Thursday, June 7, 2012

Superhero Week-Cassandra Cain (Batgirl)

              Ohmigoshohmigoshmohimgosh! It's finally time! I get to talk about Cassandra Cain. Now, if you didn't read DC Comics during the early Oughts. you have no idea who she is. Let me explain. Cassandra Cain is the third Batgirl, whose solo series ran from 2001-2005. Her father was famous assassin David Cain, and she was his special project. He never taught her any form of speech, only ever teaching her fighting. Because of this, her speech centers in the brain became used for body language, meaning she could always tell what someone would do before they did it. She was the ultimate assassin and an unbeatable warrior. But when she did her first kill, she was able to perfectly read how he felt while dying. This horrified her, and she vowed never to kill again. She left her father and roamed the world. At the time, she was like eight. Several years later she wandered into Gotham, and in a fight Batman noticed how amazing she was. He took her into his care, and trained her himself. Under his tutelage she became Batgirl.

             So what makes her my 3rd favorite superhero? To get the obvious out of the way first, yes her 'powers' are awesome. They are not why I like her. I like that she is a kind, awkward (especially because she can't understand speech), and loving person, who cares deeply for the friends she makes. Her struggles to learn English are really heartfelt, and her vow to never kill again feels both much more personal and deep than it does with Batman.

          So what happened to this incredible hero? Adam Beechen (Cue lights doing off and lightning.) Now, I don't want to pick on the guy too much. After Batgirl's series ended, Nightwing's story was doing a big arch with a secret villain behind it. The writer, Beechen, was simply told that it had to be Cassandra Cain as the villain. So yes, her being evil isn't his fault. What is his fault is how he did it. The guy did minimal research into her character, which led to baffling developments where not only could she talk perfectly normal, but she had also learned Navaho. Oh, and she choose to be evil for...some reason. After that the fans raged very hard, as they should. So DC started a subplot of her getting better written by...Adam Beechen. He explained his own story away as Deathstroke using drugs to mind control her, which was used again in the terrible Titans East storyline. Then out of bucking nowhere Stephanie Brown is back from the dead, apparently having never died, and because Bruce Wayne was dead at this point, Cassandra had to reason to stay in Gotham or be Batgirl, so she gave Stephanie permission to be Batgirl. There is so much wrong with that sentence it hurt to type it. Stephanie was beaten to death by the Black Mask, and the reactions from those who knew her, including Cassandra her BEST FRIEND, were really good. And Cassandra wasn't in Gotham or was Batgirl because of Bruce Wayne. By this point Gotham was her home, and Batgirl was her life. She had many friends, and she would never just leave like that. This bullshit is one of the worst derailments of a character since, well, we'll get to that tomorrow. Laters.

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