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Foe Yay / Comic Books

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Foe Yay can refer to different things:

Please change any wicks to refer to the actual meaning, and sort the examples listed below.

  • It is very common for male superheroes to have flings with female supervillains: Daredevil and Elektra, Daredevil and Typhoid Mary, Batman and Catwoman, Batman and Talia Al Ghul, Forge and Mystique, Thor and Enchantress, etc. In fact, there's a trope for it.
  • A few of the comics featuring Scrooge McDuck imply Scrooge and Magica De Spell have what appears to be a mutual attraction. Magica might even have better chances than most villains since Don Rosa's Scrooge actually has had hatesex.
  • The Joker and Batman, full-stop. The Joker's come to base his existence on tormenting Batman and messing with his head and admits he wouldn't have a reason to live without him.
    • Lex Luthor lampshades it here — note the look in panel three...
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    • "Batman... honeycakes?" The Joker often refers to Batman with such affectionate names as "darling," "my sweet," etc.
    • In Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the Joker is portrayed as having a sort of sexual fascination with Batman; e.g.: the Joker emerges from catatonia following news of the return of Batman. Did we mention that Batman and the Joker's climactic battle is in THE TUNNEL OF LOVE? Frank Miller has described the relationship between Batman and the Joker as a "homophobic nightmare"; he views the character (Batman) as sublimating his sexual urges into crime fighting, concluding, "He'd be much healthier if he were gay."
    • Then there's Arkham Asylum, where Joker kanchos Batman and says, "Loosen up, tight ass!", and Grant Morrison's extended script originally calls for the character to be dressed in lurid, S&M women's bondage wear — emphasizing the character's sexualised nature as a foil to Batman's own discomfort with sex and women, a problem caused by the traumatic murder of his mother.
      • In Batman: Arkham City, during the closing credits The Joker croons "Only You" to Bats' receiver. Posthumously.
      • The prequel has the clown singing "Cold, Cold Heart", marking the beginning of his mission to make the Bat smile a bit more often.
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    • The New 52 took this concept and ran wild with it in Death of the Family, with Joker trying to (literally) cut down the sidekicks in his and Batman's lives so that it could just go back to being about the two of them...and when Batman "rejects" the Joker, that leads to the nightmare that is Batman: Endgame, which asks a simple question: What if the Joker stopped loving Batman?
    • In the Elseworld comic book Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, set in a world where only the female counterparts to Batman and Superman have ever existed, the Joker is madly in love with Batgirl and commits his crimes solely to get her attention.
      Joker: Batgirl likes me, you know. She just hasn't admitted it to herself. She must be helped.
    • In the alternate timeline of Flashpoint, it turns out the Batman of that world is Thomas Wayne and the Joker is Martha. There's even a scene of them kissing passionately right after a brutal fight. Check it out.
    • Superman, tired of all the subtle bullcrap, directly accuses Batman of exactly this very trope with the Joker when Bats disapproves of Superman killing the Joker as retribution for among many other things, making Superman unwittingly kill a pregnant Lois Lane in Injustice: Gods Among Us.
  • Other Batman villains get in on the act sometimes:
    • Hush. The fact that he's Bruce's childhood friend and seems to obsessively stalk Bruce Wayne/Batman doesn't help dispel the Foe Yay at all. He also returns to Gotham for the express purpose of making Batman suffer, including killing off the other threats to Batman's life so he, Hush, can be the one to end it. Plus all the crazed-ex-girlfriend-esque slurs he throws at any woman Bruce is involved with, the part where he got plastic surgery to look like Bruce Wayne, and:
      Hush: But never fear, Bruce.
      Hush: I won't desert you before the final curtain.
      Hush: I'm staying here to watch as the heartbeats slow and end.
    • This can apply to The Riddler as well. The DCAU-based Batman Adventures Vol.2 #11 involved him, having sort-of-reformed, trying to get Batman to match wits with him. One of the clues he left was 'Next time, lives will be at stake'. When Batman tracks him down, he hears screaming, bursts in - and finds the scream came from the lobster the Riddler was cooking for him (along with a steak). It doesn't help that he was wearing a "Kiss the Genius" Apron either.
      • The War of Jokes and Riddles is basically "Joker and Riddler go to war over who gets (to kill) Batman." You could arguably get some Riddler/Joker as well since Riddler's motivation turns out to be getting Joker to laugh.
    • Hugo Strange gets plenty of this with Batman throughout the years. In the Terror storyline of Legends of the Dark Knight, he is in a "relationship" with a female mannequin wearing lingerie and a cowl like Batman's. That is the very definition of Squick.
    • Scarecrow pretty much has a huge fetish for fear. Batman is the only thing that scares him anymore and so he keeps fighting him so that he can feel that sweet taste of fear once again. Do the math.
    • Bane in I Am Suicide is naked for... some reason. And spends a lot of time well inside Batman's personal space.
      Bane: (a limp Batman in his arms) Tell me, Batman. Tell me what you... want.
  • Dick Grayson/Jason Todd as the new Batman and Red Hood.
  • Don't forget how, for some reason, all of Superman's love interests have "double-L" names: Lori Lemaris, Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Lex Luth... oh wait!
    • Clark Kent/Lex Luthor Ho Yay was never limited to Smallville: in the 90s, for example, Lex was sleeping with Supergirl, and you have to wonder how often he asked her to wear her costume to bed. Of course, she was a shapeshifter, and more than once took on Clark's form so that Superman and Clark Kent could appear in public together. Additional incesty squickiness was added by the fact that that version of Supergirl had been created in the first place by the Lex Luthor of the Time Trapper's pocket dimension. This relationship was the basis of a one-sentence fanfic, reproduced here in its entirety: "Tonight, could you be... him?"
    • Continued in Superman: Birthright, where teenage Clark and teenage Lex bonded over their combined love of astronomy.
    • Clark/Lex goes way back: this was their first meeting in the Silver Age.
    • And in the Elseworld Superman: Red Son, Lex Luthor leaves his wife to "devote my life to Superman."
    Lex Luthor: What is it about this man of steel that makes my head work so much faster, eh?
    • And then Lex went and combined their DNA to create Superboy, technically making him the biological son of Lex and Superman. Yes, they technically have a son together! That adds even more fuel to the fire.
    • From DC's Superman: Doomsday. Lex Luthor beating up Superman with kryptonite brass knuckles and acting like they had a bad break up? Ho Yay is still at least a little subtle, even with "how could you leave me?"note  Shirtless Lex Luthor straddling a prone Superman and breathing out a triumphant "Who's your daddy?" Oooh boy! Ahem: That's actually a clone he made of Superman, on whom he's working out his issues, so basically like if there'd been no wrinkles in the project that created Connor in the comic event the movie is based on. He then goes into the next room and starts monologuing to Superman's corpse, which he has suspended upright in some kind of glass tube thing after having the clone steal it. Doomsday Lex is pulling no punches with this trope.
    • I'll just leave this here.
  • Xavier and Magneto.
    • This one is publicly supported by none other than Sir Ian McKellen, Magneto in The Movie! (Who, by the way, is gay in Real Life.) Also publicly supported by James McAvoy, Charles Xavier in another movie. (Who, by the way, is straight in Real Life.)
    • The first scene of X-Men: The Last Stand, in particular, feels much like a couple going to adopt a child; that they're both men just makes it a gay couple.
    • X-Men: First Class managed to crank it Up to Eleven, showing the development of Xavier and Magneto's relationship up to the Divorce.
    • It is even more heavily implied in Ultimate X-Men. When they were still friends, Xavier and Magneto used to talk constantly via telepathy. To the ruin of both their marriages.
    • Chris Claremont's 2004 Excalibur series was basically incoherent "plotty" bits interspersed with adorable domestic Charles/Magnus moments.
    • Not to mention X-Men, where the two of them spend an entire season trekking around the Savage Land saving each other's lives, and that's not even the slashiest part. In the series finale, Xavier is dying, while Magneto is just about to launch his final war with humanity. Then this exchange happens:
      Jean: How much do you love Charles Xavier?
      Magneto: How dare you ask me such a question? He was my only equal! I owe him my life!
      • And then Mags gives up his dreams of world domination to go save Charles' life. Dawwww.
  • See pretty much every Spider-Man villain ever. Notable examples include Chameleon telling Peter he loves him, right before jumping off a bridge. Electro visits a shape-shifting prostitute in the Marvel Knights series, and it's strongly implied he wants her to transform into Spider-Man for him.
    • Maybe he's GAY. Gay for YOU.
    • Spider-Girl seems to have inherited, along with her father's infamous luck, the "make people Gay for You" gene. One notable example is Felicity Hardy, daughter of the original Black Cat, who really wants to be May's... sidekick. Right.
    • Spidey may have a virtual rogues gallery/gang of suitors, but Venom takes the cake. An alien symbiote that bounds with Spider-Man as his costume, later rejected for being too clingy. Oh, and making him evil. Though there is some disagreement on this, as originally it was him getting rid of it simply because it was going to permanently bond with him. That's right, Spider-Man got rid of it because he wasn't ready for commitment. Subtle enough? Later retcons made him look like less of a jerk by insisting the suit was making him violent and crazy. In every one of their subsequent meetings, even after it picked up different hosts, the writers made it clear that this was not just a new foe, but a crazy ex-girlfriend/boyfriend who was still very much in love. It has never missed an opportunity to try and reunite with him. The subtext ceases to be sub and becomes text.
    • Disturbingly, Peter has this with both Norman Osborn and Norman's son, Harry. Norman can't decide whether he wants to kill Peter or make him his heir. In Marvel Knights, Norman torments Spidey and his family for months on end, gets away with it, and then sends Peter a letter talking about how much he respects him and enjoys their fights. Harry, meanwhile, was Peter's former roommate/best friend who went crazy, died, and is now semi-sane but no longer remember's Spidey's secret identity and hates him for constantly interfering in his life. Oh, and he thinks Spider-Man has a thing for Peter. Norman once taunted Spidey by asking if he has a thing for Harry.
      • During the "Return of the Green Goblin" arc of Ultimate Spider-Man, we get to look at things through Norman's eyes during a conversation with Spider-Man. The voices in his head tell him things like "kill him" "skin him" "burn him" and "kiss him".
  • Empowered voices her opinion on this when she stumbles onto a Slash Fic involving her and Sistah Spooky.
    Empowered: This is totally accurate, I have to admit. 'Cause nothing brings out my latent bisexuality more than getting my backside beaten and bruised by someone I really, really don't like. *Snort.* Yeah, right.
    • What makes this more interesting is that Sistah Spooky apparently was in a failed relationship with another hero, Mindf**k, who is female, blonde and has all the traits that Spooky hates in poor Emp.
    • There was also the time Spooky had sex with Emp's future boyfriend in order to mess with her (precognition was involved), and a brief flashback shows she was apparently thinking about how much it would bother Emp the whole time.
    • As of the end of Volume 5, things may be getting a tad more complicated.
  • Cable and Deadpool (particularly circa Cable & Deadpool). In the first appearance of Deadpool, he's trying to kill Cable, and they are generally antagonistic in most subsequent meetings up to (and sometimes including) the Cable & Deadpool series. They've beaten the crap out of each other, shot each other, tried to blow each other up, and Nate (Cable) has blown the back of Wade (Deadpool)'s head open at least twice. (Lather, rinse, repeat.) On the other hand, Deadpool travels across alternate universes just to find Cable, when they fight and part ways they refer to it as "divorce," Deadpool had a dream about giving Cable a massage (ok, we've gone way beyond subtext here!) and when Deadpool gets angry and leaves at one point, Cable plants images in Deadpool's subconscious to try to get him to come back and ask Cable for help. Fabian Nicieza has referred to them as a "romance story" he wrote. Seriously, their relationship is pretty much a template for Foe Yay. Although later on it went from Foe Yay to simple Heterosexual Life-Partners during Deadpool's Heel–Face Turn and subsequent friendly relationship with Cable. Very friendly.
  • Sinestro has spent a lot of time lately chatting up Green Lantern Hal Jordan, telling him that he is the only living GL that Sinestro has ever called friend, and basically pretending like the last ten years or so trying to kill him was little more than a lover's spat. He wants to get back together, Hal.
    • In the Sinestro's Law story arc, Sinestro is absolutely desperate for Hal to be brought to him "broken and primed" to power his fear engine. Sinestro shows extreme tunnel vision in this arc and almost solely focuses on Hal's capture. Later when they are face to face in battle Sinestro admits that he hated Hal at first but grew to respect him and wants him to join his side. Sinestro offers Hal to join him more than twice with death as the final ultimatum. It's almost like a case of If I Can't Have You......
  • One-sided Parallax/Hal. In Blackest Night Parallax refers to Hal as his 'special someone' and consistently refers to him with flattering names. Parallax even calls Hal 'mine' and insinuates he belongs to him more then once.
    Parallax: My precious Hal.
  • Mephisto once took the form of Nova, Silver Surfer's female friend, to seduce him. Of course, his goal was to steal his soul, and he got it, but "Nova" still kissed him before transforming back (surprising him with a long serpentine tongue). And it doesn't get better once Mephisto takes the Surfer in his demonic kingdom.
    Mephisto: You exist for my do and be anything I desire...take any shape...serve any purpose. It is mine to deem you slave...or lover...or nothing.
  • During the 2005 Marvel The Defenders series (whose tone, admittedly, was mostly irreverent humor) Dormammu's sister Umar keeps hinting that there may be another reason her brother keeps obsessing over one relatively insignificant human when he could be ruling his own dimension. Though Umar may have just been jealous that Doctor Strange was getting all of her Dormammu's attention. Umar herself had a lot of Foe Yay with the Hulk. Especially when she returned in the Incredible Hulk book.
  • Doctor Doom has repeatedly given up ultimate power so he could stay on earth and screw Reed Richards... Uh, that is to say, screw WITH Reed Richards. It is, however, canon that he wanted Sue.
  • Loki and Thor all the way. They are extremely possessive of each other, and there's a hell of a lot of hate sex setup in their relationship. Loki delights in rubbing Thor's nose in all his mistakes (most of which Loki causes), and Thor loves smashing Loki with his hammer (which Loki generally doesn't fight). It's the most dysfunctional, abusive, codependent, Foe Yay sibling relationship ever.
    • Thor goes ballistic if anyone other than himself or his father seriously attempts hurting Loki, regardless of how much Loki deserves it. Hank Pym found this out the hard way.
    • Loki spends the beginning of the next cycle prancing around in Thor's wife's body. One has to wonder what else he might have considered doing with it. Other than dating Doom.
      • This is inverted in the Alternate Continuity Earth X, which sees Thor transformed into a woman. Loki spends a lot of time hitting on "her".
    • In the comic Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers, Loki explains exactly why he hates Thor so much:
      Loki: Over all the millenia, only you have ever loved me Thor. Only you have ever looked at me with affection in place of condescension. Why then am I killing you and not the others? Because you stopped.
    • Loki dies to save what's left of Asgard, leaving his spirit wandering around. Thor goes through Mephisto's hell to get to Hel's domain and asks to speak with Loki. When he learns Loki's spirit is lost, he immediately sets out and finds him, confesses that he can't imagine his life without him and brings him back to life. Good thing they're Not Blood Siblings.
      • Loki comes back as a kid with a major case of Big Brother Worship. Thor threatens anyone who might want to kill Loki with his vengeance (a good thing too, since all (or almost all)) of Asgard wants Loki's head on a pike. Loki sets out to stop the Serpent for one reason: it's supposed to kill Thor, and Loki won't let that happen.
  • Thor and Amora the Enchantress, particularly in the first Secret Wars when both spend much of their time trying to convince the other to come to their side. When neither will acquiesce to the other, the resulting battle is pretty much a bad breakup fight with superpowers.
    • Thor and Amora have actually gotten together twice. First when Thor was powerless during the Warren Ellis run and later when Thor became King of Asgard.
  • Thor and his niece Hela who has repeatedly attempted to get Thor to join her in Hel. Hela has even admitted that she dreams of Thor and has even offered him the position of her consort so that he wouldn't have to die fighting Onslaught. This was even lampshaded in her appearance in X-Factor.
  • Miracleman desires two things in the world: his wife and his enemy and creator Dr. Gargunza. When he kills Gargunza, he kisses him. On the lips.
  • Sabretooth's entire existence seemed to revolve around wrestling with Wolverine. Their first violent encounter was when Sabretooth killed Wolverine's lover Silverfox out of "jealousy" (if you believe those memories were real or not). They were briefly friends during their time in the Weapon X program (since they were brainwashed), but since then, Sabretooth can't seem to get rid of his hard-on for his diminutive foe. It's never really been made clear why either. Granted, Sabretooth is a psychopath, but there's plenty of guys his own size he could pick on, yet he chose Wolverine. He just really seems to like stalking Logan and making his life miserable. He knows that he can't kill him either due to the healing factor. Apparently he just wants to put his claws in him, and vice versa.
  • Deconstructed in Irredeemable, where The Plutonian, back when he was a hero, learned that his nemesis Modeus both hated and loved him and even built sex robots in his form.
    • Eventually reaches a head near the end when Modeus mindjacks the Plutonian's ex-girlfriend, uses her gravity powers to pin the Plutonian down, and rapes him while insisting that he/she is the only one who understands him.
  • Will and Phobos in the W.I.T.C.H. comic books. Specially during the fourth arc.
    • In the show during an Enemy Mine situation, Phobos magically disguised Will and himself as what could be described as an old married couple. It's notable because he turned everyone else into furniture. Before that he also spent a lot of time looking at her through magic portals, even more than would be required considering she's his arch-enemy.
  • She-Hulk and her brutish Arch-Enemy Titania. Titania is Shulkie's dark reflection in every way. note  Ever since the two crossed paths in Secret Wars, the women have been out to get each other. Almost every dialogue exchange is dripping with Les Yay overtones (the two sound like exes going through a particularly nasty breakup, Titania almost coming across as a Yandere/Stalker with a Crush due to her inferiority complex towards She-Hulk and inability to ever give up), which makes you wonder if the writers are aiming for the sexiest Cat Fight in history. Villainesses Want Heroines, maybe?
    • At one point her boyfriend The Absorbing Man left her because of her obsession with She-Hulk.
    • Once, in the middle of a fight, Doc Samson brought up the idea that Titania's obsession with Shulkie was due to sexual attraction. This suggestion unnerved Titania long enough for Samson to throw her through a wall.
  • The whole concept of Foe Yay is hilariously parodied in "He Tied Me To a Buzzsaw But It Felt Like a Kiss", a Cobweb story by Alan Moore and Dame Darcy in Tomorrow Stories.
  • Bullseye has had a thing for Elektra since the day he gutted her, much to her dismay. Even in the film he doesn't hide how attractive she is.
    Bullseye: "I have to say I'm flattered. I didn't know if I'd still have this effect on you. I mean, I know I'm not the only one who's killed you. But I guess it's true what they say... you never forget your first."
    • His MAX counterpart is very much obsessed with Frank Castle.
      Bullseye: You do not kill like any man I have ever seen, Frank. You're more like a force of nature. An earthquake or a tidal wave. A tornado. Watching you kill is like watching Rembrandt paint, or hear Mozart conduct his 9th symphony. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, Frank Castle. I think I'm going to cry. Thank you, Frank. Thank you for being you.
  • Red Mist being... Red Mist in Kick-Ass: "...and if I'm absolutely honest, I've wanted to see you in pain since the first night we met. I've even jerked off about it. Does that sound weird?" Yes, Red Mist. Yes it does.
  • The revamp of the Cheetah in the New 52 reveals that she and Wonder Woman were friends before her transformation. When you factor in her trying to win Diana over to her way of thinking and her signaling out Superman (WW's current love interest) to attack, she comes across like a bitter ex-girlfriend.
  • Thanks to Schism and Avengers vs. X-Men, the Wolverine and Cyclops bromance can also spill over into this trope as well.
  • Much like the Sabretooth example above, X-23's Ax-Crazy former handler, Kimura, is obsessed with Laura, making several notable attempts to recapture her. When she finally does manage to retake her during Laura's stint on X-Force, she's actually licking her lips as she takes a chainsaw to Laura's arm for "being a bad girl". Kimura comes across as nothing less than a full-fledged abusive Psycho Ex-Girlfriend.
  • Jack O'Lantern has a disturbing obsession with Agent Venom, thinking that the two are Not So Different and claiming that Flash is his personal archenemy. Whenever they fight Jack talks to Venom like the two are best friends or brothers. Needless to say it's pretty one-sided though Flash does pity Jack and spares him whenever he gets the chance to kill him...
  • There were already examples for Loki (Doom, Thor), but as far as his young incarnation is concerned, their life-mission seems to be to hit on everybody. There is a scene in the introductory one-shot for their solo series where they get flirty with Agent Coulson, and then it's revealed that they put him naked and handcuffed in the glassy (Loki proof) prison cell... and the conversation ends with giving him a safeword. Also considering how medium aware they're lately they might even invoke the trope intentionally, to catch fangirls.
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Death mockingly kisses Judge Anderson after defeating her in a comatose nightmare. He's a corpse, by the way. Then there's his constant reminders of the psychic "bond" they share since he was holed up in her mind for a year.
  • Etrigan frequently refers to Jason Blood as "Jason darling," "Sweet Blood," and similar endearments. When they're separated at the end of the Grant Ward miniseries, he kisses Jason full on the mouth. Jason's girlfriend Glenda gets the same treatment at various points in the comic, but she's known the demon for much less time.

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