Sandra Wu-San is a master martial artist and assassin who travels the globe as "Lady Shiva" in search of other martial art masters from which to learn from and fight in duels to the death.
Ranking amongst the best combatants in the world, Lady Shiva is one of the most feared fighters on Earth due to her level of skill, her reputation as a killer of martial art practitioners and her tendency to do as her whim fancies.
While not necessarily an assassin, Shiva is affiliated with Ra's al Ghul's League of Assassins and sells her services as a mercenary when she is not pursuing her own interests.
Name: Sandra Wu-San
Aliases: Lady Shiva, Paper Monkey, Jade Canary
Nationality: Asian American
Marital Status: Single
Sandra Wu-san was born in a small Vietnamese shanti town owned by the League of Assassins. Raised to be the village's warrior and protector, Sandra underwent horrendous training as a child until she fled the village with her sister, Carolyn, and the pair made their way to the United States of America, settling in Detroit.
While growing up in America, the girls devoted their time to practicing the martial arts and attended martial arts tournaments to earn their living. While researching for his project to create the "perfect assassin" for Ra's al Ghul, the assassin David Cain observed the two sisters during a tournament and noticed that, out of love for her sister, Sandra held back in her fights with Carolyn. Considering Sandra an ideal candidate to mother his "perfect assassin", Cain had Carolyn murdered by manipulating corrupt businessman Guano Cravat into hiring the assassin, the "Swiss", in order to remove the obstruction that blunted Sandra's true potential.
Discovering her beloved sister dead, Sandra swore vengeance and pursued the martial artist Richard Dragon after being convinced by Cravat that he was responsible. However, when Sandra tracks Dragon down and lures him to Cravat's hideout, Dragon reveals Cravat's deception and that the Swiss had already died at Dragon's hand.
Believing her sister avenged, Sandra briefly takes up crime fighting with Dragon and fellow martial artist Ben Turner. Dragon, in hopes that she might follow his example and use her skills for good, coaxes Sandra to explore the spiritual side of martial arts, however the three eventually part ways after Sandra learns that David Cain was the one really behind Carolyn's murder. Pursuing Cain into an ambush by the League of Assassins, in the heat of the battle, Sandra realized how Carolyn had held her back and how much undeveloped potential she had. While she was soundly defeated, Cain spared her life in exchange for Sandra agreeing to bear him a child and leave it for him to raise. While undergoing training within the League during her pregnancy, on the day of the child's birth Sandra left the girl to be raised by Cain and set out to forget about her past as "Sandra Wu-San" and become reborn as the "Lady Shiva: Creator and Destroyer".
Leading a wandering existence as she endeavored to train herself further in combat by meeting, fighting and defeating numerous fighters in all styles, Shiva eventually parlayed her skills into a career as a mercenary and master assassin, using the money earned to finance further training. Increasingly inscrutable and carried by the unpredictable wave of her interests, she gradually became a figure of legend and terror amongst the martial arts realm.
Shiva is eventually hired by Reverend Hatch in Hub City, to fight the Question (Victor Sage). While she defeats him with ease, rather than have Shiva kill him, Hatch instead has his men beat the Question further, shoot him in the head with an air gun, and dump him into the river.
Seeing "a passion for combat" in the hero, Shiva rescues Sage and brings him to Richard Dragon to give him a chance to fulfill his potential. Meeting Sage again after his training, Shiva demands a rematch to confirm his abilities and then leaves Sage alone to return to fighting crime in Hub City.
Eventually arriving in Manchuria to visit her godfather, the O-Sensei; a 150 year old Japanese martial art master, she was tasked with aiding him in a journey to finally die and be buried alongside the remains of his wife.
To aid in finding his wife's remains, he has Shiva select three warriors to aid him in the search: the Question, Green Arrow, and the Batman. Reluctant to acknowledge her godfather's death wish, Shiva expresses her ambivalence but agrees to serve her sensei's request, traveling with him to Hub City where she compels the Question to make contact with the Batman. Meeting the vigilante in Gotham, Shiva can not resist engaging him in combat but is stopped by the O-Sensei who reveals to the vigilant his inability to move forward with his life was due to his inability to let go of his past.
Turning next to Star City, the pair help Green Arrow in a similar way as the hero was on the verge of losing his skills in archery due to guilt during a case. During the meeting, Shiva encounters Black Canary and, identifying her as being schooled in Judo, indulges in a sparing match and teaches her some additional skills.
After the pair returns to Hub City and saves the Question from an attack by former employees of the now-dead Reverend Hatch. Uniting with the Batman and Green Arrow, the Batman reveals that the O-Sensei's wife's family had buried her on an island in the Java Sea but as the group travels to the island, they are caught in a typhoon and the boat capsizes whereupon the O-Sensei is lost at sea.
While the group survives, they believe that they had failed in their quest until Batman later discovers that the O-Sensei's wife's body had also been lost at sea while in transition to the island. Meaning that both O-Sensei and his wife lay at the bottom of the ocean, together, as the O-Sensei had desired.
When Hub City fell victim to urban decay, Shiva returned to the city to offer her services to the warring gangs. On meeting the Question, she is dismayed to find that his fighting skills had declined and has to repeatedly save both him and Mayor Myra Fermin from assassins. As Victor Sage and his companions fled the city, Shiva opts to stay and observe the chaos.
During her travels, she eventually begins an on-and-off association with the League of Assassins. While training prospective assassins, mercenaries, and terrorists in Lebanon, Shiva is approached by Robin (Jason Todd) and Batman acting on evidence that she might be Robin's mother. Eager to finally face the Batman in combat uninterrupted, Shiva knocks Robin unconscious and challenges the hero to a death duel. While initially underestimating her, Batman manages to hold his own long enough for Robin to awaken and attack her from behind, the distraction of which was enough for Batman to promptly knock her unconscious and subdue her for interrogation. When asked if she was Jason’s mother, Shiva sarcastically claims to have littered dozens of babies across the globe. When Batman doses her with sodium pentothal, Shiva still manages to lie and claims to have sired no children, confirming that Jason was not her son. Leaving to continue their search, Batman leaves Shiva in the desert, reasoning that she would be able to get free from her bonds on her own.
Some time later, Shiva seeks the martial art master Koroshi, master of the art of empty-handed fighting. Gaining no information from the master, she decides to search for King Snake instead, the man rumored to have defeated him. During her search, she meets Timothy Drake, who was fighting King Snake's criminal organization as part of his training to become the new Robin following Jason Todd's death.
Seeing potential in Drake, Shiva takes him on as a student. At the end of his training, he defeats Shiva in a sparring match and she gives him a collapsible bo staff as a reward. While the duo pursue Kings Snake to Hong Kong, Shiva merely observes as Drake defeats Snake and leaves him hanging precariously from the ledge of a building. While Shiva orders him to kill the man and become her apprentice, Drake refuses and leaves. Shiva then throws King Snake off the ledge herself, although he survives the fall.
After Bane breaks Bruce Wayne's back and Bruce learns that he must take the mantle of Batman back from his replacement, Jean-Paul Valley, Bruce seeks training from Shiva to help 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 the training, Shiva kills the Armless Master while wearing a Tengu mask; making sure that the battle was both witnessed by and relayed to his best students. Shiva then makes Bruce wear the mask while performing training missions and he is ambushed by the master’s students, who mistake him for the "Tengu Mask Warrior."
As Bruce defeats the students and regains his skills, Shiva attempts to complete his training by manipulating him into killing an opponent, however, Bruce simply feigns using the technique on an assailant to trick her into believing he used lethal force. Although Shiva later discovers the truth, she does not seek vengeance.
Later, Shiva helps Batman and his family fight Ra's al Ghul and Bane when they attempt to release a virus called Ebola Gulf A to kill half of the world's population. Aiding Batman in Calcutta, India, together they defeat Ghul's men and prevent the virus from being released.
Shiva later travels to an army base in Transbelvia to fight a political rebel and martial artist named Dava Sbörsc, who specializes in "single-blow techniques". Instead of challenging her to a duel, Dava's friend, Robin, jumps into the fray in her place. Granted Super Speed by a drug Dava gave him, Robin unwittingly kills Shiva in battle but quickly administers CPR, both reviving Shiva and dosing her with the drug. Thus enhanced, Shiva kills a group of attacking government soldiers while Robin and Dava make their escape.
Shortly thereafter, after Gotham City is destroyed by an earthquake, Shiva enters the city to join in the Brotherhood of the Monkey Fist's "tournament" to kill Green Arrow (Connor Hawke). After fending off various sects of the Brotherhood, Shiva fights and defeats Connor, however, she is stopped from killing him by Robin, who asks her to spare him as repayment for reviving her in Transbelvia.
Following Gotham's restructuring, Shiva's daughter, Cassandra Cain, now 17 years old, had fled her father to live in Gotham and became the new Batgirl. Eventually, her daughter's combat skills attract Shiva's attention and, without telling her of their relationship, Shiva challenges Cassandra to a battle to the death. To Shiva's disappointment, she defeats Batgirl soundly due to Cassandra having lost her combat prowess after gaining the ability to speak. Wanting to fight her daughter at her peak, Shiva helps her regain her abilities on the condition that they have a rematch in one year.
One year later, Shiva reappears to fight Batgirl and kills her in combat, however, realizing that Batgirl had actually wished to die and had not given her all, Shiva revives her. Having overcome her death wish, Batgirl fights Shiva again and defeats her; revealing that Shiva also had a death wish; traveling the world and fighting everyone in search of her own death.
Finally defeated in one-on-one combat but not killed, Shiva spent some time thinking about what to do next and joined with Black Canary in visiting the deathbed of the Hong Kong sensei, Otomo. Learning that their beloved sensei was killed by Cheshire the pair captures the assassin and interrogates her, with Cheshire claiming that she was framed for Otomo's murder by Senator Robert Pullman. However, as the trio travelled to America, Cheshire sedates and bounds Shiva to serve as a body double as part of a plan to kill Senator Pullman, whom she believed was her biological father, enact vengeance against Black Canary for raising her daughter, Lian, and using Shiva's body to fake her death to escape the country.
Fortunately, Shiva is saved when Catwoman discovers her bound and gagged in the trunk of Cheshire's car. After Cheshire's plan is thwarted by the Birds of Prey, Shiva offers to tutor Black Canary, who takes her offer under consideration and begins receiving periodical letters from Shiva containing technique instructions.
As the Infinite Crisis approaches, Batgirl begins to suspect that Shiva is her mother and embarks on a search for her, eventually finding her as the new sensei of Nyssa Raatko's League of Assassins. As the League begins to deteriorate after she disrupts Raatko's plan to use Mister Freeze's freezing engine for an unknown scheme, Batgirl sacrifices her life to save League members from an attack by her "brother", the Mad Dog. Observing her daughter's heroism, Shiva resurrects Cassandra in a Lazarus Pit and reveals that she had given birth to Cassandra so that she may stop Shiva's reign of death.
While the pair duel once again, Cassandra breaks her mother's neck but leaves her hanging over the Lazarus Pit to be reborn.
One year after the crisis, Shiva had exchanged places with Black Canary; operating as a Birds of Prey agent in America as part of Canary's plan to "humanize" her while Canary trained in Shiva's home-village in Vietnam as part of Shiva's attempt to harden her spirit. However, following a confrontation against Prometheus where Shiva was soundly defeated by the villain due to his copied combat abilities, Shiva called off the exchange due to being unable to handle the humiliations and self restraining nature of being a super hero.