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Some would write Talia off as merely one of many of Batman’s love interests. An ex. 

Talia is far, far more than that. As I mentioned before, she’s often (an unfortunately) defined by the men in her life - as the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, lover of Batman, mother of Damian Wayne.

It’s true, she is all of these things. But they hardly sum up her entire character. Talia has had an enormous impact not only in comic canon, but very well shaped the direction of Batman books from her introduction onward.

In-Canon Talia…

  • Saved Batman’s life (God knows how many times) by both her medical prowess, pleading on his behalf, or sabotaging and combating those who would try to kill him.
  • Restored Jason Todd to himself after his reanimated after watching over him for an entire year, then guided him on his path to Red Hood by providing intel, contacts, and resources.
  • Gave us Damian Wayne, Robin V, thanks to her short-lived marriage to Bruce.
  • Single-handedly outsmarted Lex Luthor and left him bankrupt after the Presidency crumbled
  • Killed the Joker by shooting him. Many, many times. (The Demon Laughs)
  • Gave Batman the Suit of Sorrows, during which she also helped to save her son from certain death at the hands of her father.
  • Convinced Bruce to see reason and return to Gotham and his role as Batman after administering tough love to him in the aftermath of the disaster in No Man’s Land
  • Saved Catwoman’s life (Hush)
  • Was ultimately responsible along with her father for the restoration of Dinah Lance’s Canary Cry via Lazarus Pit

While often (and irritatingly) white-washed, it should also be noted that Talia has significance for her status as a WOC - she is both Arabic and Chinese and remains one of the most complicated and fleshed out characters in the DCU, transcending any trope associated with her race and role - not simply an exotic femme fatale, but a woman with real struggles, real strength, and real emotions. 

Talia, when well-written, is conflicted but savvy, passionate, determined, and unwavering in her love. She is a woman both liberated and independent, able to defend herself and make her own decisions and take responsibility and stand on the same level (and often besting) any man - Talia is a feminist icon while also embodying traditional desires of marriage and motherhood. She’s a hopeless romantic as much as a warrior. Intelligent in mind and emotion.

While all of these qualities don’t come across in single issues or even single arcs, the totality of her character adds up to something great - the embodiment of feminist ideals while still able to desire more traditional roles and never be “weak” for those desires. She proves that one doesn’t have to be a she-woman-man-hater to be a liberated, strong woman. They can love, they can want families and husbands. And that’s who Talia is. Feminism in it’s true sense: the choice for a woman to be exactly who she wants to be.

Though written as both antiheroine and villain, there is no denying her significance as a character both on principle and within the pages of comic books.

And Talia’s influence doesn’t stop with in-comics events.

In his essay “Ra’s al Ghul: Father Figure as Terrorist” (found in a collection of essays, Batman Unauthorized) Michael Marano declares..

“❝ In February 1971, she did what was unthinkable for any other Batbabe until Catwoman/Selina Kyle became Batman’s semi-ally (post-Jeoph Loeb's The Long Halloween): Talia crossed the forbidden public/private line and took off the freshly ninja-pounded Batman’s mask, something no Gotham doctor or ER tech had ever dared before, even when Batman had to be hospitalized. Talia, the daughter of Ra’s and the first glimpse of his influence and power, brought Batman into a wider world of turmoil and upheaval while at the same time entering Batman’s private world in a way that even dear old Aunt Harriet couldn’t. ❞

Talia was the first outside of Batfamily to know Bruce’s identity, particularly by removing his cowl. And it’s Talia we see first of the Al Ghuls - Not Ra’s. Some of Marano’s other observations:

❝ Ra’s and Talia not only brought Batman into the wider world, they brought the wider world into the Batman mythology - which, in turn, added a new richness to that mythology. ”

❝ Talia herself was something new, international, and ballsy. She was no Vicki Vale. She was liberated, baby…in a way that put Mary Richards to shame. Talia was a Cosmo girl actualized in a fashion that Lois Lane had yet to be in her fringed-mini-skirt-and-matching-vest, mid ’70s nadir. She wasn’t a heroine living in the shadow of a male hero’s mythology… ❞

Up until Ra’s and Talia, Batman’s adventures were confined mostly to Gotham or mythological venues. The Al Ghuls added something serious to a series that was coming off of campiness from the Adam West Batman show. Being partly inspired by James Bond mythos, Talia and Ra’s pulled Batman into a more real world with real conflicts of the day. They made Batman relevant and concrete in ways he hadn’t been before.

They took him to real places. They brought a new air. 

Ultimately the Al Ghuls transformed the tone and direction of Batman and Detective Comics - they lended themselves to something new and dramatic. O'Neil had already started moving the title in that direction (as in “The Secret of the Waiting Graves” [Detective Comics 395])

“There’s a gravitas to the setting to which Talia leads [Batman] that is new in the Batman mythos…a fever-dream comic book collage, evoking images of Bhutan, Nepal, and what was then, in 1971, the region of East Pakistan, which suffered bloody repression by the Pakistani government..”

(The imagery of Bhutan returned in Nolan’s Batman Begins)

O'Neil, enabled significantly by the creation of Talia and Ra’s, completely changed the tone and face of Batman and his mythos, leading away from camp and silliness for more serious, real plots rooted in geo-political happenings. They themselves opened not only possibilities for a broader world for Batman, but crossed very intimate, very personal lines that no characters before had even attempted. 

Talia al Ghul is far, far more than one of Batman’s exes. At one time his wife and mother to his child, she helped shape the lives and paths of numerous characters - for good or for ill, whilst also playing a major role in the transformation of the Batman mythology and tone.

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Caroline Keene “Carrie” Kelley was the first full-time female Robin in the history of the Batman franchise after making her appearance in 1989 (Stephanie Brown appearing as Robin in 2004). She made her first appearance in Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again in an alternate universe where after Jason Todd’s death Bruce retired the cowl and then returns at 55 years old to fight crime and faces opposition from the Gotham City police force and the United States government.

Thirteen year old Carrie is not an orphan like the previous Robins, but seemed to have neglectful parents that are never seen but one those mutter at a point “Didn’t we have a kid”. They are hinted through their dialogue to have once been activists and possible hippies during the 60s and have since become stoners.

Carrie spent her lunch money on a Robin costume after Batman saved her from a group of sadistic Mutant gang members on the night of his return as Batman. She set out to attack petty con-men and find the Batman in hope of becoming his new partner. Carrie uses a slingshot and firecrackers as weapons while wearing green-tinted sunglasses instead of a harlequin mask.

Appearances

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again by Frank Miller

  • The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and Part 2 (animated films)

  • The New Batman Adventures Episode 19: Legends of the Dark Knight (TV series)
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DAZZLING DC LADIES MONTH: Zinda Blake, aka Lady Blackhawk

First appeared: Blackhawk #133, February 1959

Who is she? Determined to become the first female member of the famed Blackhawk Squadron, Zinda Blake trained as a pilot, mastering a wide range of aircraft and becoming an expert in various forms of hand-to-hand combat and weaponry. From the very beginning, she was met with resistance: the Blackhawks weren’t keen on allowing a woman into their boys’ club, even if on their first meeting that woman had saved one of their teammates from certain death. Undeterred, Zinda continued to join them on their adventures, eventually earning honorary membership after saving the entire team from the Scavenger.

Then there was this thing where Killer Shark kidnapped and brainwashed her into becoming his evil girlfriend, Queen Killer Shark, but we’re going to gloss over that, because it’s gross.

So! Zero Hour happened, and Zinda found herself flung a good half-century or so into the present day, in a future where most of her friends were either dead or in nursing homes, and technology had advanced so far that she presumably needed to learn to fly all over again. She made the best of it, working in Guy Gardner’s bar and frequently aiding him and his team in fighting super villains.

Eventually, she was recruited by Oracle as the Birds of Prey’s new pilot. She quickly bonded with the other women on the team, and her aviation and combat skills proved invaluable.

What can she do? Zinda’s an ace pilot, an expert in aerial combat, and a skilled marksman, with expertise in a range of weaponry and hand-to-hand combat. She can also order beer in thirty languages and drink most people under the table.

Where can I find her?

  • Blackhawk #133, 140, 143, 147, 151, 155, 161, 163, 166, 170, 182, 186, 188, 191, 200, 204, 216, 225, 228, 229, 231-233, 236, 239, 240, 242
  • Guy Gardner: Warrior #24, 29, 36, 38-43
  • Birds of Prey (vol. 1) #75-127
  • Manhunter #33-36
  • Birds of Prey (vol. 2) #1-14

Dazzling DC Ladies Month:  Beatriz Bonilla da Costa/Fire

first appeared: DC Comics Presents vol.1 #46 (1982)

who is she? Bea was born and raised in Brazil, her career beginning as a amateur model and showgirl before being recruited as an undercover secret agent for the Brazilian government. During one mission, she was involved in an accident that ended up granting her superpowers.

With her newfound abilities, she joined the international superhero team the Global Guardians. When the G.G’s funding was cut in favor of the newly created Justice League International, Bea and her best friend Tora Olafsdotter (aka Ice), decided to recruit themselves into the team that’d lost them their former employment. Since then, Bea has been an iconic member of the Justice League International in it’s various incarnations.

After the events of Infinite Crisis and One Year Later, Bea became a high ranking member of the newly re-created government ‘spy’ agency Checkmate. She is here depicted as a semi-reluctant assassin and spy.

During the events of Brightest Day, Bea is one of the few people in the world (including a few other former JLI members) who remembers the existence of Maxwell Lord, and the team sets out on a quest to find the man. 

In the New 52 created after Flashpoint, she is a member of the (short lasting) JLI.

what can she do? Bea can take a (green) fiery form at will, also equipping her with the skill to fly and creating and projecting flames from any part of her body. She has full control of any fire projected from her body. She has also been educated by Batman in advanced hand-to-hand combat, and 'the arts of battle’ by Big Barda. She is also skilled in espionage and investigating.

trivia:

  • Fitting with her powers, Fire has a very fiery personality
  • Bea is multilingual. She is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English.
  • She is very confident in her looks and sexuality, and not at all adverse to 'skimpy’ clothing or using her 'charms’ to help with the little things.
  • …for instance, she once hosted a website were people paid to download naked pictures of her while in her fiery form (she wasn’t really naked but “they don’t know that”).

where can I find her?

Recommended reading includes (in chronological order):

  • Infinity Inc #32,34-37,50 *
  • Justice League International(/America) v.1 #12-113
  • Invasion! #2-3 *
  • Formerly Known As The Justice League #1-6
  • JLA Classified (I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League) #4-9
  • Infinite Crisis Special: OMAC Project
  • Checkmate v.2
  • Blue Beetle v.8 #25 *
  • Justice League: Generation Lost
  • Justice League International v.3

(* = minor role)

DAZZLING DC LADIES MONTH
ANITA FITE → EMPRESS

Anita Fite is the daughter of Donald Fite (government agent) and Oshi Fite (the daughter of a powerful vodoun priestess). Oshi’s mother had reservations about her marriage to Donald, but gave her blessing upon Anita’s conception. She convinced Oshi to allow her to perform a ritual that would allow the goddess, Oya (representive of female power and guardian of the gates of death) to ‘sponser’ Anita and serve her as a guardian angel. Anita grew up in New Orleans and it quickly became clear she possessed considerable acrobatic talent – something her grandmother told was the influence of Oya. She was given the nickname 'Empress’, by her mother due to her bossy nature. A few years later, when Don was working for the Justice Department, he almost single-handedly dissolved the underworld organization of a local crime baron. Unbeknownst to law-enforcement, though whispered amongst his subordinates, the baron, Sin Gaaz, was a “bokor,” an evil practitioner of the vodoun arts. Enraged at Fite’s actions, he used his magicks to set their apartment ablaze, and Anita’s mother died in the aftermath while trying to save Anita. Furious at her father for not being there to save her mother, Anita made it all but impossible for Don to take car of her, so he allowed Oshi’s mother to take her in. It was under her care that she was taught the ways of the vodoun. By the time Anita was 13-years-old, her grandmother fell ill and perished, though not before bequeathing to her an “Emperor’s Staff,” a weapon that resembled an escrima stave, but could be split into a set of knives. She told Anita that, since Oya had taken her spirit into her keeping, that she would be able to use it as none before had.

A few years later, Anita and her father had moved to Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. Unbeknownst to him, Anita became a costumed vigilante after watching Cisse King-Jones dispatch a thief at the local mall. Inspired by the young woman she resolved to use her skills to help others, taking her mother’s nickname for her as her costumed alias. She first intervened on Young Justice’ behalf when they were framed for defacing Mount Rushmore (the cover for APES’ headquarters), after the organization had kidnapped Secret as a favor to the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations), and later became a full-fledged member of the team after her father and the group made amends. During her career with Young Justice, Anita finally got her chance to avenge her mother’s death at the hands of Agua Sin Gaaz. Organizing an army of young heroes, Young Justice staged an attack on the island-nation of Zandia, home to numerous supervillains from the world over. Battling Sin Gaaz in his own mansion laboratory, Anita triumphed over her mother’s murderer.

However, Sin Gaaz left Anita with a final parting gift. Though a bizarre fusion of vodoun mysticism and modern science, a booby-trap in the lab forced two spirits out of ghostly “warder” Secret (Greta Hayes), Anita’s teammate, and into a pair of incubation chambers nearby. Upon opening the capsules, the team found that Sin Gaaz had been able to successfully clone Anita’s mother and father. However, they were now in the bodies of infants. Secret’s involvement had ensured that the babies had the genuine souls of Anita’s parents. Their task complete, Young Justice left Zandia, and Anita left her old life to raise her infant parents on her own.

Though she has left her costumed life behind for the most part, Anita has become “Empress” again in recent times, though mostly this has been to aid her friends in times of crisis.

ESSENTIAL READING

Young Justice #1-50 (And Specials)
Supergirl #33

~*~Dazzling Dc Ladies Month~*~ 

“I don’t kiss— or anything else— and tell!”

↳ Tana Moon

First Appearance:

Adventures of Superman Vol. 1 #501 (June 1993)

Who is she?

 After being denied a job at the Daily Planet, Tana Moon became a News anchor at GBS. Her first job was to get coverage of Superboy in action, following the death of Superman. After Superboy almost died after being set up by Tana’s boss, she quit and moved back to Hawaii where she got a job as a reporter. Soon after, Superboy showed up on the island as part of his world tour and decided to stay there, largely because of Tana, claiming she was one of the only friends he had.

Tana is very serious about her work and relationships. She wants to report on things that make a difference, not baking and beauty contests. Tana becomes an unshakeable presence in Superboys life, and is one of the large contributing factors in Kon maturing. She grounds him, doesn’t put up with his shit and teaches him about true emotional bonds. Still, Tana is so much more than a love interest. She stands up to Superheroes as well as Villains and anyone else who might get in her way. Tana is willing to give her life to protect the people important to her while still being  witty, insecure, intelligent, confident and in love.

Where can I find her? 

  • Superboy #1-2, #5, #0, #22-30, #32, #34-36, #38-41, #45-46, #49, #73-75, #90 
  • Superboy (Volume 4)
  • Superboy (Volume 5)
  • Superboy (Volume 6)
  • Superboy and the Ravers
  • Adventure Comics (Volume 2)
  • Adventures of Superman (#501-506)
  • Teen Titans (Volume 3)
  • Teen Titans (Volume 4)
  • Young Justice, Sins of Youth

DC Dazzling Ladies Month

Day 11: 

Abigail “Ma” Hunkel/The Red Tornado

first appeared: All-American Comics #3 (1939) (#20 as the Red Tornado)

who is she? Ma Hunkel was a feisty, overweight, housewife who one day decided to put a pot on her head and fight the big and small (mostly the latter) injustices in her neighborhood (usually things directly affecting her children and their friends). She thus became the (first!) Red Tornado - although she was instead referred to by many, lovingly and not, as the Red Tomato. She was present during the forming of the Justice Society of America in it’s first literation of the event (being the only woman there, even though the others weren’t aware of her being as much), but was for the most part just an honorary member during the Society’s golden days.

The Red Tornado defended her city for many years, until she witnessed against a gang and was entered into the Witness Protection Program, having to leave her (then presumably grown) children behind and relocate.

Years later, she ran into her old buddies from the JSA, and - now old and very much retired - she became the Society’s den mother.

what can she do? While she has no superpowers, she was in her prime unusually strong for, not only a woman, but people in general.

She is an excellent cook, and usually cooks in huge quantities at a time, for the ever expanding JSA roster.

trivia:

  • Donning her helmet in 1940, Ma was the very first female super hero, predating Wonder Woman (1942) and even predating Hawkgirl’s first donning of her hawk mask (1941)
  • Due to her surprising strength, she was usually mistaken for a man while in her Tornado guise - even by her fellow JSA members. However, this did help keep her civilian identity secret.
  • She has 2 kids and at least one grandchild, but likely more (and possibly even grand-grandkids).

where can I find her?

(note: excluding All-American Comics and JSA #55, Ma usually has a very small role in the story)

  • All-American Comics v.1 #3-53 (maybe not all issues)
  • All-Star Comics v.1 #3
  • JSA v.1 #55, 64, 76, 82-87
  • JSA Classified #4-5
  • Nightwing v.2 #142
  • Justice Society of America v.3 #1-2, 4 10-11, 14-5, 17-18, 23-24, 26, 28
  • Blackest Night: JSA #1-2

why you should look her up: She is a loving, badass, overweight grandmother that used to fight crime with a pot on her head. Need I say more?

Dazzling DC Ladies Month

♥♥Maxine Baker/ Avatar of the Red/ Animal woman/ Little bird♥♥ Introduction: Maxine is the daugter of Buddy Baker, the Animal man. She is born as the Avatar of The Red, place where all animal and human life forms get their prowers from. When she awakens her powers, she leads her father to The Red to fight agains The Rot, which threatens to destroy all life. Powers: Animal control, flight, healing and genetic manipulation, super smell and strenght, tracking First appearance: Animal man #1 (1988) Recommended reading: Mostly the n52 Animal man
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favorite dc characters (5/x) → helena wayne (new 52)

“Hold still. Or do you want me to pin you to that coffin with a shot through something more personal…?”