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Comic Book / Batwoman (Rebirth)

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Batwoman (also known unofficially as Batwoman Rebirth) is a 2017 monthly comic book series published by DC Comics as a part of the Rebirth rebranding initiative. The series is written by Marguerite Bennett (along with Detective Comics writer James Tynion IV co-writing the Rebirth one-shot issue and first six issues) with Steve Epting on art duty for the first arc. Fernando Blanco takes over on art for the second arc.

Spinning out of a two-part story arc in Detective Comics (Rebirth), called "Batwoman Begins", the series follows Kate Kane as she goes on global black-ops missions in pursuit of supervillains who have escaped the jurisdiction of Gotham, and thus Batman. More of Kate's past will also be explored, in particular the time just after she left West Point and her training to become Batwoman.


The first arc, titled "The Many Arms of Death", follows Batwoman to the island nation of Coryana as she tracks down and attempts to dismantle a worldwide weapons smuggling ring trafficking a new bioweapon called Monster Venom, derived from the mutated creatures that attacked Gotham in Night of the Monster Men. While there, she also confronts her dark connection to the island, where she lived for a year during her period of self-destruction after leaving West Point.

The series began on March 15, 2017, after the "Batwoman Begins" storyline in January and the Rebirth one-shot in February, and ran until August 15, 2018.

For tropes related to the first Batwoman solo series (as well as for tropes pertaining to both the Kate Kane and Kathy Kane versions of Batwoman), see here.


Batwoman Rebirth provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade:
    • In issue #2, a man's hand gets cut off from a single swipe of a knife no larger than a switchblade.
    • A robot uses a sword to cut clear through a stone pillar in issue #18.
  • Action Girl: Kate, of course. The series proper starts with her stopping a monsterized terrorist attack.
  • All for Nothing: Played with. As part of the intense mental strain she goes through (partly caused by multiple, massive doses of fear toxin), Kate starts to think her mission has been a complete waste of time, but she irrationally neglects to take into account the positives, such as helping to save thousands of lives.
  • Alliterative Name: In addition to Kate Kane herself, Safiyah's last name is Sohail.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In issue #10, it's unclear if Kate is still suffering the effects of fear toxin dosage even after the Colony arrives at Scarecrow's lab. When Jacob arrives and they converse, there are a number of strange visuals, and the harsh words Jacob says to her sound more like Kate's nightmare version of him than anything he'd actually say to her, though that could just be him fronting for the troops.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Where are you going, Kate Kane?" and variations thereof.
    • "What can Batwoman do that Batman can't?" is another, carried over from Detective Comics.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Knife, or simply Knife, is a new one for Batwoman. A former acquaintance of Kate during her time on Coryana, Knife blames her for Safiyah disappearing, which caused the island to fall into disarray without her present to keep order and drive away outside corporate interests. Knife also considers Kate a romantic rival for Safiyah's affections who "stole" Safiyah from her. Her fights with Batwoman in the first arc demonstrate that she's a genuine threat to Kate who can keep pace with her and even get the upper hand.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Even though they've been working together for six weeks and do seem comfortable with each other, Kate still asks Julia Pennyworth if she's "[her] babysitter, [her] Q, or Batman's spy?" Julia doesn't answer.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: In the Bad Future, Kate is repeatedly shown holding a rifle unsafely, with her finger constantly on the trigger and with it pointed up instead of at the floor, a much safer direction. A trained soldier like Kate should know much better than that.
  • Artistic License – Military: Julia refers to herself as being in the Special Air Services in issue #1. This is an error for a few reasons. First, women were not allowed to be part of SAS selection until October 2018, well after both the start of this series and Julia's own military service. Second, Julia was a member of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment. Third, Julia is no longer a member of the British military whatsoever due to the injury she suffered in Batman Eternal.
  • Artistic License – Sports: Kate and Sophie's sparring scene is obviously unsafe due to their lack of protective equipment and gloves, but it also violates West Point rules that prohibit sparring outside a ring and without a physical education instructor present.
  • Asshole Victim: Elder and Younger are gruesomely killed by Alice, and it's hard to have sympathy for them.
  • As You Know: Used in three different, Justified ways:
    • Used by Julia to remind Kate of her mission objectives when Kate starts to lose focus.
    • Kate does a rambly version of this both to herself (in her thoughts) and toward Julia to indicate her Sanity Slippage.
    • Knife toward Alice, to keep her in line and to mask Knife's actual control of the situation.
  • Author Appeal: Bennett has half-jokingly mentioned in an interview that there are many instances of kissing in the series because "[she] like[s] kisses."
    Bennett: I mean, I wrote all these kissing scenes just for me, but if y'all wanna read 'em too, I'm not gonna holler.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The main monitor for Kate's upgraded Bat-computer is four feet across and in the shape of her Bat-symbol. That is, the screen fills the entire form, not just a square inside it or something.
  • Badass Bandolier: Knife wears one that crisscrosses over her chest and holds her throwing knives.
  • Badass Boast: Kate, describing Knife's employer:
    Batwoman: "The Many Arms of Death." They've got just that many more bones to break.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Julia is a former SRR operative and no slouch in the commando department, but wears a feminine suit to reflect her behind-the-scenes role on her mission with Kate.
  • Bad Future: Issue #6 presents one in which Timothy Drake has become Batman and turned Gotham into a police state. Julia and Bruce are also dead.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • In the one-shot, Sophie wears a sports bra and boxing trunks for her sparring match with Kate.
    • Kate spends a fair portion of issue #1 and #4 dressed only in her under-uniform clothing, which consists of just a sports bra and leggings.
    • Tahani wears a short top and skirt in a brief flashback in issue #4.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • In addition to luring Kate to Coryana itself, Knife also set up an ambush at Safiyah's old bar, correctly predicting that Kate would bring the injured Rafael there.
    • Kate returns the favor in the very next issue, laying a trap for Knife in one of the Kali Corporation's munitions sites, predicting that Knife would follow her there.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Kate's face is unmarked after bare-knuckle boxing with Sophie. Implied for Sophie in the same scene, since she also has no marks on her face but wasn't shown getting hit.
    • In an aversion, the trailer page of the one-shot features a panel showing a close-up of Alice's bruised and bleeding lips, complete with blood speckling her teeth.
    • Another aversion happens in issue #4. Knife beats Kate bloody and breaks her nose during their climactic showdown.
    • Played straight with Knife in the first arc. Her hair doesn't get singed when Kate blasts her with a flamethrower, nor does she show any marks on her face after Kate kicks her there twice.
    • Again averted in the second arc. After getting shot down, wandering through the desert, and finally being drugged and captured, Kate's a bloody, disheveled mess, complete with extensive Clothing Damage to her suit and mask.
  • Big Bad: The so-called Mother of Warlords (or Mother of War), the ultimate authority behind the Many Arms of Death and the one specifically creating "trials" to task Kate with. Turns out to be Knife herself, lending the name to Alice, whom she is using as a pawn.
  • Bookends: Kate's Lost Year on Coryana begins with Safiyah saving her from a diving mishap. It ends with Kate diving from a lighthouse while fleeing Safiyah.
  • Break Them by Talking: Averted. Knife tries to attack Kate's insecurities during their fight in issue #4 by insulting her and mentioning the ways Kate has hurt both her and Coryana, but Kate isn't fazed, since much of what Knife says doesn't apply to her or is otherwise inaccurate.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Julia Pennyworth plays a supporting role in this title, after last being seen in the "Superheavy" arc of the New 52 Batman series.
    • Alice also returns in this series.
  • By the Hair: Played with in issue #4. Knife grabs Kate by the wig and swings her into a rock pillar, even though the wig reasonably should've detached, as it's been shown to do in earlier Batwoman comics. See Rule of Cool, below.
  • The Cameo: Derek Powers, AKA Blight, appears in #17 during a montage depicting the three-month skip between the end of the previous issue and the present.
  • Canon Welding: Played with. This series began after the halfway point of DC Bombshells, also written by Bennett, and Bennett's depiction of Kate in this series greatly resembles how Kate appears in Bombshells, down to her more folksy way of speaking, her obsession with past failures, and the more negative portrayal of Kate herself, often in the form of criticism from other characters. Prior to this, Kate in Bombshells had been distinct from her main universe counterpart in terms of characterization.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Kate, Knife, and Safiyah are all lesbian (or at least not straight), and there are hints that Julia may be as well. Elder and Younger, the heads of The Many Arms of Death, are the only major characters so far who seem to be straight.
  • Casual Kink: A conversation in the one-shot between Kate and Safiyah, her lover in Coryana, reveals that the couple are into bondage.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Future!Renee smacks a Bat-cop with an office chair in issue #6.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In issue #7, Kate's chest logo is revealed to have some sort of electronic input and display that fizzles out after she gets shot down, and isn't explained until the next issue, where it's revealed to be an electromagnetic charging panel for her suit, which reached full capacity as Kate wandered the desert, allowing her to channel all the suit's power into her taser gloves and escape her cell.
    • In issue #8 Scarecrow mentions that he has an antidote for his new blend of fear toxin, just in case the Many Arms of Death decide to do a double-cross and remotely release the gas on him. In issue #10, he activates it after a drugged Batwoman gets out of his control, possibly saving his life.
  • Circling Birdies: Not actually shown, but Kate mentions that she's seeing these right after getting punched out by her girlfriend in a sparring match.
    Kate: Right now I'm thinking about the colorful cartoon birds playing merry 'go round my noggin.
  • Clean Pretty Reliable: Safiyah performs rescue breathing on Kate in issue #5 after Kate falls overboard during a storm. Aside from being drenched, Kate is no worse for wear after she is resuscitated.
  • Co-Dragons: The Many Arms of Death have at least ten. In addition to The Knife, there's The Rifle, The Chain, The Torch, The Needle, and five as-yet unseen ones: The Fist, The Hammer, The Halberd, The Rapier, and The Spear.
  • Collapsible Helmet: Future!Kate's Batwoman uniform has one, complete with a built-in wig.
  • Conflict Ball: After some intense anger toward Jacob in the early issues of Detective Comics Rebirth, Kate's attitude toward him began to soften from issue #947 onward. In the second arc of this series, however, Kate is noticably more negative toward him despite it taking place later. No reason is given for this.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The League of Shadows from Detective Comics (Rebirth) are mentioned in one of Knife's flashbacks, with the implication being that she recieved at least some of her training from them.
    • Kate's love of spy novels is referenced in issue #5, something that was established in her previous series.
    • Averted in "Fear and Loathing". Despite taking place in the Sahara, there's no nod at all to the fact that Kate crossed that desert during her Batwoman training.
    • The thermal vision mode of Kate's mask, not seen since her first series, shows up again in issue #13.
  • Cool Bike: One of Kate's new toys is a motorcycle with an autopilot function. This appears to be a different bike from Red Knight One, her usual ride. She also has at least two more motorcycles aboard her yacht.
  • Cool Boat: Kate and Julia operate out of the Sequoia, a large yacht that carries a small fleet of vehicles, spare equipment, and Kate's upgraded Bat-computer. It also has anti-radar shielding and a helipad at the stern, chopper included. And can transform into a Cool Airship, apparently.
  • Cool Car:
    • Kate has two aboard the Sequoia: a red Jeep Wrangler and a tan Humvee.
    • A brief flashback in issue #7 shows Kate driving a super-rare Lamborghini Veneno while being chased by a helicopter.
  • Cool Guns: The Bat-police in the Bad Future are armed with guns that resemble the M41A pulse rifle from Aliens.
  • Cool Mask: Knife wears a stylized skull mask during her first battle with Kate.
  • Creepy Twins: Technically half-twins since they share a father (and were born at the same time on opposite sides of the Earth), but Elder and Younger, the leaders of the Many Arms of Death, fit the bill, complete with not-subtle incest vibes. Julia even makes a "Creepy Twin Bingo" card to fill out when Kate goes undercover to meet them.
  • Crossing the Desert: Kate has to do this in issue #7 after her Batplane gets shot down over the Sahara and subsequently buried in a sandstorm. With no supplies, shelter, or backup from Julia, Kate is forced to follow a recovered Colony transmitter to continue her mission and find at least some form of civilization.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The cycle of violence is a major theme of the series, particularly reflected in Tahani's character and plan against Kate, and in Kate's response to that plan.
  • Dark Action Girl: Tahani, AKA Knife, Kate's new archenemy. Her first fight with Kate goes pretty evenly, and she actually gets the upper hand in the latter half.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Julia Pennyworth, as per usual.
  • Delinquent Hair: Flashbacks to Kate's "Lost Year" in Coryana show that during this time she had a severe skater cut hairstyle (think Cressida's hair from Mockingjay). Issue #1 reveals why: her head was shaved after an injury so sutures and bandages could be applied. It wasn't an intentional change, but it still works to reflect Kate's more rebellious and carefree phase.
  • Dented Iron: Issues #7 to #14 take place over less than a week, and during them Kate suffers a battery of injuries and ailments, which include: dislocated ribs, heat stroke, sleep deprivation, blunt force trauma to her head and torso, multiple fear toxin dosings, and stab wounds to her thigh and hand.
  • Determinator: Kate, as usual, and this series provides possibly the best showcase of that part of her. She gets pushed to some of the furthest physical and mental limits she's ever been to, and still does not give up.
  • Double Entendre: In issue #3, Julia says that Kate needs "to show the Many Arms of Death how clever [her] fingers really are." She's literally referring to Kate planting a small hacking bug, but the phrasing gives the sentence sexual connotations as well.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: Kate carries Rafael, who looks to outweigh her by at least fifty pounds, at least half a mile from the Coryanan port and up a hill, without any apparent difficulty. She even switches him to one shoulder to break into her destination, the Desert Rose.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Knife working for the Many Arms of Death is this, since they're partially responsible for the current state of Coryana, which she hates. But she also holds Kate ultimately responsible for that, and appears to be using her Co-Dragon status as a way to get revenge on Kate, since the Many Arms of Death also want Kate dead.
    • During the second arc, Batwoman and Colony Prime have to escape the Sahara desert together while both are drugged with fear toxin.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Many Arms of Death appears to follow this, which makes sense as they're a global organization. Knife is a Nigerian lesbian, and Fatima, the secretary to Elder and Younger, is Turkish. The group also includes agents who are (presumably, given their locations) Japanese and Iranian.
  • Evil Counterpart: Knife is this to Batwoman, and a fair bit of the first arc compares and contrasts them in various ways, such as through panel design and color schemes, scene happenings and stagings, and their physical abilities.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Elder and Younger start off this way, and Knife develops this to a degree after her Villainous Breakdown.
  • Expressive Mask: Unusually for a superhero comic, Kate's mask averts this here.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Jason Todd wears one during the Bad Future seen in issue #6.
  • Facial Markings: Knife wears white face paint, as seen in the page image.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The duumvirate of the Many Arms of Death. They're polite to their underlings and seem to be Wicked Cultured, but their intentions to "clean up" Coryana seem like an act instead of a true act of charity. And they really want Kate Kane dead.
  • Femme Fatale:
    • Safiyah. One of Kate's former lovers and the de facto ruler of Coryana who worked as a peace broker between the rival warlords on the island.
    • Julia is a downplayed example. She and Kate seem to have a professional and platonic relationship, and while Kate does trust her, she also suspects that Julia might be spying on her for Batman, which Julia neither confirms nor denies.
  • Fight Clubbing: Early into their senior year at West Point, Kate and Sophie met alone and in secret to have a bare-knuckle boxing match.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Kate seems to have traded in her taser gloves for ones containing flamethrowers.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Knife's real role is subtly hinted at throughout the first four issues before finally being revealed in #13.
    • Kate's Shut Up, Hannibal! to Scarecrow in issue #8 happens right after he mentions a plot point that doesn't pop up until #14.
  • Futureshadowing: A burnt-out lighthouse is seen near the end of issue #3. In issue #12, during a flashback, its destruction is shown when Knife accidentally sets it ablaze while trying to stop Kate from leaving Coryana.
  • Genre Savvy: Kate is canonically a fan of spy novels, and in issue #1 she asks Julia if she's spying on her for Batman (though she also doesn't seem like she'd be mad if that were true). Issue #2 confirms to readers that this suspicion was correct.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Played with. During her first fight with Knife, Kate lights the signal beacon of the Desert Rose, a sign for all the warlords on Coryana to gather at the inn. They assemble there within seconds it seems, though they may have been headed there already due to the commotion of the fight and seeing Kate in full Batwoman uniform heading there while carrying Rafael.
  • Handwraps of Awesome: A flashback to Kate's time at West Point shows her in a private sparring match against Sophie Moore, her girlfriend at the time. Both are wearing handwraps without any other kind of padded gloves.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Kate mentions the trope by name, but the trope itself doesn't appear; the closest the series gets to that is a few attempted Breaking Speeches, and the actual situation Kate describes is closer to Evil Gloating.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: In addition to fighting bare-knuckled during their sparring match, Kate and Sophie also do without boxing headgear or mouthguards.
  • Heroic BSoD: Kate seems to have one soon after landing in Coryana, when an old friend encounters and recognizes her on the dock. The fact that he's dying from a stab wound doesn't help, either. Also see OOC Is Serious Business, below.
  • Heroic Spirit: This series sees Kate at one of the worst mental and emotional places she's been since her days as a hard-drinking party girl. And yet she still doesn't give up on her mission.
  • Hidden Depths: Issue #9 reveals that Colony Prime is a father and is terrified of his daughter following in his footsteps and becoming a soldier.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Scarecrow's attempt to break Kate down through drugs and manipulation backfires on him (as he underestimated her willpower), leaving him having to face a very angry Batwoman by himself.
  • Honor Before Reason: Kate decides to put her mission on hold to try to save Rafael's life. Julia tries to prevent this, to no avail.
  • Hypothetical Casting: Tynion has mentioned in an interview that he'd like to see Jessica Chastain play Kate.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • A downplayed example happens near the end of Batwoman and Knife's first fight. Knife has a mounted position on Kate, but even with her arms free Kate makes no attempt to escape the mount (a procedure she should find easy) or even strike back.
    • Issue #11 begins with Kate kicking open a window on her own yacht and thus contaminating a crime scene... which she suspected might be on board.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Downplayed. There are a few male characters, but the only major ones so far are Elder and Colony Prime.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • In the first arc, Kate rips a chandelier from the ceiling of the Desert Rose and uses it as a flail while fighting Knife, and in a later issue breaks a stalagmite from the ground to use as a club. At a different point she also tosses a cup of coffee at Knife as a distraction.
  • Informed Attribute: In issue #15, Kate describes the Sequoia as a "paradise," a refuge of sorts from the stresses of her mission. However, there are almost no scenes of daily life aboard the ship, making this ring hollow when Kate destroys it to save Gotham and compares it to the accidental destruction she wreaked on Coryana.
  • Informed Flaw: For a series dealing largely with its protagonist's flaws, quite a few of them are simply asserted and not shown, some for the very first time. Possibly Justified in that many of those assertions show up after Kate has been broken mentally and starts irrationally blaming herself.
  • In Medias Res:
    • Issue #1 begins six weeks into Kate and Julia's hunt for the Monster Venom distributors, with the two having already built up a pretty solid professional relationship, complete with some banter.
    • The second arc begins similarly. One month after the events on Coryana, the story picks up with Kate's batplane being shot down over the Sahara, while Julia and the Sequoia are hundreds of miles away on the coast of Mauritania. In that intervening month, Kate apprehended three operatives of the Many Arms of Death, and each situation is briefly recapped.
  • Instant Costume Change: Kate does this in issue #3, seemingly in the span of just a few seconds.
  • Internal Reveal: Julia mentions her role as Batman's spy to Kate in issue #13.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles:
    • Related to Handwraps of Awesome, above. Sophie's hand is undamaged after her sparring session with Kate, despite the fact that both women only wore handwraps on their fists and Sophie clocked Kate across the jaw hard enough to make her dizzy and knock her down.
    • Knife's hands are also apparently undamaged from slugging Kate in the jaw, despite only wearing thin fingerless gloves.
  • I Shall Taunt You: A mild form. After learning that an important clue could be traced back to Coryana, Kate gets lost in thought about the island, remembering her experiences there and wondering if Bruce has his own place like Coryana that would make him feel similarly. Julia notices and teases Kate about even this small hint of broodiness, which is an atypical emotion for Kate.
  • It's All My Fault: Kate is not in a good mental or emotional place after the events of the second arc, and repeatedly blames herself for her actions, even though doing so is irrational. Issues #11 and #14 in particular feature this heavily.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Kate and Knife's dynamic.
  • Karma Houdini: Though all her plans ultimately fail, Tahani escapes off-panel and suffers no significant consequences for her actions.
  • Knife Nut: Tahani. Her frickin' codename is Knife, after all. See Meaningful Name, below.
  • Kudzu Plot: Fitting for a spy-noir, the first arc sets up a number of plot threads for the series: the nature and extent of the Many Arms of Death, Kate's actions on Coryana that lead to Safiyah leaving the island, the dynamic of Julia serving as Batman's mole (including what "Plan B" is), who Safiyah's heir is, and the seeming Foregone Conclusion of Kate taking command of the Colony.
  • Lawful Stupid: Julia has shades of this. She repeatedly admonishes Kate, sometimes rather harshly, for relatively minor infractions, such as detouring her mission to try and save a man's life, allying with the Coryanan warlords and stealing from her personal weapons cache to save thousands of people, briefly giving into a strong dose of fear toxin, and for not doing the dishes. What's more, she does some of this while knowing that Kate is not in the best place mentally.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: This exchange from issue #6, after Kate asks Renee for help:
    Renee: A GCPD commissioner helping a Bat?
    Kate: Like something out of a damn comic book.
  • Lured into a Trap: Knife does this to Kate, by deliberately leaving a clue that could be traced back to Coryana, in order to bring her to the island at the behest of the Many Arms of Death.
  • MacGuffin: Monster Venom. Its main purpose in the story is to get Kate out on a global search for it. The very first scene of issue #1 ties up that plotline and leads into the comic's actual story.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Kate, as usual. In just the first arc she gets slammed into various walls with little damage, and shrugs off a machete slash to the arm and multiple sucker punches across her jaw without even making a sound. She also gets her nose broken and doesn't complain about it.
    • Similarly, Knife takes a point-blank flamethrower blast to the face while only protected by a mask, shrugs off multiple kicks to the face, and blocks a stone club with her forearm without injury (the club shatters).
  • Made of Plasticine: The terrorist at the beginning of issue #1 dies when Tahani throws a knife into his skull. The blade, about 4 inches long, ends up embedded in his forehead up to the hilt.
  • Man Bites Man: After Kate turns the tables on Scarecrow and gives in to her inner beast, she tackles him and bites his shoulder.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: Knife is the actual leader of The Many Arms of Death.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The series introduces a new villain who uses the codename Knife. She's an assassin who uses knives as her primary weapon.
    • Safiyah is named after one of the Jewish-born wives of the prophet Mohammed.
    • The Many Arms of Death refers to Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and time. Kali is the name of the corporation secretly behind the Many Arms of Death.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: All of Tahani's victories over Kate ultimately get reversed by the end of the series, as Kate and those around her end up in better places than they've ever been.
  • Mission Control: Julia, in keeping with her New 52 appearances, fills this role for Kate on their missions.
  • The Mole: Julia confirms to the audience that she is one for Batman while talking to herself in issue #2, something that Kate at least partially suspected. Downplayed since Julia's not a bad guy, she just wasn't forthcoming to Kate about her role.
  • Monochrome Past: Played with. Kate's memories are black-and-white save for muted reds where appropriate (Kate's hair, Safiayah's lips, etc.), but flashbacks are full-color.
  • Multiple Reference Pun: The Many Arms of Death is not just a reference to the goddess Kali, it refers to what they traffic in and is also a reference to their operatives, who use weapon-based codenames.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Nerves of Steel: In issue #7, Kate's plane gets shot down, she gets attacked by human-animal monsters, and is buried in a sandstorm, all seemingly in the span of a few minutes. Then, after losing her supplies in the storm, she follows a tracking device through the desert for nine hours with no water. Throughout all this, she remains composed and alert and doesn't freak out.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In the haste to hurt Kate one more way, she is infected with a new bioweapon by Scarecrow (one that is later released upon Gotham) and later taunted about it by Knife. However, this information clues Kate in on how to solve the problem: synthesize a vaccine by using the data collected from Scarecrow's lab combined with her own blood samples gathered during the Colony's rescue and debriefing.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Kate spends a fair portion of issue #4 getting pummeled by Knife.
  • Noodle Incident: Downplayed. While sparring, Sophie says to Kate that "[Her] daddy can't help [her] now" as she scores a knockdown. In context, this would seem to refer to a previous boxing match of Kate's (possibly even against Sophie) in which Jacob provided some ringside coaching to her that helped her win, but the specifics are not revealed.
  • No-Sell:
    • In issue #3, both Batwoman and Knife get one during their second skirmish. Batwoman kicks Knife in the face and Knife slashes Batwoman's arm with a machete, and neither have any reaction to the blows.
    • In issue #4, Kate shows little reaction to Knife giving her a suckerpunch combo to the jaw.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In issue #11, Kate gets the drop on a Dollotron but quickly gets jumped by two more herself, and proceeds to get pummeled by them. The scene ends with one Dollotron about to swing a baseball bat at her head. However, just a couple pages later, Kate arrives at Pyg's hideout, having neutralized the Dollotrons without apparently taking any further damage.
  • One True Love: Issue #6 finally confirms that Kate and Renee are this for each other.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Julia notices Kate acting atypically broody when thinking of Coryana. It gets worse when Kate actually arrives on the island and is immediately encountered by an old friend dying of a stab wound; she's clearly shaken, and informs Julia that she needs to "go dark", presumably to solve the matter privately. Kate partially snaps out of it after getting ambushed by Knife.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Colony!Kate is armed with a large, blocky rifle.
  • Predatory Business: Many of these were able to move into the previously-unspoiled Coryana after Safiyah's disappearance, since she was no longer able to unite the island's warlords to drive them away.
  • Prolonged Prologue: The first arc acts as this for the series, establishing Kate and Julia's working relationship, the Many Arms of Death as a series-long villain, and Knife as an effective archenemy to Kate, among other things.
  • Quit Your Whining: Downplayed with Julia. She's not unsympathetic to Kate being out-of-sorts due to her past resurfacing, but doesn't hesitate to remind Kate that the mission comes first. Plus, those reminders do help focus Kate at least somewhat.
  • Recap Episode: The one-shot has a fair portion dedicated to retelling Kate's backstory and showing some of her "greatest hits", but also presents some moments from the mostly-unseen part of her life just after West Point, which are brand-new to this series.
  • Recovery Attack: In issue #14, while pinned down by Knife, Kate deploys the wings of her glider, one of which punches Knife in the face as it springs out. This allows Kate enough time to get to her feet.
  • Recycled Title: This is DC's second series to be titled Batwoman.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Everyone connected to Kate's "Lost Year" in Coryana counts, particularly Safiyah and Tahani, AKA Knife. Even Coryana itself counts (despite not being a person) since this series is the first place it appears.
  • Repressed Memories: It's implied that Kate's memories of her so-called "Lost Year" on Coryana were these, and came flooding back when she heard the name of the island again.
  • Romantic Spoonfeeding:
    • Safiyah feeds Kate pieces of honeycomb during a flashback.
    • Played with in another flashback, this time with Safiyah feeding Tahani. Or rather, almost feeding. Tahani doesn't actually eat the date Safiyah offers her, since Safiyah becomes distracted by the arrival of Kate, representing how Kate usurped Tahani as Safiyah's lover.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Batwoman and Knife scuffle on a roof in issue #3.
  • Rule of Cool: Yes, realistically Knife should not have been able to swing Kate around by her wig, as the wig should have detached (which it was shown to do in Elegy). But damn if it wasn't an impressive showcase of Knife's strength and how much of a real threat she is to Kate.
  • Running Gag: References to Kate neglecting her share of the chores aboard the Sequoia, particularly dishwashing.
  • Sanity Slippage: Kate starts to go through some of this in the later half of the series after receiving two massive fear toxin doses within just a few hours.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense Of Time: Kate's narration in issue #12 states she's been on her mission for a year. However, while the series had obviously been running that long, the book's own interior chronology is detailed enough to make this impossible; even being conservative, the actual duration is about three months.
  • Secret Identity Apathy: Knife and the Many Arms of Death know Kate is Batwoman, but they don't seem to care about her superhero identity. Rather, they're against Kate as Kate.
  • Self-Surgery: Kate stitches up a machete wound on her arm in issue #3.
  • Sequel Hook: The final issue contains a two-page spread featuring no less than ten, in the form of potential scenes.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Kate's distinctive tattoos are missing almost entirely, and are inconsistently depicted in issue #1; they're gone in present day scenes and are only shown once during a flashback, which is especially strange since they're specifically discussed in said flashback. Her bluebird tattoo was restored in the first trade, but her arrowhead tattoo was again overlooked.
    • At the end of issue #15, Julia tells Kate that she has enacted the Plan B protocol and contacted Batman. In the very next issue, however, Kate doesn't realize this until the end.
  • Sex Is Violence: Played with in the one-shot. Almost immediately after getting clocked across the jaw and knocked down by her girlfriend during a sparring session, Kate makes a suggestive joke to her about not being able to perform oral sex anymore.
    Kate: Vey'z mir, Sophie, you wallop like a mule. You're gonna regret doing that to my jaw.
    Sophie: Oh, you gonna do me worse?
    Kate: To be honest, I was hoping to do you better, but with my jaw out of commission...
  • Ship Teasing: Some of Julia's remarks in the first arc seem to hint that she's attracted to Kate, and that they've even possibly had sex.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work:
    • In the Rebirth one-shot, the boxing uniforms (particularly the trunks) worn by Kate and Sophie are not those used by West Point either at the time the scene is set nor in the present day. However, this is fitting for two reasons. First, the sparring match is against Academy rules, so Kate and Sophie would not have been able to check out official equipment. Second, the time period of the scene is around a year after the real-life formation of West Point's women's boxing club; many of those members had to purchase their own gear due to budgetary limitations, implying why Kate and Sophie own boxing attire.
    • In issue #1, several areas of Istanbul, such as Eminönü and the Grand Bazaar, are depicted accurately.
    • The explosives listed by Kate in issue #4 could plausibly be connected to detonators as depicted, or else set off by other blasts.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Kate does this to Knife in issue #4 after Knife fails to break her verbally.
    Batwoman: You can sell yourself these high ideals, but under all these flowery words, Tahani— you're willing to kill thousands of people 'cause you're pissed Safiyah loved me.
    • Happens again in the second arc, when Kate shuts Scarecrow up while he describes what he's going to do to her.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Knife's costume is essentially a sleeveless Spy Catsuit which shows off her toned arms.
  • Snap Back: Downplayed. Issue #16 ends with Kate at one of her lowest points in the whole series, with most of the progress she made from issue #9 on seemingly undone. Issue #17 begins three months later with Kate in some of the best spirits she's ever been in and her life basically back to normal, with no explanation other than she's "sharpened up" and "set [her] soul to rights".
  • Something Completely Different: Issue #6 switches gears a bit to delve further into the Colony!Kate cliffhanger from the Rebirth issue.
  • Southern Belle: Under Bennett's pen here, Kate certainly sounds like one at least, with numerous folksy idioms in her dialogue.
  • Spinoff: From Detective Comics.
  • Spy Fiction: Of the Dirty Martini variety. Martini elements of gadgets, exotic locales, and dangerous love interests are all present, and there's even a Q analogue in the form of Julia Pennyworth. But the series also delves into Kate's dark past in Coryana, and what Kate actually does on missions is more akin to Solid Snake than James Bond.
  • The Stoic: Knife has an even temperment even in light of her personal grudge against Kate. The only thing that seems to upset her at all is being called by her old name.
  • Suicide by Sea: A flashback in issue #1 shows Kate diving during a storm and subsequently cracking her head on a rock. After being rescued, Rafael asks Kate if her intent was to kill herself.
    Rafael: Is that what you were looking for, little one, out there in the storm? Your grave?
  • That Man Is Dead: Knife has abandoned her old name, declaring Tahani a mere "plaything" of Safiyah. However, after her true intentions are revealed, she no longer seems to mind her real name once more.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: After Kate gets shot down in issue #7, many of the things she experiences are weird and ambiguous as to whether they're really happening or not, due to a possible combination of likely head trauma from the crash and definite long-term sun exposure and dehydration. And this is all before she gets fear-toxin'd at the end.
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: Played with in a non-fatal example. Knife has a mounted position on Batwoman and is about to stab her when Kate manages to light the torch of the Desert Rose, the signal for all the island's warlords to assemble there. Knife then decides that Kate isn't worth the "mercy" of a death by blade, and begins strangling her. Cue the arrival of the warlords, which convinces Knife to flee.
  • Titled After the Song: The issues in the first arc all share their titles with songs. Bennett has said these were all songs she listened to while writing the arc.
    • Issue #1 is titled "Sinnerman", after the song by Nina Simone.
    • Issue #2 is named after the Kate Bush song "Running Up That Hill".
    • "If I Had a Heart", the title of issue #3, is also a song by Fever Ray.
    • Issue #4 is titled "Blackstar", like the David Bowie song.
  • Traintop Battle: In issue #7, during the recap of the three Many Arms of Death operatives Batwoman apprehended, she is shown fighting one of them atop a speeding train in Tokyo.
  • Transforming Vehicle: The Sequoia is implied to be one; a transformation sequence is never shown, but Kate specifies that her airship of the same name is indeed the same craft.
  • Trauma Conga Line: In addition to the numerous examples of such things in Kate's past, the Many Arms of Death invokes this trope against Kate, slowly tormenting her by eroding her mental and emotional well-being through "trials". As of issue #11, it seems to be working.
  • The Unmasking: Kate reveals her true identity to the Coryanan warlords, partially to gain their trust, partially because she already knew some of them during her prior time on the island.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The plans for stopping the Many Arms of Death's goal of destroying Coryana (or rather, two parts of the same plan) are barely detailed, but they succeed with almost no hiccups.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left:
    • Knife does this after the arrival of the Coryanan warlords, knowing she's outnumbered. However, she cuts off the hand of one of their lackeys and steals his motorcycle, with no attempt made to stop her.
    • She does this again in issue #15, somehow disappearing without a trace despite Kate literally welding her in place in the previous issue.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Knife has a downplayed one in issue #4 as her plan to destroy Coryana starts to unravel. Normally rather stoic, she begins ranting about her hatred toward Kate (even acknowledging that her violence against Kate isn't just business-based) while beating her up. In her subsequent appearances, it's clear Knife didn't recover from this, as she's noticably more unhinged.
  • Visual Innuendo: The first page of issue #3 is a slow scene of Tahani carving and eating a papaya, and it includes several panels of Tahani's fingers resting on the opened fruit in a way that resembles female masturbation.
  • Visual Pun: A subtle one in issue #15. During a storybook-esque telling of Alice's history, Kate is depicted as a black knight. "Black Knights" is the collective nickname for sports teams at West Point.
  • War for Fun and Profit: As arms dealers, the Many Arms of Death seek to cause massive terrorist attacks in locations where people from many different nations mingle, in order to maximize the outcry (and potential clients).
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Rafael dies in issue #2.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Downplayed with Colony Prime. While not his primary motivation, he does admire Jacob Kane and wants his approval, despite Jacob not liking him very much. Prime also resents Kate for abandoning Jacob's plans for her life, seeing it as disrespectful.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The final page of the Rebirth one-shot shows a flash-forward of Commander Kate Kane leading the Colony on some kind of assault on Gotham, complete with a new uniform.
    • Kate watches security footage from Scarecrow's desert lab and realizes that she didn't hallucinate Safiyah, as she first thought... she was actually there.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Tae-Ri, one of the Coryanan warlords, leans into Kate a bit for once again creating a mess on the island and then leaving, forcing others to clean it up. Kate just responds that she has a larger job elsewhere.
    • Played with in the form of Jacob and Julia's reactions to Kate getting dosed with fear toxin in the second arc. While Kate did briefly give in to its most negative effects and almost killed Scarecrow as a result, she kept herself, ultimately, under control. But Jacob and Julia act like the entire thing was Kate's fault, and even seem to imply she was doing it for kicks.
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • All of issue #5 takes place during the Lost Year.
    • Almost all of #12 does, as well.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Downplayed in the first fight between Batwoman and Knife. It's actually fairly even until Knife reveals she's a former friend of Kate's, which seems to throw Kate off enough for Knife to get an advantage.
    • Played slightly straighter during the third fight between the two, in issue #4. Kate's not totally defenseless and the fight ends with Knife escaping rather than Kate being KO'd, but Knife does beat Kate up pretty good without taking much damage herself.
  • Worf Had the Flu: A majority of the series is predicated on Kate being off her game for both internal and external reasons.
    • Downplayed in the first arc. The memories of Coryana hitting Kate all at once, plus Rafael's death have her blue-screening just enough to cut into her abilities.
    • Played straight after the second arc and Kate's heavy fear toxin exposure, which significantly addled her. For example, throughout issue #11, Kate's narration mentions that she's lingering on her flaws and failures, which causes her to be significantly sloppier about her work.
  • Wretched Hive: Coryana. Bennett has even used the full phrase from Star Wars in interviews when describing the island. In issue #1, the phrase is used in the Bat-computer's description of the island; Julia theorizes that Tim Drake may have coincidentally added that as a joke.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Many Arms of Death's plan for dealing with Kate is this. While they do want her dead, even her survival and apparent thwarting of their plans just allows for her to be lead into further "trials"; making Kate suffer seems to be the most desired outcome.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Knife has Elder and Younger killed once her attack on Gotham gets underway and she no longer has to rely on them or pretend to be their underling.


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