.
Firstly, that top still shows her as she and Ra’s watched Jason’s body being lowered into the Lazarus pit. She doesn’t speak, but note that, as shown above, her eyes momentarily glance to Ra’s, as if she’s watching his reaction to determine what her own should be. That was one of my favorite moments of the entire film because I thought it was a very clever but subtle way of describing her without exposition or dialogue.
In the second still, Jason is escaping. Talia, seeing that her father’s plan is potentially about to get messed up, immediately draws her gun and aims at Jason without waiting for her father’s order. She’s taking charge of the situation in a way that none of the League can. On one hand, she may be acting on what she believes is her father’s will. On the other, she may be acting on the personal slight of a plan’s failure. We’re not told which one, but once again, the animators are brilliant here. Look at that anger in her face. Just lovely.
This will make no sense to people who don’t
stalk read onlytalia’s roleplays with her wonderful Jason and Loki, but it’s still lovely so it’s going on here. People like Jason x Talia, right? And come on, who wouldn’t love to see Talia meet Loki in a DC/Marvel crossover?
But I do love spoilers.
That was…. unexpected.
I know Talia’s epic pink suit is distracting, but omg look at what Selina’s saying.
“DC should hand all of the rights to Talia al Ghul and Jason Todd over to Judd Winick.”
I’d be fine with this.
How awesome is this team up?
Talia, Bruce, Jason and Selina.
I was growing up and getting into comics when Tim Drake was Robin, so the first thing I knew about Jason Todd was that nobody liked him. That definitely colored my opinion before I ever even read a Jason Todd story. I went along with the consensus, immediately taking the character to be a grumpy, insolent jerk who just didn’t get how awesome it was to be in the very presence of Batman.
I stopped reading comics almost completely when I was teenager (in fact, I stopped reading superhero comics altogether, and instead went through a manga phase). When I returned to the genre, I brushed up on some Jason Todd stories and became acquainted with what had happened since I’d stopped reading. Gradually, I started realizing that, while it was cool to hate Jason when I was younger, he’s actually a very complex character. His anger toward the world and toward Batman is justified, and he asks the question that I think every Batman fan has wondered about: why doesn’t Bruce just bite the bullet/take one for the team and kill the Joker? We may or may not agree with Jason’s feelings of betrayal at Bruce’s refusal to avenge him so fully, but I think it’s completely understandable for Jason to feel that way. And while Jason rejects Bruce’s nonfatal methods, he is essentially fighting the same war.
Jason getting involved with my favorite character made me pay even more attention to him, at which point I realized that I’d become a fan of him.
Red Hood: The Lost Days
I really liked this book.
Featuring a cameo from Unnamed Minion, Talia’s lover(!).
I lied. I found ONE picture of me and my friends costumes from today (Thursday)
of comic con. I don’t have anymore cos we got seperated and yadda and I just never got around to taking pictures. Now how to delete last pic post from tumblrphone…
Whoever these people are, they are awesome.