The Bat-Family, as many love calling them, is a big group of superheroes/vigilantes that stemmed from the original Batman, aka Bruce Wayne. Most of them – like Batgirl or Robin – aren’t actually related to Batman despite being a part of the Bat-Family, but some – like Batwoman – are quite closely related to the Caped Crusader. So, how is Batwoman related to Batman, and when did that connection first come to be? Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Batwoman?
Over the years, numerous characters donned the moniker of Batwoman, but the most well-known version of Batwoman is definitely Kate Kane. We’ll mostly talk about Kate in this article, but I do believe it is important to mention the original Batwoman, Katherine ‘Kathy’ Kane, as well.
Introduced in 1956 in’ Detective Comics’ #233, Kathy Kane’s Batwoman was initially not related to Batman in terms of a familial bond. Instead, Batwoman was Batman’s love interest, who was created after a controversial book came out named ‘Seduction of the Innocent’ in 1954, written by a psychiatrist named Fredric Wertham.
Wertham suggested that comic books are a very dangerous and negative part of popular literature that poisons the minds of the youth and turns them into delinquents. He also suggested that comics entice homosexuality because Batman and Robin, in his view, were homosexual.
To answer those allegations, DC Comics created Batwoman as a love interest to Batman, but the character soon faded away into oblivion as the silly allegations came to a halt.
Numerous characters donned the moniker of Batwoman, but the most popular one was Kate Kane.
The modern version of Kate Kane is a Jewish heiress to a huge empire in Gotham City, a former cadet at the West Point Academy, and one of the first openly gay superheroines ever.
Kate saw what Batman was doing and wanted to do the same – so she put her resources and training to good use and became Batwoman – yet another vigilante in Gotham City, inspired by Batman, but working separately from him. Over the years, their paths have crossed and they became partners, working together numerous times.
Are Batwoman and Batman related in any way?
Before we begin, I’ve noticed that many fans still confuse Batwoman and Batgirl, so let’s get this right out of the way. Kate Kane is Batwoman and is confirmed to be Bruce Wayne’s first cousin, whereas Batgirl is (primarily) Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, completely unrelated to Batman in terms of a blood relation.
Now, Batwoman’s familial relationship with Batman was kind of hinted at since the 1990s, but it wasn’t officially confirmed until the 52 – a year-long weekly run in DC Comics in 2006.
In the 90s, we learned that basically, half of Gotham City was owned by the Waynes, and the other half by the Kanes. That’s also when we learned that Martha Wayne’s maiden name was Martha Kane and that she was initially a part of the second wealthy Gotham family.
And then, in 2006, we finally learned the whole story about Batwoman’s relation to Bruce Wayne, which still stands to this day, even after the 2011 reboot of DC Comics.
Martha Kane had a brother, Jack, who had twin daughters, Kate and Beth. Kate was always the feistier one, but she was extremely close to her sister, always. Long story short, Kate’s entire family passed away, and she enrolled in the West Point Academy to become a highly skilled soldier.
Kate is also one of the first openly gay female superheroes, which I think is mightily important for the history of comics, but not that important for our subject today. Anyways, Kate Kane was very inspired by what Batman was doing for Gotham City – putting his life on the line to do whatever it takes to protect its citizens from criminals and other malevolent threats.
Being an heiress to the Kane empire, Kate put her resources and training to good use, becoming a vigilante in her own right, calling herself Batwoman as an homage to the hero that inspired her.
Eventually, Kate and Bruce – first cousins on Bruce’s mother’s side – grew closer together, and Bruce became her mentor. Despite their vigilante careers still being mostly separate, they did work together as partners countless times.
Is Batwoman from the Arrowverse also related to Batman?
The Arrowverse Batwoman – portrayed by Ruby Rose – is very similar to her comic book counterpart, but with a few slight changes to her background, as well as her relationship with Bruce Wayne.
In the comics, Kate and Bruce weren’t really close until long after she became Batwoman. In the Arrowverse, however, she was actually very close to Bruce as his first cousin since she was a kid. However, after Bruce went missing, Kate Kane decided to take his place and become Batwoman.
So, they are related and are cousins, but they have known each other since they were kids, even though Kate had no idea that her cousin was Batman until she inherited Wayne Enterprises and Bruce was already missing for a while.
We never saw him return to the show (apart from somewhat of a cameo) before it was canceled, but it would likely have been an interesting dynamic between the pair had it materialized. Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!