Why Cassandra Cain is the Best Batgirl

Posted by No_Name_ (16193 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

#1 Posted by TDK_1997 (15868 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Cassandra but the best Batgirl is Barbara(that's for me)

#2 Posted by cosmo111687 (1578 posts) - - Show Bio

"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." 

Amazing article, Babs. :)

#3 Posted by NightFang (10800 posts) - - Show Bio

Because she has the best origin story of all the Batgirl's!

#4 Edited by EnSabahNurX (2321 posts) - - Show Bio

If she gets her own book I would be incredibly happy and would go to the top of my buy list. I seriously think they will give her her own book after the new 52 come out

#5 Posted by SirSparkington (344 posts) - - Show Bio

Steph was the Batgirl I read from beginning to end. I loved the character arc, she grew into Batgirl and herself. So yeah, Steph is my favorite Batgirl.

#6 Posted by adribones (34 posts) - - Show Bio

Grant Morrison has said that he'll be using her in Batman: Leviathon, next year. if she get's her own book or joins a team (BoP, New Outsiders, etc..) i think it would be after that. and for those that don't know she's a big part of the Batman: Gates of Gotham mini (in her Blackbat guise) right now.
#7 Posted by TheMess1428 (2211 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe she'll stick to being Black Bat.

#8 Edited by Jordanstine (942 posts) - - Show Bio

I always thought Cassandra had the coolest Batgirl outfit...

- The stitched ninja mask
- The outline of the bat crest 
- The fact she doesn't wear high heels

It wasn't the typical "Batgirl" outfit where she had to show off your long volumptious hair and big lipstick of a lip, while fighting crime on 3-inch heels.
It was a costume to literally fight crime... in the knight.
She's a Batass!
#9 Posted by Bestostero (5782 posts) - - Show Bio

I love Cass, but Barbara is always number 1 in my book. Stephanie, Cassandra and Babara were all amazing and I hope to see them all.

#10 Posted by Duo_forbidden (1815 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jordanstine said:
I always thought Cassandra had the coolest Batgirl outfit...
- The stitched ninja mask
- The outline of the bat crest
It wasn't the typical "Batgirl" outfit where she had to show off your long volumptious hair and big lipstick of a lip.
It was a costume to literally fight crime... in the knight.
She's a Batass!
Cassandra Cain is just an awesome character. I like her Black Bat costume as well. She's one of those characters that deserves another series. She doesn't need to fade back in the DC universe. Let her presence be known!!
#11 Posted by Sempurna (63 posts) - - Show Bio

The best Batgirl is Stephanie Brown.

#12 Posted by Wattup (682 posts) - - Show Bio

I love this article so much, I want to marry it, live happily with it until I'm middle-aged, then re-new my vows with it and live with it well into my golden years.

#13 Posted by keith71_98 (656 posts) - - Show Bio

@Babs  This is a fantastic article! Very well written and a passionate case for Cassie. Kinda has me wanting to go back read her stuff.
#14 Posted by SleepyDrug (78 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to agree. 
Barbara is iconic as Batgirl....but she grew past that during her time as Oracle.  I was disappointed with Barbara's return to being Batgirl.  It seems like a regression.  I would have rather seen her supplant Katherine Kane as Batwoman or take an entirely new identity. 
Steph is perhaps my favorite of the Gotham characters.  But I just don't see her as Batgirl - to me...she's Spoiler.  Steph is interesting because she is Steph.  Cassandra really made the Batgirl identity her own.
#15 Posted by Taylors005 (120 posts) - - Show Bio

i didnt even know this subject was up for debate ;)

#16 Edited by damswedon (545 posts) - - Show Bio

There is no best Batgirl. They are the perfect team of kick-ass women in comics.

Now DC do what fans have wanted since you said you were bringing Cass back as Black Bat and have a book called Batgirls where Steph, Babs, Cass and Wendy(I'd also like some Squire love here) team up and HAVE SOME FUN!

#17 Posted by JonesDeini (3856 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article, Babs. I was wondering why we never saw a moment where Bruce reunited with Cass. There was the moment when he gathered his Family (sons only) in Batman and Robin. And he and Tim had a great moment in Red Robin 17, which Cass appeared in. 

#18 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

Cassie for me is great! Quite the great Batgirl...but still, for me Babs is the once and future Batgirl of all time. Nobody else has ever come close to matching her iconic presence I say.

#19 Posted by TearsInRain (66 posts) - - Show Bio

I too love Cassandra Caine.  I own most of the individual issues on her run.  I can't agree more that she is the best Batgirl with the most tragic story.

#20 Posted by darkrider (496 posts) - - Show Bio
@TDK_1997 said:
I like Cassandra but the best Batgirl is Barbara(that's for me)
for me too
#21 Posted by -Vigil- (385 posts) - - Show Bio

Cassie is fantastic, but Stephanie is also great (which surprises me, since I hated her before she was Batgirl). I can't say this emphatically enough: One of these two should be Batgirl, NOT BARBARA! Barbara is great as Oracle, but Batgirl? Meh...

#22 Edited by EdwardWindsor (14517 posts) - - Show Bio

Cass is the most skilled and one of the best written Its a tough call between her and Babs though

#23 Posted by ReVamp (23014 posts) - - Show Bio
@TDK_1997 said:

                    I like Cassandra but the best Batgirl is Barbara(that's for me)


#24 Posted by War Killer (20807 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree that out of all of the Batgirl's, Cassandra is the one who resembles Bruce the most, and personally that's why she's my favorite Batgirl. I like Steph because she brings a short of "fun" and "goofy" fill to her stories that make her seem less dark like most of the Bat-Family. But I always liked Cass because she always reminded me of Bruce. I personally wish she would have returned to the Batgirl mantle, I had hoped with Bruce and Dick both being Batman, Barbara would have both Cass and Steph be Batgirl's under her guidance. But sadly, I don't think we'll be seeing Cass anytime soon in the near future.....

#25 Posted by mistersarcastic (346 posts) - - Show Bio

I guess I just love lethal characters who struggle with being good and not crossing the line (Cassandra, Damian, Jason - although he's just a lose rocket at times), but Cassie is definitely my favorite Batgirl. I loved seeing her interactions with Tim Drake among other characters and her return as the Black Bat was a little bitter-sweet because seeing her in the Red Robin issues as the new persona isn't enough, especially since Red Robin #25 is pretty much the last issue until he gets his own again. And like Babs said...there's no telling when we'll see characters like Cassie again. I'd pretty much rather see her make a return first than I would Steph. 
So yeah...DC Relauch don't you dare sweep Ms. Cain under the rug or drop her into comic limbo. She's too awesome for that.

#26 Posted by Samimista (21771 posts) - - Show Bio

I absolutely love this article considering Cassandra is my favorite Batgirl really hope she'll be in the reboot.

#27 Posted by movieartman (1829 posts) - - Show Bio

i like her character and story the best of the bat girls BUT i like kate kane - Batwoman better than all of the batgirls
#28 Posted by GBrutality (199 posts) - - Show Bio

first off i gotta say great article. it was really well written, more-so than most others i've read on this site.
that being said, cain in my mind was always the most interesting batgirl. they had never tackled a member before that needed so much help who they pulled out of going down a dangerous path and turned them into one of their own in such a strong way. i thought them lessening her role in such a huge way was almost criminal. hopefully she turns up in this damn overhaul as something significant over time.

#29 Posted by tidals (3 posts) - - Show Bio

To me Cassandra is the best Batgirl because she felt more like the protégé of Batman instead of a female version of Robin.

#30 Posted by Decept-O (7683 posts) - - Show Bio

Not too happy they decided to remove Cassandra Cain as Batgirl. I guess in terms of the story it may have made sense to a degree, but just felt it was an unnecessary move. Perhaps there is a chance for Cassandra to return in some fashion but as Batgirl would be ideal. Yet, however she returns because she is indeed a tough bad ass character with enough emotional baggage to make her someone a lot of readers can actually relate to, even if she was raised as an assassin. I like her for the same reasons I like Tim Drake. They both are not only skilled at what they do, but use their intelligence and skills to accomplish their missions but they act....from the heart.

#31 Posted by WrenchNinja (20 posts) - - Show Bio

I love this article and totally agree with it. It's about time she gets her due since DC has been screwing around with her ever since Infinite Crisis.

#32 Posted by LP (683 posts) - - Show Bio
@cosmo111687 said:
"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."  Perfect. Amazing article, Babs. :)
It's so true isn't it? I also love Cassie! Barbara used to be my favorite too. One thing I've always wondered though is how she's able to see through her mask when there's no eyes on them!
#33 Posted by Mbecks14 (2114 posts) - - Show Bio

Why this article is a lie: 

Barbara Gordon
#34 Posted by I_Am_Dark (161 posts) - - Show Bio

The thing about Cassandra is that she's the only Batgirl who's a lot like Batman. All of the others have bright personalities, but she's the dark, brooding type, like Bruce.

#35 Posted by joel221 (2 posts) - - Show Bio

Babs, thanks for this. I've oft heard you comment on how much you like Cassandra, but on the podcasts, even when she's brought up, you usually don't say much. It's nice to finally hear why you like Cassandra and what she means to you.

And as much as I love Steph and Babs, Cassandra is easily easily my favorite Batgirl--a teenager who is anything but the cliche you expect her to be, and who is too complex to be summed up even by several good articles. Here's hoping she again finds a capable writer and gets an ongoing.

#36 Posted by fodigg (6209 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't even have to read the article to know I agree with it.

#37 Posted by Bobby_Rico (16 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to say I love Cass...and I definitely agree she is the best Batgirl.  I really don't like her as Black Bat...her costume is just...ugh.  The mask?  Come on, it just looks silly on her.  And the tape around her forearms...Why?  It's unnecessary over design.  Her Batgirl costume was great.  There was an elemental, inhuman quality about it with the blank eyes and covered mouth portion that just made her seem more animal than woman.  She just doesn't have that anymore as Black Bat, and nor do any of the other Bats in the bat family currently.  I think I could get over them calling her 'Black Bat' if they just gave her back her iconic costume and mask.

#38 Posted by danhimself (21257 posts) - - Show Bio

Cassandra is definitely my favorite Batgirl and also one of my favorite characters and I've got to thank Gambler for talking about her so much that got me to read her series

#39 Posted by rayvangobel1 (1 posts) - - Show Bio

What a brilliant justification of why Cass deserves to wear the Bat, be Wayne's daughter and a character of mass potential and growth. Steph is ok, and I love Barbara, but Cass could outfight them both.

#40 Posted by doordoor123 (3810 posts) - - Show Bio

Gail said she pitched a project to Didio about Cass at Comic-Con and she seemed to had said that his reaction was positive. So i would say expect to see her soon. 
I fell for Nova. I hated Marvel for "killing" him. We dont know if hes alive but theyve pretty much destroyed Marvel's cosmic universe, which happened to be my favorite line of books EVER. So screw you Marvel. Silver Surfer mini and the Annihilators sucked. And bringing back Black Bolt so easily was a slap in the face to one of the most awesome deaths in Marvel history.
#41 Posted by U R Sofa King We Todd Did (1168 posts) - - Show Bio
@Mbecks14 said:
Why this article is a lie: 
Barbara Gordon
did you read it?
#42 Posted by Mercy_ (92780 posts) - - Show Bio

@cosmo111687 said:

"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." Perfect. Amazing article, Babs. :)


#43 Posted by AlwaysBeClothing (220 posts) - - Show Bio

I ended up reading the Gotham Quake stuff because I wanted to see Cass' origin. I do wish she had more presence now

#44 Edited by Mr. Kamikaze (635 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually really like Stephanie Brown... o.O

Then again, I am pretty new to DC and she is the only Batgirl I know. (as in...the only one I read. I have always been aware of past Batgirls...just never read any of them)

#45 Edited by antiterra (175 posts) - - Show Bio

I need to bookmark this article. Thank you for writing it, Sara; it will hopefully remind certain people that Cass has a large and passionate fanbase out there, fans who feel - rightly so - that no other character can be a substitute for Cassandra.

She was something new. She still is. She managed to do "dark and brooding" just right, never too much, never fake, forced or insincere. And she didn't wallow in it, she wasn't a one-trick pony, forever doomed to be the broken little assassin wind-up girl. She fought tooth and nail to claw her way out of the equally grisly fates that she seemed predestined for -- be it an endless cycle of crippling self-loathing, a world of blood and murder, or life as somebody else's puppet.

Cassandra resonated with me more than I can say, on a more personal level than practically any other comic book character ever has. The art on her ongoing series was generally underwhelming, but I couldn't care less when the character work was so good, her story and evolution so compelling, her characterisation so consistent (at least until someone came up with the brilliant idea of turning her into a doped-up "villain" -- AKA Rose Wilson II -- which is when things started going south).

When DC announced her return, I was beside myself with joy. After a couple of false starts, there she was, finally coming back for real in Gates of Gotham - and written by Scott Snyder, too! But like most things that sound too good to be true... it was.

As much as I welcome the DCnU, there are two things that piss me off to no end: 1) the demise of the Secret Six, and 2) Cassandra's being treated once again like yet-another C-list background character whose future (or absence thereof) doesn't even deserve to be addressed.

I hold out a sliver of hope that she'll appear again (and more center-stage) in Batman Inc. when the series returns in 2012, but since Morrison never really used in the past, I strongly doubt it. And as much as I worship him, I'm not sure he'd be a good writer for her, either.

Here's an idea, DC, I'll give it to you for free: get Brian Wood (it's not like he's too busy with Supergirl, now is it?), steal Emma Rios from Marvel and put them to work on a Cass Cain book.

#46 Posted by AsMadAsAHatter (31 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow. Ok let me just say that the article itself was amazingly written! I was so captured in what you were saying that for a moment I forgot what you were even writing about. But Yes Cassandra Cain is a character I can completely relate myself to. I never really had a favorite Batgirl before. I was always more of a Robin person but this article has me sold to Cassandra now. Her story really is one of I guess you could say empowerment because of how she has overcome a lot of the obsticals to be a hero. again great article it was an awesome read.
#47 Posted by Dr_Crane1991 (19 posts) - - Show Bio

This Artical has made me want to read her Story line lol. Which is the first one and how hard would it be to track down?
#48 Edited by johnny_spam (2182 posts) - - Show Bio

In Order I liked: 
Batgirl Year One 
Batgirl Reborn
And the first two trades of Cass' series.
Which is best is up to personal choice. Not surprised no one really mentions Cass' last mini since it was critically panned. The worst mistake in the Batman books in September (Aside from Batman The Dark Knight staying) was not giving the Batgirls their own book to shine. If there was a book for all of them or let's say Barbara in one book and Cass and Steph in another then all could still have attention.

#49 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (3657 posts) - - Show Bio

She's not being thrust into comic book limbo, she's part of Batman Incorporated. Now Stephanie Brown might be going into limbo. Hope not, but we'll see.

#50 Posted by clumsyninja (148 posts) - - Show Bio

Steph was to annoying...love some Cassandra and Barb!!!!

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