Batgirl (2000-2006) #73
"Once upon a time… there was a girl. Born to be something unlike the world had ever seen. A dancing hunter. But she didn’t want that. And so, she ran away. Hungry and desperate, she found salvation in the dark flap of wings. She thought she was a bat. But she came to find she wasn’t that either. She was only a runaway girl… named Cain."
She thought she was a bat. But she came to find she wasn’t that either.
I won’t lie. This ending gets worse every time I read it.
To come back around to what I was saying in the first post for this issue, it’s always unfortunate when a series, for whatever reason, is being cut short. It just is a sad set of circumstances, especially in long-form comics like superheroes where, for the most part, they are written with the mindset that this character and their stories must continue forever with no ending.
But when a series does end, and that is such a possibility in the market today that it should at least be in the back of every writer’s mind as they construct their narratives, it has the responsibility of being the last glimpse of our character and their story for the knowable future.
Unless fans really enjoy a particular series or are neurotic to the point I am and go back and reread things ad nauseam, this will be the last impression someone will have of a character and the series as a whole. This will be their final address of the series.
Ideally, you would want the ending of a story to reinforce the beliefs and themes of the character while closing up any remaining threads. You can end it by promising future adventures in the same vain of this one are always a possibility for the readers to dream up on their own. You can make the promise that, even if it’s not with this character, their legacy and beliefs will live on. You can even give a cathartic ending where the final stand for what the book believed in takes everything and more from the character, leading to a sad but inspiring death for what they believed in.
But this? This? This kills everything I love about Cassandra Cain and Batgirl as a series.
And that’s just a cruel image to end the relationship of Cass and Shiva on, too. Just. Agh. I hate everything about this. More and more every time.
Cassandra Cain is Batgirl. No one understands what that even means more than her, and it’s insulting to the series to end on a note so cruel and demeaning of that belief. I wish it had ended almost any way but this.
The only way it makes sense for me is that Anderson Gabrych (who obviously loved the character) was told by Editorial to put Cass in the worst place possible and to have her stop being Batgirl (remember the series was canceled to make for a Batwoman one that NEVER happened and DC didn’t think there should be two Bat-females at the same time so they obviously planning already to make her a villian when this was ending) and Gabrych was trying to do that with at least as much lee-way as possible to keep Cass as a hero.
Or else it just sucks.
I desperately want to believe that Gabrych had as little to do with these decisions as possible, but it’s just… such a mean spirited way to end the series one way or another, y’know? Like, even if he was told exactly that he had to have Cass quit being Batgirl, it just feels like this was the absolute worst way for it to have happened.
I also find it ironic that Cass, a Eurasian woman with a very distinct costume design unlike any of the other Batgirls before or since, was supposedly going to confuse fans too much if she was working in tandem with Kate Kane who was an adult, red-haired, white female hero with a more traditional, free-haired costume. Yet in the New52 we have two and only two (currently) female characters with the bat symbol and they’re considered to be individual and unique from each other with no way they could be confused by the fans — and they’re both white, red-haired females that are nearly the exact same body type and the biggest different in their costumes is color scheme.
Yeah, I don’t… I don’t know. I genuinely like Gabrych’s writing most of the time. I like the first arcs of his run a lot and he wrote an amazing Cass in his time on Detective, but it’s hard for me to see this ending and see anyway that Cass’ character was supposed to be salvageable?
A lot of that is just knowing what was to come, I guess. I don’t know. I’m not big on reading up interviews and things most of the time to get a feel for the environment behind the books. So I have no idea what he’s said, if anything, about his time with the title. I tend to judge stuff based on the outcome. So it’s hard for me to make sense of this with someone I had seen get Cass before. It leaves me just kind of disheartened. :(
I don’t think Gabrych has ever commented like Horrocks has on his “issues” writing Cass. He pretty much dropped off the face of the comics writing world. I just remember that when he WAS writing Cass he used to frequent the DC Message Boards and his love of the character shown through and he was very excited about writing her and liked fan feedback.
As for the way Cass was treated to the way Barbara was treated, yeah it was garbage. Fun facts: Kate Kane is a white redhead because the initial design for a Batwoman character (with a suit and in-costume hairstyle that looks very much like the one Kate rocked when she debuted) was designed for Alex Ross FOR Barbara when DC toyed with the idea of making her Batwoman (this was during the Kingdom Come-era I think). So when they came up with Kate Kane they kept the look, red hair and all (and let the writers create the backstory).
Also when DC made Stephanie Batgirl, sidestepping the only WOC in the inner ranks of the Bat-family and a character (Cass) who was created purposely to diversify the Bat-titles, it led to a situation where for several years Batgirl, Wonder Girl, and Supergirl were ALL blue-eyed blond white teenagers. It was like an Aryan wet dream or something. Which means that they actually made the three most well known DC heroines (after WW) LESS DIVERSE in terms of race and looks than they were even in the 60s-70s (when you had a redheaded Batgirl, blonde Supergirl and brunette Wonder Girl). DC Editorial of course never seemed to realize this even though the unfortunate racial implications were clear to the readership.