Katana

Real name: Tatsu Yamashiro
First Appearance: The Brave and the Bold #200 (July 1983)
Residential area: USA, formerly Japan
Occupation: bookstore manager, adventuress
Marital status: widow
Known relatives:  Maseo Yamashiro (husband, deceased), Yuki, Reiko (children, deceased), Takeo Yamashiro (brother-in-law)
Hair color: black
Eye color: blue
Height: 5'2
Weight: 96lbs

History:

Tatsu's tragic story began when she fell in love with a man named Maseo Yamashiro. Unfortunately, Maseo's brother, Takeo, also desired her and the two were forced to vie for the love of the fair Tatsu. But it was Maseo whom she loved and married. Takeo could not accept this slight. He became angry and bitter and took to a life in crime with the Yakuza, a Japanese criminal organization.

Maseo became a weapons collector and bought two identical swords from a General Karnz. Using one of these swords, he vengefully killed Maseo and ignited a fire which killed he and Tatsu's children as well.

Anger fueled Tatsu and she studied the martial arts. After much training, she eventually claimed the sword called the Soultaker which killed her husband. Though the sword was a bitter reminder of Maseo's fate, it was also some comfort because Tatsu could actually communicate with him through the sword. In fact, all the souls of those killed by it were trapped inside the Soultaker. After much samurai training, Tatsu took the code name "Katana," which is the Japanese word for the kind of sword she weilds.

Years later, she traveled to the tiny land of Markovia, where she had tracked General Karnz. She finally achieved vengeance for her family by killing the man. Soon afterwards, she encountered a young girl unconscious in the woods and named her "Halo." Together, they aided the Batman in rescuing his associate, Lucius Fox from Baron Bedlam. Batman requested further aid from the Justice League to save him, but the JLA refused. Batman then resigned and formed the Outsiders to deal with the problem. This band included Tatsu, Halo, Black Lightning, Metamorpho and Geo-Force.

After Markovia was freed of Bedlam's tyranny, Tatsu accompanied the new team to Gotham City. There she began a new life for herself as the guardian of Halo (now named Gabrielle) and the proprietor of a Japanese book store. Tatsu and Gabrielle set up residence in Bruce Wayne's former penthouse in the same building which housed the Outsiders' headquarters.

Takeo remained at large and followed Tatsu to Gotham City. He secretly switched swords with her and she and the Outsiders followed him to Tokyo. Takeo took the sword to his master, the Oyabun. Oyabun was the godfather of their crime organization, the Yakuza. They performed a ritual to recall the spirits of those people slain by the Soultaker. These souls took corporeal form and were subject to the whims of the Oyabun and included Shuriken, Blowdart, Nunchaku & Anthor Stoneaxe and Katana's husband Maseo! Katana was able to reclaim the Soultaker and finally killed Takeo and entombed his soul in the sword. In defeating them, Maseo's soul was also returned.

After the group split from Batman, they were awarded medals by King Gregor of Markovia. They also accepted his offer to become "unofficial agents" of that state and voted to move to Los Angeles. There they would operate officially from the Markovian embassy, and unofficially from their new headquarters, just off-shore.

The Oyabun soon returned, sending a "tengu" (trickster ghost) to capture Katana. She was rescued by Halo and Looker, who enlisted other tengu and the Tengu-Suma, their leader. The team disbanded after a tragic series events. Gabrielle was left comatose and Tatsu remained by by her side.

Tatsu remained close with her Outsiders companions, and was there when the team re-formed in Markovia. The new team soon found themselves trapped in a public relations nightmare and they fled from Markovia.

After the team was cleared of all charges, the new team fractured in two. Gabrielle's body was killed and Halo was resurrected in a new body. This added to the already tense relationship between the two. Katana sided with Geo-Force and Technocrat, while Halo and Looker followed the Eradicator, Faust and Wylde. During this split, Geo-Force put Katana in charge of their team.

The Soultaker continues to attract undue attention. Her old master, Tadashi, sent Lady Shiva to retrieve the sword. Tatsu dispatched the expert Shiva and killed Tadashi.

The two Outsiders teams soon rejoined, but their time was short-lived. Since then, Halo, Katana and Geo-Force have kept the group alive, but its capacity is unknown. They have been spotted among other super-heroes in times of great crisis. Katana remains an associate of the Batman. She fought at his side when Hell erupted on Earth.

Copyright Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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