This page is for the original Pre-Crisis Bat-Girl, Betty "Bette" Kane, the reincarnated first Batgirl, Mary Elisabeth, and current Flamebird/Hawkfire.
For the other Kryptonian Flamebird's, see: Jimmy Olsen, Ak-Var and Thara Ak- Var.
For the other Batgirls, see Barbara Gordon (II and current VI), Helena Bertinelli (III, temporary), Cassandra Cain (IV), Stephanie Brown (V), and Charlotte "Charlie" Gage-Radcliffe aka Misfit (temporary).
Mary Elisabeth Kane, Betty Kane, was the niece of a rich Gotham City’s socialite, Kathy Kane. Living in different city of her aunt she visited her once a year and it was on one of her annual visits that Betty discovered that her aunt was Batwoman. Betty confronted her aunt and she started to be her sidekick as Bat-Girl.
Betty Kane was created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff.
After that discover Betty moved to Gotham to her aunt’s house. Betty helped Batwoman, Batman and Robin against the Cobra King, she soon developed an crush on the Boy Wonder. Months later Betty retired from Bat-Girl and she became a professional tennis player. A few years later Betty returned to her Bat-Girl persona and became a member of the Teen Titans West . It was during a tennis match aboard a naval ship that Betty Kane came out of retirement and assumed the role of Bat-Girl once again, but the Titans West soon disbanded and It was around this time that Betty discovered that her aunt was killed by the League of Assassins and Betty retired again. She was last seen in Donna Troy’s wedding with Terry Long.
Bette Kane was born blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. It was not long before she quickly garnered the adulation of those around her. Whether that fueled her thrill seeking and high competitive nature is still a conundrum. However, the constant attention would grow to bore Bette and would eventually be perceived by others as spoiled. Bette grew to become a champion tennis player while still in her early teens, a beauty pageant winner since the age of five, skilled in martial arts, and an Olympic gymnast and swimmer. Excelling in all of her goals, there was one Bette still found beyond her grasp.
At an early age Bette discovered Robin (Dick Grayson), the teen wonder and longed to meet her teenage crush. Failing in all previous attempts, Bette decided to meet Robin on his own terms and fashioned a costume similar in colors to his. Calling herself Flamebird, Bette managed to have some high-profiled crime fighting exploits gaining her media coverage. To her dismay none captured any sort of response by Robin.
Major Story Arcs
The Teen Titans
It wasn’t until the formation of Titans West that Bette finally achieved her goal and met Robin. Just after winning an exhibition tennis tournament aboard the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Tippecanoe, Bette found herself alongside other super-teens like herself (Beast Boy, Golden Eagle, and Hawk) in a rescue attempt of the civilians aboard the aircraft carrier as it floated high above the sea. As a team the young heroes bring the carrier back down to sea level. Bette and the others were then introduced to Dove and Lilith. Lilith gathered the young heroes together and told them how she foreseen many more disasters all created by the villain Mr. Esper. She recommended they go to the East Coast and ask the Teen Titans for help (especially Robin’s leadership).
The Teen Titans had faced their own disaster with the villain Captain Calamity. When the two teams met the plot unfolded that Mr. Esper had used the power of his helmet’s “sonic whisper” to tap into Lilith’s mind to gain access to her powers. Captain Calamity was first an illusion of Mr. Esper, but when the teams defeated him he had made Mr. Esper the illusion and assumed the identity of Captain Calamity. After the case had ended, Robin voiced his concerns about two Titan teams existing and his unwillingness to lead both. Flamebird and the rest of Titans West were offended at Robin’s assumptions and stormed out on the Teen Titans. The main reason that Golden Eagle joined the team was because he thought that it would give him a great amount of money, however wouldn’t be long before both teams disbanded. Titans West continued on a little longer after this before finally disbanding altogether. Dishearten, Bette moved on, putting her crime fighting days behind her and continuing her education and tennis career.
It wouldn’t be long before Bette found herself missing the thrill and excitement that being a crimefighter provided. Flamebird would reappear once again on a mission into the afterlife with Hawk and Dove II, which involved many of the former Titan West members. Her enthusiastic attempt to resurrect Titans West after this was unfavorably met by the other former members. Another incident would draw Flamebird out as she was captured by a probe sent by the malfunctioning Cyborg aka Victor Stone, who had become a menace to the Earth. Fighting alongside all previous Titans, Flamebird helped protect Victor Stone’s soul from the JLA. This event would usher in a new Titans team, which dampened Bette’s spirits when Nightwing (formerly Robin) and the other original Teen Titans overlooked her for membership.
A short time later, Bette was called to to aid Gar Logan, aka Beast Boy. Overlooked by the Titans as well Gar found himself in fighting to defend his name against crimes committed by someone posing as Beast Boy. Upon helping Gar, Bette found herself fighting alongside Nightwing. At one point he pulled her aside and basically tried to convince her to give up crime fighting altogether. The shock of this caused Bette to reevaluate her goals and devotion to crime fighting. A renewed spirit arose within Bette along with a new costume and an amped up arsenal of gadgetry.
As the all-new Flamebird, Bette helped Gar capture Gemini, the imposter committing the crimes. After this Bette and Gar hung out together and even shared an apartment. Gar’s cousin, Matt would try one last attempt to bring about a new Titans West (dubbing it Titans LA). A bitter Duela Dent tried to cause havoc during the recruitment drive, but Bette managed to subdue her. Members would include Herald, Bumblebee, Hero Cruz, and others. The team never got off the ground before the members went their separate ways.
No longer hung up on the whole team aspect, Bette was content to strike out on her own. She was next heard to be captured, along with other heroes, by a Brainiac-worshipping cult leader trying to replicate the abilities of heroes. Bette and the others were rescued by Vixen and the Birds of Prey operative Huntress. From there Bette rallied alongside a majority of current and past Titans in an attempt to take down the terrorizing Dr. Light. Flamebird showed up again during Infinite Crisis (see IC #4) where she once again joined a majority of Titans only this time to take down Superboy-Prime. After a battle a recreated Earth-2 appeared. Bette and most of the members of the Justice Society of found themselves teleported there. Here we discover Bette Kane/Flamebird is the Earth-2 counterpart to Betty Kane/Bat-Girl. When Crisis on Infinite Earths was over Flamebird replaced Bat-Girl on the sole remaining Earth. However, all of this has yet to be confirmed anywhere else. Bette appeared back on New Earth just in time to join other heroes against the Invasion on Metropolis (see Villains United Special).
Bette also briefly rejoined the Teen Titans (most likely as a favor for Gar) during the year-long gap after Infinite Crisis, known as One Year Later. There is still much to be revealed about Bette Kane’s past and the chronicles of her life.
Bette is seen attending a high society function in Gotham with her uncle and his family. She is reunited with her cousin, Kate Kane, who is also the Batwoman, though Bette has no idea of this. She mentioned that she has moved to Gotham due to enrolling in Gotham University. According to Kate's father, Bette looks up to her and enjoys spending time with her. There is a cutter that is attacking the young girls of Gotham University and he soon targets Bette. Kate intercepts and the two team up to defeat the man. Bette reveals that she knows Kate is Batwoman and informed her that she wanted in, taking off her coat to reveal her costume underneath.
When Kate begins Bette's training, she decides to destroy her old costume, completely starting Bette off at square one. Like Kate's own training, she takes a very militaristic approach to training her cousin, making her wear a grey uniform and mask, as well as calling her "Plebe." Though agreeing to train her, Kate becomes hesitant when she doesn't feel as if Bette is taking it as seriously as she should, and it doesn't help that Bette brings up her uncle, Kate's father who she is currently estranged from.
During the series, Bette, after a falling out with Kate, encounters the monstrosity known as The Hook. During the encounter, The Hook badly defeats Bette causing severe body injuries and leaving Bette to bleed in the snow. Bette was able to just survive the attack but remained in a coma for some time. Her uncle Jake Kane watched over her in the hospital, and only through intensive care and treatment was she eventually able to recover.
At the climax of the World's Finest arc, when Batwoman and Wonder Woman battled Medusa, Bette was able to return to action in a new costume. She went after The Hook for the second time around, and was able to defeat him with her knew flame throwing abilities and and an explosive device that blew off his deadly hook. Bette revealed to her cousin her new code name was "Hawkfire" and the next arc shows her continuing to train under Kate's watchful eye, although her skills are somewhat underdeveloped still.
Powers and Abilities
Flamebird has no powers, but is an Olympic-level athlete (excelling in gymnastics and swimming), and professional level tennis player. She is trained for strength and endurance. She is also highly skilled in several forms of martial arts. Majoring in sports medicine in college, Bette most likely has knowledge in using the various pressure points of the human body to subdue her opponent. She is known to speak several languages.
Flamebird wears a costume that is highly resistant to damage. It’s fireproof and insulated to protect against extreme heat and cold.
Flamebird carries a utility belt (similar to Batman & Robin) with individual compartments that house such thing as a radio/transmitter, gas bombs, gas mask, flares, flashlight, first aid kit, throwing discs (bird-a-rangs), tracers, and gabbling hook and line. She’s increased her arsenal to include a pair of billy clubs, flare lenses in her mask that emit powerful burst of blinding light, and bird-like bolas that send electrifying currents through an opponent snared in them.
Titans Tomorrow - Possible Future?
The Teen Titans encountered their future selves. It was revealed that Bette Kane was killed by Duela Dent, but later resurrected by Tim Drake (now Batman) by using the Lazarus Pit. Bette assumed the alias of Batwoman from then on. When Tim and the other former Teen Titans (now Animal Man, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Dark Raven and Aquawoman) began taking over the , Bette helped formed Titans East with Cyborg, Terra, Bumblebee and Captain Marvel (formerly Jr.) to oppose them. The Teen Titans, with the aid of Titans East, managed to defeat their darker adult counterparts. In the future Bette Kane and Tim Drake developed a relationship, that's why he resurrected her. However, when the Titans Tomorrow Future was revisited changes are revealed due to affects of the unpredicted early deaths of Kon-El, Bart Allen and Duela Dent. Miss Martian darker adult self plays a big role in the new version and Bette Kane remained Flamebird while Cassandra Cain became Batwoman.
Bette appeared several times in the Tiny Titans series. In the 13th issue she tries to enter in a team created by Raven, the team was named Bird Scouts and the members are Bette, Hawk and Dove, Hot Spot, Kid Devil and Raven as the team leader. Her outfit is a mix between her Bat-Girl costume and her first Flamebird costume.
Teen Titans GO!
Bette appeared as Flamebird in Teen Titans GO! #52 as member of the Teen Titans.
Bette appears in the episode "Homefront" of Young Justice, voiced by Alyson Stoner. She is a student at the Gotham Academy who is assigned to as a liaison to Artemis.