To make things even more complicated than they already are, DC announced a new, improved Lady Shiva.
Source: Announcing the Guest Creative Team for NIGHTWING #13-14
DC announced on their blog today the creative team filling in on Nightwing #13 and #14 for regular writer Kyle Higgins, who will return with #15 for the Death of the Family crossover: Tom DeFalco, Andres Guinaldo, and Mark Irwin. In the blog post, they had this to say on the revitalized Lady Shiva's backstory:
"In this story, both Dick and Shiva have grown up some since their first encounter—they’re not teenagers anymore—so it’ll be fun to see how each fares in a fair fight. Wait, did I say fair fight? Forget it—Shiva remains by far the better fighter, so it’s up to Dick to find a way just stay alive!"
Of course this opens its own can of worms. If Shiva is deaged (she is now Dick Grayson's age, rather than older than Bruce Wayne), then who tutored Tim Drake in martial arts in his first Robin mini? This somewhat contradicts what Teen Titans writer Scott Lobdell stated via his Twitter: that the only major thing that changed in Tim's history is the name Red Robin in place of Robin, and that 90% of his pre-DCnU origin would remain intact. I guess the other 10% must be entirely taken up by confusing Lady Shiva retcons.
Still, this has a cascading effect of story invalidation. It makes Lady Shiva's appearance in Death in the Family somewhat awkward, being as she's now almost the same age as Jason Todd, the Robin who thought she could be his mother. Without Lady Shiva, how did Bruce Wayne recover after Bane broke him during Knightfall? It was a visit to Shiva that got Bruce his spine repaired and provided the spark he needed to be Batman again.
Then there's the matter of Cassandra Cain, the former Batgirl and Shiva's daughter. By deaging Lady Shiva, Cassandra's existence in the DCnU is cast into even more doubt. This builds on what Kyle Higgins had said previously this week on the character's future, and, of course, adds more fuel to the "toxic" fire as well.
To the fans of the character, this reporter can only say: New York Comic Con is just around the corner (October 11-14). DC will be there. Why don't you throw on your sexiest Batgirl costume and let DC know how you feel about all the lies you've been fed on this subject? Let them know at each and every panel they host at the convention that this character is missed, and fans aren't going to forget.