|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2008)|
|First appearance||Batman #579 (July 2000)|
|Created by||Larry Hama|
|Alter ego||Dr. Grace Balin|
|Abilities||Enhanced strength and endurance
Exceptional swimming abilities
Fictional character biography
Grace Balin attends Gotham Gate college and quickly becomes fascinated with the ocean. She receives a Ph. D in Marine Biology and Bio-Medicine and takes a job at the Gotham Aquarium. She is a very charitable person who funds an after-school program involving the ocean for underprivileged youths. She also volunteers at a soup shelter and takes care of many homeless people. Dr. Balin is later involved in an accident that leaves her paralyzed, dependent on a wheelchair for mobility. She continues to work at the Gotham Aquarium until it is supposed to be closed for lack of funding.
Grace experiments with spinal cord tissue regeneration using Orca spinal cord tissue. The Gene-Therapy studies and human experimentation that she was conducting becomes the cause of her loss of funding. It is implied that Grace used a chemical formula that she derived from an Orca in the aquarium on herself and that this is what caused her to transform into Orca. She is able to easily switch between being Orca and her regular appearance as Dr. Balin, although she is apparently still paralyzed as Balin even if Orca is fully mobile.
Orca then begins a crime spree in Gotham City by stealing a valuable diamond called the "Flame of Persia" from rogue millionaire Camille Baden-Smythe. After the theft of the diamond, Batman became involved, Orca's dedication to what she perceives as justice conflicting with Batman's attempts to see that everyone is entitled to legal protection even if he dislikes them personally. Orca aims to sell the diamond and use the proceeds to help fund several projects for underprivileged people. After her attempt to sell the diamond back to Camille Baden-Smythe failed with the discovery that she had stolen the diamond originally, Orca attempts to kill her. Camille's security force shoots Orca several times, mortally wounding her. After an extensive underwater chase- Batman using an aquatic-equipped suit to cope with her advantange in an aquatic environment-, she begins changing back into Dr. Balin in an underwater cavern, telling Batman that the only way that she could survive is if he gave her the rest of the chemical formula that turned her into Orca, permanently transforming her into Orca. Although Camille tried to forbid Batman from giving her the formula, arguing that such an action would make Batman responsible for everyone she would subsequently kill, Batman simply stated that they were all responsible for their own actions, as well as he refused to allow anyone to die. Having ingested the formula, Orca swam away, resolved to continue her current career, before Batman could apprehend her. It is revealed that the jewel was then sold to its original owner and that the money was used to build a new recreation center near the aquarium as well as to "...gentrify a derelict waterfront tenement." Following her first encounter with Batman, Orca is not seen again until she appears as a prisoner in the Slab during the Joker’s "Last Laugh" riots. She is able to escape during the riots with King Shark.
One Year Later, Orca is found dead in the sewers under Gotham City. She appears to have been shot in the head by Harvey Dent's gun, although Batman is convinced Dent is not the true killer. He finds that her body has been partially eaten by Killer Croc. Orca's husband Terry was murdered by The Tally Man while he was being questioned about the disappearance of his wife by Private Investigator Jason Bard. During the investigation it is revealed that Orca was working for The Penguin along with now deceased super-villains KGBeast, Magpie, as well as The Ventriloquist. Someone had contracted Orca and other supervillains to turn on The Penguin and rob one of his storage facilities. Harvey Dent catches them and instructs them to stay loyal to Penguin and to get any information they could about him. Harvey Dent is the prime suspect in their murders, but it turns out that they were orchestrated by the Great White Shark, who plans on becoming the number one crime boss in Gotham. He manages to kill two birds with one stone, he weakens the Penguin's forces and manages to turn Harvey Dent back into Two-Face.
Powers and abilities
Orca has enhanced strength and endurance, although her strength has not been enhanced to the point where a trained fighter like Batman would have significant trouble with her on land. Her main advantage lays in her exceptional swimming abilities, allowing her to be at complete ease in water, able to swim under water for long periods without taking a breath, forcing Batman to use an aquatic costume to effectively confront her on equal terms.
- Orca at Comic Vine