In the picture, leaked early Tuesday morning but now officially released, Rose wears the black suit and red bat symbol of Kate Kane’s Batwoman uniform, topped with a mane of red hair. Canonically, the hair is a wig that easily tears away, the better for surprising crooks who try to grab it — and for concealing her identity.
Kate Kane debuted in DC Comics’ 2006 52 series, but she didn’t really solidify as the character we know today until her stint as the lead character in Detective Comics in 2009. There, writer Greg Rucka and artist J.H. Williams III filled out her backstory and codified a dream-like visual style for the character. Batwoman is one of DC Comics’ first prominent queer superheroes, the first gay member of the Bat-Family and, in 2011, the first queer character to ever headline their own series at DC Comics.
Kate is Bruce Wayne’s cousin (her father is his late mother’s brother), one of twin daughters born to military parents. At the age of 12, Kate, her mother and sister were kidnapped by gunmen, who executed the girls’ mother and Kate’s sister before American forces could intervene. For Kate, joining the army was a way to honor her mother’s legacy and assuage her survivor’s guilt by serving a higher cause — but she was thrown out of West Point under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for refusing the break the Cadet’s Code when a superior encouraged her to lie about her sexual orientation to protect her career.
Lost and troubled, Kate spent a while getting into fast cars and hard partying, until a chance sighting of Batman inspired her to find a new way to serve as the Batwoman.
Rose’s first appearance as Batwoman will be in an Arrow-verse crossover special on Dec. 9, followed by the premiere of a Batwoman solo series. Batwoman will be the first of the CW’s DC Comics shows to feature a queer character in the lead, and the first with a queer actor in the title role.