First appearing in DC Comics in 1983, the character of Katana, formerly a member of Batman’s Outsiders, was rejuvenated as a member of the Birds of Prey in the New 52 last year, replacing Barbara Gordon/Batgirl as the third team member. If you haven’t seen her before, what you need to know is that Katana’s real name is Tatsu and she has been busy seeking vengeance against the Yakuza for killing her husband. With her trusty Soultaker sword by her side she’s a force to be reckoned with, and she will be featured as a newer breed of superhero in the new Justice League of America beginning next week with Justice League of America Issue #1 (not to be confused with the Justice League series). But if you want to get an early look at Katana, you can pick up Issue #1 today of her own new monthly series. We at borg.com previewed Issue #1 this week and think this series will be an interesting and unique addition to the New 52 line-up.
Written by Ann Nocenti with art by Alex Sanchez, the story is packed with the spirit of ancient Eastern influences, swordplay and mysticism. Nocenti counts herself a fan of Akira Kurasawa and Katana’s story will be familiar to fans of his films. Artist Alex Sanchez has created a modern yet ancient-inspired fictional setting in his Japantown, part of San Francisco. DC Comics has shared with borg.com some original art pages from Katana, Issue #1 reprinted here.
The most intriguing aspect of Katana’s character are the layers of her vengeance story. Her Soultaker sword is just that–it absorbs the souls of those destroyed by it. In Issue #1 we learn that this includes her husband. Katana sleeps with the sword and speaks to it as if it was her husband and there is reason for her actions as it seems to act on its own when she wields it in battle.
Nocenti and Sanchez get off to a great start in Issue #1. You’ll find plenty of martial arts action like you’re watching a Quentin Tarantino flick but in a serious crime-fighting superhero mode. And you can look forward to how she may, or may not, play nice with the other JLA members next week. Look for Katana Issue #1 in comic book stores everywhere today.