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Whatever Happened to Vicki Vale, Gotham’s Lois Lane?

Vicki Vale was Gotham’s top reporter, with a curiosity that kept Batman from pursuing a deeper relationship with her.

In the DC Universe and beyond, Batman is one of the most secretive characters around Bruce Wayne has made a name for himself by keeping things hidden, even from his most trusted allies. Naturally, that put him at odds with Gotham’s top reporter, Vicki Vale, who essentially made it her job to uncover Batman’s secrets. Pre-Crisis, Vicki was introduced in 1948’s Batman #49, by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Lew Sayre Schwartz. Vicki was much like Lois Lane, who was fixated on Superman and determined to discover his secret identity. Similarly, Vicki made a considerable effort to uncover Batman’s true identity, sensing a connection between the Dark Knight and Bruce Wayne.

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Working for Vue Magazine, Vicki frequently helped Batman and Robin solve cases and served as a romantic foil to the Dark Knight. Of course, things became rather tense when the original Batwoman appeared, rivaling Vicki for Batman’s affections in 1958’s Batman #119, by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff. By 1977’s Batman Family #11, by Bob Rozakis and Carl Potts, Vicki had married and moved to Europe. Soon, however, Vicki had returned, more determined than ever to prove Bruce Wayne and Batman were the same person. Due to Vicki’s curiosity, Bruce continued to push her away, pursuing relationships with other women.

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In the modern Post-Crisis era, Vicki first appeared in 1987’s Batman #408, by Max Allan Collins and Chris Warner. Vicki maintained most of her Pre-Crisis characteristics, including her attachment to Bruce Wayne and her overly inquisitive nature. A year after she appeared in Tim Burton’s Batman movie in 1989, Batman #455-457, by Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle and Kevin Breyfogle saw Vicki make a name for herself investigating the Scarecrow. Both Vicki and Batman were infected with Scarecrow’s fear toxin, only saved by the timely intervention of Tim Drake.

After she briefly dated Bruce Wayne in that same era, Vale didn’t play another meaningful role until the aftermath of Final Crisis. Vicki decided to investigate Batman’s absence, drawing a strange connection to Bruce Wayne’s disappearance. In 2009’s Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? #1, by Fabian Nicieza, Dustin Nguyen, Guillem March, Jamie McKelvie, ChrisCross and Alex Konat, Vicki collected information related to Bruce and the rest of the Bat-Family. Soon into her investigation, Vicki was attacked by several assassins, since she publicly revealed she had information on Batman. When Ra’s al Ghul confronted Vicki, she was saved by Bruce, who revealed his identity and brought her into his war on crime.

Not long after that, Vicky was reintroduced in the New 52 reboot in 2011’s Batman #1, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Vicki only made a small cameo during this reintroduction, but she went on to play a bigger role in Batman Eternal #2, by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, John Layman, Tim Seeley and Jason Fabok.

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For a period of time, Vicki worked with Jason Bard, a member of the GCPD, to end the gang wars in Gotham. The two even developed a romantic relationship. When Vicki discovered Jason was working for Hush, however, Vicki broke up with him. The whole time they were dating, Jason was manipulating Vicki by convincing her to publish stories that served his interests. Eventually, Vicki worked with Spoiler to publish the truth about the chaos going on in Gotham City. Afterward, Vicki was promoted at the Gotham Gazette.

Overall, Vicki’s relatively limited presence in both Bruce Wayne and Batman’s world makes sense. Vicki is a reporter, obsessed with uncovering the truth. Batman, on the other hand, keeps secrets from almost everyone, even those closest to him. If Vicki were to become closer as Batman’s ally or Bruce’s romantic partner, she wouldn’t stop until she knew everything about him.

When Bruce did bring Vicki into the fold Post-Crisis, he probably wouldn’t have told her everything. In fact, Bruce might have allowed Vicki in on his secret identity so he could control how much information she was getting from him. If Vicki were left to her own devices, she wouldn’t stop going after information on Bruce. Every version of Vicki Vale has been determined to unlock the truth behind every story, at great risk to herself. And in Batman’s world of secrets, there’s just no sustainable place for someone like Vicki Vale.

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