How a Silver Age character from the extended “Bat-Family” emerges in contemporary mythology as perhaps the most influentially powerful heroine of this generation! DC Comics’ BATWOMAN gets a “Rebirth”!
As the Caped Crusader enjoyed a peripheral amount of relevancy during the Silver Age of comics, that time between the 1950s and late 1960s when the Golden Age characters were mostly being revitalized due the advances of the Atomic Age, Batman and his ward, the Boy Wonder, Robin would find themselves often sharing their colorful exploits with a pair of female crime fighters setting trends of their own and taking down evil-doers.
Cast in an uncharacteristically bright golden suit with vamp red accents the original Batwoman and her sidekick, the original Bat-girl created a formidable force of their own, and helped tame the hallowed halls of Wayne Manor with their presence. According to Wikipedia the characters were created by writer Edmond Hamilton and artist Sheldon Moldoff and were introduced in Detective Comics #233 released in 1956.
When the company-wide reboot that took effect with the Crisis on Infinite Earths during the 80s, secondary supporting characters like Batwoman were folded into history, retroactively erased from history. Although their alter egos still existed, and the original Bat-Girl, Bette Kane, was reintegrated into the revamped continuity as the Teen Titan “Flamebird” post-Crisis the caped heroic escapades of the Batwoman were effectively hung out.
After the events of Infinite Crisis (2005) the proper sequel to the Crisis on Infinite Earths there were “52 Weeks” without heroes and Batwoman was revisited. Well-to-do Gotham City socialite Katherine “Kate” Kane is raised as a military brat, and when her mother and twin sister are murdered, it appears that her life begins to spiral out of control. She follows her father, Colonel Jacob Kane and pursues a career in the military, but is discharged when she reveals she is gay.
Interestingly when the Batwoman character was written into Silver Age mythology, it was as a potential love interest to Bruce Wayne, in an effort to divert attention from what had become popularly gossiped culturally that Batman was perhaps homosexual. The billionaire playboy sharing a home with a teenage ward and both men physically fit as they were…well, you can see where this is going. The introduction of Kate Kane was intended to change that perspective in readers.
Batwoman gets a “Rebirth”.
The Modern Era Kate Kane is alongside Midnighter perhaps the most high-profile LGBTQ character appearing in their own title and published by DC Comics. After the events of the recent New 52 reboot, Batwoman survived the FlashPoint aftermath and as the publication entered into its “Rebirth” arc Batwoman: Rebirth #1 has ensured that this heroine’s story continues to expand. Recently Kane was recruited by the Batman to train an army to protect Gotham City.
Batman has placed a lot of faith in Batwoman, and not only because unlike some of his other acolytes and sidekicks, Kane is actually related to the Dark Knight by blood. Bruce Wayne and Kate Kane are cousins, which makes her a unique accomplice in his fight to rid Gotham City of crime and corruption. Now under the helm of writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV with art by Steve Epting the Batwoman is rising no longer in the shadow of Batman!
After the recent attack on Gotham City by the Monster Men, Kate is taking the fight on a global scale. On a mission set upon by Batman, Batwoman will use all of her skills and wits to prevent the sale of the lethal “Monster Venom” on the Black Market. If any unfriendly forces got their hands on this mixture, they could introduce a terrible menace — an army of uncontrollable monsters — on an enemy.
With her life — and loves — still sorting themselves out, one thing that Batwoman can be counted on is that she is a dependable soldier and ready to undertake any challenge! With the release of the new series Batwoman #1 has Kane globetrotting in exotic locations and guided in her fight by Julia Pennyworth code-named “Tuxedo One”. There adventures may have only (technically) just begun, but Batwoman will undoubtedly emerge as one of the most relevant reads of the “Rebirth”.
Significantly raising the profile of LGBTQ characters within the DC Comics universe is not a stunt the publishers are pursuing to enhance readership, but more importantly create substantive characters that resonate with readers and also allow for broader storytelling. With Batwoman leading the charge in her own title, she will most likely establish herself as the benchmark by which all other LGBTQ heroes and heroines are metered, but Bennett and Tynion are proving themselves in spades!
Batwoman: Rebirth and Batwoman #1 written by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV with art by Steve Epting is on sale now from DC Comics.