(Batgirl or Black Bat)
by Phil Perich for the Before the Bat Podcast
Cassandra Cain has returned in the pages of Batman & Robin Eternal. For those of you who don't know Cassandra (or Cassie as her friends sometimes call her), she was Barbara Gordon’s successor as Batgirl. Cassandra’s birth was the result of a diabolical master plan. The assassin David Cain decides to “create” the ultimate assassin. He hires the deadly Lady Shiva to have his baby and then leave the baby in his care. From the moment of Cassandra’s birth, David teaches her several deadly martial arts, including how to read any opponents body language, which she was able to do at the cost of being able to speak any spoken language. David has her kill a businessman when she is only eight years old. Cassandra eventually becomes disgusted with the life David wants her to live and leaves. Years later, the mute teenager turns up in Gotham City during the No Man’s Land crisis, in which most of the city has been devastated by a 7.6 earthquake. Her first appearance was in Batman #567 (July 1999).
She is originally an agent of Oracle’s, but after an encounter with her father and saving lives (which proves she has abandoned her father’s way of life), Batman and Oracle (the original Batgirl) decide to give Cassandra the costume and identity of Batgirl in Legends of the Dark Knight #120 (August 1999).
The year 2000 saw Cassandra receive her own solo Batgirl series. This was a first for any version of Batgirl. She patrolled Gotham and kept it safe on her own and often with Batman or one of his other allies. After the events of the War Games storyline, Cassandra teams up with Robin (Tim Drake) to protect the city of Bludhaven. After an apparent fight to the death against her mother, Lady Shiva, Cassandra abandons the role of Batgirl and wanders the world. After the start of the “One Year Later” storyline, Cassandra is seen working with the League of Assassins and Deathstroke’s Titans East team. It is later revealed that Deathstroke was drugging and brainwashing her to work with the assorted villainous teams. In 2008, at Batman’s request, she retakes the mantle of Batgirl to join his newest version of the Outsiders team.
After Batman’s disappearance and supposed “death” in the Batman R.I.P. storyline, Cassandra decides to take charge of the Outsiders, believing that was the reason Batman asked her to join the team, as a contingency plan for his death. In 2009’s Batgirl #1, Cassandra abandons the identity of Batgirl which allows Stephanie Brown to assume the role.
Upon Bruce Wayne’s return, it is revealed Cassandra was acting on his orders to “give” the Batgirl identity to Stephanie in the event of his death and to assume a new identity, Black Bat.
Cassandra continued to operate in this new identity, even as part of Batman Incorporated until DC Comics’ 2011 Company-wide reboot of its books.
After DC Comics’ New 52 storyline, Cassandra did not appear (except for one story set in a possible future in Batgirl: Futures End #1) until 2 weeks ago, in Batman and Robin Eternal #1.
What role will Cassandra play in this new universe? Friend or foe? Share your thoughts with me:
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You can hear me and my friends discuss the TV show Gotham and all things Batman every week on our podcast Before the Bat: the Gotham Podcast. You can find all my podcasts, blogs, and those of others at www.southgatemediagroup.com
That’s it for this week. Be good! Remember, just like Batman, Batgirl is a legacy that will never die!!