Flamebird is the name used by six different fictional comic book characters who have appeared in books published by DC Comics, specifically from the Superman and Batman mythos.

The primary character to use the Flamebird name is Bette Kane, who was the pre-Crisis hero Bat-Girl. However, the original pre-Crisis Flamebird was Jimmy Olsen, who was later succeeded by a Kandorian scientist. Post-Crisis a Kryptonian hero used the name Flamebird, and in a "One Year Later" storyline, so has Kara Zor-El.

Flamebird characters are also often associated with characters who use the name Nightwing.

PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceSuperman #158 (January 1963)
Created byEdmond Hamilton (writer)
Curt Swan (art)
CharactersJimmy Olsen
Bette Kane
Lois Lane
Kara Zor-El
Thara Ak-Var

Pre-Crisis history

Jimmy Olsen

Superman v1 158
Superman as Nightwing (left) and Jimmy Olsen as Flamebird (right) in the bottle city of Kandor. Art by Curt Swan.

In pre-Crisis continuity, Flamebird was an alias used by Jimmy Olsen in adventures shared with Superman in the city of Kandor, a Kryptonian city that had been shrunken and preserved in a bottle.

In Kandor, Superman had no powers and was branded an outlaw due to a misunderstanding. To protect themselves, Superman and Jimmy created vigilante identities inspired by Batman and Robin; however, as neither bats nor robins existed on Krypton, Superman chose the names of two native avian species: Nightwing (for himself) and Flamebird (for Jimmy).[1] At one point, Nightwing and Flamebird teamed up with their inspirations, Batman and Robin, for an adventure in Kandor which would prove especially important to the young Robin.

In Superman #166 (January 1964), the imaginary sons of Superman go to Kandor, and take on the Flamebird/Nightwing personas in order to combat a Kandorian villain by the name of Gann Artar, after finding the costumes used by their father and Jimmy Olsen.


While in Kandor, Nightwing and Flamebird met Van-Zee, a Kandorian scientist who looked strikingly similar to Superman. At one point, Van-Zee himself donned the Nightwing costume in order to rescue a captured Superman. After Superman and Jimmy's departure from Kandor, Van-Zee took up the role of Nightwing full-time.

Ak-Var, Van-Zee's lab assistant and husband of his niece Thara, later assumed the mantle of Flamebird.[2] The two shared several distinct adventures, once teaming up with Superman and Jimmy.[3]


Bette Kane

Flamebird Nightwing
Bette Kane as Flamebird and Dick Grayson as Nightwing, from JLA/Titans #2. Art by Phil Jimenez.

For a brief time in the 1970s, the young costumed adventurer Betty Kane had joined a west coast version of the Teen Titans, Titans West, under her original moniker of "Bat-Girl". After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, "Bat-Girl" did not exist, though her team did. Secret Origins Annual #3 (1989) established the official post-Crisis history of Titans West. Instead of Betty Kane as Bat-Girl, fans were introduced to a similar character called Mary Elizabeth "Bette" Kane, also known as Flamebird.[4]

The Krypton connection

Nightwing Secret Files #1 tells the post-Crisis tale of how Dick Grayson became Nightwing, but retroactively erases the notion that Superman and Jimmy Olsen ever held the titles of Nightwing or Flamebird, respectively.

The connection between Bette Kane's "Flamebird" and Grayson's "Nightwing" was conjectural until 2001's Superman: The Man of Steel #111, wherein Superman and Lois Lane travel to a version of the Kryptonian past and assume the names themselves. This once again associated Superman with the roles directly, and he revealed to Lois that he had indeed related tales of both Kryptonian legends to Dick and Bette.[5]

Kara Zor-El

Flamebird Kandor
Kara Zor-El as Flamebird. Art by Ed Benes.

In Supergirl #6, Kara Zor-El has assumed the Flamebird identity to fight crime in the city of Kandor, along with Power Girl as Nightwing.

Thara Ak-Var

In 2008, "Superman: New Krypton" has Superman coming to terms with the death of his adoptive father while also dealing with 100,000 Kryptonians now living on Earth as a result of the Brainiac story arc. At the end of the fourth issue of the arc, a new Nightwing and Flamebird appear to stop two of General Zod's followers (who were living on Kandor) from releasing the Kryptonian General from his Phantom Zone imprisonment. While guarding the projector in order to prevent any Zod loyalists from freeing him from the Phantom Zone, both Flamebird and Nightwing exhibited powers that are not inherent to normal Kryptonians, Flamebird shooting fire from her hands and Nightwing employing telekinesis to dismantle his attackers' weapons. Furthermore, unlike in previous portrayals, Flamebird appears to be the dominant partner. It is later revealed that her real name is Thara Ak-Var, chief of security for New Krypton, whom Alura partially blames for Zor-El's death. Thara also apparently freed Chris Kent from the Phantom Zone, making him the new Nightwing. Thara's name is a reference to the pre-Crisis Flamebird and his wife.[6] The Flamebird identity is based on a mythical Kryptonian creature, whose existence is intertwined with that of its partner beast, the Nightwing. Thara possesses a connection to the Flamebird, having had dreams and visions involving the creature for most of her life.[7]

New 52

Following the events of Infinite Crisis, it is revealed that Bette is the cousin of current Batwoman, Kate Kane. In Detective Comics #856, Bette moves to Gotham City to enroll in Gotham University. She encounters her cousin at a party thrown for the Gotham City Police Department, and attempts to chat her up, only to be blown off. According to Kate's father, Bette looks up to her and likes spending time with her. Bette is kidnapped by a crazed serial killer known as the Cutter, and awakens bound and gagged in his workshop. The Cutter plans on removing Bette's ears as part of a plan to create a perfect woman through the use of stolen body parts. Batwoman rescues Bette from the killer and accidentally reveals her identity. At the end of the story, Bette is seen in her Flamebird outfit, telling Kate that she wants to become her new partner.[8] Kate eventually agrees to train Bette, and gives her a capeless grey military outfit and the codename Plebe.[9] Kate later puts an end to their mentor-student relationship in an attempt to keep Bette from harm, but is unable to stop Bette from being critically wounded. Shortly after her recovery, Bette acquires pyrotechnic technology and adopts the codename Hawkfire.

In other media


Flamebird first appeared in issue #50 of Teen Titans Go as a potential new member along with (the TTG universe's version of) Mirage, Aquagirl, Golden Eagle, and Azrael. She is later shown in issue #55 in Starfire's hallucination to have joined Titans North along side Mirage..


  1. ^ Superman #158, January 1962
  2. ^ Superman Family #185, September–October 1977; first appearance as Flamebird in #184
  3. ^ Superman Family #188, March–April 1978
  4. ^ Beatty, Scott (2008). "Flamebird". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 128. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
  5. ^ Schultz, Mark (w), Mahnke, Doug (p), Nguyen, Tom (i). "Return to Krypton, Part Three: The Most Dangerous Kryptonian Game" Superman: The Man of Steel 111 (April 2001), New York: DC Comics
  6. ^ Action Comics #875 (May 2009)
  7. ^ Action Comics Annual #12 (2009)
  8. ^ Detective Comics #863
  9. ^ Batwoman #1

Batwoman (Kate Kane) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Kate Kane is a wealthy heiress who becomes inspired by the superhero Batman and chooses, like him, to put her wealth and resources towards a campaign to fight crime as a masked vigilante in her home of Gotham City.

Batwoman was introduced in 2006 in the seventh week of the publisher's year-long 52 weekly comic book. Introduced as Kate Kane, the modern Batwoman began operating in Gotham City in Batman's absence following the events of the company-wide crossover Infinite Crisis (2005). The modern Batwoman is written as being of Jewish descent and as a lesbian. Described as the highest-profile gay superhero to appear in stories published by DC, Batwoman's sexual orientation drew wide media attention following her reintroduction, as well as both praise and criticism from the general public.

The modern character as depicted in comics works relatively independently of Batman, but has gained considerable profile in recent years, both within the DC Comics publishing schedule and the publisher's fictional universe. She since had several runs in her own eponymous Batwoman monthly comic book and has had stints in the lead role in Detective Comics, the flagship Batman comic book for which DC Comics is named. The Kate Kane version of Batwoman was later adapted for the 2016 direct-to-video animated film Batman: Bad Blood. Ruby Rose portrays the character in her live-action debut during The CW's 2018 Arrowverse crossover "Elseworlds". Rose is set to star in her own television series set in the Arrowverse. She will also be part of the crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Batwoman (Kathy Kane)

Batwoman (Kathy Kane) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics and is the first to use the alias of Batwoman. She was created by writer Edmond Hamilton and artist Sheldon Moldoff under the direction of editor Jack Schiff, as part of an ongoing effort to expand Batman's cast of supporting characters. Batwoman began appearing in DC Comics stories beginning with Detective Comics #233 (1956), in which she was introduced as a love interest for Batman in order to combat the allegations of Batman's homosexuality arising from the controversial book Seduction of the Innocent (1954). When Julius Schwartz became editor of the Batman-related comic books in 1964, he removed non-essential characters including Kathy Kane, Bat-Girl, Bat-Mite, and Ace the Bat-Hound. Later, the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths retroactively established that Batwoman's existence was on an Earth separate from DC's main continuity.

Bette Kane

Bette Kane is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in the 1960s as Betty Kane, the Bat-Girl. Her name was later modified to "Bette Kane", and she assumed the role of Flamebird.

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List of Teen Titans members



Nightwing is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character has appeared in various incarnations, with the Nightwing identity most prominently being adopted by Dick Grayson when he moved on from his role as Batman's vigilante partner Robin.

Although Nightwing is commonly associated with Batman, the title and concept have origins in classic Superman stories. The original Nightwing in DC Comics was an identity assumed by alien superhero Superman when stranded on the Kryptonian city of Kandor with his pal Jimmy Olsen. Drawing inspiration from Batman and Robin, the two protect Kandor as the superheroes Nightwing and Flamebird. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity reboot in 1985, Nightwing was re-imagined as a legendary vigilante from Krypton whose story inspires Dick Grayson's choice of name when he leaves behind his Robin identity.

Other stories set among the Batman family of characters have seen acquaintances and friends of Richard John "Dick" Grayson briefly assume the title, including his fellow Robin alumnus Jason Todd. Meanwhile, Superman stories have seen Superman's adopted son Chris Kent and Power Girl take up the name for brief turns as Nightwing. Various other characters have taken the name in stories set outside DC's main continuity as well, and at times the role has been unoccupied, such as when Dick Grayson operated as Batman and after faking his death.

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