ByZane E Sanders, writer at
Writer, movie lover, with a Marvel focus. Podcast "The Gospel According to Marvel" on iTunes. Follow me on twitter: @zaneEsanders
Zane E Sanders

Suicide Squad comes out in less than a month, so we're diving into the comic book history of its main characters to prepare for their live-action adventure and discover some of their essential storylines. This particular edition is dedicated to the samurai warrior Katana.

Dive into the comic book history of the Suicide Squad characters here!

Who Is Katana?

Tatsu Yamashiro, being played by Karen Fukuhara, trained in the ways of the samurai after her family was killed by the Yakuza. Eventually moving from Japan to the United States, she began a career as the vigilante known as Katana. What is so interesting about having her in Suicide Squad is that she is an expert martial artist, swordswoman and vigilante in her own right, it looks as though Katana is volunteering, serving as Rick Flagg's personal bodyguard on the Squad.

Fukuhara has stated that Katana "has morals and codes. She can also slice through hundreds of people without taking a breath." It will be interesting to see how the character is portrayed in the film and if it's for similar reasons as in the comics.

What Happened To Katana's Family?

It's the tale of two brothers falling for the same woman; in this case, Maseo and Takeo Yamashiro both fell in love with Tatsu. Though she liked both enough, she ultimately chose Maseo. Angry and searching for a way to change his fate, Takeo joined the Yakuza and received matching swords, one of which had magical qualities. Challenging his brother to a duel in order to win Tatsu, Takeo took the lives of Maseo and their twin children, Yuki and Reiko.

Tatsu made it just in time to watch as the sword called Soultaker left Maseo's body and, filled with passion, she disarmed Takeo and barely escaped their burning house with her life. From that day forward, Tatsu dedicated her life to becoming a samurai and trained under the master, Tadashi.

The Sword Called Soultaker

Katana with Soultaker.
Katana with Soultaker.

Katana wields a sword named Soultaker, which captures the spirits of the people it kills, allowing her to communicate with them. Ironically, her husband was killed with this sword and his spirit is one of the inhabitants of Soultaker. Katana is on a mission to free all of the souls trapped within the sword, trying to settle each of their affairs in order to grant their souls peace — particularly her husband's.

Katana Has Been A Part Of Many Teams

The Birds of Prey.
The Birds of Prey.

Katana became an unintentional member of a team after helping Batman during a mission in Markovia, so Batman began training Katana — along with Geo-Force, Halo, Metamorpho, and Black Lightning — as a group called the Outsiders. Batman saw the team's biggest need was to learn what it means to truly work as a unit and how to how to complement each other's abilities during combat.

Acting as official agents of Markovia after Batman left Geo-Force in charge of team, they fought against many villains during their time together including the Masters of Disaster, Agent Orange, Force of July and Baron Bedlam, just to name a few. Since their original iteration, the team has reformed many times, with Katana happily on the roster.

Katana joined the Birds of Prey after the events of Flashpoint; the team has a constantly changing roster, but was started by Oracle/Batgirl and Black Canary with Katana among them. She has also been seen in the big leagues, and by that I mean the Justice League.

Major Storylines For Katana

The Outsiders.
The Outsiders.

After her introduction in to comics in The Brave and the Bold Issue 200 in July of 1983, Katana has spent most of her time in the comics working with the various iterations of the Outsiders. Along with spending some time with the Birds of Prey and the Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller convinces her to join the new Justice League of America by trading information on her husband's murder.

When DC's Justice League of America launched, they also released a 10-issue solo series for Katana which focused on her lifelong mission to track down her husband's killer. Another major role Katana played was in the New 52's Green Arrow series where Soultaker is worked into the mythology as part of a secret society —also called The Outsiders — dedicated to terminating global corruption.

Suicide Squad his theaters August 5.


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