There’s been a lot of Katana in DC’s TV and film stuff lately. She’ll be in the new Suicide Squad movie, she’s made appearances on Arrow, she’s been a guest on Batman: Brave and the Bold, she was Batman’s right hand in Beware the Batman, and she’ll be appearing in the upcoming Superhero Girls toy line. Katana is all over the place and I’m sure the question on many people’s minds is “Who is Katana?” So let’s get to the answers already!
Tatsu Toro was a pretty average person with above average skills in any martial art or weapon training she tried at. She drew the attention of the brothers Yamashiro, Maseo and Takeo, and tried to gain her affection. She liked both brothers but would go on to marry Maseo. While Tatsu would have twins, Yuki and Reiko with Maseo, Takeo would join the Yakuza and raise in the ranks. Her brother-in-law would be given a pair of swords by a General Karnz, one of these swords would be magical and called Soultaker and would have a future with Tatsu.
Takeo would arrive at Tatsu’s home while she was out and demand his brother face off with him in a sword fight, he gave Maseo the non-magical counterpart to Soultaker. Tatsu would arrive to her home in flames, it broke out during the fight, she’d witness her husband’s death. She’d fight with Takeo and able to disarm him of Soultaker, he’d flee before she could kill him. As she attempted to rescue her children, she would hear her husband’s ghostly voice whisper to her from Soultaker that it was too late and to save herself while she could.
Training under the tutelage of a samurai master, Tadashi, Tatsu would become a master of Soultaker and many martial arts. She’d take on the name Katana as she began traveling the world in pursuit of Takeo. She’d end up in the country of Markovia, tracking down General Karnz who she would kill. This would end up having the hero Black Lightning getting blamed for the murder. In her attempt to free him she’d meet a young girl with powers named Halo and they would work together to save Batman, Black Lightning, and Lucious Fox from the villain Baron Bedlam. After the rescue, Katana would learn that Batman had quit the JLA due to not helping him rescue Fox so he decided these people and a few others would make a team called the Outsiders.
Now working from Gotham City with the Outsiders, Tatsu would have Soultaker stolen from her by Takeo who would head to Japan. She would not follow alone but with the rest of the Outsiders. By the time she’d arrive Takeo had given the sword to his master, the Oyuban, who had performed a ritual to embody and enslave all the souls within the sword to his command. Tatsu would have to fight her reformed husband so she could stop the dangerous souls from doing the Oyuban’s destructive bidding and reclaim the sword. She’d be able to kill Takeo in the process and finally avenge her family. She’d work with the Outsiders for a time, even as a Markovian government agency after Batman’s departure, but the team would break apart but remain in touch with one another.
Halo is injured when saving Tatsu and so Tatsu dedicates herself to aiding Halo back to full health. While tending to Halo, a family member from her husband’s side comes for help in dealing with the Yakuza. She declines and the family member dies because of it causes Tatsu to join the Suicide Squad to stop the killer, she is able to save several of the team’s lives and end the killer.
The Outsiders reunite but things are rough at first since the team is temporarily considered criminals and Halo dies and resurrects all in this time. This shakes Tatsu up a bit but none more so than when Lady Shiva, the deadliest assassin arrives to take her sword from her to give to Tatsu’s master. Tatsu dies but is able to return by fighting her way back out Soultaker. She is able to kill her mentor for attempting to killer her. She would be able to reunite with the Outsiders to help deal with new team member Faust’s father Felix Faust. During the events of Blackest Night she would be surrounded by her dead loved ones and for a moment only to realize they were actually undead and had to try and stop them.
The New 52 Katana worked with the Birds of Prey for a while before going off on her own to deal with The Daggers, a cult of assassins. She’d join the Justice League of America til they were disbanded. She would also have to deal with Green Arrow as it turned out they’d both get involved with an order of Clans that try to stop corruption from spreading in the Earth, called the Outsiders. The problem being that the Outsiders’ clans were quite corrupted. Tatsu would join to try and weed out the corruption.
There’s the tale of Katana! She’s had quite the life of heroics and vengeance. She’s got friends on the outside and enemies on the inside (of her sword) but she also has her husband right by her side. Sort of. Tatsu is an interesting character and I am interested to see how she does on the big screen and for a kid’s toy line. I would be very excited to hear my niece asking for a Katana toy for her birthday or Christmas.
The Brave and The Bold #200
Birds of Prey, Vol. 3