It took Batman his whole life to become Batman. That’s the point of his story: to do what he does, you have to spend your whole life getting ready. But Kathy Kane became Batwoman because she felt like it. She used to be a circus performer and that was pretty much all the prep she needed. Maybe she had some refresher trampoline sessions and bouts of microscope study (“criminology”). But it wasn’t a lifetime’s training. The same with the new Kathy Kane-Batwoman. From what I saw, she chose the career on a lark and maybe took some kickboxing lessons.


Batgirl was a librarian who just decided she’d be a superhero. Catwoman at least was a jewel thief and trained to sneak in and out of buildings, but then Frank Miller made her a dominatrix. Wikipedia says Catwoman’s latest version has some gymnastics in her background and a sensei who teaches her martial arts; make him a hell of a sensei and maybe  you’ve got something. But it took a while for her to reach this point. In Batman Returns a secretary gets to become Catwoman just because she goes crazy. She’s able to jump from roof to roof, and this is right away, as a given of her new status.

Robins always get trained pretty hard. It isn’t enough that they have a circus background; they also get put thru the mill by Batman. The point of being Robin is that you’re trained this way, trained by the one fellow whose life is crimefighting. But then there’s a girl Robin and she doesn’t get trained so hard. I mean Carrie Kelly in The Dark Knight Returns. How much prep does she get before her first battle? Stephanie Brown, per Wikipedia, is another just-decides-to character. 

This pattern — boys, hard training vs. girls, no training — continues from decade to decade in the franchise, from comics to movies. Girls are always stuck into the Batman series as a gimmick. The first Kathy Kane was a beard, the new one is a hot-chick lesbian, but either way you get the idea.

I guess what surprises me is how the same rule keeps getting broken year after year. Setting aside all that Batman training is a pretty big gimme, bigger than deciding this person and that person also happened to survive Krypton. It’s more like deciding that superness had nothing to do with Krypton, that Supergirl could fly because she was perky. (To me, the equivalent to the lone-survivor tampering would be to decide that the Waynes’ murder wasn’t just a random act of criminality, that it involved some larger machination. Probably the Batman people have done this at some point or other.)

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