DC Comics 10 Most Toxic Superhero Relationships – CBR – Comic Book Resources

The superheroes of the DC Universe may be great at saving the day, but their personal relationships need serious work.
When they aren't battling intergalactic starfish or saving kittens from trees, many DC superheroes lead perfectly ordinary lives. They have jobs, families, and relationships, and those relationships are prone to the same issues non-super people have to deal with. Some struggle with those issues more than others, but very few of them would ever openly admit it.
Related: 10 Best DC Friendships, Ranked
Most of these heroes have been in toxic relationships for decades, some since their creation. A relationship becomes toxic when any person involved consistently feels worse for being in it. Through retcons and reboots, these heroes have been locked into damaging patterns of behavior and thought, be they with family or significant others.
Queen of the Amazons, former Wonder Woman, and mother of Diana Prince, Hippolyta is a powerful figure in DC Comics. Her relationship with her daughter has its share of hardships, but her romantic partners have been terrible for her throughout the centuries.
From the dawn of the Stone Age until World War Two, every man in Hippolyta's life had ulterior motives. She showed Steve Trevor kindness and saw her daughter banished from their home as a result. Her history of being manipulated is an easy explanation for the several times she's acted as a villain toward her daughter.
Cyborg has bounced around between the Titans and Justice League, acting as a portable watchtower and powerhouse wherever he's needed. His work ethic and determination were hard-wired into him by his father long before the tragic accident that made him a superhero.
Related: 10 Greatest Cyborg Villains
Silas Stone always pushed his son, Victor, to be the best he could possibly be. He implemented rigid training regiments for football in the hopes of securing scholarships while simultaneously tutoring his son to be a genius. Silas has always had plans for Victor that didn't involve Victor's wants and needs, and his choice to resurrect Victor is as toxic as his other militant parenting choices.
Lobo can regenerate his entire body, memories and all, from a single particle. He can pull full cannons from his pockets and track a scent across the universe. He’s the best at what he does, but the one thing he can't do is be a good father to his daughter, Crush.
Crush fights alongside the Teen Titans with a hint of her father's savagery and a lot of his knack for combat. Being one of two remaining Czarnians in the universe can feel pretty lonely, and to make matters worse, the only time Crush ever sees her biological father is to fight him or return him to intergalactic prison.
J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, is the world's leading shapeshifting alien telepath. He's able to sweep the minds of every person on Earth in a matter of seconds, making him a very difficult person to lie to. He, on the other hand, lies a lot, usually to the people who care about him the most.
Martian Manhunter's true form looks nothing like the form he uses in public, nor does it resemble the many personas he's cultivated over the years. Blood Diamond, Bronze Wraith, a young Brazilian boy named Paolo, and a Venetian alley cat are among the faces J'onn has worn, all of which developed full relationships with people who he never allowed to truly know him.
DC's king and queen of the seven seas are textbook royalty. Hailing from opposing kingdoms, Mera was originally sent to battle Arthur, but the two fell in love and more or less united their empires. They rule side by side, except for when they don't.
Related: Aquaman's 10 Greatest Villains, Ranked
Both Aquaman and Mera have a history of rage issues. Younger versions of Arthur Curry portray him as lost between worlds, while Mera's rage earned her a Red Lantern ring. Add in the difficulties of ruling the seas from a moon-based watchtower and what's left is a strained a complicated marriage between two very different and very short-tempered people.
Beyond the toxicity of characters' interpersonal relationships, some writers have thrust toxic ideals onto characters that stem from or go on to affect those relationships. One such situation saw Carol Ferris single and depowered for the first time in decades, in such desperate need of a man that her mind divided itself, creating a toxic masculine identity.
Carol and the Green Lantern Hal Jordan have a complicated history. When they're not romantically involved, they're usually fighting with their respective Lantern rings. But when they split in the mid-80s, Carol couldn't handle it. Carol was always very self-possessed and independent, so this storyline highlights the toxicity of her relationship and the pervasive notion that all women want is romance.
When they first met and took interest in one another, Abigail was married, and Swamp Thing was mourning the deaths of the man his mind belonged to, Alec Holland, and his wife, Linda. As Abby's uncle made a puppet of her husband's decaying body, she and Swamp Thing continued to grow closer.
Their relationship is physically dangerous for the two of them, given Abby's connection to the rot. Their tendency to work around the whole big-green-monster thing in the bedroom suggests healthy communication, but the way they got together and the circumstances around their respective realms, not to mention their child, are incredibly unhealthy and potentially harmful.
What has four pointed ears, yards upon yards of black spandex, and likes to hang around banks after dark? DC's odd couple: Batman and Catwoman. The caped crusader and the master burglar have stood side by side many times despite their relationship's shaky foundation.
Related: 10 Ways Catwoman Changed Over The Years
Bruce Wayne doesn't have many friends, and he doesn't trust anybody. Maybe that's why his relationship with Selina Kyle is so appealing to him. The two have been romantically entangled for decades, constantly tricking, deceiving, and using one another. It's been said that Batman needs his villains just as much as they need him, but his relationship with Catwoman blurs that line entirely.
Lana Lang and Lois Lane have more in common than their initials. They're both reporters in Metropolis, they both have successful careers they built by themselves, and, more importantly to most writers, they're both in love with Superman. This wouldn't be an issue if he weren't involved with both of them at the same time.
For years, the Superman Family comics, most notably Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane, featured stories where the Man of Steel pitted the two women against each other for his attention. While Superman may be a great hero to humanity, he was pretty terrible to the two women who love him the most.
Self-identifying as "freaks and outcasts," Doom Patrol has always been concerned with mental health and the importance of healthy relationships. As the heroes cope with their tragic abilities, their bond strengthens along with their self-worth. While it's nice to imagine this happening naturally, the team is actually a diabolically macabre experiment.
Niles Caulder, the Chief, was the mastermind behind the accidents that granted the heroes their powers. In his quest to prove the Catastrophe Theory, he intentionally ruined each of their lives to see if they could bounce back. Even after the team forgave him and moved on, Caulder continued to manipulate wayward heroes into joining, preying on lost souls for his own benefit.
Next: DC Comics 10 Most Toxic Supervillain Relationships
Jack Gaul is a neat guy! For example: he’s a CBR Lists writer with a life-long passion for comics.
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