Life presents many different paths and opportunities to a person. Sandra Woosan's life took a destructive path when Guano Cravat, a criminal industrialist, convinced her that martial artist/spy Richard Dragon killed her sister Carolyn. Motivated by revenge, Sandra dedicated her life to mastering the martial arts, hoping one day she could beat Dragon at his own game. In a brief time, Sandra became a master of many forms of combat and confronted Dragon.
Convincing her that Cravat lied, Dragon ended Sandra's quest for revenge. Finding herself deeply schooled in an art for which she no longer had a use, Sandra, urged on by Dragon, began to explore the spiritual side of the martial arts. In time, she began calling herself "Shiva" and became a creature of intellect and spirituality.
During the time when Shiva fought alongside Richard Dragon and Ben Turner, the trio became renowned and feared in criminal circles. As the years passed, Dragon grew tired of fighting and retired into seclusion. During this period Ben Turner became involved with the man that would transform him into the Bronze Tiger, leaving Shiva alone.
To finance her further martial studies, Shiva hired herself out as a mercenary, ignoring the moral implications of her actions in favor of perfecting her art. This brought her into contact with the populace of Hub City and its champion, Vic Sage -- The Question. Shiva was impressed byy Sage's skill and qualities, rescuing him from death and bringing him to the secluded Richard Dragon for instruction on the finer points of the martial arts. She has been quoted as saying that Sage is the finest practicing martial artist in the world today.
Sage and Shiva have crossed paths many times over the last few years, mostly because the violent criminals of Hub City gave Shiva many opportunities to practice her arts. Sage and Shiva deeply respect each other's abilities, and when sparring they often come to a draw.
Recently, Shiva sought the master of Koroshi, which is the art of empty-handed fighting, to find out how a man called King Snake defeated him. Learning nothing from the victim, she searched for King Snake himself, crossing paths with young Tim Drake. In Europe acquiring the skills to be the new Robin, Drake found himself fighting King Snake's criminal organization alongside Shiva and a U.S. Department of External Affairs (DEA) agent named Clyde Rawlins. During this adventure Shiva agreed to teach Drake, and it was she who gave Robin his collapsable staff. Given her global adventures, Lady Shiva has acquaintances in many countries, in addition to supplies, cash and safe houses. She has been known to frequent New York and Paris slightly more often than other cities, but it is not known how to contact her. As of late, it isn't uncommon to see her in Gotham City as well.
After Bruce Wayne was defeated and broken by Bane, Shiva played an intricate role in his retraining and, ultimately, in his return as Batman. Even more recently, a mystic martial tournament found its battlegrounds in the ruins of Gotham City. The Brotherhood of the Monkey Fist set out to prove that its members are at the top of the martial arts world. But it was Shiva who won the contest, even though it was a close call when she faced Connor Hawke (Green Arrow). Though she did not kill him (she spared his life as an owed favor to Robin), she did walk away undefeated. Connor is now ranked second beneath her in the martial arts world.
Her constant drive to learn and grow has earned her the respect of the world's greatest fighters; she is considered by many to be the finest practicing martial artist alive. Since Shiva's education includes all forms of the martial arts, she is well practiced in the healing arts as well as the combative. Her skills are myriad and she is always seeking out new forms of combat to sample and master.
Shiva continues to roam the world seeking perfection as a martial artist, and can be found on the good or evil side of a struggle -- or anything in between.
Thanks, RyanR! I have to hand it to DC for giving the rather machoistic title of World's Greatest Fighter to a woman -- something a mainstream publisher might not have done even ten to fifteen years ago. And while fans debate the injustice of rating Connor Hawke above Batman in martial arts skills, I have heard no complaint about Shiva's superior position. We've come a long way, baby.
Although Shiva is not currently starring in any books, she's made a couple of memorable guest turns in Batgirl, during which she helped Cassandra regain her fighting perfection in return for a death match a year later. Though the match is finished, I don't believe we've seen the last of Lady Shiva.