Origin of Lady Shiva
Real Name: Sandra Woosan
First Appearance: Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #5 (December 1975)
Powers: Lady Shiva is a master martial artist. She is also one of the very few characters in DC who can read body language so well that she’s able to predict, with accuracy, her opponents next move.
Affiliation: The Brotherhood of the Fist, Birds of Prey, League of Assassins
Did You Know? Lady Shiva is widely considered the best martial artist in DC Comics
A Little History
The origin of Lady Shiva is pretty straightforward.
Lady Shiva (Sandra Woosan) is first introduced as an enemy of Richard Dragon. In her first appearance, she is led to believe that Dragon was responsible for the murder of her sister, Carolyn. In actuality, Carolyn was not murdered by Richard Dragon but instead murdered by Guano Cravat. Cravat, who had been foiled by Richard Dragon, convinced Sandra that Richard was responsible as an act of revenge against him.
As a way of enacting her revenge, Sandra begins training in various forms of Martial Arts. Barely into her training, she realizes that she is a prodigy and capable of picking up fighting styles with ease. After she becomes proficient in numerous fighting styles, Sandra takes on the moniker Lady Shiva…a name that’s followed her to this day.
Now prepared to battle Richard Dragon, she lures the martial arts master to the hideout of Cravat. Dragon quickly reveals that she had been deceived and that Carolyn’s murderer was actually an underling of Cravat. With no reason to continue, Lady Shiva gives up her pursuit of Richard Dragon and actually takes up crimefighting alongside him.
A short while later, the two part ways leaving Lady Shiva to continue her training. As a result of her continued training, she becomes one of the world’s foremost assassins.
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the origin of Lady Shiva changed.
Sandra and her sister Carolyn grew up in Detroit. The two were extremely close and together they began studying martial arts. Each day the two practiced and sparred with one another. Eventually, the sparring became so competitive that both sisters devoted all their time to becoming martial arts masters. The more they studied, the more that each realized that they could read body language so perfectly that they were able to predict every upcoming move of any opponent.
When David Cain heard of the Woosan (now spelled Wu-San) sisters, he decided to see how good Sandra actually was. To push her over the edge he murdered Carolyn. Enraged, Sandra pursued David who eventually revealed that he was a member of the League of Assassins. Try as she may, Sandra was not able to beat David Cain in battle. In exchange for sparing her life, David requested that she bare him a child…which she did. After the child (Cassandra Cain) was born, Sandra, now called Lady Shiva, left in search of her life’s meaning.
And that’s it. The origin of Lady Shiva.