|First appearance||As Kate Kane:|
52 #7 (August 2006)
52 #11 (September 2006)
|Created by||Geoff Johns|
|Alter ego||Katherine "Kate" Kane|
|Team affiliations||Batman Incorporated|
Batwoman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Katherine "Kate" Kane is a wealthy heiress who becomes inspired by the superhero Batman and chooses, like him, to put her wealth and resources towards a campaign to fight crime as a masked vigilante in her home of Gotham City.
This current version of Batwoman was introduced in 2006 in the seventh week of the publisher's year-long 52 weekly comic book. Introduced as Kate Kane, the modern Batwoman began operating in Gotham City in Batman's absence following the events of the company-wide crossover Infinite Crisis (2005). The modern Batwoman is written as being of Jewish descent and as a lesbian. During the New 52, it is established that Kate Kane is a cousin of Batman's alter-ego Bruce Wayne and thus a niece of his mother Martha Wayne. Described as the highest-profile gay superhero to appear in stories published by DC, Batwoman's sexual orientation drew wide media attention following her reintroduction, as well as both praise and criticism from the general public.
The modern character as depicted in comics works relatively independently of Batman, but has gained considerable profile in recent years, both within the DC Comics publishing schedule and the publisher's fictional universe. She since had several runs in her own eponymous Batwoman monthly comic book and has had stints in the lead role in Detective Comics, the flagship Batman comic book for which DC Comics is named. The Kate Kane version of Batwoman was later adapted to the animated film Batman: Bad Blood, voiced by Yvonne Strahovski. Ruby Rose portrays the character in her live-action debut during the Arrowverse crossover "Elseworlds", later starring in her own television series and the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover.
The limited series Infinite Crisis (2005), written as a sequel to the 1985 maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, altered DC Comics continuity. Subsequently, all comic book titles published by DC Comics skip forward one year and a new maxi-series entitled 52 retroactively chronicles the 52 weeks which directly followed Infinite Crisis. When DC editors called for a redesign of Batwoman, comic book artist Alex Ross drew inspiration from the modified Batgirl costume he designed for Barbara Gordon, seven years prior to Kate Kane's debut in the limited comic book series 52. Ross and comic book author Paul Dini initially planned to revive the former Batgirl Barbara Gordon using an updated version of the character's original costume, with red accents in place of the traditional yellow. However, since Gordon served as one of a very small number of disabled superheroes of DC Comics as Oracle, DC's editorial staff decided to revitalize the original Batwoman instead. In an interview with Newsarama, Ross states, "They had me change the mask and hair to make it a bit more Batwoman, rather than Batgirl...I pointed out to them that the mask makes her look like the Huntress a little overall--but there weren't many options. The original mask that I had in there when it was to be a Batgirl design was the complete head cover that we've seen, so they did need something different from that."
Unlike the Silver Age Kathy Kane, who was romantically attracted to Batman, the new version of Kane is a lesbian, as well as Bruce Wayne's maternal cousin. Her sexual orientation was announced at the same time the character was revealed in the spring of 2006. Stories appeared on television news outlets such as CNN, general news magazines such as USA Today, and gay culture magazines such as Out. The modern Katherine "Kate" Kane made her first comic book appearance in issue #7 of the maxi-series 52 (2006), where Kane is revealed to have been romantically involved with Renee Montoya (also retconed[clarification needed] as lesbian in 2006's Gotham Central), a former Gotham City Police detective (who later takes up the mantle of the Question after the original hero dies). When questioned about the editorial decision to make Batwoman a gay character in an interview with Wizard Entertainment, DC Comics Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Dan DiDio stated "It was from conversations we've had for expanding the DC Universe, for looking at levels of diversity. We wanted to have a cast that is much more reflective of today's society and even today's fanbase. One of the reasons we made her gay is that, again when you have the Batman Family--a series of characters that aren't super-powered and inhabit the same circle and the same city--you really want to have a point of difference. It was really important to me to make sure every character felt unique."
Batwoman's sexual orientation initially gathered mixed reviews, ranging from praise to outrage. A reviewer at Out asserts "Batwoman will be the highest profile gay superhero to ever grace the pages of DC Comics." Although several LGBT organizations such as GLAAD have praised DC Comics for attempting to diversify their characters, some have observed that Batwoman is not the first gay or lesbian character to appear in comic books, nor is she the only lesbian to be associated with the Batman series.
In the character's civilian identity as a socialite, Katherine Kane is acquainted with Bruce Wayne and is friends with a doctor named Mallory. She is presented as having porcelain white skin, several tattoos, and a clothing style defined as punk-psychobilly-goth in her civilian persona. Her father is an Army colonel, and in Detective Comics #854, it is stated she is the cousin of Bette "Flamebird" Kane. The younger Kate also has a stepmother named Catherine Kane, making Catherine the aunt of Bette. At the 2008 New York Comic Con, it was announced that Batwoman would be among the characters appearing in a new Justice League comic book written by James Robinson. That year, Batwoman briefly took over as the lead character in Detective Comics, starting with #854. with DC saying at the 2009 New York Comic Con that she would be DC Comics' highest profile gay superhero.
From 2010, the character began appearing in the self-titled series Batwoman. After an introductory "zero" issue in 2010, the series launched fully in 2011 with Batwoman #1 along with DC's company-wide renumbering of its titles that year. Writers J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman chose to expand Kate's supporting cast both in terms of her family (the Kanes, including Elizabeth, Bette and other relatives), and the "Batman Family" she is more loosely connected to. Issue seventeen was also a milestone as it featured Kate proposing to her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer.
In September 2013, co-authors J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman announced that they would leave Batwoman after the December issue because of conflicts with DC over storylines. They remarked that they were not allowed to expand Killer Croc's back story, keep their original ending, or show Kate and Maggie getting married. This announcement follows a February 2013 announcement that Batwoman #17 will feature the proposal between Kate and Maggie.DC Comics announced that Batwoman cannot get married because "heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives".
In December 2014, it was announced that the series would be cancelled in March at issue forty, along with twelve other series.
In 52 #7, Kate Kane is introduced (although she is referred to as Kathy on several occasions). No Origins titles have been presented for Kate Kane; her fictional backstory is presented in Detective Comics through the use of exposition and flashbacks. In their early childhood, Katherine Rebecca "Kate" Kane and her sister Elizabeth "Beth" Kane were identical twins and were very close to each other. On their twelfth birthday, their military father Jacob "Jake" Kane could not come home to celebrate with them, so Kate and Beth were taken by their mother, Gabrielle "Gabi" Kane, to an expensive restaurant for chocolate and waffles, their favorite dish. On the way to the restaurant, a group of gunmen attacked the family and took them hostage, killing their bodyguard in the process. After learning of her family's kidnapping, Jacob Kane led a rescue mission to save his captured family, which ended with Kate's mother executed and Beth apparently killed after being caught in the crossfire between the kidnappers and soldiers. Years later, Jake marries Catherine Hamilton Kane.
Years later, Kate is attending the United States Military Academy, where she receives excellent grades, earns prestigious awards, and earns the rank of Brigade Executive Officer in her senior year; she also maintains a secret romantic relationship with her roommate, Sophie Moore. However, when she is anonymously accused of homosexual conduct, Kate's commanding officer asks her to disavow the allegation on account of her outstanding record, mentioning that if she does, she will be demoted but still be able to graduate. Telling the officer that she refuses to lie and violate the Honor Code of the Academy, Kate admits to being lesbian and is forced to leave the school. When she confronts her father with the news, he supports her and affirms that she upheld her honor and integrity.
Kate then moves back to Gotham City where she attends college and descends into a wild social lifestyle, consisting of parties, heavy drinking, one-night stands, and tattoos. Kate is eventually pulled over for speeding by a young Renee Montoya, who was just a traffic cop at this point. The two date for several months but break up following a fight where Renee expresses concern about Kate's lack of direction in her life and Kate berates Renee for keeping her sexuality hidden from her colleagues and family. While attempting to call Renee and apologize for her behavior, Kate is attacked by a mugger who wants her wallet and cell phone. Using her military training, Kate easily defeats the criminal just as Batman arrives and helps her off the ground. She is then shown fixated by the Bat Signal as Batman departs the scene.
Inspired by her encounter with the caped crusader, Kate begins fighting crime using military body armor and weaponry stolen from her father's military base; she operates for close to a year before her father finds out. After being confronted by Jacob, Kate accepts his offer for assistance and begins an intense two years of training across the globe with some of her father's friends from the special operations community. Upon returning to Gotham, Kate discovers that her father has created a Batsuit for her, along with an arsenal of experimental weaponry based on Batman's known gadgetry and a bunker hidden in the panic room in Kate's apartment.
The first reference to the modern Batwoman is made by the Penguin in Detective Comics #824 who suggests Batman bring a date to the opening of his club, asking, "Why don't you bring that new Batwoman? I hear she's kind of hot." In 52 #7 (2006) the new Batwoman is introduced. Kane is revealed to have been intimately involved with former Gotham City police detective Renee Montoya and is heiress to one of the wealthiest families in Gotham, owning that which the Wayne family does not. In her third appearance in issue #11 of 52 entitled "Batwoman Begins," Kane assists Montoya and her partner the Question in a mystery revolving around a warehouse owned by Kane's family. When Montoya and the Question are attacked sometime later by Whisper A'Daire's shapeshifting minions, Kane intervenes as Batwoman and rescues them.
In 52 #28 (2006), after Montoya learns that the "Book of Crime," a sacred text of Intergang, contains a prophecy foretelling the brutal murder of the "twice named daughter of Kane," she and the Question return to Gotham, joining forces with Batwoman in issue #30 in order to avert Intergang's plans. Batwoman later appears in a story written by Greg Rucka for the DC Infinite Holiday Special (2006). As Batwoman continues the case, she is joined by Nightwing, who has recently returned to Gotham and becomes infatuated with her. On Christmas Eve, he gives her an 'official' Batarang. She also celebrates Hanukkah with Renee, and the two kiss shortly before Christmas. This story introduced some of Kane's background, including the fact that she is Jewish. In issue #48 of 52 (2007), when Intergang realizes that the image of Batwoman in the Crime Bible and the cited "twice-named daughter of Cain" were one and the same, they ransack Kane's apartment, kidnapping her with the intention to sacrifice her. Montoya arrives too late to stop the ritual, finding Kate bound and gagged to an altar as prophet Bruno Mannheim plunges a knife through her heart. In the ensuing confrontation, the freed Batwoman pulls the knife out of her own chest to stab Mannheim, and then collapses in Renee's arms. She survives her wounds after Renee stops the bleeding in time, however, and as she recuperates in her penthouse, Renee, disguised in her new alter ego as the Question, shines the Bat-Signal into her apartment and asks, "Are you ready?"
Batwoman subsequently appears in the fifty-two issue weekly series Countdown, intended to act as a prelude to DC's summer crossover event the following year. Batwoman appears in Countdown #39 (2007), after the Question confronts Trickster and Pied Piper, having trailed them from the Penguin's Iceberg Lounge nightclub. Batwoman also makes an appearance in the miniseries Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood (2007) alongside the Question. Batwoman is seen again on the final page of Grant Morrison's Final Crisis #3 (2008), one month after the Anti-Life Equation was released, as a new Female Fury along with Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Giganta. Her costume bears resemblance to the dead Fury Mad Harriet. She is also seen in Final Crisis: Revelations #3 attacking the Question after having just been infected with the Anti-Life Equation.
Following the events of Final Crisis and Battle for the Cowl, in which Bruce Wayne has supposedly died and is replaced by Dick Grayson, Kate becomes the lead of Detective Comics from issue 854 to 863. In the first story, entitled "Elegy", Batwoman is seen investigating the arrival of a new leader of the Religion of Crime to Gotham. She briefly meets Batman (it is intentionally left ambiguous whether or not it is Dick Grayson or Bruce Wayne) to discuss her findings. Kate demonstrates greater knowledge of the Religion of Crime, and even corrects Batman by saying there are 13 and not 12 covens of the religion in Gotham. Batman concedes the case to her, and comments on the length of her hair (though panels on the same page reveal the long red wig hides her actual hair, styled short).
Aspects of her personal life are also revealed, including her relationship with her ex-colonel father; serving as Batwoman's ally, whom she addresses as "sir." The strain of her late night vigilante activity has also taken a toll on her romantic relationships. Her lateness and night time absences are interpreted by her girlfriend as an on the side liaison with another woman. She breaks the relationship off as she believes Kate is not ready to commit to an exclusive relationship. A past traumatic incident is also alluded to which she claims still haunts her. As she vaguely describes the experience, her face is shown superimposed on the page over a restrained girl with a bag over her head. She later tracks down the new leader of the Religion of Crime: an elaborately costumed woman named Alice. Over the course of the conflict that ensues, Batwoman observes that Alice only speaks in quotations from Lewis Carroll, believing herself to be Alice Liddell. Alice denies a connection to the Mad Hatter.
While attending a fundraising gala for the Gotham City Police Department, Kate meets and flirts with detective Maggie Sawyer, and runs into her cousin Bette Kane (better known as the Teen Titans member Flamebird). Kate is apparently unaware of her cousin's vigilante activities. While dancing with Maggie, Kate is approached by Kyle Abbot, a former employee of Bruno Mannheim who split from the Religion of Crime after the events of 52. Through a conversation with Abbot, Kate discovers that Alice has kidnapped her father and plans to destroy Gotham by spreading a deadly airborne chemical from a hijacked airplane, thus succeeding where Mannheim failed. Batwoman boards the plane and defeats Alice's subordinates, eventually stopping the plot and rescuing her father in the process. However, Alice is accidentally thrown from the plane, only to be caught by Batwoman. Alice then shocks her by saying that Batwoman has "Our father's eyes," apparently revealing that she is in fact Kate's sister Beth (who was believed to have been killed years ago). With Batwoman stunned by the revelation, Alice stabs her in the wrist with a knife. Batwoman is forced to release her grip, sending Alice to her apparent demise in the river below.
In the aftermath of this discovery, Kate locks herself in her crime lab and tries to come to terms with what just happened, while the police struggle in vain to find any sign of Alice's corpse. These scenes are depicted among numerous flashback sequences that comprise most of the issue. Throughout them, back story is provided from her childhood that depicts Kate, her twin sister Beth, and their mother being kidnapped. While Kate's father is able to rescue her, it appears as though both her sister and mother have been killed by the time he arrives.
Batwoman appears in the miniseries Cry for Justice, a set-up for a new ongoing Justice League title. When the Justice League of America splits up following Bruce Wayne's death and a disastrous confrontation with the Shadow Cabinet, Green Lantern Hal Jordan leads a group of superheroes to Gotham in order to track down the supervillain known as Prometheus. Kate is shown stalking the heroes from the rooftops after they encounter Clayface. Batwoman later contacts both Leagues at the JLA Watchtower, informing them she encountered and engaged supervillain Delores Winters, who mysteriously collapsed and died right as she was about to be taken into custody. The heroes request that Kate bring the body up to them, but she declines, telling them that she is much too busy due to a rash of criminal uprisings going on in Gotham. Firestorm is then sent to retrieve the corpse from Kate and bring it to the team, who discover that Dolores was forced into fighting by means of a mind control device. In a text piece included in Justice League: Cry for Justice #6, writer James Robinson revealed that Batwoman was initially intended to be part of his new Justice League line-up, but this plan fell apart after Cry For Justice was shortened into a miniseries rather than an ongoing title. This explains why Batwoman is present on the cover of the first issue, and why she was initially said to be a member of the team when the book was first announced.
Later, Kate appears as part of Batman and Robin: Blackest Knight. Batwoman is kidnapped by cultists and taken to London in order for her to once again be sacrificed. She is sealed within a coffin and taken underground to the last remaining Lazarus Pit in order for the ritual to begin. She is saved by the timely intervention of Dick Grayson and British superheroes Knight and Squire. After learning that Grayson plans on placing Bruce Wayne's corpse into the pit in order to revive him, Kate strongly protests, but he simply ignores her. True to Kate's warnings, Bruce (in reality an insane clone created by Darkseid) emerges from the Pit and attacks the heroes. As the battle takes place, the cultists who kidnapped Kate detonate explosives surrounding the Pit, causing a massive cave-in. Grayson discovers Kate, buried alive and with extensive injury to her spine and legs, and tries to help her. Kate is healed after being placed inside the Pit, and she returns to Gotham with the others. Before leaving to return to her home, Grayson flirts with Kate by telling her that he has a thing for red-haired crime-fighters (a reference to his previous love interests, Barbara Gordon and Starfire), apparently unaware of Kate's sexuality.
Batwoman also begins hunting down a crazed serial killer known as the Cutter, who has been abducting young women and cutting off parts of their face in order to create the perfect woman. He eventually kidnaps Bette, but Kate tracks the killer to his lair and attacks him. During the fight, Batwoman reveals her identity to Bette when she mentions her tennis career, and in the aftermath Bette is seen in her Flamebird outfit, saying that she wants to be Kate's new partner.
Promotional art for Batwoman #1 (September 2011).
Art by J. H. Williams III.
|Publication date||September2011 - April2015|
|No. of issues||40, plus two Annuals and two #0 issues|
|Written by||Greg Rucka|
J. H. Williams III
W. Haden Blackman
|Artist(s)||J. H. Williams III|
In 2010, DC announced that Batwoman would star in a series with art by J. H. Williams III, who would also co-write the series with writer W. Haden Blackman. Artist Amy Reeder Hadley would also contribute art, alternating story arcs with Williams. The series' introductory "zero issue" was released on November 24, 2010. The launch of Batwoman #1 was originally scheduled for February 2011, then delayed until spring; in early March it was announced that Batwoman #1 would be released sometime in Fall 2011, as part of the New 52 rebooted DC Universe. In September 2013, J. H. Williams III announced that he together with Blackman quit the series after alleging creative difference with the producers, citing a sudden change to not allow Batwoman to marry her partner as Williams and Blackman had planned.
In the New 52's rebooted DC's continuity, Batwoman appears as a member of an all-female team of heroes created by Wonder Woman to repel a faux-alien invasion of Washington DC masterminded by Professor Ivo. After the battle is over, Kate asks Wonder Woman if she wants to accompany Kate and the other heroines to a bar in order to celebrate, but Wonder Woman politely turns them down in order to attend the college graduation ceremony of her old friend, Vanessa Kapatelis.
In Batman Inc. Batwoman later appears while tracking down a gangster named Johnny Valentine, who is wanted for his connection to the murders of three marines. She tracks him to a local circus, the same one once owned by her predecessor, Kathy Kane. While chasing Valentine through a haunted house, Batwoman is attacked by what appears to be Kathy's ghost. Batwoman struggles with and eventually defeats the "ghost", who is revealed to be nothing more than a blonde-haired female assassin clad in a wig and a replica of Kathy's costume. Kate realizes that she recognizes the assassin, and asks her father to run a facial-recognition scan. While Kate restrains her attacker, her father reveals that Valentine is connected to a supervillain operating out of South America, and tells Kate that she needs to get down there to find out what is going on.
In the Detective Comics title, Batman recruits Batwoman to help run a "boot camp" for young heroes, consisting of Red Robin, Orphan, Spoiler, and Clayface. Batwoman is essentially Batman's co-lead in the first arc (#934-#940), which depicts the team fighting the Colony, a top-secret military organization that mimics Batman's methods. The next two issues are part of the crossover event Night of the Monster Men. Issues 943-947 cover a group of "collateral damage" individuals called the Victim Syndicate, attempting to put an end to Batman's vigilantism. Issues 948 and 949 are collectively called Batwoman Begins. These two issues are a prologue for Batwoman getting her own title again.
February 2017's Batwoman: Rebirth #1 lead into March 2017's Batwoman #1. The new series follows Batwoman as she, accompanied by Julia Pennyworth, works to dismantle a global terrorist group known as The Many Arms of Death while dealing with resurfacing issues from her past. In the final issue of this series, Kate rekindles her relationship with Renee Montoya, a development that has continued into the present.
In the "Fall of the Batmen" arc of Detective Comics and its aftermath, Clayface is tortured by the Victim Syndicate into becoming aggressive and violent. During his rampage, he absorbs excess clay matter from the training simulation room used by the team, which makes him grow to giant size. When all nonlethal attempts to stop his attack fail, Batwoman fatally shoots him with a special rifle that destabilizes his matter. This action causes a schism in the team, leading Batwoman (along with Batwing and Azrael) to join the Colony. The Colony is disbanded in the final issue of the initial Rebirth run, along with Kate and Bruce making amends.
Kate is displaced from her Gotham residence during the storylines "The Fall and the Fallen" and "City of Bane" in the main Batman series, being out of the city on a mission when Bane takes it over. She takes up temporary residence in an apartment in Atlanta. In Black Mask: Year of the Villain #1, she assists Renee Montoya in tracking down Black Mask, who coincidentally fled to Atlanta to begin a new criminal enterprise after escaping a deadly police shootout just before Bane's takeover. They manage to track him down, but he escapes after shooting Renee in the shoulder, which thus distracts Kate while she attempts to render first aid.
Kate Kane was a Senior Elite-level gymnast in high school. In addition to her required military training at West Point (which included instruction in Modern Army Combatives), she completed Air Assault School and the US Army Airborne School, and earned the Recondo Badge, all while maintaining a 95th percentile or better class rank and an above-average Cadet Performance Score. As a cadet, she also competed in boxing (having been taught by her father as a teenager), and is implied to have won at least one match sometime before her senior year.
During her Batwoman training, Kate was taught by members of various special operations units, such as the Green Berets, Navy SEALs, SAS, and others. She learned a much wider variety of martial arts during this time, including karate,Krav Maga,Muay Thai,taekwondo, and Wing Chun; she has mentioned knowing a total of at least 14 styles. Additionally, she received training in military strategy, weaponry, survival skills, and specialized skills such as bomb disposal; this included instruction at the FBI Academy. She also underwent resistance training for torture and incapacitating agents like tear gas.
Batwoman's suit was designed and built by Jacob Kane in a red-and-black color scheme, and incorporates features similar to Batman's own batsuit. The main bodysuit uses dilatant-based armor and contains encrypted radio, GPS, and biotelemetry transmitters. The cape is made from a composite nanotube material and has weighted, sharpened edges that allow it to be used as a weapon in addition to its gliding function.
During her time with the DEO, Batwoman's suit received permanent upgrades, such as tasers built into her gauntlets and gloves. Her cowl was also improved during this time, giving it thermal imaging, anti-flashbang, and anti-hypnosis capabilities.
Batwoman's primary mode of transportation is a customized motorcycle called Red Knight One. It is usually depicted as a black Ducati 1098 with a large red bat-shaped fairing on the front fork. Apart from being voice-activated, Red Knight One has no other special features.
|#||Title||Material collected||Pages||Date Published||ISBN|
|Batwoman: Elegy||Detective Comics #854-860||192||June 14, 2011|
|Batwoman by Greg Rucka and JH Williams III||Detective Comics #854-863||256||June 20, 2017|
|1||Hydrology||Batwoman #1-5, #0||144||June 2012|
|2||To Drown the World||Batwoman #6-11||January 2013|
|3||World's Finest||Batwoman #0 (vol. 2), #12-17||168||September 2013|
|4||Batwoman #18-24||144||April 2014|
|5||Webs||Batwoman #25-34, Annual #1||272||November 2014|
|6||The Unknowns||Secret Origins #3, Batwoman #35-40, Annual #2, Batwoman Futures End #1||208||June 2015|
|1||The Many Arms of Death||Batwoman: Rebirth, #1-6||168||November 21, 2017|
|2||Wonderland||Batwoman #7-11||128||June 5, 2018|
|3||The Fall of the House of Kane||Batwoman #12-18||168||January 22, 2019|