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  1. #1
    Time to liver forever! Energist's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ghost in the Sword: Katana Appreciation!

    DC Forum Appreciation Thread rules:

    1) No negative comments about the honoree of this thread. It's an appreciation thread, not a non-appreciation one.

    2) No negative discussion about any competitors of the honoree of this thread (i.e. John Stewart in the Hal Jordan thread). No ifs, ands, or buts. Find another non-appreciation thread to do that, just not here.

    3) No negative comments about other versions of the character. For example, if you like the DCU version of Cyborg, but hate the DCnU version (or visa versa), just appreciate the earlier version and keep your comments about the latter to yourself.

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    Katana



    Did a search, and I was surprised to see that my favorite DC character didn't have an appreciation thread yet. So, with the afternoon mostly free to me, I felt I'd take the time to get one started.

    Created by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo, Tatsu Yamashiro (山城 たつ; her surname literally meaning "Mountan Castle") is a woman with a vendetta. After her husband Maseo and their twin sons were murdered by Maseo's sinister brother Takeo, Tatsu took up the cursed Soultaker sword containing her slain husband's soul in pursuit of justice. Traveling to America on the trail of Takeo, Katana soon fell in with Batman's new group of Outsiders, and has been a longstanding member with the team ever since.



    For The New 52, Tatsu received a whole new look (her best one yet, in my opinion), as well as a few tweaks to her origin. Nevertheless, she remains at her core the same powerful, self-assured warrior that she's always been. Introduced as a somewhat unpredictable and seemingly unhinged member of the new Birds of Prey team, Katana was later recruited for Amanda Waller's Justice League of America. Around the same time in the publishing world, the character was granted her very own (long overdue) solo series penned by Ann Nocenti, which was, unfortunately, less than stellar.

    Still, with multiple media appearances outside of comics in recent years, including as a featured character on the animated Beware the Batman show and a semi-regular on the highly-praised CW live-action Arrow series (played by Rila Fukushima of The Wolverine fame), it's apparent that DC are actively trying to give the character a bigger spotlight than ever before. Will the added exposure lead to added popularity, however? The jury's still out on that one, but it certainly couldn't hurt.



    So what's Katana been up to lately in the DC Universe? Not really sure, myself. She hasn't been featured in anything I've been reading lately at least, and I haven't heard much about the supposed Outsiders team that appeared to building last year, either. But with Convergence nearly upon us and DC apparently looking for new avenues in which to feature some of their less popular characters, I think it's only a matter of time before the deadly superhero called Katana emerges from the shadows once again. And when she is, evil better beware!
    "Forgiving the unrepentant is like drawing pictures on water." - Japanese Proverb

  2. #2
    BANNED colonyofcells's Avatar
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    Beware the Batman cartoon had a great version of Katana.

  3. #3
    Incredible Member billee0918's Avatar
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    Katana is awesome! Loved her since the first days of Batman & the Outsiders and I wish she had a good role in a current book.
    I agree, her New 52 look is her very best. Maybe a new Outsiders book soon?

  4. #4
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Her New 52 title by Nocenti tanked . . . hard to appreciate that.

  5. #5
    Time to liver forever! Energist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billee0918 View Post
    Maybe a new Outsiders book soon?
    It seemed like DC were building to this there for a while, with hints dropped here and there apparently. Nothing ever came of it, though. I was kind of hoping we'd see something announced coming out of Convergence, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    Her New 52 title by Nocenti tanked . . . hard to appreciate that.
    Believe me, no one was more disappointed when that book launched than me. I've been one of Nocenti's biggest critics for years, and virtually all of the excitement I had for a Katana ongoing was immediately replaced by disappointed when it was officially announced that Nocenti would be writing it. And yet I still bought all of the issues (on eBay after the fact, but still), because I'm such a mark for the character.

    I only wish DC had gone with Michael Avon Oeming as the artist. To be fair, the art was the least of the book's problems, but his style might have fit the character better. And who knows? Sometimes an artist's touch can change a writer's direction.


    Oh, and as for why I'm a fan of Katana: I've always loved strong women in fiction. Jinx, Lady Jaye (G.I. Joe), She-Ra, Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell), and Vasquez (Aliens) were some of my favorite fictional heroes growing up. Likewise, I'm big on Japanese culture and literature, so naturally a character named Katana would grab my attention. Unfortunately, I feel like the amount of material that could be mined from her Japanese heritage has never been fully tapped by anyone over the years, but the prospect nevertheless remains, and it's a key factor in keeping me interested in the character.
    "Forgiving the unrepentant is like drawing pictures on water." - Japanese Proverb

  6. #6
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    I've always loved Katana. I even liked her New 52 solo, too bad they didn't give her another creative team rather than canceling the book so fast. Proof that DC doesn't have any faith in the character, but at least she'll probably pop up in Green Arrow every now and then.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member OBrianTallent's Avatar
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    I didn't think her series was all that bad, I honestly felt like most people who railed against it so much were more going on Nocenti's reputation from Catwoman than actually judging the writing in the Katana series. I feel what hurt the series the most was the extremely stylized art of Alex Sanchez which often made the story difficult to follow as his layouts were all over the place and rarely seemed to follow a pattern.
    I will say this...the one thing I did miss from her New 52 character was her crazy. I loved how she seemed so crazy talking to her sword in Birds of Prey. One of the few things I liked about that series as well.

    I do, however, wish that DC had given the character a better chance by trying a different creative team rather than just canceling the series. Hopefully she will turn up again really soon in another series somewhere.

  8. #8
    Time to liver forever! Energist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjak View Post
    I even liked her New 52 solo, too bad they didn't give her another creative team rather than canceling the book so fast.
    Quote Originally Posted by OBrianTallent View Post
    I do, however, wish that DC had given the character a better chance by trying a different creative team rather than just canceling the series.
    Ditto. You know who needs to write Katana? Greg Rucka. Greg Rucka would write the hell out of a Katana series, I guarantee it. My favorite works of his feature either the Punisher or various female superheroes. In other words, Katana was made for Greg Rucka.

    And my biggest problem with Nocenti's series was how disjointed it felt. It jumped around too much and never felt like it resolved anything, despite the fact that the entirety of the series surrounded Katana going up against the different sword clans.

    A Katana series should be by-the-numbers, classic street level stuff, in my opinion. Ground her in a modern day city (preferably one in Japan) and surround her with an investigative style (ie, police, judicial workers, reporters, etc.) supporting cast. To give an example, I'm really digging the new direction of Spider-Woman starting with issue #5. A setting similar to something like that would be great, although obviously Tatsu is a completely different character than Jessica, so the series would still be its own animal.
    "Forgiving the unrepentant is like drawing pictures on water." - Japanese Proverb

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    I was never much a fan of Katana until the New52 version. I also liked the idea that she might be crazy, but I like the idea of a cursed sword a lot more. (and of course, there's no reason it can't be both) The new series had a bunch of good things going for it, but the art and writing ultimately failed it. It seemed to me that building a whole mythology around her with the different clans was a good idea - it could've been DC's "The Immortal Iron Fist" and I hope DC picks her up again post-convergence.

  10. #10
    Time to liver forever! Energist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j9ac9k View Post
    I was never much a fan of Katana until the New52 version. I also liked the idea that she might be crazy, but I like the idea of a cursed sword a lot more. (and of course, there's no reason it can't be both) The new series had a bunch of good things going for it, but the art and writing ultimately failed it. It seemed to me that building a whole mythology around her with the different clans was a good idea - it could've been DC's "The Immortal Iron Fist" and I hope DC picks her up again post-convergence.
    Katana's reintroduction to The New 52 is pretty similar to her original introduction post-Infinite Crisis. Most of her teammates on The Outsiders thought she was nuts at first, too.

    I think it's kind of a shame that they decided to nix her twin sons for the new continuity, though. It probably has to do with the whole younger characters angle that DC are going for now, but it pretty much eliminates any hope of the dynamic that Tatsu once shared with Halo ever returning. I always enjoyed their relationship. Of course, new continuity, new stories, don't look back, blah, blah, blah, but it was a sweet story beat that Katana, hard as she was, still showed that motherly instinct from time to time.
    "Forgiving the unrepentant is like drawing pictures on water." - Japanese Proverb

  11. #11
    Incredible Member billee0918's Avatar
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    Does Katana have a place in any of Dc's books, for June and beyond? Would love to see her on a team and perhaps stop by Black Canary's book for an issue or two.

  12. #12
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colonyofcells View Post
    Beware the Batman cartoon had a great version of Katana.
    Agreed. Too bad that show isn't on anymore to see her continue to shine there.
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  13. #13
    Incredible Member The Odd Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Energist View Post
    Katana's reintroduction to The New 52 is pretty similar to her original introduction post-Infinite Crisis. Most of her teammates on The Outsiders thought she was nuts at first, too.

    I think it's kind of a shame that they decided to nix her twin sons for the new continuity, though. It probably has to do with the whole younger characters angle that DC are going for now, but it pretty much eliminates any hope of the dynamic that Tatsu once shared with Halo ever returning. I always enjoyed their relationship. Of course, new continuity, new stories, don't look back, blah, blah, blah, but it was a sweet story beat that Katana, hard as she was, still showed that motherly instinct from time to time.
    Totally agree with you. I loved the Tatsu/Gaby relationship in the original BATO.

  14. #14
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    I'm new to the character but recently read her solo book. I found her pretty interesting. And I find it hilarious that people think she is nuts that she talks to souls imprisoned in her sword. Aliens? No big deal. Soul in a weapon? Must be crazy.

  15. #15
    Incredible Member billee0918's Avatar
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    Tatsu's looking GREAT in a clip from next week's Arrow episode

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/ar...ew-arrow-promo

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