While Batman’s world includes plenty of allies, Julia Pennyworth, Alfred’s daughter, isn’t exactly the most famous member of the Bat-Family. Since she debuted 1981, this character has skirted around the edges of the DC Universe, existing as a relatively minor yet still important character in the Batman mythology. However, since the New 52, the character has risen in prominence, even appearing in the Arrowverse thanks to a major role in the series Batwoman.
Now, we’re taking a closer look at Julia Pennyworth in all of her major comic book forms. For even longtime fans, the knowledge that Alfred has a daughter at all might come as a minor shock, even though this character has worn different masks over the years.
The Pre-Crisis version of Julia Pennyworth appeared first under the alias of Julia Remarque in Gerry Conway and Don Newton’s Detective Comics#501. She is the child of Alfred Pennyworth and Mademoiselle Marie, a French superspy. Because of the dangerous lifestyle her mother led, Marie’s friend Jacques Remarque raised Julia as his own. She didn’t even know who her mother was until Julia pressed Jacques for information about her birth. It turned out that Marie had been shot, with her last words being “Alfred.” This led her to believe Alfred Pennyworth was her mother’s murderer, which led her to further investigate and ultimately cross paths with Batman.
Eventually, however, she learned the truth about Alfred and went to Gotham to be with her father. While there, Jacques ended up involved in many of Batman’s escapades, including one where Deadshot lied about being hired by Jacques, who had died when Julia was away. From there, Julia became an investigator, often crossing paths with Batman, sometimes romantically in a few dozen appearances.
During the New 52 era, Julia Pennyworth returned during the Batman Eternal saga, which reintroduced many long-absent Bat-Family characters like Azrael and Stephanie Brown. In this story, however, Julia is essentially abandoned by her father, embittered after learning that he’s just a butler to some “spoiled rich boy” named Bruce Wayne. Now a member of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, Julia was in Hong Kong trying to bring down crimes orchestrated by Carmine Falcone, but ends up being saved by Batman. She ultimately tries to help Batman out during the story.
However, after DC Rebirth, she ends up switching her allegiances from Batman to Batwoman. She works as the woman behind the chair for a while, taking on the alias Penny-Two. While she ultimately proves a vital alley for Batwoman, she does end up betraying her, though not out of any selfish intent or even for ill. When fighting off a villain named Tahani who plans on releasing a bioweapon on Gotham, Julia creates an antidote for the potential viral infection facing Gotham. However, Batwoman becomes infected in the process, and Julia contacts Batman to stop Batwoman from crossing a moral line. However, Batwoman seems to get over it after a few weeks and they’re on good terms again.
Julia Pennyworth’s appearance in the CW television series Batwoman marks her biggest mainstream appearance and is arguably the reason why many fans even know this character exists. In Arrowverse series, Julia, played by Christina Wolfe, is a British spy and the goddaughter to Lucius Fox. As a result, she’s very close to Lucius’s son Luke, though the extent of their relationship isn’t quite clear yet.
Bruce asked Julia to watch over Kate, posing as a Krav Maga instructor. While teaching Kate, they became friends and even briefly lovers, which picks up on an attraction that was only teased in comics. However, her cover was eventually blown, and the two briefly parted ways before reuniting to work together to take down criminals. As in her comic book appearances, she is a brilliant investigator and competent fighter but often helps support the Bat-Family by pooling information. As Julia proves in all of her incarnations, she has a serious thing for heroes in Scowls.
Long before Julia Pennyworth joined the Arrowverse in Batwoman, she was a part of Batman's war on crime for years.