Kate Kane: 1980 - 2007
Katherine “Kate” Kane is the daughter of Colonel Jacob Kane and Captain Gabrielle Kane. Her parents were both career military (her father in the Army and her mother in the Air Force) and had met through their roles in military intelligence. Kate grew up with her parents and her twin sister Elizabeth Kane. As her parents were promoted, they moved to a wide variety of towns and bases, eventually moving to Brussels in Belgium as part of a NATO assignment.
Due to her father’s involvement in a terrorism task force, his family was targeted for retaliation. While Gabrielle was taking her daughters out for the day, they were kidnapped by heavily armed men from the terrorist sect know as Church for the Righteous Invasion of the Monarch Exalted, or CRIME. When military intelligence eventually located the warehouse where the hostages had been stowed away, they found Kate alive and well… and pieces of her mother and sister. After this, Kate underwent years of therapy and it was only in her late teens that she began to return to the life of a “normal” teenager. She could not say the same about her father, Jacob, who only found comfort in the bottom of a bottle for a number of years.
Trying to please her father and honor her mother, Kate decided to join the military and enlisted in the US Marine Corps. Having come from a well-connected family, Kate received special endorsement to enroll in the U.S. Naval Academy to receive training as an officer. During her time there, Kate engaged in a relationship with a fellow midshipman from Gotham City, Renee Montoya.
Per the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy at the time, Midshipman Kane and Midshipman Montoya kept their relationship a secret. After graduating from the academy, Kate served for five years in the USMC, attaining the rank of Captain, before returning to Gotham City when her five year commitment was over. Life back in the States was not an easy adjustment, however…
Batwoman: 2007 - 2015
Kate returned home from the Middle East to find that her father Jacob Kane had married a Gotham socialite and heiress to the Hamilton Arms fortune, Camille Hamilton. This considerable wealth put Jacob Kane (the youngest of the Kane siblings, with the smallest share of his father’s fortune) into the elite circles of Gotham’s wealthiest. Though Kate would unlikely never need to work again due to her father and stepmother’s wealth, she felt unfulfilled and uncertain of her future in civilian life.
As she considered her course in life, Kate took advantage of her family’s station and became a celebrant socialite known for her partying and drinking. She hooked back up with her military lover, Renee Montoya, but Renee called things off after she discovered Kate had been unfaithful. You see, Kate caused quite the stir in Gotham’s society page when she publicly came out as a lesbian after paparazzi caught some scandalous pictures of her at a 5-star hotel pool with the daughters of Commissioner Loeb and Mayor Hady. Shortly after her outing, the Cataclysm took Kate's scandal out of the headlines.
It was during the onset of this time of turmoil that Kate’s purpose found her. Stumbling into an alleyway after a wild night at the Iceberg Lounge's Halloween party, Kate happened upon a mugging. Though drunk, and hopelessly lost among all the chaos, Kate intervened. To the surprise of herself and Batman (who joined in at the end of the fight), Kate showed remarkable talent. After Batman off-handedly remarked that she’d make a good vigilante, Kate decided she would do just that.
Over the course of the Cataclysm, Kate took advantage of this land of lawlessness and her isolation in a heavily fortified penthouse apartment with her father to both train herself to peak physical condition and force her father to sober up to serve as her behind-the-scenes support for her vigilante debut. After she crafted her costume, modeled after Batman, Batwoman began. In order to show that she was a good guy, Batwoman made her proper first appearance in the territory that the GCPD protected in the No Man's Land that was Gotham at the time.
Working with the GCPD, Kate had hoped to patch things over with Renee but her efforts were rebuffed and instead Renee asked her friend Maggie Sawyer to serve as a liaison between GCPD and Batwoman during the Cataclysm. New to the whole superheroics thing, Kate was not very professional with her GCPD handler, and before long was fraternizing with the recent transfer from the Metropolis PD who was more used to working with Superman. All things, considered though, I think that worked in her favor as it put Maggie off her game and allowed the two to develop a certain chemistry that despite being overly personal, was truly potent and effective.
After the Cataclysm was over, Batwoman found her niche. Though she had worked with the new Batman during the Cataclysm many times, she now had caught the attention of Bruce Wayne who was now back in the cowl. Batman finally officially sanctioned Batwoman. Now officially accepted into the Bat Family, Kate discovered that Batman was none other than her cousin, Bruce Wayne. Go figure, Vigilante work must be in their genes.
Things just continued to tick up for Kate as she decided reveal her identity to Maggie Sawyer and begin an actual relationship with her. After years of living together and protecting the people of Gotham as a team both inside and outside the law, Kate and Maggie were finally allowed to legally tie the knot in 2013 with the legalization of same-sex marriage in New Jersey.
When Bruce opened Batman, Inc., Batwoman was glad to join up. Part of the organization of this new system of crime fighting required a division of duties. Wanting her own niche, Kate signed up to take on more paranormal and peculiar investigations. She did not realize at the time that this would mean she would become a constant collaborator with her ex-lover, Renee Montoya who was now the new Question.
Though the two former lovers are an effective team, able to put aside their past feelings for one another, there is still a considerable amount of flirting and sexual tension between them... but I don't believe they'd act on it. Maggie trusts Kate and Kate seems to have evolved considerably from the scandal-seeking celebrant she once was.
Recently, I hear the two uncovered evidence that may suggest foul play in the death of Renee's mentor. I wish them all the luck on that case.
- Acrobatics: She is quite skilled in gymnastics, having trained in the sport since she was very young, and made it to Senior Elite level.
- Martial Arts: Kate received basic training at the US Naval Academy, then further, more intensive training in various martial arts during her travels around the world. After deciding to test her mettle, Dick Grayson confronted her as Batman and told her that she didn't know what she was doing. She punched him. He chuckled and commented "okay... you know what you're doing" and she should. Kate has trained in at least 14 different styles, including: Boxing and Krav Maga.
- Medicine: Kate has been shown able to identify wounds and how old they are and describe them anatomically, administer stimulants, and perform minor surgery on herself.
- Peak Physicality: As a result of her extremely rigorous training, Kate is now at the upper end of natural human abilities. Kate has shrugged off wounds from bladed weapons on numerous occasions, and even survived being stabbed in the heart by Bruno Mannheim once... so that's saying something.
- Investigation: Kate has studied under experts in forensic science, law, behavioral science and criminology, learning methods both high-tech and old-school for tracking down criminals.
- Criminology/Law: As a paralegal, Kate is well-versed in the law.
- Interrogation: While Batwoman does a lot of physical intimidation and violent interrogation work, Kate wouldn't torture or deliberately maim people.
- Intimidation: She leverages her considerable presence, her excellent training in psychology and interrogation, being obviously willing and able to hit people really really hard, suddenly shifting toward protectiveness, etc. to achieve remarkable results.
- Military Protocol: A one-time Marine raised by a career soldier, Kate is quite familiar with military policy, protocol and most aspects of life in the many different armed forces.
- Gadgetry: Kate is adept in the art of tinkering with things both mechanical and electronic. She likes to chit-chat and thus when she does join us at the Batcave, Clocktower, or at the Lighthouse, she can linger around watching Harold, myself, or Tot work for hours. Perceptive as she is, she easily picks up a few tricks through doing this.
- Computer Hacking: Kate is capable of hacking and some basic programming, but more importantly, of keeping her own computers and gadgets from being hacked or traced.
- Stealth: Kate is a master of stealth, as noted by Batman, being so good that has managed to get the drop on Kryptonians or even Batman himself. Kate once infiltrated an airborne military airship without raising alarm, and managed to make it to the bridge and subdue at least thirteen soldiers before she revealed herself. Even I am not immune from Kate's sneakiness, I've just settled into a nice bath when the water suddenly is shut off and Kate starts running her most recent investigation by me.
- Wealth: Being the heiress of a family whose fortune is comparable to the Waynes', Kate is extremely rich.
- Fun-Loving: Kate likes to have fun and while she knows there is a time to be serious, she is the first one to crack a joke or do something to throw you off your guard in order to keep things interesting. This, of course, can take some getting used to and it is the main reason that you don't see Batman and Batwoman together that often.
- Connection to the Occult: Kate's recent interest in the occult may not be mere curiosity. Recent activity among CRIME seems to suggest that they targeted Kate at a young age for a particular reason. While this actually be something in our favor, it is also something I find very concerning. I've asked John Constantine to do some digging.
Trivia and Notes
- Kate is a huge fan of Mucus Membrane, Blondie, The 69 Eyes, and Sisters of Mercy.
- Kate has a quite a few tattoos. She has a nautical star on her upper back, the Marine Corps' Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on her right arm, and a bluebird on her left arm in memory of her mother and sister. It is interesting to note that the Nautical Star, while being a common tattoo and having a broad range of symbolism, it is also commonly associated with the US Navy and Marine Corps and during the 40's it was also started to be used by homosexuals (particularly lesbians) to indicate their sexuality in a discreet manner during a time when homosexuality was frowned upon.
- Kate was targeted by CRIME because she is a descendant of a Miagani Chieftess.
- She was one of Holliday Girls.
- She married Maggie October 27th, 2013.
- 52nd floor is a nod to the weekly comic series 52, in which Kate made her first appearance.
- The Law Firm of Lawford, Lydecker, and Hardwicke is a nod to Fox, Shark and Vulture - the Terrible Trio in the comics. In Earth-27 the role of Terrible Trio was taken by Kathy Duquesne, Rocky Ballantine and Sonia Alcana, who were each Batwoman in the Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman animated movie.
- In the comics Jacob's second wife's name is Catherine Hamilton.