9 years ago - 16-year-old Caitlin interns at Cadmus. S.H.A.D.E. begins covertly drugging her to activate her metagene.
7 years ago - 18-year-old Caitlin Fairchild's metagene activates. S.H.A.D.E. tries to kidnap her her, but she fights them off & helps Tomas Tresser bring them down. She transfers into the DEO and joins the newly formed Freedom Fighters.
6 years ago - 19-year-old Caitlin begins attending Princeton University while serving with the Freedom Fighters.
2 years ago - 23-year-old Caitlin gets her double major in computer science & electrical engineering.
Properly telling Fairchild's story really requires you to have an understanding of the state of comics as a whole during the early nineties. It had very much become a collectors market as opposed to a storytelling medium. Comic collectors were predominantly teenage boys, and female characters that might have been created to interest female readers once upon a time (like Supergirl or Batgirl) gave way to female characters designed just to titillate those teenage boys. In the middle of all of this, Jim Lee's Wildstorm universe (his own little corner of Image Comics) was actually featuring some pretty complex characters for the time. They were largely derivative of other characters from other parts of the world of comics, but at least they had a comprehensive story. Among these was J Scott Campbell's Gen 13, a sort-of spin on the Teen Titans. The book was absurdly popular. A LOT of it's success came from the way Campbell drew his female characters, and from it's propensity for having abundant variant covers in an era when that sort of thing sold comics.
BUT.... the characters were also pretty cool. When DC acquired Wildstorm, it spent a while as a parallel universe before the new 52 brought those characters into central continuity. We've tried to incorporate the Wildstorm characters into our timeline, but ultimately, they are all little more than carbon copies of existing characters. (Some of the ideas will show up elsewhere). Caitlin is actually one of our very few exceptions.
The main reason all that info is necessary is the explain Caitlin's appearance. Her powers (mostly superstrength and endurance) were largely designed so that her clothes tore. Yea. She was invented with the external logic of a Roger Corman movie. Most of the images you see of her are pretty gratuitous.
But under that ridiculous premise, you have a really cool idea She was an incredibly intelligent character. There's a long, awesome tradition of brilliant teenage characters in comics, and Fairchild totally fit into that tradition. The idea of a straight-laced, responsible, innocent teenage girl who develops an intensely physical superpower is just a cool idea on the surface of it.
To that end, we've tried to isolate the best parts of her story and to incorporate her into our version of the DC universe in the best possible way. In the original comics the members of Gen 13 were a team of escaped meta-humans on the run from Project: Genesis, a shadowy government organization that had activated their powers. That version of the story had been revisited several times before Wildstorm joined the DC universe where Caitlin then became a supporting character for Superboy and the Teen Titans. She was a researcher for a shadowy research lab called Nowhere, and later became a member of the Ravagers.
Ultimately, the thing we take from this is her propensity for interacting with shadowy government organizations. We already have a built in shadowy organization in our timeline in S.H.A.D.E., a group that can totally do exactly the same thing to her as Project:Genesis in her original origin. She can absolutely be one of S.H.A.D.E.'s infant victims, and that opens her up to be instrumental in the downfall of the organization later in the story. This also creates a great place for her going forward, because she can join other characters that have experience interacting with these shadowy government programs by becoming part of the Freedom Fighters. They can absolutely use a genius teenage scientist, as well as a team member that can punch her way through a F-18.
Usually, we try to show a variety of costumes when we do a character page, but in Fairchild's case, most of the images of her costumes over the years are more of the pin-up variety, and it gets a little ridiculous. Almost every version of her costume features her leotard with bare legs, while others feature separate bottoms that MIGHT cover her a little bit more, depending on he artist.
However, there is one exception, and it's great. The Worldstorm event gave a soft reboot to the Wildstorm timeline before it became a part of DC proper. This gave us Gen 13 Vol 4, which completely retold the team's story. It was written by one of our all-time favorites, Gail Simone, and featured art by Talent Caldwell. Caitlin's costume featured gloves and a jacket and.... low and behold... pants. It looked awesome.
And yes, her clothes wound up being torn off a lot. It's just part of her idiom at this point. but at least the clothes she wore before they came off looked cool.