Sunday, February 9, 2014

Why I dislike Dick Grayson with Barbara Gordon and Koriand'r

After writing why I don't care for Wonder Woman and Superman (besides preferring him with Lois) I was reminded of another love triangle. One where I didn't want to see anyone getting together.

When I first got into the Batman mythos I wanted Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon to get together. It made sense as they were the only ones around the same age fighting the good fight. When I got into comics more I was introduced to back issues of Starfire and her relationship with Nightwing. It was different but it was a very strong bond that surprised me. Then I got around to reading the Chuck Dixon era of Batman and things started to get a little uncomfortable with these three characters. DC wanted Nightwing to have stronger bonds to Batman and for his Titan connections to be reduced. Dixon was okay with this especially since he was planning on getting Dick together with Barbara. This involved some retconning in terms of Dick's relationship with Kori.

The idea being that Barbara and Dick wanted to be together ever since they were Batgirl and Robin. This greatly reduced the love previous shown between Kori and him making it sound like he was just having a fling with her. It should be noted that Kori on the other hand never acted like he wasn't someone she loved dearly. During Dixon's Nightwing run he covered "Nightwing Year One" and downplayed it to the point Dick didn't seem too concerned with her. In fact Barbara had to remind him of the "space girl" before he tried to kiss her. Even then he only seemed to stop his advances because it bothered Barbara not because he felt bad for his actions. Not that Dixon was the only one promoting Barbara and Dick at the expense of his past with Kori. Scott Beatty for example did a more in character version of this in Gotham Knights #43 during a flashback of Bruce asking Barbara to be Batgirl to work with Jason Todd when he was Robin. Bruce was shown as a big supporter of Barbara and stated that "the thing with the alien won't last." It's still a snub but since Bruce can be an ass it's not really breaking character. This went on for awhile and never really stopped even after Barbara finally got together with the former boy wonder.

There were other writers that tried to get Dick back with Kori with mixed results. Geoff Johns had a storyline where the Titans went to the future and Batwoman (Betty Kane) told Kori she had to go to Nightwing who was with the Outsiders at the time. The two had a on and off relationship from there until Kori decided to see where they stood. After getting Dick to admit he wasn't in love with her anymore Kori went into a depression and left Earth leading her to join Vril Doxs' group. She had a purely physical relationship with Captain Comet which broke his heart since she refused to have anything more with him. The reason being that she was still in love with Dick.

I don't like Barbara Gordon with Dick Grayson because it was done at the expense of his love with Kori. It made Dick look like a lying asshole, Kori usually came off as someone being used while other times she was made into a road block and Barbara the unsure would be lover. The best example at how horrible these clich├ęs had become was Nightwing vol. 1. annual #2. The infamous book that had Kori lie to Dick about Barbara trying to see him, something she would never do. Kori isn't insecure and if she's not wanted she'd never want to stay or be used. I was also disappointed that these two women finally have a scene together and of course it had to do with which one of them got a man. Then it got worse. Barbara was shot, Dick comes over and they sleep together. In the morning he gives her a invite to his wedding to Kori. After that why would either of them want him?

I can't root for Kori with Dick either because of all the times writers have spun their relationship as him using her for sex but still have her madly in love with him. You can't have it both ways, you can't have Dick in love with Barbara and fine with sleeping with Kori without him looking like a bastard. You can have him act like a mature adult that loved Kori and moved onto loving Barbara. But for some reason the immature route is taken just to make his love with Barbara "deeper." To me it just comes across as trying too hard to force importance on something.

Rereading older issues I do have more trouble liking the relationships outside the retcons based on how they were written. For example I'm not too thrilled with how much Kori had to change her values for Dick. He became a more loving person from being with her but other than that I don't recall him changing much to mesh with her cultural background. She had to restrain herself from killing those that in her mind deserved death. This one isn't a deal breaker especially since the rest of the Titans enforced Dicks' mindframe but it's one of the examples of the changes she had to make. Another was that it was okay to have more than one lover on her planet.

This usually didn't matter with this couple but that changed when Kori was forced to marry a prince. She had to do this to keep the peace and save lives. Dick made this about himself and seemed to view it as her making him unimportant. He cut himself from her and nearly everyone else. Much later into the marriage Dick confesses he's not comfortable with the idea when her husband and his lover explain that it's no big deal to them. The marriage is only important to the state and the couple are each others' soulmates. The situation becomes easier for Dick after the prince dies but we never really see this explored deeply. With Barbara she was always pushing Dick away and I never felt they worked well as a couple. That said this doesn't mean that I dislike any of these characters just how a good portion of their stories are handled.

So this is the new 52 which should make the idea of either couple better, right? Well no, not really. This would be hard enough on it's own but these problems still exist. I'm pretty sure RHATO is the only place the Dick/Kori relationship is even mentioned. While not much is revealed it seems to be painful for her. Other writers still focus on Dick/Barbara and I'm even less thrilled with how Barbara is being written. I'd like for all three to be away from this triangle and I'm pleased to at least have Kori with Roy especially since I like that relationship. I don't have much hope for this drama to end though but I wish it would.


  1. I don't mind Dick with Kori, but for some reason I've never liked him with Barbara all that much. Possibly because she's far to smart for him, and far too independent. And I'm not really all that much of a Dick fan either.

    I really do miss Oracle and the Birds of Prey, frankly.

  2. I don't see Barbara as too smart for him so much as too serious for him. Yes he can be serious too but as Oracle and even her current portrayal as Batgirl she acts too grim. She gets annoyed with his playfulness sometimes and it just seems like too much of a personality clash.

    I do too, Barbara was debatably more important than Batman then. Now she's just another bat-person. BOP was the most badass women in DC, now they don't stand out anymore.

  3. I just hate how much barbara jerks dick around. She's so cold and distant, and pushes those closest to her away when she's down. He's basically dating a female Bruce.

  4. There's a lot of reasons I never liked them together and this is a part of it. I will say that I think the current new 52 Barbara is FAR worse to the point she's abusive and she's rarely gets called out on it. That's ironic because in Grayson Fututres End she claims she's smarter than him so she knows their never work out and he needs to date someone like Bruce.