Note: This is the page for the current Batwoman, to see the original silver age Batwoman, refer to Kathy Kane.
Both she and her father were members of the U.S. Army. At an early age while she believed her father to be on deployment, she was abducted by a group of men. Her father returns and rescues her, but not without the apparent death of her sister and the death of her mother. She later joins the military herself, but is forced to release after it is discovered that she is in a relationship with another woman. When she returns home she discovers that her father has proposed to a woman, one with a great wealth. She informs her father of what happened to her, and he praises her for her actions. Soon after she is pulled over for speeding by a young Renee Montoya, which leads to the two of them starting a relationship. This relationship doesn't last long however as Kate chastises Renee for not being open about her sexuality. Soon thereafter Kate also encounters Batman for the first time as he comes to her rescue. Later Kate decides on a vigilante role for herself but is soon after confronted by her father, who although unable to convince her to choose a different path, is successful in convincing her of the need for more training.
According to Alex Ross in the Rough Justice, Paul Dini asked him to design a darker version of Barbara Gordon for the animation. He wanted Alex to design an evil Barbara who cured her paralysis from Ra's Al Ghul's resurrection pool but turned twisted. However, that plot was never used in any animation series but instead become the design of the modern version of Batwoman. She was launched into the DC universe with a certain amount of fanfare as the company's first openly homosexual major character. She played an ongoing, and though at times secondary, still important role in the miniseries 52 with her first appearance being in issue #7.
As a relative newcomer to the DC continuity, Kate has nonetheless made her mark. Her early appearances in 52 were noted for a certain amount of inexperience, but as the series progressed she also displayed some more admirable features, such as sacrificing herself for others. As she became integrated into the mainstream DC continuity she has become even more established and is now a respected hero, including being a member of the Justice League of America.
Major Story Arcs
Katherine "Kate" Kane is a Gotham City socialite and the heiress of a very wealthy family. Since they are both in the same social scenes, she is acquainted with Bruce Wayne. It has been revealed that Kate Kane was once in a romantic relationship with Renee Montoya, the former officer of Gotham City's Police Department and current crime fighter known as the Question. Kate has assisted Montoya and the original Question on a mission to dismantle the criminal gang known as Intergang and saves them from some of Whisper A'Daire's shapechanging creatures, after discovering their plot to kill "twice-named daughter of Kane" . She also met Nightwing, and he grew infatuated with her, helping her learn how to use a batarang. He gave Kate her very first batarang on Christmas Eve.
Kate Kane is Jewish and celebrated Hanukkah with Renee, and the two kissed shortly before Christmas. Intergang realized that the image in the Crime Bible of Batwoman and the image of the "twice-named daughter of Cain" were one and the same. They kidnapped Kate and intended to sacrifice her. However, Renee was able to find her, but not before she was stabbed. Despite this, Kate was able to pull the knife out of her chest and used it to stab Bruno Mannheim. She fell into Renee's arms, who was able to stop the bleeding and save Kate's life. As Kate healed in her penthouse, Renee appeared outside her window, shining a bat-signal, asking "Are you ready?"
One Year Later
One year later, the Penguin asked Batman to bring a date to the opening of his club. He ask "Why don't you bring that new Batwoman? I hear she's kind of hot." Batwoman returns in Countdown #39. She appears after the Question, Renee Montoya, confronts Trickster and Pied Piper, who they trailed from the Penguin's Iceburg Lounge nightclub. However, the Question lets them go, not believing them to be killers.
Renée again left town, irritating Kate, though she agreed to help Renée in tracking down a copy of the Crime Bible, being sold via the Penguin. The book was actually part of the Lessons that the Order of Stone was attempting to teach Renée, and she and Kate fight over the book. In the end, as Renée claims she only wants it to protect Kate. Kate tells her that Renée never asked what Kate wanted, but lets her take the book.
During the events of the Final Crisis, Batwoman fell prey to the global brainwashing of Darkseid and his gods. Batwoman became one of Darkseid's newest members of the Female Furies, alongside Catwoman, Wonder Woman, and Giganta. Batwoman's appearance resembled that of the original Female Fury known as Mad Harriet. When Darkseid was eventually defeated, Batwoman reverted to her normal self.
Alice and The Religion of Crime
After Battle for the Cowl, Batwoman is fighting in Gotham, helping Batman and hunting the Religion of Crime who have a new leader who goes by the name Alice. We see both Batwoman and Kate Kane struggle with the aftermath of her last excursion with the Religion of Crime, who stabbed her through the heart and still survived. Batman lets her take the case letting her know that he'll be watching if she needs him.
Kate finds the High Queen Alice and begins to question her before she has to flee because Alice poisoned her. As her investigation goes deeper there is a moment when it looks like it's the end of the road for Kate and her father and they are surrounded by Alice and the Religion of Crime, however they get saved by a group of people who were once part of the Religion of Crime, but now choose to distance themselves, saying they are the True Believers. The leader, Abbot, tells Kate that they still follow the dark faith, they just disagree with Alice's interpretation. She learns that Alice plans to destroy Gotham.
As Alice begins her plans, Kate attempts to thwart them with the help of the True Believers. She gets on the plane that Alice is trying to use to drop on Gotham and releases her father before going after Alice. In the dramatic conclusion Alice and Kate fight on the wings of the Aircraft and as Alice holds onto the wing of the plane she looks at Kate to tell her "You have our fathers eyes" before stabbing Kate in the arm, making her fall to her apparent death. Was Alice her sister?
In the events that follow we learn that Alice's body has yet to be found and as Kate ignores her fathers pleas to open the door to the bunker, she performs a blood test on Alice and herself. She learns that the blood is the match of twins. She confronts her Father who tells her how was he supposed to tell her that the girl they found when she was rescued wasn't her sister.
When the Justice League of America splits up following Bruce Wayne's death and a disastrous confrontation with the Shadow Cabinet, Green Lantern Hal Jordan leads a group of superheroes to Gotham in order to track down the supervillain known as Prometheus. Kate is shown stalking the heroes from the rooftops after they encounter Clayface.
Batwoman later contacts both Leagues at the JLA Watchtower, informing them she encountered and engaged supervillain Delores Winters, who mysteriously collapsed and died right as she was about to be taken into custody. The heroes request that Kate bring the body up to them, but she declines, telling them that she is much too busy due to a rash of criminal uprisings going on in Gotham. Firestorm is then sent to retrieve the corpse from Kate and bring it to the team, who discover that Dolores was forced into fighting by means of a mind control device.
Later, Batwoman is kidnapped by cultists and taken to London in order for her to once again be sacrificed. She is sealed within a coffin and taken underground to the last remaining Lazarus Pit in order for the ritual to begin. She is saved by the timely intervention of Dick Grayson and British superheroes Knight and Squire. After learning that Grayson plans on placing Bruce Wayne's corpse into the pit in order to revive him, Kate strongly protests, but he simply ignores her.
The New 52
In the first arc of her own series post-Flashpoint, Kate investigates a series of kidnappings of Hispanic children by a mysterious, seemingly metahuman adversary known only as the Weeping Woman. She has cut her father off from her life after the Religion of Crime fiasco as a response to what she perceives to be a betrayal of trust and family, and struggles with balancing her life as one of Gotham's vigilante protectors with her public image and her relationship with GCPD detective Maggie Sawyer. She also is driven apart from Batman, due to the DEO blackmailing her with her father's extra-military activities to join them, being personally overseen by Agent Cameron Chase.
The Weeping Woman turns out to be part of a larger group centered around Greek mythology, culminating in Medusa summoning Ceto, the Mother of all Monsters; to defeat these supernatural foes Batwoman enlists the aid of Wonder Woman in the World's Finest arc. Overcome with relief at rescuing the missing children, Kate reveals her identity to Maggie, by proposing marriage. The opening issue of the net arc reveals that Maggie accepts, and Kate is training her cousin and sidekick, Bette Kane.
Powers & Abilities
Kate Kane has no metahuman abilities. However she is extremely proficient in both armed and unarmed combat as a result of her West Point education and BEAST basic training coupled with two years of undocumented special operative training with members of the British Special Air Service, U.S. Navy S.E.A.L.S. and other military contacts. She is extremely physically fit and was senior elite in gymnastics at West Point. Her military training and lifestyle has instilled a deep sense of discipline and leadership that is reflective in her actions as Batwoman.
As a result of her militaristic lifestyle and upbringing, Kate has an extremely high tolerance for pain. She has been repeatedly stabbed and continued to fight off attackers. When she was abducted by followers of the Crime Bible and stabbed in the heart, she went so far as to pull out the blade and incapacitate her attackers.
Kate has also developed an uncanny ability for aerial combat. She frequently jumps between and fights on top of moving vehicles and is accustomed to battle while in free fall. While she is not as adept as Dick Grayson at acrobatic combat she is certainly experienced in this area.
Batwoman has shown detailed knowledge of human anatomy in her dealings with criminals. She is familiar with the human bodies pressure points and anatomical weak spots. On top of dressing her own wounds, Kate has displayed basic medical care to those around her. She has even shown extensive knowledge of cellular biology and organic chemistry, once citing that if both she and the villain Alice were indeed twin sisters then their blood cells would be monozygotic. Kate has also shown extensive chemical knowledge, specifically the nature of Cyanogen Chloride and its breakdown into Cyanide when introduced into the bloodstream.
Weapons & Equipment
Due to her father's position within the military, Kate has access to an extensive arsenal of both lethal and non-lethal weapons. Most frequently used are her own stylized collapsible batarangs, frequently used to incapacitate opponents. She also carries a grapple gun for quick ascents and a gas gun for ranged attacks. Her utility belt also conceals tear gas grenades, lock picks, a gas mask, thermite grenades, collapsible batons, and a smart phone capable of long range communication, data storage, and computer hacking.
Her costume is treated with a liquid shear thickening compound making it both stab resistant and small arms bullet proof while retaining flexibility. The cape is a carbon nanotube composite, making it proportionally stronger than steel. It is also weighted at the ends for both defensive and offensive purposes. Her cowl protects from blunt force trauma and is lined with a red wig which further conceals Kate's identity while serving as misdirection to her opponents. The entire suit feeds into the bio-monitors, GPS tracker, and radio receiver in her torso which relays real time encrypted information back to Colonel Kane in Kate's apartment.
Kate frequently uses her high speed Bat-cycle for transport.
Thanks to her current affiliation with the Department of Extranormal Operations Kate has access to a variety of state of the art equipment that even surpasses her former military special operations grade gear. The most notable improvement seems to be in her costume. Drawing from the carbon nanotube design of her cape, Kate's next generation body armor is virtually impervious to gunfire, even from automated weapons.
Kate Shrugs off gunfire from Tong enforcers to protect Agent Cameron Chase.
Kate has also supplemented her non-lethal offensive capabilities with D.E.O. weapons. These include "taser gloves" salvaged from the Electrocutioner, a chemical cocktail of weapons grade tranquilizer and Scarecrow's "Fear Toxin", and a semi-sentient, voice operated, tracking dart made from an alien artificial intelligence with combat capabilities powerful enough to take out a magically enhanced Killer Croc.
Kate displays the various tactical benefits to her D.E.O. remote tracking dart. Including electric, sonic, and incendiary weaponry.
In the Elseworlds story called The Nail, Martha Kent and Jonathan Kent get a flat tire the fateful night that they should have come across an infant Superman, and never crossed paths. In this world, Selina Kyle, also known as the criminal Catwoman, assists Batman after he fights against an empowered Joker that killed both Batgirl and Robin. Catwoman decided she wanted to help Batman and they soon fell in love. To be Batman's partner, Selina Kyle adopted the personality of Batwoman in a costume that was very similar of Kathy Kane's Pre-Crisis costume.
In an alternate reality where the gender of DC's superheroes are reversed, Batman and Superman encounter Helena Bertinelli, more commonly known as the Huntress, as the Batwoman, wearing a costume very similar to the one worn by Batman.
On a mission of the Teen Titans, where they ended up in a bleak future reality, the super-heroine known as Flamebird adopts the identity of Batwoman, in a costume very similar to Kathy Kane's Pre-Crisis costume. This Batwoman is a member of the team known as the Titans East.
Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty
In the Elseworlds story Batman: Dark Knight Destiny, Brenna Wayne is a descendant of Bruce Wayne, taking up the identity of Batwoman to fight Vandal Savage, an immortal who has plagued her family since the middle ages.
Wonder Woman as Batwoman
In JLA #90, Wonder Woman has a vision where she and Batman are lovers. In one particular vision, Wonder Woman becomes the Batwoman, Batman's dark counterpart. She uses her Amazon skills with deadly efficiency, having been hardened by the streets of Gotham.
Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman
In this DC Animated Universe direct-to-video movie Batwoman is a new vigilante working the streets of Gotham. She targets Penguin, Rupert Thorn and Carlton Duquesne. The movie revolves around Batman trying to identify the identity of Batwoman. Throughout the movie he suspects three individual women who have no connection to each other ; Gotham Police Detective Sonia Alcana, Dr. Roxanne 'Rocky' Ballantine, and Kathleen 'Kathy' Duquesne. We find out later that all three of them are in fact Batwoman, who unite to take on specific villains who have hurt them in their past. Throughout the movie Bruce Wayne begins a relationship with Kathleen Duquesne, who turns out to be one of the Batwomen.
Batman: Brave and the Bold
Batwoman appears in Brave and the Bold episode "The Criss Cross Conspiracy?" under the civilian name Katrina Moldoff, a nod to Sheldon Moldoff, who created the character. Katrina was a bored woman who decided to take on a costume to fight crime. During a fight with the Riddler, she was unmasked, leading her to become a recluse due to the negative attention received from her unmasking. She was also banned by law to fight crime.
Years later, she seeks revenge on the Riddler by seeking out Felix Faust for a spell to switch bodies with Batman. Following the switch, she seeks out the Riddler to kill him for her humiliation at his hands. Not as experienced as Batman, she is captured by the Riddler and almost killed. In the end, she is saved by Batman- in her body- and is sentenced to prison.