Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lady Shiva

Lady Shiva (real name Sandra Woosan, or more recently Sandra Wu-San) is a fictional comic book character co-created by Dennis O'Neil and Ric Estrada, and published by DC Comics. She first appeared in Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter as an antagonist of Richard Dragon. Over time, she has become more closely associated with Batman and related characters, both as an enemy and an ally. She is a martial arts grandmaster, one of the most skilled combatants in the entire DC Universe. She is an assassin-for-hire, who specializes in killing her targets with her bare hands.

Sandra Woosan is first introduced as an antagonist to martial artist Richard Dragon, believing him to be a spy responsible for the murder of her sister Carolyn. In reality, Carolyn's murder was orchestrated by Guano Cravat, a corrupt businessman whose criminal ambitions had been foiled by Dragon. Cravat convinced Woosan that Dragon killed Carolyn, deliberately pitting her against Dragon in an act of revenge.

In order to avenge her sister, Woosan becomes a master combatant. During the course of her training, she discovers that she is a prodigy, rapidly mastering several martial arts and eventually dubbing herself "Lady" Shiva.

When Shiva tracks Dragon down and lures him to Cravat's hideout, Dragon reveals Cravat's deception. The Swiss, Carolyn's real murderer and Cravat's underling, had already died in battle with Dragon, rendering Shiva's vendetta moot.

Afterward, she briefly takes up crimefighting with Dragon and fellow martial artist Ben Turner, to allay her feelings of purposelessness, saying "I tolerate Dragon because danger seems to cling to him like fly to honey... and without danger my life is empty!" Dragon, in hopes that she might follow his example and use her skills for good, coaxes her to explore the spiritual side of martial arts, to no apparent success. When the three eventually part ways, Shiva begins a wandering existence, training herself further, and eventually parlaying her skills into a career as a master assassin.

In further pursuit of her art, Shiva tracks the defeats of martial arts masters, in order to discover new techniques. In this way, she develops an interest in the defeat of Koroshi, master of the art of empty-handed fighting. Gaining no information from Koroshi himself, she begins to search for King Snake, the man rumored to have defeated him. During her search, she meets Tim Drake, who is fighting King Snake's criminal organization, the Ghost Dragons, as part of his training to become the third Robin.

Shiva sees potential in Drake, and takes him on as a student. As a bonus, she offers to train him in one weapon, and he chooses the bo staff. Shiva derisively mentions that it is not a lethal weapon, and Drake explains that was the reason he had chosen it. At the end of his training, he defeats Shiva in a sparring match with the bo, and she gives him a collapsible bo staff.

Eventually, they discover that the Ghost Dragons are creating a virulent plague. Robin, Shiva, and ally Clyde Rawlins attempt to stop them from releasing it, but the Dragons escape with a few canisters. After tracking them to Hong Kong, they eventually defeate King Snake, though Rawlins dies in the attempt and Shiva mostly witnesses the proceedings. While King Snake hangs precariously on the ledge of a building, Shiva orders Robin to kill him to signify his "graduation" and become her "weapon." Robin refuses and leaves. Shiva then throws the King Snake off the ledge herself, though he survives the fall.

After Bane breaks Batman's back, Batman seeks training from Shiva to help him regain his skills and fighting spirit. Though she deems him unworthy of her efforts, she devises a training regimen, out of respect for what he had been before his injuries. As part of this training, Shiva kills the Armless Master, a sensei notable for training Catwoman, while wearing a tengu mask, making sure that his death was both witnessed and relayed to his best students. Shiva then makes Batman wear the mask while performing training missions. He is then ambushed by the master’s students, who mistake him for the "Tengu Mask warrior." He defeats all of them in turn, but Shiva attempts to complete Batman’s training by manipulating him into killing an opponent using her fatal Leopard Blow. Batman simply feigns using the maneuver on an assailant to trick her into believing he used lethal force. Shiva later discovers the truth, but does not seek vengeance.

Later, she helps Batman fight Ra's al Ghul and his League of Assassins, including Bane, when Ghul attempts to release a deadly virus called Ebola Gulf A that would have killed half the world's population (see Batman: Legacy). The trail leads Batman to Calcutta, India. Since their knowledge of the city is limited, Oracle contacts Shiva, who agrees to help Batman. Together they defeat Ghul's men and prevent the virus from being released

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