Fan News

You Give Love a Bad Name: The Five Worst DC Hookups

You Give Love a Bad Name: The Five Worst DC Hookups

By Joshua Lapin-Bertone Thursday, February 11th, 2021

Superheroes don’t always make super decisions. We’ve all been there—loneliness can motivate you to make some bad romantic choices. If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, just remember that things could be worse. Some of DC’s greatest characters have done some questionable things with their love lives, so if you’ve ever asked your friends what they see in their partner, then this list is for you!


Donna Troy and Terry Long

Where Did It Happen: 1981’s The New Teen Titans #8

How Did It Happen: That’s a very good question that has never really been answered. Donna Troy was admired by many of her male teammates and a few teenage civilians, so why on Earth did she pick a 29-year-old divorced college professor?

Why It’s Wrong: Terry was 10 years older than the teenage Donna when they started dating, which wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t been a complete creeper on top of it. He would awkwardly flirt with Donna’s female teammates, but only in a “just kidding” way. Plus, his perm was hideous.

Encore Potential: Not happening. Terry is dead, and even if he wasn’t, Donna has better prospects.


John Constantine and Abby Arcane

Where Did It Happen: 1988’s Swamp Thing #76

How Did It Happen: Have you ever heard someone say, “I wouldn’t sleep with you even if my life depended on it!”? This was actually one of those scenarios, albeit multiplied by a couple trillion. The balance of the universe needed Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane to produce a child, for reasons too complicated to explain here. Since Swampy doesn’t have organic human parts, he couldn’t impregnate Abby through traditional means. In order to save the world, Swamp Thing was forced to possess John Constantine’s body and use it to get busy with Abby.

Why It’s Wrong: Where to begin? First of all, using John Constantine as a meat-puppet—even if he did technically agree to it—brings a big layer of creepiness into this. Second, Abby despises Constantine with every fiber of her being, which made the encounter as awkward as possible. Even though her husband was in the driver’s seat, he was wearing the face of a man she hated.

Encore Potential: Constantine has indicated that he wouldn’t mind, but good luck convincing Abby.


Nightwing and Harley Quinn

Where Did It Happen: Batman and Harley Quinn

How Did It Happen: Nightwing was trying to track down Poison Ivy and believed that Harley had a clue to her whereabouts. Harley agreed to help Nightwing find Ivy, but only if the former Boy Wonder agreed to have a little fun with her. It’s not the interrogation technique Batman had in mind, but it got the job done.

Why It’s Wrong: It’s Nightwing and Harley! Consider this, Dick: you’re kissing the same lips that the Joker has kissed. Look at Batman’s face when he catches them. That’s the face of disappointment.

Encore Potential: Dick already has a busy and overly complicated love life and I’m sure he would prefer to forget the Harley hookup ever happened.


Supergirl and Lex Luthor

Where Did It Happen: Action Comics #677

How Did It Happen: Keep in mind, the 90’s were a weird time for everyone, including Supergirl and Lex Luthor. Supergirl was a protoplasmic refugee from another dimension and Lex Luthor was pretending to be his own Australian son—and he had hair! Supergirl became smitten with this dynamic redheaded millionaire and the two soon became a 90’s power couple.

Why It’s Wrong: Lex Luthor is obviously a super-villain, and Supergirl was the only one who couldn’t tell. Everyone from Superman, Ma and Pa Kent, Lois Lane and Lana Lang warned her again and again. Supergirl frustrated everyone by brushing off their concerns and ignoring all the red flags. Eventually the Girl of Steel learned that Lex was creating an army of her clones and angrily left the relationship.

Encore Potential: This is one 90’s revival that won’t be happening anytime soon.


Alfred Pennyworth and Catwoman

Where Did It Happen: 1944’s Batman #22

How Did It Happen: Catwoman disguised herself as a woman named Belinda and romanced the servants of Gotham’s richest men. Alfred fell for Belinda hard and it negatively affected his work at Wayne Manor. They say love makes you stupid, but Alfred took things to the next level by dressing up as Batman to impress Belinda. It wasn’t one of his most dignified moments.

Why It’s Wrong: Alfred is Batman’s closest confidante and Catwoman is the love of his life. The whole thing is just strange, icky and, if you can believe it, gets even more uncomfortable at the end of the story when Alfred spanks Catwoman in punishment. Honestly, I’m not sure how they can even look each other in the eye these days. Maybe the awkwardness surrounding this is the reason why Batman has always had a hard time opening himself up to Selina.

Encore Potential: This brief dalliance happened in 1944 and neither party has mentioned it since. Also, there is the little problem of Alfred being dead. We’re guessing this is one misguided hookup he took with him to the grave.


Honorable Mention: Jimmy Olsen and Bruna the Gorilla

Where Did It Happen: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #98

How Did It Happen: Jimmy Olsen was visiting a movie shoot in the African jungle when a gorilla named Bruna became infatuated with him. Unfortunately, because the gorilla was considered the deity to a local tribe, Superman forced Jimmy to return the gorilla's affections (!?!?) in order to prevent an international incident. Yes, that really happened. No, I’m guessing Superman and Jimmy DON’T bring it up these days.

Why It’s Wrong: Do we really need to tell you? Bruna is a gorilla and Jimmy is not. Jimmy was clearly not into the relationship, but everyone from Superman to Lucy Lane seemed to be encouraging and enabling it.

Encore Potential: Not if Jimmy can help it!


So, as we enter this Valentine’s Day weekend and love runs unfettered in the air, try not to be like this sextuplet of lovesaps. But if you are, at least have the good sense to make sure it doesn’t end up in a comic book. Happy heart day, DC fans!


Looking for more unpredictable romance to get you through the weekend? Then prepare to fall in love with DC Love is a Battlefield, this year's Valentine's Day anthology book, now available in print and as a digital comic.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.