by Aaron Lightfoot, Comic Columnist
Creative Team: Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo
Portrayed by: Karen Fukuhara
Rather than have a superpower, Katana wields one. Her blade, the Soultaker, has the ability to capture the souls of those who she kills. Hired as a mercenary for the Suicide Squad, Katana takes her place as second in command to Rick Flag. As such, she will not be fitted with a bomb in the upcoming “Suicide Squad” movie. With a complex background, Katana has been given a lot of attention in recent years.
Tatsu Yamashiro grew up training in martial arts. As she began to develop her skills, she attracted the attention of two brothers, Maseo and Takeo Yamashiro. In the end, Tatsu chose Maseo over Takeo, prompting Takeo to renounce his family’s name and join the Yakuza.
Tatsu and Maseo began a family when Tatsu gave birth to twins. During this time Takeo rose through the ranks of the Yakuza and was given two matching swords, with one having mystical properties. When he was ready, Takeo challenged Maseo to a duel claiming the prize would be Tatsu herself. During this fight, a fire began and, while Maseo was distracted by the crying of his children, Takeo struck him down with the Soultaker. Tatsu attacked Takeo, managing to disarm him. When she turned to rescue her children, Maseo called through the sword telling her both children were lost.
After a period of time training with a master named Tadashi, Tatsu left for America. While there, she rescued Black Lightning, Lucius Fox and even Batman from a man named Baron Bedlam. Batman had been in the predicament, while trying to save Lucius by himself, due to the denial of help from the Justice League. Batman, out of anger, left the Justice League and forged the Outsiders.
Throughout this time, Takeo had tracked Tatsu and switched their swords. He then took the Soultaker to the godfather of the Yakuza, Oyabun, who performed a ritual that would extract someone’s soul that could be completely controlled by the sword’s wielder. Katana, and the Outsiders, were forced to fight all of the souls that were released, one of which was Maseo. Katana was forced to kill Maseo, but also killed Takeo in the process, meaning her husband’s soul would return to the sword.
Throughout her publication, Katana has mostly sided with the Outsiders, making her own comic series debut in 2013, but only lasted 10 issues. She joined the Birds of Prey with Black Canary and Starling. She is shown as a skilled martial artist, with an array of weaponry to get the job done. Duty-bound by giri-ninjo, or a debt of honor even unto death, Katana must sometimes put her own personal feelings aside to get the job done.
Are you a fan of the master swordswoman? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to visit CMN tomorrow for the next installment of “Welcome to the Suicide Squad.” “Suicide Squad” hits theaters Aug. 5.