Cassandra Cain, daughter to two of the most deadly people on the planet, and she can show you she is just as good as them. Thankfully, she found that there was another path she could take, the Path of the Bat. Cassandra Cain is my favorite Batgirl, and one of my favorite characters in the Bat-family and all of comics. Let me tell you all about her, and you’ll see why I love her and wait anxiously for when DC will finally let her return to us.
The daughter of David Cain, world-class assassin, and Lady Shiva, world-class assassin and martial arts grandmaster, Cassandra has the blood of killers in her. David Cain would go on to raise her not as a daughter, but as a student, in a rather unconventional fashion. She was raised with no verbal communication, all her communicating was done through body language, giving Cassie an amazing ability to read people. She’d use this to help her in combat in that she could see how her opponent was telegraphing in their next attack, her deductive reasoning also becoming strong. See the trend here for why she’s a great member of the Bat?
Due to her upbringing, Cassandra was effectively mute when she first met Batman. Over the course of getting to be a part of the Bat-family, she would develop the ability to communicate verbally and express herself in ways the rest of us take for granted. By the time she was eight, she’d claimed her first victim, all under daddy’s tutelage. Watching the man die, she saw what his body language conveyed, and realized what she’d done and fled from her father.
When Cassie first entered the scene of Gotham City, the place had been devastated by a massive earthquake and declared a no man’s land by the government. She begins to fight crime in the torn apart city, and after saving Commissioner Gordon, is welcomed by former Batgirl turned Oracle, Barbara Gordon, to be a member of the Bat-family. She would go throughout Gotham and leave behind spray painted Bat symbols to let it be known that Gotham still had its protector.
When Batman learned of Cassandra’s kill as a child, he saw who she was now and what she was capable of doing, and accepted her into his team. He saw that his and Nightwing’s own motivation to become crime fighters was out of witnessing murder as a child, and that in the end, it was the same for Cassandra.
As Cassandra would develop her ability to talk with others (through the aid of a psychic), she’d realize that her body language reading skills had dampened. She would find her mother, Lady Shiva, who would help her redevelop those skills at the price of a duel to the death (not knowing Lady Shiva was her mother). When the duel finally occurred, Cassandra defeated her mother, but spared her life.
Cassandra would go on to be one of Batman’s best, and he’d often trust in her to take on large amounts of work. When Nightwing was injured, she’d go on with the then current Robin, Tim Drake, to help out in Blüdhaven.
At Batman’s request, Cassandra joined the Justice League Elite (the black ops division of the JLA) so they could keep watch of them. Investigating, Cassandra would learn that Lady Shiva was her mother, and when she confronted her on this it would lead to a rift in the League of Assassins (which Lady Shiva ran) over who should lead.
To settle the rift, Cassandra would fight her mother to the death once more, especially with the knowledge that her mother had killed many others since their last fight. The fight would end with Cassandra crippling Lady Shiva. When Cass offered to heal her with the Lazarus Pit, Shiva refused. Cassandra left her instead to hang from a hook above the pit. This is where Cassandra’s morality started to take a dive.
During the time when all the major superheroes were gone for one year, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake left to retrain. Cassandra was left with a Gotham that had Harvey Dent in charge, and with her being left behind by the rest of the Bat-family, the villain Deathstroke saw the perfect opportunity to manipulate her.
During the events of One Year Later, we learned that Cassandra had become a villain, leading the League of Assassins. Tim Drake was under the impression that Cassandra was being held prisoner, and brought David Cain as a bargaining chip to save her. Cassandra offered Tim a place in the League of Assassins, and when he refused, she shot her father. During the ensuing battle with Tim, an explosion occurred, and she and her father’s body go missing.
Now a villain, Cassandra fought Supergirl (in an attempt to kill her as a contract), the Teen Titans, and Tim Drake on several occasions. It is revealed that Deathstroke began drugging Cassandra and placing her into an impressionable state. She was able to become the villain we see, and when she was cured, she sought vengeance on Deathstroke, but Nightwing stopped her from killing him.
Free of the drug’s influence, Cassandra joined the Outsiders and made an ally out of Green Arrow, who used to be against her knowing that she used to lead the League of Assassins. As a member of the Outsiders, Cassandra was able to show that she was back to being herself, and no longer the villain that Deathstroke had made her into.
Cassandra would go to live in Wayne Manor, harboring the desire to kill her father and Deathstroke for what they have done. Nightwing distrusted her, but Batman and Robin both trusted her. When she finally confronted her father, they fought and he nearly fell off a roof. Cassandra attempted to save him, but he still fell. Batman witnessed this and told her he knows she tried to save him, and wants to adopt her as a member of his family. That’s a super sweet thing to do when you lose the father who was a monster to you, to gain the monster to crime who wants to be your dad because he loves you for who you are not what he wants you to be.
When Bruce Wayne was believed dead, Cassandra was left questioning her place in the world, and left the mantle of Batgirl to her friend, Stephanie Brown a.k.a. The Spoiler. Cassandra dropped off the face of the earth to go and find herself.
After Bruce Wayne returned, it was revealed that Cassandra was never searching for herself, but under orders of Batman to pass on the mantle and become his anonymous agent. She had been in contact with Tim Drake the whole time, and traveled the world prepping for Bruce Wayne’s new idea, Batman Incorporated. When Tim offered her the Batgirl identity back, she refused (believing Stephanie needs it more than she does), but does take him up on becoming a member of the Bat-family again, becoming the Black Bat, the Batman of Hong Kong.
It is here that we leave Cassandra Cain. Right now she has a role in the current Batman Incorporated story, but only rumors exist on what, if any, role she’ll have in the new DC reboot. Let’s hope for a return of my favorite Batgirl, and one of my favorite characters, period.