Mentioned multiple times in the first season of Batwoman, a dark presence paired with Alice and Julia Pennyworth, the mysterious Safiya Sohail is about to make her live debut in the second year of the series, played by Shivani Gaya. Her goals are not yet clear, but she promises to be a handful…. and I’m very curious to see what the writers will find to include her in the story despite Kate Kane’s disappearance, given the proximity and personal nature of their return to the comics. It’s more than likely that this new character of Ryan Wilder will inherit the plot of his predecessor, but it would be a rather lazy and unlikely move considering that family played a big role in the show. Well, let’s see. Meanwhile, let’s meet Safiya, the Pirate Queen.
Much of Safiya Sohail’s past is still shrouded in mystery. Born in Turkey, she suffered violence, abuse and slavery in her early years. The only thing she brought back from that time was her daughter Fatima, who never left her side. After fleeing his country as a criminal, Safiya came into contact with a terrorist organization, Many Weapons of Death, which had a virtual monopoly on the illegal arms trade. After visiting , Safiya got all the freedom and power she had always dreamed of, finally arriving on the island of Korian, a nation of pirates where even someone like her could find a place. Koryana was the headquarters of the Many Weapons of Death organization and by becoming one of the leaders of the organization, she also became the head of ceremonies on the island and appointed Fatima as the CEO of the Kali Corporation, a legal front company of the Many Weapons of Death organization headed by the twin brothers Sr. and Jr. From there she began to travel the world, officially representing her sovereign nation, but in reality as a businesswoman. On one such occasion she came to Ibadan, Nigeria, where she met a rather troubled business partner, Mr. Pemberton. The negotiations broke down when a young beggar killed a man for food: Safiya saw something of herself in a young girl named Tahani and took her in, making her a personal artist. Tahani was trained and became an excellent knife maker with the name Many Weapons of Death. The two women became close, and eventually they became lovers, and that lasted eight years. Aside from his daughter Fatima and Rafael, his right-hand man, Tahani was the only one Safiya really trusted until the drunken millionaire washed up at high tide with a serious head injury. Kate Kane has arrived at Coriana.
Kate was a former US serviceman who was discharged from the US Army for being a lesbian: After losing her rank and even her lover, she fell into a self-destructive spiral of drugs, alcohol and world travel that led her there. Safiya in turn saw something in Kate, and she personally sewed her open skull with gold thread, saving her life. Safiya got to know her better and ignored Tahani’s jealousy by seducing her into a new lover. Kate knew a lot about Safiya’s affairs, but she didn’t mind, just like the fact that Koryana was a haven for fraudsters and smugglers, according to her lover’s . However, Kate only learned Safia’s true nature when the pirate queen intervened to protect her: After an incident on a coral reef, Kate was infected with a deadly bacteria that she carried asymptomatically, but which destroyed the population of Coriana foxy. In order to protect Kate, Safiya has framed one of his opponents on the island, the villain Maximus, by publicly accusing him of spreading the plague and having him lynched by a mob. Kate accepted much of Safiya’s way of life, but she also couldn’t accept it: They had a fight, and Kate left the island for good. After that, Safiya was never the same, and shortly after she left, leaving everything and everyone in the lurch, Tahani turned to the Kali Corporation, quickly upsetting the balance she had worked hard to achieve. However, this episode was not without consequences: Tahani blamed Kate for everything that had happened and moved the multi-armed murder weapon to take revenge on her personally. When Safiya learned that her former protégée Beth, Kate’s sister, had kidnapped her from the Wise Rabbits Sanatorium where she was being treated and drugged her identity from Alice to make her the new leader of the Many-Handers, she contacted Kate, now the heroic Batwoman, and left a clue that led her to one of her homes in Brussels. Here Safiya confronts her former lover and tells him that Messer betrayed them both and that he should be arrested for both. It remains to be seen whether Batman will side with a criminal who is known to become only temporarily more dangerous….
Safiya Sohail is an extremely charismatic leader, a woman of power who is able to see through people’s souls and manipulate them with what they really want. With her resourcefulness and learning new skills, Safiya is an expert in medicine and sailing, diplomacy and war, always following her ideal of total freedom from the rest of the world of rules and laws. Safiya doesn’t care about right or wrong, as long as she can enjoy the freedom she fought for: By following these principles, she binds herself to terrorists and heroes, but even as a mother of warlords, the only loyalty that really matters to her, and hers alone….
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