DC Database

Quote1 Her hobby is hunting down the best fighters in the world and beating them to death with her bare hands. Quote2
Barbara Gordon src

Sandra Wu-San is Lady Shiva, known as possibly the world's greatest martial artist. She has been both a ruthless villain and a heroic vigilante. Her motivations are based purely on what interests her. This has lead her to mentor several other fighters.


There are multiple versions of Lady Shiva's origins. In the original timeline, her sister Carolyn was a traveling companion of the martial artists Ben Turner and Richard Dragon. Their uncle Shiruto was killed by a spy known as the Swiss, who then kidnapped Carolyn. Carolyn died during a battle between Dragon and the Swiss.[1] Sandra became Lady Shiva to avenge her sister.[2]

Richard Dragon

Sandra swore revenge on the man who killed her sister. Guano Cravat, who hired Carolyn's killer, tricked Sandra into believing Richard Dragon was responsible. This is when Sandra became Lady Shiva. Sandra took a position at G.O.O.D. under Barney Ling to get closer to Dragon. Dragon was sent to stop Cravat, and Cravat set up an ambush with Shiva. They battled until Dragon convinced her to turn on Cravat.[2] Their return to America was interrupted by a pirate named Slash, who Shiva defeated in a sword fight.[3] Shiva began to follow Dragon because his life was surrounded by the danger that she loved. Cravat returned to take revenge on Dragon and Shiva by hiring Doctor Moon. They were able to stop Moon and his brutes, but Cravat managed to escape.[4] Dragon called Shiva again when Slash returned, and they took him down together.[5]

Barney Ling sends Dragon, Shiva, and Turner to the Caribbean where they defeat a martial artist known as Preying Mantis.[6] Their next adventure is taking down a corrupt logger named Hatchett who killed Turner's sister.[7] Turner is attacked by the Silent Samurai, and Ling sends the trio on an undercover mission to China.[8] Shiva and Turner were captured by Madame Sun, but Dragon rescued them.[9] There is another attack on Turner, and Shiva recognizes the League of Assassins. Shiva leads Dragon to an assassin known as the Viper in Mongolia, but Viper dies before he can give them answers.[10]

Her time as a crime fighter lasted for a short time. This time, in its brevity, prepared her for the wandering existence her life would become. Richard Dragon decided to retire into the mountains, becoming reclusive. Ben Turner was brainwashed and eventually transformed into the Bronze Tiger. Shiva sought a path closer to her perception of her true self.

Shiva decided to go with her skills and natural talents, continuing to perfect her martial arts. During her time with Richard Dragon she had become addicted to combat and life-or-death situations. Already a very accomplished martial artist, Shiva hired herself out as a mercenary in order to finance her activities and training. While doing right had been a factor in her life previously, it was becoming less and less of a consideration as she followed the path she set for herself. Her considerable skills allowed her to ask a high price for her services and there were plenty of takers.


These events were later shown differently. In the new timeline, Carolyn and Sandra grew up in Detroit. They practiced martial arts constantly, and people would travel to watch them spar together. The assassin David Cain observed them, and noticed that Sandra was holding back out of love for her older sister. Cain brutally murdered Carolyn and left her body for Sandra to discover. This allowed Sandra to explore her true potential. Sandra sought out David Cain looking for revenge and tried to kill him. The League of Assassins defeated her, but she forgave Cain when she realized that he had set her free. Cain allowed Sandra to live if she would bear him a child. Sandra had a daughter, Cassandra Cain, and gave her up to David.[11]

The Question

Shiva was once hired to kill Victor Sage, The Question. She defeated him with ease. After his defeat, he was shot in the head and dumped into the river. Having seen something in him, maybe having been impressed by his potential skill, she saved him, fishing him out of the river. Shiva took him into the mountains to meet her former sensei, Richard Dragon, so he could have the same chances to refine and improve upon his skill. They have encountered each other from time to time since then. Almost every time Shiva tests his skills against her own. Sage has become a measuring stick for Shiva and she has been heard to comment that his skills are among the best in the world.

Shiva was also hired to train prospective assassins, mercenaries or terrorists. She was in the Middle East training a small group of would be terrorists when it came to light that she had something to do with the father of Jason Todd, the second Robin. This connection caused Jason and his mentor Batman to seek her out, thinking that she might perhaps be his mother. Shiva fought with Batman, impressing him quickly with her skill, speed and power. If not for the intervention of Robin, Shiva would have defeated the Dark Knight. When asked if she was Jason Todd's mother, she laughed, finding the idea amusing before denying it when put under the effect of sodium pentothal.[12] Shiva began to track down those who referred to themselves as Shihan, "Master", or any other title proclaiming mastery of a martial arts form. She would learn what she could from them and depending on their skill, kill them when they were of no further use to her. Shiva's decision whether or not to kill a particular opponent seem to be based on whimsy. During this time, while seeking out Green Arrow with Sensei for a mission, she encountered and fought with Black Canary.


Later, Shiva developed a specific interest in Koroshi, master of the art of empty-handed fighting, after hearing that he had been defeated. Any time a true martial arts master is defeated, Shiva does her best to verify the fact and discover how it was accomplished. After gaining no information from Koroshi himself, she started to look for the man rumored to have defeated him, King Snake, to get the information from him instead. During her search, she met Timothy Drake, who was undergoing training to become the new Robin. Tim Drake was fighting King Snake's criminal organization, the Ghost Dragons, with the help of a DEA agent, Clyde Rawlins. Shiva trained Tim in martial arts generally and specifically in one weapon - he chose the bo staff. Shiva mentioned, somewhat derisively, that it was not a lethal weapon, to which he replied that was the reason he had chosen it. At the end of his training, he defeated Shiva once, with the bo as his weapon. She gifted him with a collapsible bo staff.

King Snake was creating a virulent plague. The three attempted to stop them from releasing it but the Ghost Dragons escaped with a few of the canisters. After tracking them to Hong Kong, they eventually defeated King Snake, though Rawlins died in the attempt and Shiva mostly watched the proceedings. Shiva ordered Robin to kill King Snake while he hung from a building, though he refused to do so. Shiva kicked King Snake off the cliff to his death, though later it would be revealed that he did not actually die.


 Main article: Batman: KnightsEnd

Shiva was asked to help Bruce Wayne regain some of the skills he had lost after Bane broke his back. Shiva agreed to train him and after weeks of rigorous training, Shiva tried to teach Bruce a deadly technique called the Leopard Blow. When Bruce refused to learn it, Shiva devised a new way to continue Bruce's training. Shiva murdered the Armless Master while wearing the Mask of Tengu and she made sure that the Master's Seven Disciples learned who was responsible. After this, she gave Bruce the Mask, causing the Disciples to attack Bruce in revenge for killing their master.[13] Shiva overlooked Bruce's test against each disciple and she became more satisfied with the results with each passing test.[14] When Bruce finally cracked and killed his opponent, Shiva was finally satisfied and she removed the Mask of Tengu from Bruce, ending his training.[15] Shiva later discovered the truth, but did not seek vengeance.[citation needed]

After the earthquake in Gotham, the Brotherhood of the Monkey Fist held a martial arts tournament in the ruined city, attempting to prove their worthiness and skill after having been dishonored. Under the alias "Paper Monkey", she fought and defeated many other competitors. Her final opponent was Green Arrow (Connor Hawke). Though it was a very close and taxing contest, Shiva was the winner. Robin had saved Shiva's life previously and asked her not to kill Connor, trading a life for a life. After warning Robin that using the favor now meant she would challenge and kill him when he was older, she refrained from killing Connor. Over the years, Shiva amassed groups of followers who seem to worship her as an incarnation of Shiva, the Hindu goddess of death. Shiva pays them little attention, other than occasionally using them as lackeys or killing them when it suits her whims. Some of her followers have even created temples to honor her victories. There was one such temple in Gotham, which she destroyed. There are likely others found around the world. Her followers are nearly as obsessed as she is, though they do not come close to matching her skills.


Shiva later sought out Cassandra Cain, the new Batgirl, in order to test her skill. Having heard that she was a fighter with legendary talent, Shiva was disappointed to find her barely able to defend herself. Batgirl had been raised in isolation by her father, the assassin David Cain, who never taught her how to speak, read, or write any language. Instead, she developed a phenomenal ability to analyze the body language of others, which, coupled with the martial arts training she received, made her an incomparable fighter. After being gifted with an understanding of language by a psychic whom she had rescued, she lost her talent for understanding body language.

Shiva and Batgirl struck a deal: Shiva would re-teach the girl the skills she had lost and in return, Cassandra Cain would face her in a battle to the death one year later. Shiva appeared to fight Batgirl at the Forum of The Twelve Caesars. Initially, Shiva defeated Batgirl, rendering her clinically dead. Realizing that Batgirl had not given her all, Shiva revived her. Batgirl admitted to Shiva that she had been fighting suicidally, harboring a death wish due to the fact that Cain had forced her to kill a man with her bare hands when she was only a child. Her ability to perfectly understand the agony of her victim traumatized Batgirl. Having now overcome her death wish, Batgirl fought Shiva again, shattering the sword she wielded. In the midst of battle, Batgirl accused Shiva of having a death wish herself and that she was really only traveling the world and fighting other martial artists in search of her own death. Batgirl defeated Shiva by breaking her jaw, but refused to kill her.

Shiva has recently claimed that she is Cassandra's real mother. She engaged Cassie in one last battle to satisfy her "death wish". Cassandra left Shiva apparently dead, although near a Lazarus pit.

Birds of Prey

Having switched places with Black Canary in order to allow them both to experience each other's life experiences, Shiva joins Oracle's covert team of female operatives known as the Birds of Prey (with Canary hoping that spending time with them would soften Shiva), using the name "Jade Canary". However, she retains her hard and cold personality. Oracle semi-seriously refers to Shiva as being possibly sociopathic. Barbara Gordon refuses to call Shiva by the Jade Canary title, even though Shiva (as part of the deal with Canary) has taken to wearing Black Canary's boots and trademark fishnet stockings (even though she hates wearing them).

Shiva continues to perform solo-work however. She visits Robin to assist him, much to Tim's chagrin, in discovering the truth behind Cassandra Cain's recent disappearance and recent upheaval within the League of Assassins. She refuses to allow herself or Oracle's team to be involved. Instead, she trusts her former pupil to handle the situation. It appears that she holds no ill-will towards Cassie as she informs Tim that she hopes that her daughter is well.

During a recent mission, Oracle's team confronted the villain Prometheus, whose helmet allows him to copy the skills of 30 of the world's greatest martial artists, including Shiva herself. This had allowed him a victory against Batman in the past. Shiva believed that his files on her would be out of date, as well as that she would be able to defeat her "old self". She seemed unconcerned about the skills of the other 29 fighters and apparently decided to attack Prometheus head-on. Prometheus, however, had more up-to-date files than Shiva suspected and in three seconds had knocked her to the ground. After this defeat, Shiva vanished, leaving a message for Black Canary: "Tell the Canary, I release her."

Stripped of her chance to mold Black Canary in her own image, stripped of Sin (the young girl who was next in line as her successor), Shiva was last seen talking to Bethany Thorne, daughter of the late Crime Doctor Bradford Thorne. It appears that she is yet again hoping to train a new heir in the art of her lethal form of martial arts.

Still, although Shiva is no longer an active member of the Birds of Prey, she continues to be protective of her former teammates. Such is the case when the Birds of Prey were being threatened by Spy Smasher who attempts to steal control away from Oracle. After a mission in Russia, Oracle and Spy Smasher fight against one another for control of the team. Although Oracle is unable to use her legs, she is victorious, though Spy Smasher attempts to go back on their deal. Unfortunately, she is confronted outside by every single Birds of Prey agent Oracle has ever recruited, who warn her against ever going after Oracle ever again. Amongst them, Lady Shiva. Later, when Barbara asks the others who called Shiva, no one responded.

Last Rites

Shiva appeared in Gotham to test the "presumption" of Robin in a duel. Anticipating the fight, Robin defeated her by poisoning her with tainted chocolates he had planted in her hotel room hours earlier, which cause her to experience paralysis when her heart rate went up during the fight. After her defeat, Shiva was taken to prison by Nightwing.[16]


  • Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.


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