The Arrowverse grew a little larger tonight with the series debut of Batwoman. While we've met Kate Kane/Batwoman (Ruby Rose) previously in last year's "Elseworlds" crossover event, tonight's series premiere gives us the beginning of Batwoman's story, an origin that begins well before we met her last year. Tonight's series premiere introduced us to a Kate who is just beginning her career as a vigilante crimefighter as well as the various characters who make up her world.
Tonight's series premiere also contained quite a few Easter Eggs and references. Woven into the episode are numerous references to not just Batwoman's comic book history, but Batman's story as well as to various movies -- including Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. There's even references to various places within DC Comics ultimately helping to place Batwoman in the larger universe as well as help her carve out her own place as a hero of the Arrowverse. It's a way the show delivers on what showrunner Caroline Dries has previously said about Batman being a part of the conversation without overshadowing Kate's story.
"He continues to be a big part of the conversation... Kate is trying to get out of his shadow," Dries said at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year. "She sees him as a mentor. I thought it'd be cool if one day she opens her journal and she sees a letter form him and is wondering how that got there."
Read on for the Easter Eggs and references we found in tonight's Batwoman premiere and be sure to let us know which ones you spotted in the comments below.
In tonight's episode we get glimpses of Kate's military history, specifically her relationship with Sophie while attending a military academy. It's a story that comes largely from Batwoman: Elegy, the 2009-2010 story arc that ran in Detective Comics from issues #854-860. In that story when Bruce Wayne died in comics, Kate took over Detective Comics. The series gave readers a deeper look at her background which included a story about how she is accused of having a lesbian relationship with her roomate at the United States Military Academy and, when she refuses to deny it, is forced to leave. It's a crucial and defining moment for the character and it shapes who she is to this day in comics -- and appears to be a critical moment for Kate on the show as well.
Spotted on a bookshelf in Bruce Wayne's office, Martha Wayne's pearls are on display. In comics, those pearls are important to Batman's origin story as it's Martha's pearls that the criminal who killed both Martha and Thomas aimed to steal. In Batwoman, they also have a second significance: the pearls and the case they are in turn out to be the key to the secret passage leading to the Batcave.
In tonight's episode, Kate tracks Alice to the abandoned and defunct Burnside Orphanage. If the name Burnside sounds familiar to you, it's because it's a reference to a Gotham City neighborhood in comics. Located across the Gotham River, Burnside is the neighborhood where Barbara Gordan moved when she needed a break from Gotham proper in Batgirl Vol 4 #35 from 2014.
Another location that may sound familiar to DC fans is Sherwood Forest. Mary mentions Sherwood Forest to Kate while treating her injuries after a fight with Alice and her gang, but in comics Sherwood Forest has been referenced many times over the years. There's even a story (in Detective Comics Vol 1 #116) in which Batman and Robin meet and rescue Robin Hood with Batman taking part in an archery tournament sponsored by the Sheiff of Nottingham. Yes, time-related shenanigans are involved.
When Kate makes her way into the Batcave for the first time, she's soon surrounded by a swirling mass of bats, something that she watches with wonder. It's a moment that may be very visually similar for fans who have also seen Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. In that film, Bruce Wayne is surrounded by bats as he sets up base in the caves benath Wayne Manor, symbolically facing his fear of bats as well as developing his vigilante identity of Batman. It's a fitting moment as the scene is also, in a sense, the birth of Batwoman in tonight's series premiere.
It's Gotham City. You also can't get away with out a mention of the Joker and tonight's series premiere delivers on that as well. We learn at the episode's start that Kate lost her sister Beth and her mother when the car they were in was rammed by an out of control bus. That bus turned out to have been driven by the Joker, which is why Batman was able to respond to the crash. Unfortunately, Batman didn't save Beth and Kate's mom, something that apparently haunted him.
Another mention tonight is Burnley and it's a name that Batman fans will recognize as belonging to Jack Burnley, a comic book artist and illustrator who drew Batman not just early comic book issues, but also the daily Batman comic strip. He also did a lot of cover work for DC, particularly Superman, Batman and Worlds Finest, until he left DC Comics in 1947.
It's also a location in DC Universe Online, a Gotham City neighborhood that was the home of one of the major gangs.
During Gotham's first outdoor event in the years since Batman disappeared, the city shows a movie in the park. That movie? The Mark of Zorro and it's a Batman-related Easter Egg in a big way. In DC Comics continuity, The Mark of Zorro is the film that young Bruce saw with his parents at the movie theater right before they were murdered in front of him in the alley.
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