WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Detective Comics #1047, on sale now from DC Comics.
Secret identities are important. Though some superheroes can live without them or have even given them up for certain reasons, they remain essential for many costumed do-gooders. The Bat-Family, for instance, has always valued secret identities. However, when it comes to undercover work, the cape and cowl aren't exactly practical. Batwoman's latest solution to this is perfect, and it takes a page from Superman's book.
Batwoman met with reporter Deb Donovan in Detective Comics #1047 (by Mariko Tamaki, Ivan Reis, Danny Miki, Brad Anderson, and VC's Ariana Maher). Previously, they met out in the open with Batwoman in her regular crimefighting costume. However, for this meeting, the two were in a public place, in a local diner. Obviously, sitting in a booth in a Batsuit would draw too much attention. This meant that Kate Kane had to go for something a lot more subtle and it worked better than anyone thought.
The disguise consisted of sunglasses and a wig. Though this looked exactly how everyone thinks Batwoman looks out of costume, that's the point. Kate has always worn a wig with her costume. The long red hair flowing out of her mask, though it matches her real hair color, is all fake. In her civilian life, Kate Kane has a much shorter haircut. It's often styled similar to a pixie cut and she's sometimes gone with a shaved head instead. So, seeing her in long hair here, Deb Donovan just saw Batwoman and doesn't even think about the Gotham socialite Kate Kane.
As for disguising her face, the sunglasses were very effective. It worked for Clark Kent after all. Superman's iconic disguise even fooled the Daily Planet's Lois Lane, so a pair of sunglasses should be more than enough to fool fellow reporter Deb Donovan. After all, these shades covered up more of her face than Superman's regular glasses do. They mirrored what Superman has done for years and managed to do it better, acting as a mask all on their own.
This isn't the first time a member of the Bat-Family has had to hide in plain sight either. The most famous example of this eas Batman's street persona, Matches Malone. To get a better idea of what the criminal underworld gets up to, Batman disguised himself as an old gangster by the name of Matches Malone. The real Malone died years ago, but the Dark Knight has kept him alive to maintain underworld connections and get to places he couldn't as the Caped Crusader. The best part was, the disguise basically amounted to a pair of shades and a mustache, which isn't too dissimilar to Kate's disguise here.
Even in this issue of Detective Comics, other members of the Bat-Family are hiding in plain sight. Dick Grayson and Stephanie Brown had ditched their Nightwing and Spoiler costumes to infiltrate Arkham Tower. Unlike Batwoman, they don't have anything to hide their faces, however, they aren't meeting someone out in the open who already knows about their crime-fighting alter ego.
All of this just goes to show how effective shades and a different haircut can be. It worked for Superman for decades and no one even suspected a connection between his dual identities. So Batwoman being able to keep her identity a secret from someone who knows she's a hero, and in such a simple way, shows just how powerful this underrated ability really is.
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