Scattered stuff from a native New Yorker, disorganized former English Major, film buff, haiku enthusiast, semi-professional photographer and totally amateur fencer.

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"You have achieved more in your few short years as Batgirl than many costumed heroes manage in a lifetime." 
Batgirl #49

A part of me thinks this is the writer talking to his editors about the character.

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imageAdam Beechen himself responded to one one of my Tumblr responses about Cass Cain. Makes me feel more than a little bad about it that people are still on him about a “8 year old comic” (and by “people” I mean me).

I tweeted him back that I actually liked some of his Teen Titans Go and JLU work and that most people actually blamed Editorial and not him. It’s just that his “8 year old comic” was the start of 8 years where Cass Cain has been declared “toxic” by DC Editorial for some reason and they have come up time and time again with reasons to slight the character (yes because all 4 male Robins needed their own BOOKS in the reboot but Batman’s adopted daughter who is a WoC in a mostly white world - and the one protege most like him - has still not existed two years into the DCnU). None of which is Beechen’s fault - but if we have to go back to when it all started it all goes back to that “8 year old comic”.

Also, in Beechen’s defense, he has always manned up and taken responsibility for Evil!Cass even though we all know it was an Editorial decision handed to him (even if he decided the Dragon Lady direction). No one at DC Editorial (like Beechen’s editors, Eddie Berganza and Peter Tomasi who still work at DC) has ever taken responsibility or even talked about it. Didio has even jokingly blamed Beechen as the man who “ruined Cass Cain” at conventions (and we all know it was ultimately Didio’s decision). Now that’s shady.

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Ollie Queen piles on the charm by attempting to murder Cass for her numerous murders whilst brainwashed… apparently the hypocrisy of this course of action (particularly has Ollie has both killed people in the past while in control of his faculities and would go on to kill others in the future) doesn’t occur to Mr Queen.

Particularly baffling is that this isn’t the first team that Cass and Ollie were together on, as they were both in JLElite together back in the day. Hell, I’m pretty sure he was the one Bruce told Cass’ secret to at the time as well.

From Batman and the Outsiders

Can we also include the fact that Ollie voted to mindwipe Bruce and lied about it (to Bruce’s face) or years and years (an incident which somehow only stuck to Zatanna). I figure that means Ollie owes Bruce FOREVER.

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Ah, Beechen’s Cass Cain. So badly written and more than a smidge racist.

Wait, that’s a flintlock pistol, generally they only have one shot, so after it went off that one time, how was Tim going to shoot David Cain at that point?

And here we see the most apparent problem with evil Cass…

IT COULD HAVE WORKED! Having Cass become a ROGUE, operating OUTSIDE THE BATFAM because she had lost faith in them, could have worked great! But instead they made her a Dragon Lady type completely inexplicably and try to become top dog in the very organization both her parents worked for, that she RAN AWAY TO AVOID BECOMING A PART OF, which OPPOSED HER ADOPTED FAMILY FOR YEARS, because…being a member of the League of Assassins is a hereditary thing? It’s just hardwired into some kids’ genes because of who their parents are?

See…if they were going to make Cass go bad, they should have made her a Red Hood type, and kept Jason Todd dead.

Also there’s no way she a fight loses to Tim Drake (just none and I like Tim). If Cass was to become a super-villian she would be on Deathstroke level (or at least Cain+Lady Shiva level) and would DC let Tim beat Deathstroke in a straight-up fight. Let’s face it Cass can straight up take out any of the Robins and that’s the problem when making her a villain just so she can be a Robin rogue (especially Tim). Also, no matter what weird crap Beechan and Tomasi/Berganza made up to justify themselves there’s no way Cass would harm any of the Bat-Crew. They were her family. Until Beechan she couldn’t even bring herself to kill Shiva or Cain.

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Black Bat Chronicle: Cass Passes The Mantle To Steph
from Batgirl v3 #1 2009-10 and #6 2010-03

Cass: That symbol…
His crest, his fight…
Steph: Cass— what are you doing?
Cass: I fought for him.
But no more.
Now, the fight it yours…
Steph: Cass?

This is so sad and a little confusing. And the last panel with Cass at the airport leaving Gotham is (yet another) Cass heartbreaker.

Did Cassandra fight for Batman or did she fight for compassion, for empathy, for redemption? I can’t think of a more single minded Gotham hero who wants to stop death and suffering. Yes, including mister intensity himself, Batman.

Cass was always haunted by her upbringing (if it can be called that) and the culmination of her abuse with the Macau murder. THIS was the dark, grim energy that drove her to atone for her great sin, murder.

In addition to being haunted by her murder, she was a victim of a horrendous 8 years of abuse by her father and abandonment and neglect by her mother.

Cass was both innocent and guilty. This conflicting combination churned up guilt, anger, sadness and regret into a powerful determination that others would not suffer, others would not be killed.

Simply saying Cass “fought for him” is to ignore what truly drove her: redemption and compassion.

But alas, Cassandra Cain had to go making room for a new Batgirl, the awesome Stephanie Brown. So Cass is disillusioned and wants to move on, leaving Gotham for a new venue to fight crime: Hong Kong.

Happy Cassandra Cain Appreciation Month!

Clearly Miller was told to get rid of Cass in the fastest way possible (and he did in one page and in a way that was reminiscent of Adam Beechan levels of research). Even if you like the Stephanie Brown Batgirl title (and I know oodles of people do) the way Cass was treated in it (Babs never even brings up her name in the course of the entire two year run) was tasteless considering Cass had held the Batgirl title for over a decade and had her own six year run (a run that no other Batgirl title has equalled as of today).

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Evil Cassandra Cain vs Supergirl part2 - The Fight
from Supergirl v5 #14 2007-04

This is it, the (in)famous fight between Batgirl and Supergirl. Cassandra Cain is in full “evil” mode and is the head of the League of Assassins when she’s contracted to kill Supergirl.

Even though DiDio/Beechem’s Evil Cass change was a terrible idea for many reasons and was sloppily implemented, I do like much of the Supergirl #14 art. Cass’s ninja outfit in this issue is the same as Robin #162; I think it looks good. And she’s very fit and muscular with pretty resonable proportions except for the leaping swords page where she’s a bit too busty and her lower legs get pretty thin. But these are quibbles, the art looks good for comics.

Plus, I like the red glowing lightsabers on black background with Evil Cass wielding them. It looks cool and I’m glad the writer tried to add some “comic physics” to how Evil Cass might kill a Kryptonian: diamond dust and UVB lights.

Along with the dust/light and Evil Cass’s ninja skills, there’s Boomer who she’s seduced and then captured and tortured. (Bad Cass!) This throws Supergirl way off and gives Batgirl an edge.

And finally, the big mistake that almost every villain makes: gloating over your seemingly defeated enemy instead of killing first and gloating later.

Then it happens: crystal spikes emerge around Supergirl’s stomach wound from Batgirl’s light swords and long crystal spikes shoot out of her back and into Evil Cass. Here’s the crystal spike page in full resolution:

Huh? I’m not big into Kryptonian physiology but I don’t remember this happening with Super[fill in the blank] in the past.

Since I’m a huge Cass fan, I wanted Evil Cass to win. So these spikes just seem like a deus ex machina by the writer to end the fight. This was hugely confusing/upsetting to the Cass-Cult crew that authored the excellent Casstoons. They named them retardo-spikes and then after being chastised (and fairly so) for this term they changed it to crystal herpes. Oh you nutty Cult-Cultists! :)

I feel compelled to note that Evil Cass surviving this isn’t so far fetched. It only appears that 2 spikes pierced her and they didn’t hit any vital organs. And she’s taken worse, much worse.

In Batgirl #6 2000-09, Batgirl (“good” Cass in this case!) was fighting some bad guys with automatic rifles and one of them started shooting at her though he was likely to hit a comrade in his line of fire behind her.

Cass being Cass, she was enraged at the shooter’s disregard for life, even his fellow baddie’s life. So she ran full speed at the shooter, carefully moving to block his shots with her body. She took 4 shots, reached the shooter and disarmed him before collapsing. Batman also raced there and put a serious THAWK on the shooter. The talk afterward with Bruce and Cass while Dr. Leslie is attending to her in the Batcave is great:

Batman: Wait. Batgirl. It was suicide to rush the gunner like that.
(Batman leans close and puts his hand on her head)
Batman: Why did you do it?
Batgirl (weakly): Instinct…
Batman (standing up with a smile): Good answer.

Cassandra Cain Bullets Can’t Stop Cass

And on that reference to a fantastic “good” Cass moment, I bid you all:
Happy Cassandra Cain Appreciation Month!

On one hand you can count it as a compliment that the writer couldn’t think of any way Paris Hilton…I mean…Supergirl would actually beat Evil!Cass that despite her having powers on a level with Superman (and Cass having no powers at all) he had to come up with crystal herpes to defeat her that were never brought up again.

On the other hand, Evil!Cass bears even less resemblance to any previous incarnation of the character that it seems the writer did less research than Adam Beechan. Something that seems impossible, I know.

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