With her recent live-action debut via the Arrowverse, played by actor Ruby Rose, Batwoman is one of the most talked about superheroes of the moment. Mainstream audiences might not realize that not only is Batwoman not a new character, she has been around for over 50 years in comic books. One of the reasons for that confusion is that Batwoman and Batgirl are often looked at as one and the same, when in fact, they are two completely separate characters with different alter egos, origin stories, relations to Batman, and overall vibes. And while Batgirl has been the more prominent female bat-based character for much of their parallel existences, Batwoman has been making the case for her relevance outside of the shadows of both Batgirl and Batman since her big relaunch in 2006. The fact that Batwoman has grown into such a cool, progressive character is especially impressive given the details behind her original creation, a story that we'll get to later, but we'll tease by saying it is extremely embarrassing by today's standards. It was the 1950s, after all.
For this list, we are going to focus specifically on Batwoman's physical traits and abilities, and how those things relate to both Katherine Kane herself, and the characters and world around her. Much like Batman, she may just be a regular ol' mortal human with no real “powers,” but to say she isn't classifiable as a superhero would be shortsighted for reasons this article will lay out.
Here are the 20 Weirdest Details About Batwoman's Anatomy.
20 Her Long Red Hair Is A Wig
While there are a few distinct details that set Batwoman's outfit apart from Batman's, perhaps the most prominent one is the long red locks that cascade down Batwoman's shoulders. And while it might seem careless of Katherine Kane to not better-hide such a distinct feature of herself when she is being Batwoman, that hair isn't actually all Batwoman's own.
That fiery hair is actually a wig, attached directly to Batwoman's cowl. In fact, it is partially an effort to further hide her true identity. Who is going to suspect that Kate Kane is actually Batwoman when the former doesn't have red hair halfway down her back? Various versions of the character have Kane's hair being of varying lengths, but it's almost universal that she keeps her real hair tied up beneath a long, red wig.
19 She Can Sneak Up On Anyone
When it comes to superheroes that are just regular people and don't actually have powers, there are a few different approaches they can take, and Batwoman subscribes to the school of thought that it's best to sneak up on her potentially more powerful opponents in order to give her the upper hand.
To that end, Batwoman is a master at stealth and moving undetected through the night's shadows. Her sneaking skills not only surpass Batman's (and that is a statement not to be taken lightly), but Batwoman was once even able to successfully sneak up on Supergirl. And if there is one type of creature that is almost impossible to successfully sneak up on, it's a Kryptonian.
18 She Was Created To Prove Batman's Orientation
Batwoman is a trailblazer in the world of comic books for being one of the first positive representations of certain cultures in the history of the medium. And it's extremely ironic that Batwoman ended up having a specific orientation, considering the specific purpose behind her original creation.
There had been chatter for a while as to whether Batman and Robin's partnership was more than platonic, and DC decided that the easiest way to prove Batman's preferences was to introduce a female character designed to be his eventual love interest. And thus, the first incarnation of Batwoman, with her bombshell looks and makeup-based gadgetry, was born. It's almost the exact opposite of the modern version of the character.
17 She Was At The Top Of Her Class In the Army
Opponents who underestimate Batwoman's toughness do so at their own peril and come to regret it moments into a physical altercation with her. Of course, if they knew the kind of training she had received, they wouldn't have made that mistake, to begin with.
In an attempt to impress her Colonel father, Jacob Kane, Katherine entered the U.S. Military Academy and quickly moved to the top of her class. By the time she reached the rank of Brigade Executive Officer, she had racked up numerous accolades and had become peerless in hand-to-hand combat. Had she not been dishonorably discharged for refusing to hide her orientation, there's no telling how much further she could've advanced in her military career.
16 She Had A Relationship With Another Superhero
Kate Kane's most high-profile relationship is her romance with Maggie Sawyer, but Maggie isn't the only woman that Batwoman has ever coupled with. Like so many other comic book characters, she had a thing with a fellow superhero prior to that.
While the superhero known as The Question is traditionally male, there was a time when that persona was taken over by former Gotham police officer Renee Montoya: Batwoman's ex-girlfriend. The pair's romance was rekindled during Renee's time as The Question, meaning that Batwoman dated a fellow superhero for a time.
15 She Is A Master Of Aerial Combat
We already covered Batwoman's proficiency at physical combat, but she doesn't need to have both feet, or even one foot, on the ground in order to kick some serious you-know-what.
One of Batwoman's greatest skills is that she is a master of aerial combat, which takes a few forms. First, it means that she is able to easily jump between moving vehicles and also fight on top of them (once duking it out on the wing of a flying plane), a pretty impressive feat for someone with no real super powers and the inability to fly. Second, it means that she can hold her own in battle even when she's completely airborne, as well as keep a proper fight going when in free-fall.
14 She Has Some Interesting Tattoos
A lot of superheroes are kind of boring in their regular lives – sometimes by design, and sometimes just because, well, they aren't that interesting when they aren't in costume and saving the world. If there is one thing to be said about Katherine Kane, it's that she would be worth knowing about even if she had never taken on the alter ego of Batwoman.
Kate Kane definitely isn't one to blend in with a crowd, and part of that is due to her cool ink. In addition to her military tattoo on one of her arms, she has a Peacemaker-like dove on her other arm, and a red and black star on her upper back. All of this is punctuated by the prominent scar on her chest, which we'll explain later in this list.
13 Her Skin Got More Pale In Recent Years
Following Batwoman's original 1950s debut, it was eventually determined that having both a Batwoman and a Batgirl was a bit redundant, so, the more popular of the two was kept and Batwoman was faded out, staying largely absent from major comic storylines for many years.
When Batwoman made her grand return in the mid-2000s, she looked a bit different than the current incarnation. Instead of the almost vampiric pale skin she has now, she had a more bronzed look and much darker hair. But, it didn't take long before her skin gradually got whiter along with obtaining her now iconic red hair. As this is the version that inspired the first-ever live-action version of Batwoman, it's going to be the look she is most associated with for a long time to come.
12 She Becomes A Vampire In A Future Timeline
Giving Batwoman skin so pale that she almost doesn't look alive was perhaps something of a foregone conclusion that the character would eventually be envisioned as an actual vampire. And thanks to the comic book medium's love of exploring future/alternate timelines for its characters, we got to see a version of Batwoman's future where she becomes immortal and develops a craving for the red stuff.
In the series Batwoman: Futures End, Kate Kane has been turned into a vampire and is being hunted by her sister, Beth, who we will be discussing in the next entry. Batwoman already had a lot in common with a vampire in her normal incarnation: she works at night, stalks her prey in the shadows, and identifies with bats, but to see that taken literally was a treat.
11 She Has A Wicked Twin
We spoiled this one a bit in the previous list item, but here it is anyway: it was eventually revealed that not only does Kate have a sister, but she has a twin sister. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Kane also turned out to be wicked.
After a lengthy battle with an Alice in Wonderland-obsessed psychopath who went by the name of that story's protagonist, “Alice” states that Kate has “[their] father's eyes,” which not only reveals something about Kate's favoring of her dad, but that he had another daughter. Alice was soon revealed to be Elizabeth Kane, Kate's apparently long-lost twin sister, and the duo have had an interesting relationship ever since that surprising twist.
10 She Once Punched A Ghost
In the world of Batman's comics, he doesn't have superpowers, but for the most part, neither do most of his villains. That is one of the reasons why a lot of people love to read them and why they stand apart from typical comics full of heroes and villains with abilities that far exceed realistic limits.
But that isn't always the case. Sometimes, Batman has to fight a legitimate supervillain; and Batwoman is no different, having to use her formidable, but still very human skillset, to take on enemies that are literally not of this world. Does that phase her? Well, she once punched a ghost: the so-called Weeping Woman. How many people can say they've socked a ghost?
9 She Was Once A Ghost Herself
Batwoman's experience with spectral beings goes beyond just making them taste her fist; once, she actually was one. But try and pay attention here, because this is going to take some explaining.
Within the DC universe, there used to be something called Hypertime, which is basically the construct that was used to explain the concept of multiple universes/realities co-existing. It was initially downplayed after “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” but has since made a return of sorts. One of its most iconic uses was in the limited series Kingdom Come, when Batwoman appeared to Superman, Batman, and others as a so-called Hypertime ghost, where she recognized them, but they didn't recognize her since she didn't exist in their reality.
8 She Carried A Bacteria That Wreaked Havoc On An Island
Kate Kane didn't initially take the end of her military career very well, and turned to some pretty hard partying to soothe her angst. During one night of ill-advised activities, she dove into the water in an unsafe area and ended up hitting her head, leaving her unconscious.
When Kate finally woke up, she found herself on the (fictional) island of Coryana, beginning what is now referred to as her “lost year.” However, what is most relevant about that time is that the wound from her head injury had become infected with a dangerous bacteria from the ocean, which didn't affect her directly, but wound up claiming the lives of the island's foxes. While this wasn't Kate's fault, she did end up blaming a Coryana warlord for spreading the bacteria, which led to his execution. Oops.
7 She Has A Very High Pain Tolerance
There is plenty of room for debating the physical strength of men vs women, but it's hard to argue that women have the edge when it comes to overall pain tolerance. To that end, a female superhero should be able to withstand more physical pain than a male superhero, and that is definitely the case for Batwoman. But, hers seems to go far beyond the default amount that she owes to her gender.
Batwoman is said to have an exceptionally high threshold for pain, which she most commonly puts to use in battle endurance. This allows her to keep fighting for longer than most of her foes since she's able to fight through the pain and ignore it for far longer than they can.
6 She Was Influenced By Darkseid
Darkseid is one of the most iconic villains in DC Comics, and many saw it as a majorly missed opportunity not to have him be the Big Bad of the Justice League movie. But, that doesn’t diminish his many dastardly accomplishments in the comics, including turning Batwoman wicked.
For a time, Batwoman joined Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Lois Lane in a group known as the Female Furies, led, and controlled by, Darkseid during the events of Final Crisis. Batwoman in particular was possessed by the spirit of former Female Fury member Mad Harriet. Despite the fact that Batwoman’s demise was supposedly prophesied by the Crime Bible during Final Crisis, it ultimately never comes to pass, and she eventually recovers her original self.
5 She's A Trained Circus Performer
Prior to Batwoman's modern reboot, her skillset was more centered around her agility, but it still showcased an exceptional ability at aerial maneuvering. The reason behind her slightly different athleticism was due to a much different origin story: Kate Kane was a former circus performer, interestingly putting her more in line with how Robin got his start than how Batman did. That said, like Batman, she was a wealthy heiress with unlimited money to use on her future superhero career.
Unfortunately, her reasons for transitioning from circus life to crime fighter was only partially based on a sense of wanting to help people; she wanted to put herself on Batman's radar since, after all, she was only created to get onto Batman’s radar in the first place.
4 She Can Proficiently Dress Her Own Wounds
There is another important skill that Batwoman possesses that greatly helps her out on the field and doesn’t require anything that could be considered a superhuman ability. She happens to have a pretty expansive knowledge of science and, in particular, medicine: the result of which is her proficiency at being able to treat and dress many of the wounds she receives in battle.
Between being able to tolerate pain and also being able to be her own field doctor, Batwoman doesn’t need to go running back to HQ nearly as often as other heroes might. In addition, this makes her a great teammate as she can also apply her wound treatment knowledge to her teammates as well.
3 She's An Apokoliptian In Earth-22
It's way too much to get into in a single list entry, but the DC Universe has a number of different “Earths” that each have their own completely different reality. As such, there exists a few different variations of Batwoman depending on which Earth a given Batwoman is from – and some don't even have a Batwoman at all.
One of the most different, and most strange, versions of Batwoman is the one from Earth-22. This particular Batwoman isn't even human, but is actually an alien from the planet Apokolips. Earth-22 Batwoman's identity is hidden, she has the same vulnerability to Radion that her fellow Apokoliptians have, and she is skilled at riding creatures called wardogs, which includes her own personal wardog, Ace.
2 Ruby Rose Had To Train Hard To Play Her
Putting aside the social media unpleasantness that followed the announcement of Ruby Rose playing Batwoman in the CW's Arrowverse, which we won't dignify by rehashing it here, most fans felt she was a great choice to portray Batwoman’s first-ever live-action adaptation. Beyond her notable turn in Orange is the New Black, Rose had already proven her action chops via her appearances in movies like John Wick and The Meg.
Still, Rose needed a specific type of training in order to get herself in the right physical shape to pull off Batwoman, and a video shared on Instagram in September showed a tease of what that training looked like (and it’s more than most of her tough-talking haters would be able to accomplish).
1 She Survived A Major Wound
Perhaps the weirdest detail of all about Batwoman's anatomy is that it was once deemed worthy of a ritual sacrifice. After all, people who do ritual sacrifices don't just pick any random human, right?
Thanks again to that pesky Crime Bible, a group called Intergang decided that some text in the book related to Kate Kane, which meant for her to be sacrificed in a ritual that will destroy Gotham. The group even gets as far along in the ritual that they've already inflicted her with a wound to her chest, before her friends show up and save her. Kate is able to remove the obstruction, again, that high pain tolerance, and is able to survive the whole ordeal with nothing more than a scar (remember the scar from earlier in the list) and slightly impaired breathing.
Did you notice any other significant details about Batwoman's anatomy? Let us know in the comments below!