DC Comics: Women of the Bat-Family
In DC Comics, Batman’s family is always expanding. The Caped Crusader lost his own parents when he was very young, so he’s always been empathetic to the plight of orphans, misfits, and strays who wander into his sphere. And that love for Gotham City’s wayward souls has reached children, teens, and even Bruce Wayne’s cousin.
All of these characters have a unique heroic identity and origin story. Many have gone on to lead their own DC Comics arcs or runs, though their fights for justice will forever revolve around the relationships formed under Batman’s care. We want to highlight these heroes and what makes them so individual and important. Plus, in celebration of International Women’s Day, we’ll focus on female members of the Bat-Fam. Read all about these laudable ladies below!
Kate Kane / Batwoman
Kate Kane — a cousin to Bruce Wayne on her father’s side — is heiress to one of the wealthiest families in Gotham City. By night she fights crime as the vigilante Batwoman. This desire to fight crime was catalyzed by the brutal murder of Kate’s mom and twin sister, keeping death in the Bat-Family origin stories.
Additionally, Batwoman is one of the most prominent and proud lesbian characters in Detective Comics. Like Bruce, she doesn’t have superpowers, and instead relies on her martial artistry, family fortune, and technologically advanced weaponry to fulfill her duties.
Barbara Gordon / Batgirl / Oracle
The daughter of Commissioner James Gordon, Barbara Gordon or “Babs” is the heroine Batgirl. She is one of the most popular Bat-Family members to date. She has an unwavering commitment to justice and a strong moral code.
Connected to the Batfamily in many ways, she is Dick Grayson AKA Nightwing’s main love interest and a surrogate daughter to Batman even when her own father is alive. Later in her life, Barbara was paralyzed by The Joker and became the hacker and data broker Oracle. She still operates from the Batcave and remains a vital, beloved heroine.
Carrie Kelley / Robin
Carrie Kelley was a schoolgirl and orphan from an alternate Earth. One night she was attacked by muggers, but got rescued by an older, grizzled Dark Knight on his first night out of retirement. Afterwards, Carrie spent her lunch money to buy a Robin costume and become a vigilante in order to capture Batman’s attention — and it worked! She became his sidekick on Earth-31, as well as one of the only Robins to still have living parents.
Cassandra Cain / Black Bat / Orphan
Cassandra Cain was initially raised as a mercenary in the League of Assassins. She was trained as living weapon and expendable bodyguard for the leader Ra’s al Ghul. The daughter of David Cain and Lady Shiva, the young girl fled the League, horrified following her first kill. The Bat-Family took her in and protected her. Thus she helps Tim Drake and Batman protect her new home city, remaining ever loyal to Gotham even as she moves around internationally.
Harper Row / Bluebird
Harper Row is from the rough streets of the Narrows in Gotham City. Both Harper and her younger brother Cullen were bullied outside the home for their sexualities as well as hit inside the home by their dad. Abused and impoverished, Harper emancipated from her father and takes care of Cullen. In order to make ends meet, Harper works as an electrical engineer.
One day her brother was saved by Batman, and the siblings decide to honor and help the vigilante around the city. Harper went so far as to improve his hijacking of the city cameras. She also helped Batman capture various villains, but she was not recognized as an official sidekick until much later.
Stephanie Brown / Spoiler
Although Stephanie Brown is Cluemaster’s daughter, she abhors crime and often assists Gotham PD in capturing her third-rate villain of a father. She at first operated outside the Batman Family, assisting Batman and Robin when needed, or getting saved by Batman when she was in over her head. She and Tim Drake also dated for awhile. When Tim left for boarding school, Batman as well as Batgirl’s Birds of Prey trained Stephanie to be an actual super hero.
Claire Clover / Gotham Girl
Claire Clover and her brother Hank underwent experimental treatment that turned them into metahumans. They volunteered for this program after being saved by Batman — believing that with superpowers they would be fit to join the Dark Knight. However, their “Superman” powers take a significant toll, sapping their lifespans the longer they are used.
Still, they used these abilities to rescue Batman from a plane crash, and the vigilante welcomed them to his team. Hank eventually died from overusing his powers, so Batman revealed his true identity as Bruce Wayne to Claire and opened his home as a safe space for her to deal with her trauma.
Bette Kane / Hawkfire / Flamebird
Bette Kane was a debutante living in Los Angeles. Batwoman’s cousin and a star tennis player, Bette became a masked vigilante in order to impress the Teen Titans’ team leader, Robin. Later, she operated as Flamebird and joined the team alongside Dick Grayson, Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Dove II.
However, deep down Bette is still a lonely and closed-off person. She often feels the need to break her ties with the group, only to restore her reputation and worth to them later. Eventually, Bette moved to Gotham to train under Batwoman as the hero Hawkfire.
Who is your favorite female member of the Batman Family? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!