Poor Batwoman. DC has been stringing her along for ages: giving her a green light and publishing the first issue this past November, then letting her languish in developmental hell, then giving her hope again for February and then April releases, then pulling her from shelves without so much as a by-your-leave. But, no more! There is hope! At the DC Icons panel at WonderCon last weekend, artist Amy Reeder stated that the official release date for Batwoman is now September. True, we’ve got a while to wait until then; but hey, at least we HAVE a date now, and allegedly DC is planning on doing a major promotional push for it when it happens. The Mary Sue does note, however, that this is sort of a weird thing to say about a series that has already been in production for a year, complete with marketing campaign, so we may have to hope that this doesn’t end up like the comic book equivalent of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
In any case, though, Batwoman may be lesser-known to many than her male counterpart, so here’s the lowdown:
1) She’s been around for a while.
Batwoman’s first appearance was in 1956, and she was originally created as a love interest for Batman. More interesting, though, is WHY Batman needed a love interest: In the wake of the 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, DC needed to combat allegations that Batman and Robin were homosexual partners. Declining sales eventually led to her retirement, though, and she vanished from the scene by 1979.
2) Batwoman swings both ways.
So yes, we’ve established that her first incarnation, Kathy Kane, was intended to be Batman’s girlfriend; then the 1985 story Crisis on Infinite Earth retroactively erased her from history, so that was the end of that. Her second incarnation, however– Kate Kane, introduced in 2006– is a lesbian. Guess DC got over their fear of gay characters. (Editor’s note: Well, gay female characters.)
3) Her MO is pretty similar to Batman’s.
As with many characters in the Batman universe, Batwoman doesn’t have any unearthly powers, per se; she does, however, have some mean martial arts abilities and a lot of fun toys. Both Kathy and Kate Kane are also heirs to wealthy families, so they’ve also got the most important of Batman’s superpowers: money. Hey, being a superhero is an expensive business!
4) She’s an army baby.
Kate also has another source for her gadgets: the military. Her father is a colonel in the U.S. Army, so much of her equipment is adapted from military equipment. It pays to have connections.
5) She was once part of an all-female team of heroes similar to the Justice League.
Wonder Woman was the mastermind behind this one, asking Batwoman and several other female heroes to band together in order to repel a faux-alien attack on Washington DC (it turned out that mad scientist Professor Ivo was responsible). Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “girl power.”
[Image via The Mary Sue]