So you’ve chosen a career in villainy. Are you at the top yet? Maybe, maybe not, but if not soon you will be. And then what? Or, if you are the Big Bad, now what? It turns out that your dark, dark heart is just a wee bit lonely. Who knew? So, what are your options? Well, be careful. After all, love is a battlefield and love can break your heart. But when love calls, even a villain will occasionally answer.
1) Dating Lois Lane – By which I mean dating a non-villain. This has two different scenarios.
a) She Doesn’t Know – The love of your life has no idea about your criminal enterprises. Sure, she knows you are wealthy/quirky/genius/keep odd hours, but she has no idea why. This does present some difficulties. Obviously without her knowing about your criminal empire, she can’t share in the joys and miseries of running said empire, although she, like everyone else, will benefit when you take over the world. Still, until that day comes, she is blissfully ignorant of your true intentions. But if you’re comfortable with hiding a part of yourself, then kudos to you. However, the odds you can hide this secret forever are pretty slim. Secrets, especially ones like this, tend to get out. And love don’t come easy, after all.
b) She Knows – The love of your life does in fact know about your criminal enterprises. Whether she found out or you told her, there are two likely scenarios.
I) Tears and Recriminations – well, it turns out Tess Trueheart is totally not cool with you being a villain. Maybe that love potion #9 you gave her worse off. She’s angry and betrayed because you give love a bad name. The best case is the Tess decides to just forget she ever knew you and your love gone bad. But she might try to reform you. This, of course, won’t work because you’re a villain. This puts her back at forgetting you, or, worst case, trying to turn you in. Uh-oh. How you deal with a potential threat to your criminal empire is up to you, but there are really no good options at this point. You may just have to “take care of” her. Hey, sometimes love kills.
II) Much Rejoicing – well, it turns out Bess Blackheart is totally cool with you being a villain. Maybe she’s upset you didn’t tell her in the first place (if you didn’t), but yeah, it turns out her sense of morality is as broken as yours. Maybe she’s damaged by love. Maybe she’s just crazy in love. As long as she doesn’t get any ideas about being a better Big Bad then you, or breaks up with you and tries to get revenge, well, then, here’s to your everlasting love.
2) Dating Harley Quinn – By which I mean dating a villain who works for you (you’re the manager). This seems like a good idea. You already know your potential sweetie has no good intentions. She knows about your organization and some of the ins and outs. Surely she’ll understand all that you go through. Well, maybe. This has all the pitfalls of an office romance, plus a few more, depending on how devoted/psychotic and crazy in love your Girl Friday is. As an evil overlord, you do have some leeway in how you manage your minions, but there’s probably going to be some clear favoritism that may not sit well with the rest of your workers. But maybe you can get past that.
But what if it just doesn’t work out? What if your love is on the rocks?
In high concept rom-coms or dark thrillers, the spurned woman could try to get revenge. Love bites, love stinks, and love hurts, and sometimes in more ways than one. If this happens to you, well, she already knows your organization and lairs so hiding will be hard. She could try to turn you over to the heroes. On the less extreme end of revenge, perhaps your Dragon won’t try to kill you but may try to find another job which would be a great boon to your villainous enemies. Obviously you could fire her or turn her over to the heroes (although it’s almost a near certainty she will betray you to them if you do that). What you really need to consider is whether a relationship outweighs the possibility of losing a good henchperson. After all, good help is hard to find. Maybe it’s just easier in this case to say goodbye to love.
3) Dating the Baroness – By which I mean dating a villain who works for your organization and with you, but not for you (you are on equal footing). This has a lot of the same problems as dating an underling, but in this case, if you break up, you can’t fire your ex. Depending on how mad she is, and how clever, you might be one who ends up getting fired. In fact, if she’s really clever, you may be lucky if you only end up fired (love never dies, but right now the same can’t be said of you). This relationship is probably going to be more dangerous, but hey, if that’s what you really want, go for it. Love is indeed a many-splendored thing.
4) Dating Catwoman – I actually don’t mean this trope whereby a hero dates a villain. I mean dating another villain outside your own evil organization. This bypasses the complications of office romances, so to speak. This is also probably still pretty dangerous. After all, if Catwoman was an easy villain to win over, she’d already be working for you, or you would have already “taken care of” her. But you just can’t help yourself. It was love at first sight. Maybe. Even if you are dangerously in love, she’s not in as good a position to get bloody vengeance on you as someone who actually works for you or with you. Sure, she could try to turn you into the heroes, but you could also try to turn her in without compromising your human resources. All in all, this is a better option than dating someone you work with.
5) Dating Spider-man – This is actually a variant of the “dating Catwoman” trope. In this case, I refer to dating a hero whose secret identity you do not know, nor does he know yours. Black Cat did this for a bit in Spider-man before they eventually broke up and he got married and then it got erased and yes I am *still* bitter about that. So anyway, you’re dating a hero. If this is not the most dangerous game, it’s probably the second-most dangerous game. You can’t hurry love, of course, and it’s encouraging to find out the hero has a someone flexible view of morality, especially if it turs out you can’t help falling in love. How can this end? Will love tear you apart?
a) You’ve said too much – If the hero finds out too much about your misdeeds, his morality may be stronger than his emotions and he’ll have to break up with you. Or worse, he’ll have to try to turn you in. At this point, he knows some of your secrets and thus is a much greater threat to you than before. Now we ain’t talkin’ about love; we’re talking about surviving as a villain. Hopefully you’re all out of love so you can “take care” of business.
b) He’s said too much – Now you know much more about the hero than you did before. It would be so very easy to dispose of him and allow you to make greater progress with your plans. Such an opportunity doesn’t come along every day, and may never come along again. What’s a gal to do? You’ll just have to “take care of” him, chalk him up as a casuality of love, and hope for better love next time.
c) You see the light – Of course you don’t believe love conquers all, but what if it does? The power of love is a curious thing. Love changes, and love has been good to you. What if you fall so hard for the hero you decide to reform? Will you do anything for love?
d) He sees the darkness – So it turns out there is a dark side to love, and he’s realized if he wants to be with you he must give up all that he is and was. He’s not your enemy anymore, but your devoted Dragon. Is this true? Do you believe in love and that he will do anything because of love? That’s not so bad, although there are potential problems. Now your relationship falls back to “Dating Harley Quinn” and he’s a prisoner of your love.
6) Dating Batman – another variant of “dating Catwoman.” This time you’re accidentally in love with a hero who knows your secret identity (if you have one) and you know his. This is likely to be more difficult than the other relationships because it’s quite possible you developed feelings for him, and you him, before you knew each other’s secrets. Love is a hurtin’ thing, after all. Love may even be a losing game in this case. This is a variant of the outcomes of “dating Lois Lane,” except the stakes are much higher. A civilian can only cause you so much harm if a relationship goes bad. But a hero that knows your secret identity could cause even more harm. Love is pain. Of course, you know his secrets, but there’s no way to know if that’s sufficient blackmail to prevent him from turning you in to the authorities. While this is a dangerous, thrilling relationship, this is probably the top one to avoid (along with “dating Spider-man”). There are few potential positive outcomes and a whole lot of negative ones, as detailed above. In the end, love is lost and you may be too.
7) Dating your Creation – by which I mean building an android or creating a synthoid or otherwise trying to design your perfect mate. Don’t do this. This is all too likely to end up the same way as creating a superweapon with additional emotional entanglements. Love is strange, true, but love lies too. Frankly, this can only end in tears.
So what’s a villain to do? You want somebody to love; you need somebody to love. You’re waiting to be love struck. But there are so many ways the love game turns into a bad romance. Do you just say bye-bye love? No. You’re going to have to face it, you’re addicted to love. Should you just stick with a one-night love affair? Just be patient. After all, you can wait for your evil plans to come to fruition so you can rule the world. As they say, love will find a way, and love will get you.