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Origin

The Samurai with a tragic beginning
The Samurai with a tragic beginning

Tatsu Yamashiro has a tragic history, having lost all she held dear to her heart, she became an instrument of vengeance. Tatsu was born and raised in Japan and was allowed to follow her interest in the arts of combat at an early age by her parents. Very serious about her studies and dedicated to her teachings she grew quickly in her teachings and art of hand to hand combat. Always drawn to her homelands ancient teachings of the Samurai belief structure, she read much on the age old warriors. As matured into a young woman Tatsu gained extraordinary skills in various types of Martial Arts.

Tatsu would catch the eye of two young men, the Yamashiro brothers, and was admired by both Yamashiro brothers, Maseo Yamashiro and Takeo Yamashiro. Tatsu had gotten to know the brothers for sometime and cared for both to some extent, however she had realized that she had started falling in love with Maseo. With the beginning of sad turn of events in Tatsu's life her parents both passed away from unknown reasons. The two shortly proclaimed their love for each other and soon announced of their immediate wedding plans. Takeo however didn't take this turn of events well and soon after Tastu and his brother announced their marriage he left and joined the criminal gangs of the Yakuza. He also complicated ties of honor for Tatsu and Maseo with the rest of the Yamashiro clan and soon had the whole family hating them both. While he was planning his revenge on Maseo, Tatsu and Maseo married and sometime later Tatsu found out she was expecting.

Maseo
Maseo

The happy couple had two children who happened to be twins, boys they named Yuki and Reiko. While in the employment of the Yakuza for several years now Takeo had tattooed his chest with the symbol of the dragon and he grew in their ranks. Takeo went on with a desire for exotic weaponry and acquired a pair of katana's, however one was the mystical Soultaker, a ancient sword with magical abilities. Takeo started training for sometime and planned to use it to finally get revenge on his brother and his new family. The Soultaker had ended up in the hands of General Karnz, who would later be under the service of Brother Bedlam and sold the swords to him.

Takeo sought out Maseo and attacked him in his own home and Maseo was killed in the fight, the distraught Tatsu grew furious and challenged Takeo to a dual to the death. Knocking out Tatsu so he would face Maseo alone a fire started at the home of Tatsu and Maseo, and it soon began to engulf to residence. As the combat came to an end Tatsu showed her impressive skills and disarmed Takeo during the fight, leaving Soultaker behind which Tatsu now held. As Takeo fled, she started to rush to her burning home to save her children, however the mystical sword manifested its dubious nature and Maseo's captured soul spoke from the blade telling her that it was already to late. Tatsu watched in horror as her house burn to the ground with both her children, Yuki and Reiko, still inside house barely escaping with her own life. With her past ruined, all her loved ones gone, Tatsu made an oath of revenge and decided to make sure this never happened to anyone else ever again. She started her training as a Samurai at this point, returning to a love of the art of battle for very different reasons this time and eventually fulfilled her studies. She decided to take up the the garb of the Samurai, became the modern costumed vigilante known as Katana, taking the name of her chosen weapon, and started her hunt for Takeo to finally enact her revenge.

Creation

Created by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo , Katana first appears in The Brave and The Bold #200.

Character Evolution

Modern Age: New Earth

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Katana's character is based off mostly tragedy. Her family dies in her origin, and it makes her lonely and bitter to villains. She was very harsh speaking and cold to others in the beginning of her career. After she joined the Outsiders, she started to lighten up after becoming friends with Halo. She took a parental role in Halo's life, as Halo had no memory of her past. She started showing the caring and gentle side, which came from her maternal instincts. She still was cold to villains, but not to friends.

After Halo dies in the second version of the Outsiders, Tatsu showed her rage to the world as she struggled with Violet Harper. Once again, she returned to that bitter state of mind and blamed the world. Eventually, Halo was brought back to life and Katana became normal once again.

When the Black Lantern's show up, Both her husband and sons get rings and haunt Katana. She has to fight and kill her husband, while her sons were dealt with by Halo. This reminded her of her past, but she pushed through the pain and finally came to terms with their death.

Tatsu also has a short relationship with Geo-Force, but it doesn't last long because of Geo-Force's actions.

New 52

After the events of Flahspoint, Katana joined the Birds of Prey, which consisted of Black Canary and Starling, by a request from Batgirl. Poison Ivy also joined the team soon after Katana's recruitment. After facing opponents who can't be seen, Poison Ivy betrays them and forces them to help her in her eco-terrorism.

Not much has changed about her character besides her appearance. She has a new suit of armor and is even more ruthless. Black Canary seems to be the only person that Katana is close to. Katana usually communicates with her husband only. She uses Soultaker's special abilities in missions for intel as well as combat.

She joins the Justice League of America along with Catwoman, Baz, Vibe, Stargirl, Green Arrow, Hawkman and Martian Manhunter. This version of the JLA is led by Steve Trevor and organized by Amanda Waller to insure the world has a safe guard against the other Justice League.

During the New 52 Katana was also able to star in her first solo title. It however only lasted 10 issues and focused on her time in Japan.

Rebirth

Katana is currently a member of the Suicide Squad and is there on a voluntary basis. Unlike the DCEU version she has no attachment or prior relationship with Rick Flagg and is simply there because she feels that something big is coming. As revealed in the pages of Suicide Squad #3 the soultaker sword is sentient and convinced Katana to join Task Force X.

Major Story Arcs

Batman and the Outsiders

The Outsiders
The Outsiders

While in Markovia, Katana got caught up in a fight she didn't intend on being apart of. This eventually led her to become a founding member of the Outsiders, by helping Batman save Dr. Jace and save Markovia from Baron Bedlam. Batman took her and 4 others, Geo-Force, Halo, Metamorpho, and Black Lightning, under his wing. He taught them just what It meant to be a team and how to use there abilities to the fullest potential. Katana eventually had to face Takeo again, after he took the Soultaker. He then used a secret spell that brought select people who had been killed by it back to life. This included her deceased husband Maseo. Katana and the Outsiders eventually defeated all of them and Tatsu killed Takeo. She fought many villains during her time with the Outsiders including Masters of Disaster, Agent Orange, Duke of Oil, Nuclear Family, Force of July and Baron Bedlam. Batman eventually left the team and Geo-Force took over leadership. Katana became an official agent of Markovia during this time, along with the other Outsiders. Batman eventually came back to the team and they split apart soon after.

Outsiders Reunite!

Eventually, the outsiders reunited after Markovia was attacked by Roderick and his army of Vampires. The team that assembled to battle were Geo-Force, Halo, Katana, Looker, Technocrat, Wylde, and Faust. She successfully helped defend the castle, but was framed, along with all the rest of the Outsiders present, for all the destruction and the death of Markovia's current ruler. Katana and the team then went underground and eventually cleared their name. They picked up two members during this time, Eradicator and Atomic Knight. Eventually the team split up and Katana and Geo-Force lead their team. During this time, Katana faced Lady Shiva who killed her with the Soultaker. Katana came back and stalemated Shiva, who then fled. The team came back together when Felix Faust, Faust's father, attacked them. After a long struggle, the team defeated him and the team split up.

Nightwing's Outsiders

She was eventually on the Team again under many peoples leadership including Nightwing and Batman. She grew close to former Outsider member Metamorpho and fellow Asian Cassandra Cain during that time. She showed her deadly skills many times and played a pivotal role in many of their missions. The team eventually split up again when Batman took leadership from Nightwing. During this time, she met Captain Marvel, Billy Batson, and killed herself with the Soultaker so she could travel to it's dimension and stop Takeo from taking over there. Captain Marvel brought her back to life before her body was destroyed.

The Latest Outsiders

The most recent version of the Outsiders.
The most recent version of the Outsiders.

The latest incarnation of the Outsiders includes many of the original members and a couple of fresh faces. They were brought together by Alfred to stop the Insiders. The original team he brought together included Black Lightning, Geo-Force, Katana, Halo, Metamorpho, Creeper, and Owlman. They eventually defeated the Insiders and then started hunting some of Gotham's villains to help out when Batman died. Katana, along with Halo and Creeper, went after Killer Croc, but also came into conflict with Man-Bat who teamed up with Croc. Alfred left the team as mentor during this time. They eventually went through Blackest Night, in which Maeso, Yuki, and Reiko (Katana's deceased husband and children) were resurrected. This was hard for Katana to cope with, but Halo eventually stopped them. Halo disappeared soon after the fight was over for an unknown cause, making the things that happened during Blackest Night even harder.

Geo-Force then changed everything and made the Outsiders agents for Markovia. He had words with Owlman and Black Lightning on occasions about his sudden alliance with New Krypton. Eradicator, or a clone of him, being their ambassador. They then take on the Masters of Disaster, who had 2 new members, but the fight stopped when Black Lightning and Geo-Force break into a fight. Katana eventually stops the two and the 2 groups separate. They are all declared enemy's of Earth and Geo-Force brings back Halo. The team eventually goes to war with one another, causing mass destruction in Markovia. Veritas ended up being the cause of the problem, and the team united together at the end.

Other appearances

Katana is always seen with her fellow Outsider members during major crisis. She has been called by many people to help in various situations. She has helped Batman, Black Canary and others specifically because of her unique abilities. She has had encounters with many of the worlds top Martial Artists and has done well, proving her skills. She has been a part of other teams for short amounts of time including Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad.

New 52 Story Arcs

Birds of Prey

The events of the 2011 "Flashpoint" storyline led to The New 52, a relaunch of all of DC Comics' monthly books, and a reboot to the DC Universe in-story continuity. In this new continuity, a newly healed Barbara Gordonreturns to the Batgirl identity and takes a leave of absence from the Birds of Prey[15] and suggests that Katana take her place full-time on the team.

Katana joins Black Canary and Starling as the third member of the Birds of Prey. Katana is described as a lethal fighter who has spent the last year waging war on the Yakuza clan that is responsible for the death of her husband. She is rumored to be mentally unstable due to her belief that her husband's soul, whom she often converses with in Japanese, resides in her sword.[16]

After a number of adventures with the Birds of Prey, Katana leaves the group in order to keep an eye on a cult of assassins known as the Daggers.

Justice League of America

After leaving the Birds of Prey, Katana accepts membership in Amanda Waller's new Justice League of America in exchange for information on her husband's murderers.

The Ways of an Outsider

Tatsu Yamashiro aka Katana is in San Francisco or to be more specific the part of the city known as Japantown. She's rented out a place and is awaiting the arrival of an acquaintance. While walking through a park she is attacked by Coil and the Sword Clan. After they trap her, they ask her to join them but she refuses. During this altercation it's revealed she doesn't have full control of her soultaker sword. After she refuses the invitation to join the Clan they leave, except for one named Thrust.

Thrust reveals that he is the son of one of the heads of the clan and doesn't like to fight. He invites Katana to the Sword Clans ball. While at the ball she challenges several of the swordsmen and wins. Sickle, her husbands brother, is impressed. While leaving the ball, Steve Trevor stops her and asks her to go to Gotham on a mission. On her way to Gotham City she is attacked by Killer Croc, who breaks her soultaker sword and releases the Creeper! She is defeated and knocked out by both Croc and Creeper. She wakes up back home with her sword almost put together (missing one piece). After some rest she goes to Japan to repair the missing piece of the soultaker sword. Once there she is attacked, not only by the sword clan but by the Creeper as well! The Creeper retreats but not the Clan. They continue attacking Katana until Katana gets her soultaker sword back causing them to retreat.

Katana and Green Arrow

Katana made an appearance in Green Arrow#27 (2014), where she is told by the mysterious blind man Magus that the death of her husband relates to the Outsiders, the society formed of various weapon clans and connected to Green Arrow's new origin story. The Soultaker is worked into the Green Arrow mythology as the totem of the Sword Clan, which has parallels in the Fist, Mask, Shield, Axe, Arrow, and Spear Clans. Representatives from each of these clans make up the Outsiders, a secret society dedicated towards ending global corruption, but which is itself largely corrupt. Katana joins the Outsiders. In Green Arrow: Futures End #1 (2014), set five years later in one possible future, Tatsu is shown to still be a member of the Outsiders, which has developed a grudging relationship with Green Arrow, who rejected leadership of the Arrow Clan in the main Green Arrow series five years before.

Rebirth Story Arcs

Powers and Abilities

Katana has amazing Martial Arts and also Swordsmanship skills from her training as a child and from becoming a Samurai. These only increased when she trained with Batman during her membership with the Outsiders. She is adept in the use of pressure points and other advanced Martial Arts techniques. She has unparalleled stealth that some of the world's best have not been able to match. She has great marksmanship as well showing this with a bow and arrow and shuriken. She is a great leader and has a brilliant tactical mind, being able to tell others how to use their powers to the fullest in any situation. Her agility, speed, and reaction timing are faster than a normal humans and she is a great acrobat.

Katana with Soultaker
Katana with Soultaker

The ancient mystical katana blade named Soultaker is her main weapon of choice which she has used at times to kill without second thought. The sword has various mystic properties which give it unique capacities. First off it is nearly indestructible, coming into contact with high impacts and not receiving any damage. It is also able to cleave through most material's with amazing ease, its mystical sharpness never ebbing. The Katana sword also contains the souls of any being ever killed by its blade, and over the centuries of use it retains quite an amount of souls. The wielder of the sword may also call forth the entities of the sword to manifest on the blade and speak to the current wielder, giving as much help as they do in begging for mercy from the swords limbo. When a certain ritual of magic is preformed than the wielder can also physically manifest these souls in corporal states and temporarily command them to do her/his bidding. Katana is extremely skilled with all of the swords capacity's while in combat.

She also keeps other weapons on her person the majority of the time which have assisted her during events which battling her way out of would not suffice. This includes shurikens, a dagger, caltrops, bracelets which tie together to act as projectile weapons, and other utensils of various uses. She originally used samurai armor, but has since used more modern costumes while fighting crime and her most latest costume is equipped with padding and armored sections to add to further protection.

In Other Media

Animation

Batman: The Brave and The Bold

Katana In Batman: The Brave & The Bold
Katana In Batman: The Brave & The Bold

Katana appears as a member of the Outsiders in several episodes of this series on Cartoon Network. She is young and angry when the Outsiders, consisting of Metamorpho, Black Lightning, and Katana, met and fought Batman and Wildcat. They have since became allies and have fought others alongside Batman including Despero. He has taken the young teenagers anger and redirected it through training.

Beware The Batman

Katana in Beware the Batman
Katana in Beware the Batman

Katana assists Batman in numerous episodes of Beware The Batman. She is voiced by Sumalee Montano

Batman/Superman: Public Enemies

Katana in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Katana in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Katana appears as one of the many heroes trying to find and capture Superman and Batman. She make a non speaking appearance.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Katana in JL: Crisis on Two Earths
Katana in JL: Crisis on Two Earths

An alternate version from a parallel earth appears in the film as part of the Crime Syndicate of America. She wears a costume similar to Cheshire's traditional one.

DC Super Hero Girls

Katana in DC Super Hero Girls
Katana in DC Super Hero Girls

Katana is one of the main characters in DC Super Hero Girls. She is voiced by Stephanie Sheh.

DC Super Hero Girls: Super Hero High

Katana in DC Super Hero High: Super Hero High
Katana in DC Super Hero High: Super Hero High

Katana is present in Supergirl's welcome, as well as in the fight against Granny Goodness and the Female Furies. She is voiced by Stephanie Sheh.

DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year

Katana is one of the heroes nominated to Hero of the year. She helps defend the school against Eclipso and Dark Opal's attack, fighting the shadows. She is voiced by Stephanie Sheh.

DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games

Katana in DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games
Katana in DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games

Katana appears in the movie as part of the team that competes in the Intergalactic Games. She is seen fighting Mad Harriet as part of the "Combat with Weapons" game, though is not revealed who won.

When Lena Luthor attacks, she aids her teammates against the robots.

She is voiced by Stephanie Sheh.

LEGO DC Super Hero Girls

Katana in LEGO DC Super Hero Girls
Katana in LEGO DC Super Hero Girls

Katana makes her debut in Season 1 Epsiode 3 "Trading Places"

Live Action

Arrow

Rila Fukushima portrays Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana on The CW series Arrow, debuting in the third season premiere, "The Calm", in flashbacks to a time when Oliver Queen was recruited as a mercenary for Amanda Waller operating out of Hong Kong. In "Shogun", a season two episode Legends of Tomorrow, which is set in the same continuity as Arrow, the Soultaker is revealed to have originated in feudal Japan as the instrument with which a local shogun was defeated. It was then passed to Masako Yamashiro, who is implied to later become the first in a long line of female warriors named Katana.

Suicide Squad

No Caption Provided

Tatsu Yamashiro (née Hikari) is a Japanese human samurai assassin code-named Katana (after her weapon of choice). Tatsu is an infamous master of swordplay and martial arts, trained to the highest level in the ancient art form. She is a member of the Suicide Squad, and, of note, the only voluntary member, volunteering as Rick Flag's personal bodyguard.

She is portrayed by Karen Fukuhara.

Games

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Katana appears as a playable character through a DLC character pack. She is voiced by Anna Vocino

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

Katana appears as a playable character through a DLC character pack.

Infinite Crisis

Katana is a playable character in the game.

Her bio says:

Katana in Infinite Crisis
Katana in Infinite Crisis

Tatsu Toro’s idyllic, but brief, marriage to her husband, Maseo, came to a sudden end in a single, tragic night. Her husband and his twin brother, Takeo, were both members of the Sword Clan, one of the clans in the Yakuza criminal organization. Takeo confronted his brother over a matter involving the clan, and in the struggle, Maseo was killed by his own sword, the Soultaker. This ancient Katana, one of the clan’s relics, was said to contain the souls of those it killed, as well as possess other mystical qualities. Tatsu witnessed her husband’s murder and collapsed by his body, overcome with grief. Takeo ran off into the night, and when Tatsu finally came to her senses, she took up the Soultaker and swore revenge against not just Takeo, but the Yakuza and all crime everywhere.

Tatsu is a woman wracked by grief and guilt. She goes by the name of Katana in honor of the sword she wields, which she is convinced contains her dead husband’s soul. Due to this fact, she regularly has conversations with the sword, which is quite disconcerting to others. While she is a gifted swordswoman and martial artist, the sword can, at times, enhance her abilities in combat. When the sword is empowering her, the hilt of the sword glows with an unearthly light, burning Tatsu’s hand.

DC Legends

Katana in DC Legends
Katana in DC Legends

Katana is a playable character in this DC mobile app game. She is classified as a hero with a Mystic affinity due to her powerful soul taker sword.

Her bio in the game says: Wielding a cursed samurai sword that holds the soul of her husband master martial artist Tatsu Yamashiro seeks to punish all criminals.

Torn between the love of two brothers when Tatsu married Maseo his brother Takeo joined the Yakuza and challenged his brother with the ancient swordSoultaker. Killed by the mystical sword Maseos soul was trapped in the cursed blade. After the tragic loss of her family Tatsu took up Soultaker and now wields it with her considerable martial arts skills in the pursuit of justice. She seeks to free her husbands soul while relentlessly punishing criminals.

Merchandise

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  • DC Collectibles released a Katana figure as part of a Justice League two-pack with Wonder Woman.
  • Katana is featured in Mattel's line of DC Super Hero Girls dolls and action figures.

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