You might remember the initial incarnation of Batwoman from the Silver Age who slowly faded away from the DC Universe. But today’s recreation of the character has become an iconic LGBT superhero with a growing climb to fame. If you're unacquainted with this member of the Bat-family, let this be your guide to everything Kate Kane.
Kate Kane’s Introduction
In 2006, Kate made her debut in 52, a weekly comic that took place after Infinte Crisis reached conclusion. She first appeared in Issue #7 as herself, and later received a cameo as #Batwoman in Issue #9. Kate's 52 stories developed her as an actual character, and often focused on her romantic involvement with Gotham City detective, Renee Montoya.
On the decision to make Kate an openly lesbian character, DC Comics' senior vice president and executive editor Dan DiDio commented:
"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."
After 52, Batwoman would appear in titles such as Countdown, Crime Bible and Final Crisis before earning a main role in DC's flagship title, Detective Comics.
The Origin Of Batwoman
Batwoman's first run through Detective was beautiful, intriguing and full of emotion. Not to mention, she was finally given her own origin story — let's take a look.
Kate grew up with her parents and her identical twin, Beth, whom she was very close with. Both of her parents were involved in the military, causing the family to move constantly and keeping her father away from home. On the way to celebrate the girls' twelfth birthday, a group of gunmen abducted them and her mother, taking them hostage. Before Kate's father had a chance to rescue his family, her sister disappeared and her mother was executed in front of her eyes. From that day on, Kate discovered her purpose: to protect others from the monsters of the world and ensure that innocent civilians would never deal with the pain she experienced.
She honored that purpose by following her father's footsteps in joining the military. However, when she was accused of entering a lesbian relationship with another cadet, she was expelled under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Rather than lying to her commander, Kate kept her honor and integrity.
Following the aftermath of her discharge, nothing in Kate's life was going according to plan, causing her to lose direction and become reckless. The inherited wealth from her father's new marriage established her as a socialite in Gotham who became infamous for partying. But after #Batman nearly saved her life, she realized that she could become a soldier on her own terms as Batwoman. Her tough but inspiring journey has left a major impact on her fans. Kate proves to us that growth is always attainable.
Watch Kate recount her story in her first animated feature, Batman: Bad Blood (2016):
The character's rising noteriety led to her first solo series, Batwoman, under New 52 continuity in 2011. By guiding her own adventures, the superheroine finally received the recognition she deserves and became a groundbreaker for #LGBT representation. The comic later approached its downfall when DC refused to let Kate get married after she proposed to her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer, in Issue #17. The creative team, J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman, left after Issue #26 and the book was eventually canceled.
But don't worry, Batwoman certainly isn't going away!
- Interview: Batwoman Writer Marguerite Bennett On Rebirth & LGBT Legacy
- Why Batwoman Should Be The Next DC Superhero To Get A Solo TV Series
Where Can You Find Batwoman Now?
It's no doubt that Batwoman is one of the strongest female characters in the current DC Rebirth launch. She's a lead in Detective Comics (beginning with Issue #934) where she and Batman have organized a team of next-generation vigilantes in Gotham. In fact, this series also reminded us that Kate and Bruce are relatives.
In February, Batwoman's second solo series kicked off with writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Steve Epting. Her independent adventure began with Batwoman: Rebirth #1, which recapped her origin and formulated her future events. It honored her past for longtime fans and managed to be an excellent jumping on point for new readers as well.
Batwoman #1, released in March, dove into a fresh story with an arc entitied "The Many Arms of Death." In this journey, we'll witness Kate on a globetrotting mission to eliminate the market of a deadly bioweapon. Her destination, Coryana, embodies a dark time in her life that she is forced to confront. So far, this comic has given us an elegant mystery, gorgeous artwork and a trace of delightful banter provided by her new right-hand woman, Julia Pennyworth.
In our very own interview, Bennett expresses what she's hoping to achieve during her time on Batwoman:
"I hope we make something beautiful, brutal, and defiantly queer. I hope we show you elements of Batwoman and her world you’ve never seen before, had never even imagined, and push her to heights and drive her to depths that make you delight and despair for her. I hope we do justice to her legacy, and create the book I wish had existed when I was young and growing up."
Kate Kane is truly a heroine we need and deserve in today's world. She is a fearless and empowered gay woman who often exhibits fallability — and that makes us connect with her even more.
What does Batwoman mean to you? Tell us in the comments below!