Katana is a DC Comics superhero first introduced by writer Mike W. Barr in Batman and the Outsiders back in 1983. A martial arts-themed superhero from Japan, Katana was one of DC's earliest Asian superheroes, as well as one of the few Asian superheroes of any notoriety.
Before becoming Katana, she was simply Tatsu Yamashiro, a young Japanese housewife. After Yakuza thugs killed her husband and children, Tatsu took up her husband's blade, Soultaker, and dedicated her life to cutting down evil wherever she encountered it.
The character has long been a supporting player in the DCUniverse, but finally ascended to a lead status as one of the main characters in the New 52 relaunch of Birds of Prey (a title that had previously been criticized for its lack of minorities). In 2013, Katana not only features in her own ongoing series written by Ann Nocenti, but is also a part of Geoff Johns' new Justice League of America line-up.
Outside of comics, Katana has been featured in several episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and appeared as a main character in Beware the Batman. More recently, she was a character in DC Super Hero Girls, season three of Arrow, and in the Suicide Squad movie.
- Katana (2013-2014)
Tropes seen in these series include:
- Ascended Extra: Katana was Batman's principle partner in Beware the Batman, filling the role usually held by Robin and Batgirl.
- Badass Normal: However, in the New 52, Soultaker is the Sword Totem of the Sword Clan that grants her enlightenment and immortality if she can use it right.
- Bullet Catch: She does this with her sword, when a maddened Rick Flag shot at Amanda Waller
- The Bus Came Back: In her New 52 solo series, she's in her twenties as opposed to being in her thirties or forties before New 52. So her only dead loved one was her husband, there was no mention of any children. These days, they brought back her dead kids and there's mention of dead children especially from Amanda Waller.
- Captain Ersatz: A villain heavily based off Katana named Tsukuri appeared in a few episodes of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
- Captain Ethnic: Katana's first few outfits were all based on traditional Japanese Rising Sun imagery. She now sports a suit of black armor.
- The Corrupter: Batman fears that Amanda Waller is this for Katana, she's twisting Tatsu into going down a bad path (earlier Katana had slashed Batman in the back, nearly killing him because he took down the rest of the squad).
- Crusading Widower: Starts her career after the death of her family.
- Death by Origin Story: Tatsu's husband and twin children were killed in her origin story, driving her down the path of vigilantism.
- The Dragon: Katana is this for Rick Flag, Amanda Waller and Harley Quinn. As a killer she's lumped in with the other villainous members of Suicide Squad but she's a volunteer and helps keep order with the squad and watch her bosses's backs.
- Empathic Weapon: Soultaker contains the spirit of her husband, and a number of other souls.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Her sword, Soultaker, absorbs the souls of those it kills.
- Katanas Are Just Better
- Lady of War: Quietly composed and graceful as she fights enemies with her katana.
- Master Swordsman: Though not her only skill set, you best believe she's good with a blade.
- Parental Substitute: For Halo, from quite early on in the Outsiders.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Katana's real reason for joining the Suicide Squad is to eventually kill them. Her sword has given her a kill list of people who need punishing and Amanda Waller is one of them.
- Rogues-Gallery Transplant: An unusual one, one of her enemies in her New 52 solo series is The Creeper, who was a superhero prior to the world reboot.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Caught between old traditions and being a young superhero, Katana can definitely come off as this.As my elders would say, my shame is deep. As the kids would say. Epic fail.
- Talking Weapon: Technically it's the soul of her husband (which is trapped in the sword) and it only talks to her. Doesn't come up too often, though.
- They Call Him "Sword": Her nickname is "Katana".
- Token Good Teammate: She and Rick Flag are this for the Suicide Squad.