Sasha Bordeaux in Checkmate vol 2 #2 (July 2006); art by Jesús Saíz
|First appearance||Detective Comics #751 (December 2000)|
|Created by||Greg Rucka|
|Alter ego||Sasha Bordeaux|
|Notable aliases||Black Queen, Black King's Bishop|
|Abilities||An OMAC cyborg independent of Brother Eye, also infrared vision in cybernetic eye, resistant to telepathy|
Sasha Bordeaux is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was at first primarily associated with superhero Batman, and she has subsequently evolved an association with Checkmate in two of its incarnations. Sasha Bordeaux was created by Greg Rucka and Shawn Martinbrough, and first appeared in Detective Comics #751 (December 2000).
Fictional character biography
Bodyguard and superhero
Sasha Bordeaux first appeared as an attractive young martial artist who was hired as Bruce Wayne's bodyguard by WayneCorp's second in command, Lucius Fox, albeit against Wayne's wishes. Wayne at first tried to avoid her, but she kept on doing her job.
She eventually became suspicious of his constant late-night disappearances and did some searching, and was shocked to find that Bruce Wayne was secretly Batman. Knowing he couldn't legally fire her for knowing of his secret identity, Batman began training her to become his apprentice. After weeks of hard work, she became fit enough to go out with him on patrol in a suit, though he still treated her as a total stranger both as Batman and as Bruce Wayne. During this time, she fell in love with him, even as he insisted on having her around while he dated other women.
One night while Batman and Bordeaux were out on patrol, the assassin David Cain lured Wayne's ex-girlfriend Vesper Fairchild to Wayne Manor and killed her, framing Wayne in the process. Both Wayne and Bordeaux were charged with murder, and Sasha refused to exonerate herself by giving up Wayne's secret despite the fact that they had been patrolling separate areas at the time of the murder and therefore even she couldn't be sure Bruce hadn't killed Vesper. They were both arraigned and held without bail while awaiting trial. After a while, Batman escaped to leave his alter ego behind, leaving Bordeaux inside Blackgate prison. Although Sasha was briefly offered her freedom if she testified against Bruce Wayne— even contemplating taking the deal after Bruce abandoned her— a meeting with Alfred Pennyworth, who had recently returned to Gotham City after spending time away, left her resolved to reject the offer. Alfred helped her realize that Bruce had truly valued her work, rather than using her without any thought for herself, as otherwise he would never have allowed her to accompany him as Batman. Batman eventually confronted those who framed him, and Wayne and Sasha were cleared of all charges.
While in prison custody, Sasha was severely wounded by another prisoner and would have died had the government agency Checkmate not given her medical treatment. They faked her death and offered to give her a new name and identity (complete with plastic surgery) if she would work for them. With no other options, she agreed.
Batman tirelessly searched for Sasha, not believing she had died in prison. To facilitate this, he disrupted all of Checkmate's operations in Gotham City. The group eventually organized a meeting between the two, where Wayne confessed that he loved her. Sasha, though feeling the same way, realized that her new life would prevent them from being together and told him to let her go.
Over time, Bordeaux rose through the ranks of Checkmate to become right hand to Maxwell Lord, the group's leader. Lord later hijacked the Brother I satellite that Batman had created to monitor all superhuman activity. Brother I itself had recently become sentient due to the actions of Alexander Luthor, Jr. as a part of his plans for the Infinite Crisis. He also created an army of cyborgs known as OMACs (humans transformed by a virus) programmed to hunt and kill all superhumans and/or specific targets. During his rule, Lord killed all who opposed him, assisted by Brother I who monitored for rebellion. Sasha feigned loyalty to stay alive, but broke the pretense when Lord killed his former ally Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) and ordered Sasha to dispose of his corpse. Filled with hatred for herself and Lord, she sent Kord's trademark goggles to Batman as part of a message detailing Lord's madness.
When Brother I revealed Sasha's betrayal, he sent out an OMAC squad, who found Sasha and Batman in an abandoned warehouse just after they shared a kiss. The OMACs' goal of killing Batman and taking Sasha only partly succeeded, as Batman escaped. Lord, realizing he could not get any information out of Sasha, imprisoned her and brainwashed Superman in an attempt to kill Batman. To stop this, Wonder Woman snapped Lord's neck, killing him instantly.
With the help of another imprisoned agent, Jessica Midnight (who had attempted to assassinate Lord earlier), Bordeaux escaped and set out to kill Lord, unaware he was already dead. As they were on their way out, an OMAC attacked the two and impaled Bordeaux. This attack somehow activated her latent inner programming, turning her into an OMAC cyborg. However, she retained most of her human features, although her skin now resembled a metallic coating and one of her eye sockets was empty. She also found that she retained her free will; unlike the other OMACs, she was not under Brother I's control.
With Lord's death, Brother I rechristened itself "Brother Eye" and activated all the remaining OMACs to kill Earth's superhumans. Bordeaux contacted the other various factions of Checkmate who had left when Lord took over, apologizing for Lord and asking them to rejoin.
She then created a computer virus and hooked herself up to the Brother Eye satellite. The virus, along with a massive electromagnetic pulse blast created by the various superheroes, disabled the majority of the OMACs. Brother I escaped with 200,000 OMACS.
She later reunited with Batman, who comforted her when she told him she was now a machine.
Eventually, with the aid of the new Blue Beetle, Batman located Brother Eye. He then gathered a team of heroes, including Bordeaux, to attempt to destroy it (Infinite Crisis #5 and #6). The attack sent Brother Eye crashing to Earth, but the satellite's central memory remained intact. With the various superheroes needed elsewhere, Batman tasked Bordeaux with destroying Brother Eye once and for all. Sasha resisted the machine's brainwashing long enough to blow it up. She survived the blast, albeit at the cost of the majority of her OMAC shell.
One year later
One year after Infinite Crisis, Bordeaux became the "Black Queen" of the Checkmate organization. In the first issue of the new Checkmate comic series, she led a group of operatives into a Kobra stronghold. As the new series began, Bordeaux was depicted as a cold-blooded killer; it remains to be seen whether this was an aftereffect of her conversion to a cyborg or due to events of the previous year. Her "the ends justify the means" attitude towards the success of Checkmate missions put her into conflict with Alan Scott. She was also in conflict with several of her Checkmate colleagues, particularly Fire and Mister Terrific, with whom she was romantically involved. As the series progressed, this aspect of her personality was rarely referred to again. In a 2007 story arc involving The Outsiders, Bordeaux suffered extreme torture at the hands of Chang Tzu who wished to learn more about her cybernetic implants. Although she (barely) survived this encounter, subsequent issues have had her fighting to regain her confidence, especially when the healing process resulted in even more of her body becoming cybernetic.
During the events of "Final Crisis", Sasha formed a small resistance team that included Snapper Carr, her current romantic interest Mister Terrific, an artificial intelligence, and later the villain Cheetah. They caused much damage against the conquering forces of Darkseid, mainly utilizing Snapper's teleportation power. When Sasha was infected by the Anti-Life Formula, the OMAC nanites in her body put her in a coma to prevent the spread of the infection. After Snapper's powers were neutralized, Mister Terrific realized they had to re-activate all the OMACS that were left. The only way to do this was to revive Sasha and retrieve the OMAC codes from her nanites. The activation of the OMACs is successful, but the revival caused Sasha's biological processes to shut down.
JSA vs. Kobra
In the 2009 miniseries "JSA Vs. Kobra", Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite were keeping a comatose Sasha alive via life support in hopes of being able to cure her. By the end of the series, Sasha was restored to life and passionately kissed Mr. Terrific. This was her last appearance for six years.
A new interpretation of Sasha debuted in Wonder Woman volume 3 as part of the DC Rebirth initiative. In the new continuity, Sasha is a superior to Etta Candy, and is introduced discussing Steve Trevor's mission in the African jungle and a nearby sighting of Wonder Woman. After Etta leaves, she is revealed to be linked to an evil artificial intelligence which is monitoring Sasha and attempting to manipulate Wonder Woman from afar.
Powers and abilities
Even before her transformation, Sasha was a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and marksman. She was skilled enough that Batman allowed her to serve as a sidekick of sorts.
- "A rough ten-to-twenty percent enhancement over even an Olympic level athlete across the board--in strength, stamina, endurance, speed, dexterity...". During the procedure, she also demonstrated a rapidly increasing tolerance to the sedatives being used to keep her unconscious.
- "(Via Sasha's) ocular implant, the whole of the visual spectrum and more, revealed to you". Earlier in the same storyline, Sasha demonstrated the ability to see in the infrared spectrum.
- "Optimized targeting optics...you must make a terrifyingly accurate sniper..."
- "Body parts encased in the OMAC composite shell...nanobot scabs covering your weaker flesh."
Sasha also has the ability to turn her nanorobotic components on and off at will. They also help her to regenerate from damage she sustains, particularly to those non-biological parts of her body.
- Wallace, Dan (2008), "Sasha Bordeaux", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 58, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- Detective Comics #761 (October 2001)
- Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure (March 2002)
- Detective Comics #766 (March 2002)
- Final Crisis: Resist (December 2008)
- JSA Vs. Kobra #6 (January 2010)
- Wonder Woman v3 (2016) #5
- Checkmate vol. 2 #15 (August 2007)