Tatsu Yamashiro is a Japanese superhero. Wielding the Soultaker Sword, she has become Katana. The sword takes the souls of those killed by it, which includes her husband Maseo Yamashiro. She was a member of the Outsiders.
Tatsu was an average Japanese girl, save for her proficiency in the martial arts. Two brothers, Maseo and Takeo Yamashiro, both proclaimed their love for her. While she liked both, she chose Maseo. This angered Takeo, who refused to attend the couple's wedding. By this time, he had joined the Yakuza and as a result, his family disowned him.
After the deaths of Tatsu's parents, she and Maseo started a family of their own, and she gave birth to twins, Yuki and Reiko. Meanwhile, Takeo rose in rank of the Yakuza, and one of his exotic tastes included ancient weapons. He was presented with a pair of matched swords by General Karnz, one of which Takeo favored due to its mystical properties, which would come to be known as the Soultaker Sword.
One night, Takeo took both swords to the Yamashiro residence to slay his brother with the sword. He quickly struck Maseo down, but Katana took Soultaker from him. In the course of the fight, Takeo accidentally started a fire, and Tatsu's family died.
With Soultaker in her possession, Tatsu began training as a samurai under a master called Tadashi. After much time she graduated from his tutorship and left for America where she intended to use her talents to fight for justice. She took the codename Katana after the sword that she wielded.
Eventually Tatsu journeyed to Markovia, a small Baltic state, where she had tracked down Karnz, and she was successful in killing him. After the fight, she encountered a young girl who was named Halo. The two joined up to rescue Batman, who got captured by Baron Bedlam. Katana and Halo worked together to free Batman and later, all of them joined the Markovian war to defeat Baron Bedlam. Like this, Katana and Halo became founding members of the team called the Outsiders, alongside Black Lightning, Geo-Force and Metamorpho.
The team managed to end the Baron's tyranny in Markovia and moved to Gotham City, where they set up their headquarters in the underground base of operations of the Wayne Foundation building. Tatsu became Halo's guardian and the two moved into the penthouse of the same place. During one of their first missions, the Outsiders confronted the Cryonic Man and Katana was kidnapped by the villain, who wanted to remove all her organs. Thanks to the rest of the team. Katana was rescued and the villain was stopped.
At the same time, Takeo was still at large and had followed Tatsu to Gotham City. Secretly he switched swords with her and left for Tokyo with the Outsiders on his tail. Takeo took the sword to his master, the godfather of the Yakuza, known only as the Oyabun. Performing a specific ritual, the Oyabun and Takeo managed to recall the souls that inhabited the sword, who proceeded to take corporeal form. Among them were legendary mercenaries and assassins, but also Maseo, who was now a slave to the Oyabun. Katana had to fight them all and after a long battle that took its toll, Katana was able to reclaim the Soultaker and kill Takeo, and she could finally put an end to some of her ghosts. By undoing the ritual however, her husband returned into the sword as well.
At one point the Outsiders split from Batman's leadership and took up residence in Markovia where they were funded by the Markovian crown (Geo-Force is a prince of the royal family). They became the official agents of Markovia and moved to the city of Los Angeles where they made their headquarters in the Markovian embassy, while retaining another secret HQ just off the shore. Although Tatsu had left her past behind, the Oyabun returned in her life and sent a tengu after, with which he captured her. Her teammates in the Outsiders, namely Halo and Looker were able to save her using other tengu and the tengu leader, who aided them in battle.
After a while, the team disbanded after various tragic events surrounding Geo-Force's parents and Markovia. Nonetheless the Outsiders were forced to defend Markovia against the Manhunters, but during the fight Halo was knocked into a coma, saving Katana's life. Bounded by giri-ninjo (a debt of honor even unto death), Tatsu left the team so she could tend to Halo's wounds. During that time however, she was approached by a family member of her husband, who wished her to accompany the Suicide Squad on a mission to destroy a large horde of weapons that was about to be sold to the Yakuza. She declined on the basis of her giri-ninjo, although she was willing to help if the need was truly desperate.
That family member was later killed, and she went after the killer, the Daichi-Doku's Oyabun (of which her relative was a member), who did not wish to see the weapons destroyed and tried to stop the Suicide Squad. During that adventure, she saved the life of Bronze Tiger and Manhunter, making them honor-bound to her by giri-ninjo. Mark Shaw then assisted her in taking down the Daichi-Doku's Oyabun. The Oyabun committed ritual suicide and Katana stood by as his "second", ready to help with a blade strike so he could keep his honor.
Returning to the Outsiders
Eventually though the Outsiders re-form and return to Markovia. Instead of a peaceful reunion however, the team become trapped in a web of public relations that brands them outlaws. Although the charges would be dropped eventually the team was fractured. Halo dies from an assassin's blast but was reborn in a new body, which put an immense strain on Tatsu's relationship with Halo.
Katana joins a team with Geo-Force and Technocrat, taking the lead. During a lone mission, Tadashi, her old mentor sends Lady Shiva to claim Katana's Soultaker sword. Shiva confronts Katana, who had been battling a gang of drug dealers. Katana had slain many, but refuses to kill the youngest member, something Shiva insults her for.
Shiva, being world-renowned as the world's greatest assassin and fighter, was able to kill Katana with her own sword. Katana returns to life after a trial by combat within her sword, which includes confronting many of the souls of the people she had killed. Afterwards, she manages to find her old mentor and take his life.
The two splinter teams would eventually reunite, to take on more supernatural threats focused around the new team member Faust. Katana and her friends suffer through the mental and physical tortures that Faust's father, Felix, puts them through. Halo eventually frees them by destroying several of Felix's items of power. Soon after, the group breaks apart. After disbanding, Tatsu has kept her association with her old allies among the Outsiders (such as Black Lightning, Geo-Force and Halo), and although they did not operate as an official team, were always seen alongside each other during major crises.
Her close ties to Batman also saw her fighting by his side, several times, notably during the Imperiex crisis and the Day of Judgment incident when hell invades Earth. The main battle against the villain, the rogue angel Asmodel, with the power of the Spectre, takes place in New York. Katana personally protects Madame Xanadu who is guarding the rest of Asmodel's power with a mystical shield. Katana's protection of Xanadu is assisted by Doctor Occult, Phantom Stranger and Alan Scott.
Later, Katana assists Batman when he and Superman were declared outlaws. Katana was also called upon by Black Canary, together with other female mercenaries, in order to rescue Oracle from Senator Pullman. After Oracle was saved, Katana received a card, together with the promise of a favor if required.
Most recently, she has joined a new team of Outsiders after assisting them in defeating a more powerful Sabbac. It consists of all new members, with the exception of Metamorpho who rejoined the team after Shift's demise. Later, Katana dons a new costume, as she felt it inappropriate to wear a costume based on Japan's flag. The country had revoked her citizenship due to her membership with the controversial team.
Later, Katana summons Sabbac to destroy Doctor Sivana's base with his Hellfire.
Katana remains an active member of the Outsiders following One Year Later. Initially, the team is led by Nightwing, but later leadership transfers to Batman. Batman decides to "test" Katana and the rest of the initial team, in order to design a better team. Katana is Batman's first official recruit.
When Batman disappeared without a trace, the Outsiders went looking for him all across Gotham. Katana and Geo-Force went to the GCPD Headquarters, where the Bat-Signal was lit. They asked Commissioner Gordon about Batman's location, but he knew as much as they did and instead, he prompted them to ask Nightwing, who was not in a very good mood.
While escorting Killer Croc to incarceration, the Outsiders' vehicle is demolished by Maseo, Yuki, and Reiko, who have all been revived as Black Lanterns. Katana, believing that she has been reunited with her lost family, lets her guard down, but is saved from death by her teammates. Realizing the truth, she draws her sword, preparing to fight her undead husband. When Katana stabs Maseo, Soultaker reveals to her the Black Lanterns' full intentions. Her attacks soon prove to be completely ineffectual against Maseo, who is instead destroyed by an outpouring of light from Halo, who also destroyed Katana's children.
Return of Bruce Wayne
Some time later, Geo-Force became leader of the Outsiders and Katana followed him to Markovia, where he ruled as the prince. When word about a killing attempt against Geo-Force became known, Katana questioned thugs and low-lifes to learn the source of the threat. However, when Geo-Force joined the attempts to stop the violence on the streets, Katana followed him and witnessed how he was attacked by an unknown person. Katana followed the source of the attack and found the mysterious vigilante Insider and tried to stop him, without success. After the battle, Katana recovered and found the real killer. Moments later back at Castle Markov, Katana deduced that Insider was in fact Bruce Wayne and they discussed the future of the Outsiders together. Bruce left them to work in Markovia and told Katana to take care of the team.
Powers and Abilities
- Martial Arts: Training in various Japanese-styled martial arts from an early age, Yamashiro is a master martial artist. Able to combat multiple enemies, fight metahumans and adapt to situations Tatsu has been using her martial arts for years.
- Swordsmanship: Training under various samurai sensei, Yamashiro is able to use the fabled sword "Soultaker" for justice and adventures despite metahuman odds. She is most proficient with katanas.
- Soultaker Sword: The Soultaker, along with its non-powered twin, was forged in the 14th century by Muramasa, whose swords were said to be cursed and make those who were evil commit evil acts. It sometimes takes the souls of those it kills, storing them inside the sword, where they can engage in limited communication with whoever wields it. These souls can be reincarnated by the means of a sacred ritual, under which they serve their summoner, even if it is against their will.
- 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.
- 283 Appearances of Tatsu Yamashiro (New Earth)
- 93 Images featuring Tatsu Yamashiro (New Earth)
- 19 Quotations by or about Tatsu Yamashiro (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Tatsu Yamashiro (New Earth)
- Batman and the Outsiders #1
- Batman and the Outsiders #2
- Batman and the Outsiders #3
- Batman and the Outsiders #7
- Batman and the Outsiders #11
- Batman and the Outsiders #12
- Batman and the Outsiders #32
- Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #11
- Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #12
- Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Outsiders #1
- The Brave and the Bold #200
|Outsiders member |
This character is or was primarily a member of the super-hero team known as the Outsiders, in any of its various incarnations. They are a black ops team dedicated to fighting evil and taking the fall in public opinion that bigger groups like the Justice League cannot, started by Batman to avoid being crippled by public relations needs. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Outsiders members" category.
Suicide Squad member
Birds of Prey member