The AAPI Members of DC’s Bat-Family Saving Gotham City
Holy AAPI Representation, Batman! The Bat-Family is actually home to a number of kick-ass heroes of Asian descent.
You might not guess it, but Batman somehow finds a way to bring in a wide range of capes into his crusade. Though he’s known as a tough-to-crack vigilante, there’s a heart underneath all that Bat-armor. Even Harley Quinn is reluctantly, awkwardly, and messily a part of the fam now.
Every year, the Bat-Family expands in unforeseen ways. But at its core, a group of heroes keep the Dark Knight’s legacy circling. Let’s meet these AAPI heroes!
Much like Bruce Wayne’s childhood, Minhkhoa Khan grew up with immense wealth. His family was extremely successful in Singaporean exports. Also like Bruce, Khoa lost his parents at a young age.
Whereas Bruce’s tragedy sharpened his desire for justice, Khoa’s heart hardened into a tool for revenge. Years earlier, he had been diagnosed as a “psychopath,” notably because he did not exhibit fear or empathy like those around him. Over the years, Khoa and Bruce’s paths crossed while they trained under the world’s leading experts in combat and weaponry. But their philosophical differences would lead to a bitter falling out. Both vowed to never work together again, yet Khoa, now Ghost-Maker, came to Gotham after the Joker War. He believed Batman could no longer protect his city adequately. Eventually, he accepted Batman’s offer to lead Batman Incorporated.
Ghost-Maker wasn’t the only new vigilante introduced during the Joker War. As Gotham fell further into chaos, most felt helpless to fight back against The Joker and Punchline. However, one young boy, Bao Pham, decided he’d had enough.
Sadly, his family had been killed by The Joker’s remnant gangs. Fueled by rage, with a thirst for revenge, Bao became Clown Killer. He crusaded through Gotham’s destroyed neighborhoods, killing leftover clowns and taking his city back, one swing of his bat a time. Batman urged him to abandon his violent methods but there’s only so much people can take before they fight back.
It’s no easy task to assume the mantle of an existing hero — especially when that hero is as well-known and trusted as Batman. On top of that, when you’re the son of Lucius Fox, there’s a lot of pressure riding on what you do. Nobody knows this better than Jace Fox.
Actually, he was born Timothy Fox. And much like Bruce Wayne’s public image, Tim loved to spend money and waste potential. Unfortunately, that all came crashing down when a hit-and-run accident forced his father to cover up the crime and send him away. At boarding school, Tim’s resentment grew — as did his drive to do more. Soon he was training with Katana, even adopting the new name Jace.
The Next Batman
Once he returned to Gotham City, Jace discovered a family in disrepair. Even though the Fox family had inherited the Wayne fortune, none of them were in any shape to benefit from it. With the help of his former classmate Vol, Jace discovered an old hideout of Batman’s. Slowly, he uncovered Bruce Wayne’s secret as well as his father’s involvement.
All the while, Jace was trying to take down a human trafficker. After a very public defeat while wearing the Batsuit he’d found, Jace needed a pep talk from his friend Hadiyah. He realized that he had to keep going, to be the Batman he knew Gotham needed — more visible, on the streets, and willing to do the dirty work. Later, he and his family moved to New York City. There, Jace continued his work as the next Batman, leaving off the face cowl so the world could see a Black Batman. Eventually, he also learned from the Moral Authority that his mother isn’t Tanya Fox but actually Elena Aoki. Jace’s relationship with his family continues to be tense but he does work with his sister Tiffany fighting crime.
It’s safe to say that molding a child to be a weapon almost never works out. That was certainly the case with Cassandra Cain. Since birth, she was trained to be a perfect killer. Her training was so intense that everyday skills like speech and reading were sidelined in favor of body language and the ability to smell cyanide. Now that’s a bad education.
Of course, a hero’s heart never stays hidden for long. Cassandra realized she wanted something more than the life of murder and deception her parents (David Cain and Lady Shiva) offered. In a twist of fate, Cassandra realized her murderous ways were wrong. Eventually, she worked as an agent of Oracle during No Man’s Land and slowly she became a member of the Bat-Family. At first, Nightwing heavily distrusted her. She frequently made mistakes that put her at odds with the team, especially when Deathstroke drugged her and tricked her into working for him. But when Cassandra stayed true to her new team’s ideals and didn’t kill her father, Batman officially welcomed her into the family. Lately, Cassandra has worked alongside Stephanie Brown and Barbara Gordon as the Batgirls.
Sometimes, a hero has all the skill but none of the spirit. Well, actually, Damian’s got spirit — maybe a little too much at first. When he first joined forces with his father, Batman, Damian was more than a little rough around the edges. Those edges were probably razor sharp, in fact. As the son of Talia al Ghul and the grandson of Ra’s al Ghul, Damian was mostly a pawn in their plots against Batman.
Due to his League of Assassins training, Damian is also one of the deadliest members of the Bat-Family. On the flip side, he had a lot to learn about working well with others. Unlike the world of assassins, volatility and ruthlessness are not Bat-Family traits. Thanks to the positive influence of his father as well as best friends like Superman’s son, Jon Kent, Damian is now a (fairly) well-adjusted Robin. Most recently, he saved the world from immortal demons and their Lazarus Resin, even rallying together Gotham City to revive a dying Batman.
The caped vigilantes above aren’t the only AAPI heroes associated with Batman. Katana of the Suicide Squad worked with him on the Outsiders. Plus, Wang Baixi (Bat-Man of China) and Jiro Osamu (Batman of Japan) are both members of Bruce Wayne’s global Batman Incorporated network.
Who are your favorite AAPI heroes in DC Comics? Keep the conversation going with other DC fans over at Sideshow Social Network or at side.show/geekgroup, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!