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Comic Book / Batwoman

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That's not a Batgirl. That's a Batwoman.

"It's a good hit. I feel the blood filling my mouth. Somewhere along the line, someone taught her to throw a punch."
Renee Montoya, 52, "Week 7"

Proves that being a badass Bat-themed Anti-Hero is not just a man's job.

The original Batwoman, Katherine "Kathy" Kane, was a character introduced to the DCU in 1956 to serve as a love interest for Bruce Wayne, who was being accused by some people of being gay. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #233 (July, 1956). She was created by writer Edmond Hamilton, and artist Sheldon Moldoff. She lasted for about a decade, but was dropped (along with the first Bat-Girl, her niece Betty Kane) in 1964 in an attempt to prune down the Bat-Family, which was overly crowded with characters. There was a half-hearted attempt to revive the character during the Bronze Age, but this came to an abrupt end when Kathy Kane was Killed Off for Real by Ra's Al Ghul's League of Assassins in Detective Comics #485 (August, 1979). Post-Crisis continuity initially decided that there had never been a Kathy Kane Batwoman. However, the original Kathy Kane, Batwoman tenure intact, was eventually featured in Grant Morrison's Batman.

The second Batwoman, Katherine "Kate" Kane debuted Post-Crisis, in the 2006 series 52 as a love interest and past girlfriend of Renee Montoya, one of the main characters of the series. Touted as the highest-profile gay superhero in the DCU, she drifted from comic to comic after her original appearance until 2009, when, in the wake of Bruce Wayne's "death," she headlined Detective Comics for 10 issues. Batwoman then received a self-titled solo series to continue her story, with an issue #0 released in November 2010. However, her series suffered more than one delay and eventually launched as part of the DC Universe's New 52 in September 2011; though this was another Continuity Reboot, Kate's story was almost entirely unnaffected. Around this time, she also played a minor supporting role in Batman, Inc.. For DC's Rebirth, Kate co-headlined Detective Comics alongside Batman, Tim Drake, Cassandra Cain and Clayface. Later, Kate also starred in a new Batwoman ongoing title, her first since the New 52.

For comics outside of the main DCU, Kate Kane appears as a protagonist in the WWII-set DC Comics Bombshells elseworld series, and as a supporting character in the Injustice: Gods Among Us prequel comic as a member of Batman's Insurgency.

A future version of Batwoman, dubbed "Batwoman Beyond", was also introduced into the Batman Beyond (Rebirth) comic. Despite some visual similarities (thanks to Kate's Batwoman outfit being very similar to the Batman Beyond suit), this character doesn't have anything to do with either of the previous incarnations of Batwoman, and is instead the daughter of Dick Grayson, Elainna Grayson.

As with Batman himself, her portrayal has varied over the years, reaching varying points on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism depending on the time of her writing (the campy Silver Age vs. the darker Modern Age) and the medium of the story (The DC Animated Universe film, though pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable, remained restricted in what it could show).

And of course, the irony of having a character introduced out of a fear of homosexuality becoming gay herself has been lost on no one.

An In Name Only version of Batwoman was the focus of the Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman movie. Ruby Rose portrayed the Kate Kane incarnation of the character in the Arrowverse, beginning in the Elseworlds crossover before going on to star in the self-titled Batwoman (2019) series. Rose departed the show after its first season, with new character Ryan Wilder, played by Javicia Leslie, taking over the Batwoman identity in the show's second season. Wallis Day was then recast as Kate for several episodes before officially handing the show off to the Ryan Wilder character at end of season two. The character of Ryan Wilder was also introduced into the comics, making a cameo debut in issue #50 of Batgirl’s fifth volume, though with no indication she will become Batwoman there as well.

The various series starring Batwoman

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    Batwoman Volume 1 

    Batwoman Volume 2