Batgirl (2000-2006) Annual #1
"Exactly. When even the police ignore their… our plight, what is there to do? Who is there for them?”
The implication here, given Cass’ smile in the last panel, is that Aruna will take up the cause for herself. Which, would have been great — Indian superheroes, or Asian heroes in general — are something I really think needs to be seen. After all, India alone has 17.5%of the world population. Off the top of my head, I can only think of 2 DC heroes who are Indian.
But… as far as I’ve ever been able to find out, Aruna only appears in this issue. Which is a shame.
Had people cared, Aruna could have been a very interesting callback character to bring into Cass’ later world trek, or even to Batman Incorporated rather than shoving Cass — a Eurasian woman who only knew English — to Hong Kong for Batman Inc. in a shockingly racist display by the DC execs.
But, we didn’t get that. Unfortunately :T
The Batman of Hong Kong thing was something completely pulled out of Morrison’s behind and was straight-up racist (though since its Morrison we can’t say that). Lady Shiva was from Detroit, Cain was from parts unknown but as heck wasn’t HK, Cass must have been raised somewhere in the Western Hemisphere since she found herself in Gotham all on her own with no language skills or identity papers. She had NO connection to Hong Kong other than her biological mother being of Chinese ancestry. That’s it. That’s the only justification.
Even Shiva being of Chinese descent is kind of here and there, what with Gail Simone writing her as being from… Thailand, I think it was? Vietnam maybe? It’s been a while since I read the story, where Dinah picked up Sin.
I think that the vague justification was that the place where Cass ran away from her father after he made her kill someone was Macau, which is geographically close to Hong Kong (the opposite side of the Pearl River Delta), and considering she was shown growing up on the streets in South East Asia within her own series… the arguement could be made that she was at least familiar with Hong Kong and the surrounding area due to her travels, even if she didn’t know the language.
Still a stupid, vaguely racist decision (however well intentioned it might have been, Morrison apparently was a fan of Cass and wanted to her to get a defined role in Batman Inc after being left out in the cold for so long, and being the representative of Bruce in the entirety of South East Asia is certainly pretty impressive) though, as I have a feeling that it just justified WHY Cass wasn’t being used by some of the DC staff at the time.
Like, “Of Cass couldn’t be involved in all these crossovers, she’s got Macau, Hong Kong and the entire Golden Triangle to worry about!”.
I’m dubious about Morrison being a fan of Cass. He basically ran the direction of the Batman titles for almost a decade and wrote the flagship title itself and bragged about all his continuity porn in his run and how often did Cass as Batgirl have a speaking role in any of this Batman run? Zero. Literally she appeared a handful of times over years and years, had no interaction with Bruce whatsoever (nor did she when she was introduced as Black Bat - in fact Cass never shared a scene with Bruce to this day since Adam Beechan’s mini-series) and never spoke or given anything to do. Alfred, Barbara, Dick, Tim, even Jason (who Morrison devoted two arcs too) but Cass? Nada. And she was still officially Batgirl for the majority of his run.