Fandom Fanatics
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Fandom Fanatics

Why Superheroes Should Be Single: Milla Donovan

The life of a superhero is a dangerous one. Wearing colorful (or sometimes muted) costumes, jumping off buildings, risking your life daily for some ideal; be it truth, justice, or just helping out the friendly neighborhood. Work like this tends to attract enemies. Enemies who’ll look for any avenue to hurt our intrepid do-gooder. And sometimes that avenue presents itself in the form of someone with the misfortune of falling in love with the person behind the mask. This usually doesn’t end well. Case in point: Milla Donovan.

Matt Murdock and Milla Donovan facing each other

Matt Murdock is a man well acquainted with the pain that the mask can bring to those he loves: two of his great-loves died in his arms, both killed by the same man. But he is still human, and the urge to love and be loved is as human as any other. So, when Milla Donovan walks into his law office, struck by a bit of Nightingale Syndrome after being saved by Daredevil a few days earlier, allows himself to go down that road again. They strike up a relationship, bonded by a love for Hell’s Kitchen (they show it differently), and a shared handicap. Matt Murdock lets himself fall in love with a woman with no special powers. An ordinary girl in his extraordinary world. And for a time, it is bliss. They even do something rare in the annals of comic books: they got married. But all honeymoons have to end.

Matt Murdock and Milla Donovan holding hands at their wedding with a priest in the middle.

Superhero relationships are plagued by a few problems. These problems are exacerbated when one party isn’t part of the tight-pants brigade. The first problem is the worrying. It’s been said by these partners that being in the relationship is akin to being a cop’s wife. When their partner is out, all they can do is sit by the window and hope that they come back mostly in one piece. This stress usually leads to the end of the relationship. Milla, to her credit, didn’t really have this problem. It could be a mix of unwavering trust and unconditional love, but from the moment she walked into his office, she accepted the nuances of Matt’s other life. He was Daredevil, and she loved him. Beaten and bruised at the end of a rough day, it didn’t matter. She was there, his rock in the maelstrom that was his life.

Three panels. Left: Milla over Matt, kissing. Top right: They pull back. Bottom right: kiss again.

The second problem is the big one. Being in the orbit of a hero, you paint a target on your back. There are bad guys who would like nothing more than to get to the hero by any means necessary. And bad guys aren’t bad guys because of their world-famous restraint. This is why the “secret” part of the secret identity is very important. The bad guy knows who’s behind the mask, the bad guy figures out who’s important to that person behind the mask, and bad things happen. The annals of comics are littered with this. Gwen Stacy, Vesper Fairchild, the list is long. So, when your husband has the worst-kept secret identity in comics, it won’t be long before your head gets on the block. Milla’s wasn’t a simple case of “bad guy kills good guy’s girl”, maybe because they’ve done that to Matt before. So, this time, it’s had to really hurt. And what hurts worse than having the person you love lose their mind and you being powerless to stop it? Nothing. And that’s exactly what happened to Milla. Mr. Fear (of all people), managed to infect her with a much more potent version of his fear serum (with no antidote) that ultimately led to her losing her mind and needing to be hospitalized. He failed to protect her from his world. And now she was gone.

Human relationships are a balancing act. Superhuman relationships, even more so. The implications and possible consequences are enough to make you think that maybe superheroes should be single.

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