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Batwoman (Kate Kane).png
Textless variant cover of Detective Comics #860 (December 2009).
Art by Alex Ross.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceAs Kate Kane:
52 #7 (August 2006)
As Batwoman:
52 #11 (September 2006)
Created byGeoff Johns
Grant Morrison
Greg Rucka
Mark Waid
Keith Giffen
In-story information
Alter egoKatherine Rebecca "Kate" Kane
Team affiliationsBatman Incorporated
Justice League
Birds of Prey
Justice League Dark
Notable aliasesBrightbat
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Peak human physical condition
  • Highly skilled martial artist
  • Highly skilled detective
  • Utilizes high-tech equipment and weapons

Batwoman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Katherine Rebecca "Kate" Kane is a wealthy heiress who becomes inspired by the crimefighter Batman and chooses, like him, to put her wealth and resources toward a campaign to fight crime as a masked vigilante in her home of Gotham City.

This current version of Batwoman debuted 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, being a niece of his mother Martha Wayne.[1] 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 is depicted in comics works relatively independently of Batman, but has gained a 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 portrayed the character in her live-action debut during a crossover special for the TV shows Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, setting up a 2019 Batwoman television series. Rose departed ahead of the show's second season; the part was recast to Wallis Day, with Javicia Leslie succeeding the role of Batwoman as original character Ryan Wilder. Wilder has subsequently been adapted into the official DC Comics universe with a brief appearance in Batgirl #50, though not as Batwoman.[2][3]

Publication history[edit]

Kate Kane's debut in 52 #7 (June 2006). Kane converses with Renee Montoya. Layout by Keith Giffen. Art by Ken Lashley and Draxhall Jump Studios.
Kane's debut as Batwoman in 52 #11 (July 2006). Cover art by J.G. Jones.

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."[4]

Unlike the Silver Age Kathy Kane, who was romantically attracted to Batman, the new version of Kane is a lesbian,[5] as well as Bruce Wayne's maternal cousin.[6] Her sexual orientation was announced at the same time the character was revealed in the spring of 2006.[7] Stories appeared on television news outlets such as CNN,[8] general news magazines such as USA Today, and gay culture magazines such as Out.[7] The modern Katherine "Kate" Kane made her first comic book appearance in issue #7 of the maxi-series 52 (2006),[9] where Kane is revealed to have been romantically involved with Renee Montoya, 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."[10]

Batwoman's sexual orientation initially gathered mixed reviews, ranging from praise to outrage.[11] A reviewer at Out asserts "Batwoman will be the highest profile gay superhero to ever grace the pages of DC Comics."[7] 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.[12]

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,[13] 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.[14] with DC saying at the 2009 New York Comic Con that she would be DC Comics' highest profile gay superhero.[15]

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.[16]

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 to their current story arc, or show Kate and Maggie getting married.[17][18][19] This announcement followed a February 2013 announcement that Batwoman #17 would feature the proposal between Kate and Maggie.[20] DC Comics announced that Batwoman could not get married because "heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives".[21]

In December 2014, it was announced that the series would be cancelled in March at issue forty, along with twelve other New 52 series.[22]

In 2016, it was announced that Batwoman would be one of the lead characters in the DC Comics Rebirth revamp of Detective Comics, which returned to its original numbering with issue #934.[23]

Character biography[edit]

Origins and early career

Kate Kane battles Whisper A'Daire's bestial followers as Batwoman. Art by Keith Giffen.

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. Their parents were career soldiers in the United States Army, and the twins were raised at least partially in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[a] Their father, Jacob "Jake" Kane, was promoted to colonel sometime before their twelfth birthday and reassigned to a NATO position in Brussels, Belgium, and the family moved there.[24]

On the twins' twelfth birthday, Jacob could not come home to celebrate with them due to a security crisis, so Kate and Beth were taken by their mother, Gabrielle "Gabi" Kane, to the Grand Place 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.[24] Years later, Jake marries Catherine Hamilton Kane.

Kate attends the United States Military Academy, where she receives excellent grades, performs well in physical fitness and sports, earns prestigious awards, and achieves the rank of Brigade Executive Officer in her senior year; she also maintains a secret romantic relationship with her roommate, Sophie Moore. Shortly after her class's Ring Weekend ceremony, Kate is anonymously accused of homosexual conduct. The Academy's Brigade Tactical 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 BTO 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.[25]

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.[25]

Inspired by her encounter with the caped crusader, Kate sobers up and begins fighting crime using military body armor and weaponry stolen from her father's military base and purchased off the black market; 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.[26]

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."[27] In 52 #7 (2006) the new Batwoman is introduced.[9] 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,"[28] 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.[29]

In 52 #28 (2006),[30] 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.[31] Batwoman later appears in a story written by Greg Rucka for the DC Infinite Holiday Special (2006).[32] 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),[33] 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?"[33]

2007–2009: Countdown, Final Crisis[edit]

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),[34] 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)[35] 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.

2009–2010: Detective Comics lead feature[edit]

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)[36] 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).[37]

Aspects of her personal life are also revealed, including her relationship with her 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.[37] 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.[38]

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.[39] 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.[40]

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.[24]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43] 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.[44]

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.[45] 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 paralyzed from the waist down. Using morphine from Grayson's utility belt, Kate deliberately commits suicide by overdose in order to be resurrected and healed by the nearby Pit.[46] This plan is successful, and Kate returns to Gotham with the others. Furthermore, since Kate did technically die, the cultists consider their goal completed. 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.[47]

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.[48]

2010–2015: New 52 self-titled series[edit]

Promotional art for Batwoman #1 (September 2011).
Art by J. H. Williams III.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
FormatOngoing series
Publication dateSeptember 2011 – April 2015
No. of issues40, plus two Annuals and two #0 issues
Creative team
Written byGreg Rucka
J. H. Williams III
W. Haden Blackman
Marc Andreyko
Artist(s)J. H. Williams III
Amy Reeder
Jeremy Haun

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.[49][50] 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.[51][52] 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.[53]

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.[54]

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.[55]

2016–present: DC Rebirth[edit]

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.[56] 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.[57] Issues 943-947 cover a group of "collateral damage" individuals called the Victim Syndicate, attempting to put an end to Batman's vigilantism.[58][59] Issues 948 and 949 are collectively called Batwoman Begins. These two issues are a prologue for Batwoman getting her own title again.[60][61]

Batwoman plays a minor role in the first arc of the Young Animal series Mother Panic, where she tracks down and briefly interacts with the title character, who is a new vigilante in Gotham. The comic implies that Kate Kane has a romantic past with Violet Paige, the protagonist, which Kate is "still mad" about.[62]

February 2017's Batwoman: Rebirth #1 lead into March 2017's Batwoman #1.[63][64] 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.[65] In the final issue of this series, Kate rekindles her relationship with Renee Montoya,[66] 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.[67] The Colony is disbanded in the final issue of the initial Rebirth run, along with Kate and Bruce making amends.[68]

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.[69] 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.[70]

During the "Joker War" crossover storyline, Batwoman assisted Batman in recapturing Wayne Tower, which had been taken over by the Joker's henchmen, who were using the building's fabrication facilities to manufacture weapons and vehicles to aid their side of the conflict. Additionally, she helped rescue Lucius Fox, who had been dosed with Joker Toxin and forced to help this production process.


Similar to her cousin Bruce, Kate uses her status as a rich socialite to disguise her vigilante activities; however, unlike Bruce, whose playboy persona is usually depicted as a facade,[71] Kate enjoys her public lifestyle, a trait which Bruce himself admires.[72] Naturally confident and flirtatious, Kate adapted such characteristics for intel-gathering purposes as a vigilante.[26][73]

Kate lives in a penthouse atop the R.H. Kane building that also contains her crimefighting headquarters,[72] and holds an office job of some sort.[74] She is an occasional gig musician at various bars around Gotham, performing as a guitarist.[74]

Though never outright stated, the Kanes are implied to be of the Reform Judaism denomination, as Kate and Beth were not preparing for a bat mitzvah on their 12th birthday.[24] Kate displays a menorah[b] and Shabbat candles in her penthouse[37] and celebrates Jewish holidays,[32] but does not follow kosher dietary restrictions.[75]

Greg Rucka mentions Kate as being shaped by her parents, who demonstrated "the best of what [military] culture can offer," including personal responsibility, integrity, service, and a diminutization of personal gratification.[76] In particular, Kate takes after her father Jacob, as she specifically emulated his levelheaded demeanor in the wake their family tragedy to counteract her grief and inherent hotheadedness. This personality shift is something she maintained as an adult.[77] In James Tynion IV's short story "The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass," this emulation of Jacob is expanded upon as including feelings of gender variance that Kate experienced as a child even before the kidnappings; though Kate is cisgender, from a young age she was more interested in masculine pastimes like her father was, something she found confusing and troubling at the time in light of her much more feminine sister.[78]

Rucka notes that Kate considers her vigilantism no different than military service[76] and likens her adoption of the Batsymbol to fighting under a flag; following an ideal instead of an individual.[79] Sara Century of Syfy Wire describes Kate as a "loyal but not unquestioning" ally to Batman despite their disagreements.[80]

Unlike most members of the Batfamily, Kate has no ethical qualms about using lethal force if necessary,[81] but also dislikes euthanasia.[82]


Skills and training[edit]

Kate Kane was a Senior Elite-level gymnast in high school.[26] Along with 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.[25] As a cadet, she also competed in boxing (having been taught by her father as a teenager[83]), and is implied to have won an academy boxing championship against Sophie Moore sometime before their senior year.[84] Larry Hama's short story "Honor Code" establishes that Kate, early in her senior year as a cadet, was skilled enough in both psychological warfare and the Pashto language to be sent on a mission to Afghanistan to capture a terrorist leader.[85] Additionally, the story mentions Kate is an expert-level marksman on the M4 Carbine and M92 pistol and "maxed her PT requirements," indicating she earned the maximum score on the Army Physical Fitness Test and the Indoor Obstacle Course Test.[85]

While traveling the world during her post-West Point debauchery, Kate fractured her skull in a diving mishap off the coast of Coryana, a so-called "pirate nation" located in the Mediterranean Sea.[64] After washing up on the island, her head wound was crudely stitched together with gold thread,[86] which left Kate with a limited ability to detect electromagnetic fields, similar to the notion of dental fillings picking up radio waves.[87]

During her Batwoman training, Kate was taught by members of various special operations units, such as the Green Berets, Navy SEALs, SAS, and others.[88] There is a strong implication that one of her non-military trainers was Green Arrow antagonist Shado.[77] Kate learned a much wider variety of martial arts during this time, including karate,[40] Krav Maga,[40] Muay Thai,[89] taekwondo,[77] and Wing Chun;[40] she has mentioned knowing a total of at least 14 styles.[90] Additionally, she received training in military strategy, weaponry, parkour, wingsuiting, 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.[26][77]


Personal Armor

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.[26] 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.[26][91] The suit's gloves are heat-resistant to at least 1,000 °C (1,830 °F).[92]

During her time with the DEO, Batwoman's suit received permanent upgrades, such as tasers built into her gauntlets and gloves.[75] Her cowl was also improved during this time, giving it thermal imaging, anti-flashbang, and anti-hypnosis capabilities.[93][94]

In the DC Rebirth era, each of Batwoman's gauntlets gained hard light projectors on the forearm, as well as a capacitive outer shell.[95]

Red Knight One

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 stylized bat-shaped fairing on the front fork. Red Knight One is voice-activated and contains a simple AI and radar system.[96][97]

Alternate versions[edit]

  • In the Flashpoint universe, Kate Kane is a member of Team 7, an elite unit of soldiers led by Grifter. Kate, along with most of the team, is killed during a botched attack on a terrorist training camp in Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #2 (July 2011).
  • In Nightwing: The New Order, Nightwing ends an ongoing feud between superpowered beings by activating a device that depowers ninety percent of the super powered population. This builds to a future where super powers are outlawed and any super powered being must take inhibitor medications or be contained and studied should the medications not work on them. In this reality, Kate lost faith in vigilantism and became a government official instead. Kate supported Grayson and worked to get anti-super power actions passed through the government. However, after Grayson was chosen to be the leader of the anti-super power task for the Crusaders over her, Kane grew resentful of her former ally. In the year 2040, after Grayson's son Jake showed signs of developing super powers, Kane went out of her way to have Jake and his father arrested, still holding a grudge. When the Graysons successfully restore the metahuman population's super powers, Kate retires from the Department of Defense after the super power ban was eventually repealed.[98]
  • In the comic book adaptation of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Batwoman (Kate Kane) appears as a member of Batman's Insurgency. At the end of the Year Three series she and Huntress fight Wonder Woman of Superman's Regime, with the latter being accidentally killed by the Amazon; while Wonder Woman is shocked by this, a furious Kate beats her into submission. Her grudge toward Wonder Woman continues into Year Four, where she also suffers the death of Renee Montoya after she overdosed on enhancement pills. When the Regime and the Greek Gods battle at the Hall of Justice, Kate gets revenge on Wonder Woman by strangling her with her own Lasso of Truth, recreating Huntress' experience. However, while she acknowledged she wants Diana dead, she lets her live as a sign that she is a better person. In Year Five, when an underground resistance is built up and named after the Joker, she confronts them in their hideout and tells them the Joker is not a man who should be honored. In the conclusion of the series she is killed by Superman sacrificing herself to buy time to transport the other universe's Justice League to their world.
  • In Batwoman: Future's End #1, five years into a potential future, Kate Kane was turned into a vampire and, unable to control her thirst for blood, she began attacking people. She was eventually killed when her sister Beth drove a stake through her heart.
  • Kate is a main character of DC Comics Bombshells. In the 1930s, Kate Kane was an "adventurer." She kept her father's company afloat in the depression and fought in the Spanish Civil War with her then girlfriend, Renee Montoya. Upon returning to Gotham City in 1938, Kate noticed a news program focusing on Jackie Mitchell. Becoming inspired, Kate took on the name of The Batwoman while donning a black baseball uniform. She began to fight crime around the city of Gotham and was constantly pursued by Maggie Sawyer of the GCPD. The two finally came face to face with each other in 1939 and fell in love. Maggie vowed to keep Kate's identity a secret. In 1940, during the time period the allied forces fought overseas, Kate found a new life and happiness with Maggie Sawyer. Together, with her team of Batgirls, the group protects America from criminality. In 1940s, Kate is "The Batwoman": a vigilante inspiring hope in Gotham City. She was named after the bat and baseball uniform she uses to fight crime in. She is recruited by Amanda Waller to enlist in the Bombshells war effort.
  • Kate Kane, as Batwoman, is part of the Resistance led by Nightwing in the Future State event.[99]

Collected editions[edit]

# Title Material collected Pages Date Published ISBN
Batwoman: Elegy Detective Comics #854–860 192 June 14, 2011 978-1401231460
Batwoman by Greg Rucka and JH Williams III Detective Comics #854–863 256 June 20, 2017 978-1401274139
New 52
1 Hydrology Batwoman #1–5, #0 144 June 2012 978-1781163610
2 To Drown the World Batwoman #6–11 January 2013 978-1401237905
3 World's Finest Batwoman #0 (vol. 2), #12–17 168 September 2013 978-1401242466
4 This Blood is Thick Batwoman #18–24 144 April 2014 978-1401246211
5 Webs Batwoman #25–34, Annual #1 272 November 2014 978-1401250829
6 The Unknowns Secret Origins #3, Batwoman #35–40, Annual #2, Batwoman Futures End #1 208 June 2015 978-1401254681
DC Rebirth
1 The Many Arms of Death Batwoman: Rebirth, #1-6 168 November 21, 2017 978-1401274306
2 Wonderland Batwoman #7-11 128 June 5, 2018 978-1401278717
3 The Fall of the House of Kane Batwoman #12-18 168 January 22, 2019 978-1401285777

In other media[edit]



Promotional image of Ruby Rose as Kate Kane / Batwoman for the Arrowverse's 2018 "Elseworlds" crossover event.

Kate Kane / Batwoman made her live-action debut in The CW's Arrowverse, portrayed by Ruby Rose;[100] who was cast in the role in August 2018.[100]

  • The character first appears in the 2018 crossover event "Elseworlds" with Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl.[101] The crossover establishes Batwoman on Earth-1, the same as Arrow and The Flash.[102] This version is Bruce Wayne's cousin and protects Gotham City in Wayne's absence, who mysteriously left three years earlier.[103] In "Elseworlds, Part 2", she arranges for the bail of Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, and Kara Danvers after they are arrested by the Gotham City Police Department. After the heroes confront John Deegan in Arkham Asylum, he arranges a mass breakout, which Kane helps stop as Batwoman. Following the battle, Batwoman tells the heroes to take their leave now that they got what they needed. Supergirl reveals she knows who Batwoman is, using her X-ray vision, as well as mentions Superman's relationship with her Earth's Batman. At the end of "Elseworlds, Part 3", Batwoman calls Oliver to tell him that a now incarcerated Deegan has made "friends" with Psycho-Pirate.
  • In July 2018, it was reported that a television series centered on the character was in development at The CW.[104] On January 3, 2019, the show received a pilot order.[105] On May 7, 2019, the show was picked up by the network.[106] It premiered on October 6, 2019. In this series, Kate has been away from Gotham since Batman disappeared three years ago, returning to try and join her father's new security forces, but when she learns of Bruce's identity as Batman, she has Luke Fox (son of the deceased Lucius Fox) adjust the Batsuit to fit her so that she can assume her cousin's mantle, acting to defend Gotham against the threat of Alice, revealed to be Kate's long-presumed-dead sister who has been driven insane and seeks revenge for her family seemingly abandoning her. In the season 2 premiere, she's presumed dead after her plane crashes, which was revealed to be the Safiyah's doing at the end of the episode. In May 2020, Rose departed Batwoman after the first season.[107] Javicia Leslie succeed the role of Batwoman in the second season as original character Ryan Wilder. Season 2 opens with Ryan witnessing the plane crash that apparently contained Kate while looking for survivors among the wreckage. She finds the Batsuit and puts two and two together about who Batwoman was.[108] The character of Kate Kane was revealed to be alive in the season two episode "Survived Much Worse", with Wallis Day now portraying the role, the change justified as the result of facial reconstructive surgery after a traumatic accident.[109]
  • Rose also played Earth-99's Kate in the Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths". She was seen in a photograph with Beth Kane where they weren't separated in the car crash. It was also mentioned that she is dead when her Bruce Wayne lost his code of justice that led to him killing Earth-99's Superman and some of his enemies.


  • The Kate Kane version of Batwoman makes a cameo appearance in Young Justice: Outsiders. She appears as one of the Justice League members that quits with Batman in a pre-planned move after United Nations Secretary-General Lex Luthor establishes laws that prevent the Justice League from interfering in his metahuman trafficking rings.


  • The DC Animated Universe film Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman features a new, ruthless version of Batwoman (voiced by Kyra Sedgwick) who is actually three separate women sharing the same identity; Kathy Duquesne (voiced by Kimberly Brooks), the daughter of crime boss Carlton Duquesne, WayneTech employee Doctor Roxanne "Rocky" Ballantine (voiced by Kelly Ripa), and new detective Sonia Alcana (voiced by Elisa Gabrielli). The three having met in college, they pooled their resources to destroy Kathy's father, Carlton Duquesne, long-standing mobster Rupert Thorne, and the Penguin, as Kathy blames her father's work for her mother's death, Thorne burnt down Sonia's parents' shop when she was a child, and the Penguin framed Roxanne's fiancé for a past crime. Kathy's knowledge of her father's contacts, Roxanne's various tools, and Sonia's hand-to-hand combat skills allow them to do serious damage to Thorne's operations, while Carlton agrees to testify against Thorne when he saves Kathy after she is unmasked as Batwoman during the final struggle aboard a boat Thorne was using to smuggle weapons into Gotham. At the film's conclusion, Bruce is exploring a relationship with Kathy, Rocky is reunited with her fiancé after Batman is able to find evidence clearing him of the Penguin's frame job, and Sonia resigns from the police after taking full responsibility for Batwoman's actions to protect the others.
  • The Kate Kane iteration of Batwoman makes a cameo appearance in Batman vs. Robin. During one of Batman's nightmares, she is one of the fallen bodies next to Damian Wayne's Batman.
  • The Kate Kane iteration of Batwoman appears in Batman: Bad Blood, voiced by Yvonne Strahovski.[110] This version has military training but is berated by Batman for using live guns and ammunition in combat. She is also shown to have known Dick Grayson since they were children with Dick having a brief crush on her then which she did not notice at first, but still viewed each other as friends. Her lesbianism is freely addressed by her father at one point early in the film and she is shown meeting Renee Montoya who comes to her house at the end of the movie.
  • Kate Kane has a non-speaking cameo as a civilian during Superman's funeral in The Death of Superman.
  • Batwoman appears in Lego DC Batman: Family Matters, voiced by Tara Strong.
  • The Kate Kane iteration of Batwoman makes a non-speaking cameo in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. She is seen fighting Parademons along with Batwing and Batgirl, but is overpowered and implied to be killed.
  • Batwoman will appear in the upcoming anime film Catwoman: Hunted, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz.[111]

Video games[edit]

  • The Kate Kane iteration of Batwoman appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by Christina J. Moore.[112]
  • The Kate Kane iteration of Batwoman appears as a DLC playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
  • Kate Kane is featured in Batman: Arkham Knight. She is heard on Bruce Wayne's answering machine, where she asks if Bruce is coming to her wedding to Maggie Sawyer and mentions that Bruce taught her the importance of keeping up appearances, hinting she is already Batwoman.
  • The Kate Kane iteration of Batwoman is a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains. She is obtained by getting her Character Token from the thirteenth level “Steppenwolf Surprise.”
  • The Arrowverse version of Batwoman appears as a playable agility character in the mobile version of Injustice 2.


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External links[edit]