I think what gets most people interested in reading comics are the character driven stories more than anything else. Most of us started reading because we were open to the idea of falling in love with a character. Of being hurled into this world of fantasy and adventure, and in turn, embracing all of the elements of what made that character unique and interesting to us. And that's what keeps us coming back for more, isn't it?
Even with all of our resentment towards the changes, we'll still come back if it means we'll get a glimpse at that one character we've grown up our entire lives loving. And who wouldn't want take another chance if it meant we would get to continue following their journey?
I have always been a Batman fan. Since I watched the Batman: The Animated Series cartoons as a kid, and read Jeph Loeb's Batman, I fell for the Bat family. I loved Barbara Gordon growing up. I looked to her as someone I wanted to emulate. A strong, level-headed, intelligent woman. What girl doesn't want to be like that? But if you were to ask me today who my absolute favorite character is, it's the former Batgirl, Cassandra Cain. I didn't always love Cassie. In fact, I admit I read the majority of her series after it had gone out of print. But I fell for Cass, and I fell hard.== TEASER ==
Some of us fall for characters because they are able to pull us out of our reality and thrust us into a world so unique and different from our own, that we are able to get lost in it. We love them because they are different from us. Reading their stories gives us a chance to forget about the world we live in and our everyday problems. However, some of us fall for characters because we see so much of ourselves in them.
When I started reading I was drawn to Barbara because she was so strong and so sure of herself, and I wanted to be like her. But I fell in love with Cass because she wasn't any of those things, and neither was I. Cassandra is a little bit broken, a little bit unsure of herself. She knows she's really good at one thing, but really bad at a hundred other things, and I can't tell you how much I relate to that. But it is not only her insecurities that drew me to her character, it's the uniqueness of her background that really spoke to me. It's the fact that Cassandra had all the right ingredients to be a horrible person, but instead, she became a hero. Cassie overcame more than any other character I can think of.
Cassandra comes from a "broken home," so to speak, and her relationship with her father (David Cain) is one of the few that have actually played out in the panels of comic books. How many kids today come from broken homes? She is considered a "minority," and is one of DC's only Asian- American characters. How many kids that read comics would categorize themselves as "minorities"? She was adopted in the final pages of her Batgirl series, in issue #6. Clearly, Cassandra Cain is a multi-faceted character, and the events that have transpired have certainly influenced the evolution of the way writers write her character. She has this very unique and brooding personality, and she is, in my opinion, the only character that comes remotely close to being as complicated as Bruce Wayne (as far as members of the Batman family go). However, Cassandra (particularly in recent years) has often gone overlooked.
Cassandra Cain's final chapter as Batgirl closed prior to the start of Batman, R.I.P. Immediately before that, however, Bruce Wayne agreed in issue #6 of Batgirl to adopt Cassie and become her father. Then, as we all know, he disappeared -- leaving the mantle of Batman to Dick Grayson. With Bruce's disappearance came Cassandra's resignation, where she handed the mantle of Batgirl over to Stephanie Brown when she said, "That symbol, his crest, his fight...I fought for him, but no more."
Cassandra was not seen in Batman books until after Bruce's return as Batman where we learn that Tim Drake had been keeping tabs on Cassie, who was fighting crime in Hong Kong the entire length of her absence from the comics. So how does she go from being no longer "willing" to fight to fighting? What is the reason? Bryan Q. Miller addressed this in Batgirl: The Road Home when Alfred questioned Bruce, and Bruce replied "Steph needed (to be Batgirl) more (than Cassandra)." At least this was addressed and not shoved under the carpet of "things we have yet to see explained." However, this doesn't entirely make sense with the dialogue of the previous books. Additionally, the tender moment where Bruce agrees to adopt Bruce and Cassandra seems to have gone overlooked. The two characters have yet to share a moment in panel where they reunite. But then again, maybe that's just not Bruce's style.
With Barbara Gordon's return to Batgirl this fall, what will happen to Cassandra Cain? She, as well as a plethora of other characters (Power Girl, Stephanie Brown) will be thrust into "comic book limbo," and who knows when we might see them again. Everyone has their favorite Batgirl. I liked Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, and I liked Stephanie Brown as Batgirl; but neither of them (in my opinion) come close to Cassandra Cain. I know Cassie can't be Batgirl, but I still hold out hope for Cassandra's return in her own book someday.