SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Detective Comics #975 by James Tynion IV, Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez, on sale now.
Kate Kane was last seen licking her emotional wounds in the company of her father at the end of Detective Comics #974. As Batwoman, Kate had just been kicked out of the Gotham Knights after her decision to kill a rampaging Clayface. That fatal decision did not set well with Batman, nor with several other members of the team. Her dad Jacob, though, couldn't be prouder of his daughter, and sees an opportunity to reach out to the dismayed Kate and again ask her to join his side.
Will She, Or Won't She?
That position, of course, entails a leadership position in Jacob's military operation known as The Colony, and the issue ended with Jacob's invitation awaiting an answer. In Detective Comics #975, by James Tynion IV, Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez, Batwoman gives her fateful answer. After engaging in a minor super-villain skirmish and paying a visit to her mother's grave, Kate finally accepts her father's offer.
Prior to that moment, Kate is first seen back in her familiar Batwoman costume, replete with its prominent version of the Bat-symbol, despite being stripped of it by Orphan last issue. It's also somewhat unexpected in light of the altered version of the outfit presented to her last issue by her father. As she takes down Gorilla Boss and his ape minions, she's in contact with Luke Fox, aka Batwing.
Luke, along with Jean Paul Valley, had taken Batwoman's side in the moral debate over her assassination of Clayface last issue. Luke speaks of supporting Batwoman's eventual decision – presumably her pending decision whether to join The Colony, although it's not directly referenced at this point. What isn't clear, now that Kate has made her decision, is whether that will mean Batwing and Azrael also ally themselves with The Colony.
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Earlier still, the issue leads off with a flashback to young Kate and Bruce graveside at her mother's funeral. In reference to her mother's killers, Kate asks Bruce, "Why don't we find them and kill them?" The sequence seems to foreshadow Kate's eventual decision, although interestingly, young Bruce's mindset at this point in his life isn't all that different from hers.
A Defining Moment for Batwoman
The issue concludes with present day Kate again standing at her mother's grave, speaking to her about how her death drove her to become someone who could stop such a travesty from happening again. Kate also confesses that she "stepped off" and lost her way at some point, but that she will ultimately make good on her promise. Was the pivotal moment the instant she killed Clayface, or does it go back to the when she first became Batwoman?
Like her Gotham Knights colleagues, Kate could be questioning whether she's fit to serve as a member of the Bat-family considering her recent deadly action, which could conceivably drive her to her father's side. Or, she could be questioning whether becoming Batwoman was the correct course of action to even take in the first place, rather than take the deadlier approach of dealing with criminals that she spoke of as a child. This approach conveniently aligns itself with that of her father and The Colony.
Either way, the Batwoman we've come to know now seems to be gone. With only half a dozen issues remaining in Tynion's run on the title, it's uncertain whether her fate will be wrapped up before then.