Subject 04: Cassandra Cain AKA 4th Batgirl
It's time to share a character near and dear to me: Cassandra Cain…just warning the Barbara Gordon and Stephanie Brown fans up front, I’m biased. Reading was always a struggle for me; short version, I had dyslexia. Comics actually helped me to learn to read. If there was a word in a balloon I didn't know, normally I could figure it out based on what was happening in the panels. Later I discovered reading was Cassandra Cain's Achilles Heel; I could completely relate so I was all in.
One thing that truly sets Cassandra apart from the other Batgirls is her impressive win/loss record against some of the DCU’s top assassins. Cassandra’s success as Batgirl wasn’t completely on her own; she had help from Batman but most significantly from Barbara Gordon, who was like the mother Cassandra never had. This is one of the reasons I think Batgirl Vol #1 works so well. Spoiler helps out with the reading on occasion, kinda like Cassandra's sidekick.
Batman #567: First full appearance of “Cassandra Cain”. She’s not Batgirl yet. It's Helena Bertinelli on the cover dressed as Batgirl, not Cassandra Cain.
Detective Comics #734: Second appearance of Cassandra Cain, she's still not Batgirl yet.
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #120: First Cassandra Cain appearance as Batgirl (it's on the last page). Helena Bertinelli has been Batgirl up until this point. Since they both wear the same costume, they are often confused as the same Batgirl. It's also the final reveal that Helena had been Batgirl the whole time. Seemed pretty obvious to me.
The second panel of the last page is Cassandra's first appearance as Batgirl. The page prior is her trying the suit on. The page before that is Oracle convincing Nightwing and Robin she's ready. This is Cassandra's first cover appearance as Batgirl. LOTDK#120 is absolutely key for both Cassandra and Helena.
Batgirl Vol 1 Issue #1: It’s the first volume of a Batgirl ongoing series, so without question, a key. There is a second printing of this issue. You can tell the difference if you know how to read the barcodes. There’s also a slight color shift between the two – I just look at the barcode since they are practically identical.
Batgirl Vol 1 Issue #18: Batgirl and Robin must work together to stop some thug from doing something mundane. Robin tells Cassandra straight out he's intimidated by her. In the end they shake hands and are friends. It's important since it's another member of the Bat Family accepting her as Batgirl.
Batgirl Vol 1 Issue #20: “It's the Batgirl and Spoiler Show!” Don't laugh, I'd totally watch that. Spoiler finds something she can do better than Cass … reading. It's not a first meeting between the two, this is just a team up fans had been waiting for.
Harley Quinn vol 1 issue #11: Guest appearance with Robin and Nightwing. Issue #10 is Harley running around pretending to be the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl. It's a two-part story with Dodson art, no reason for these to not be on people's radar. Probably not key, but still fun. Plus, I could totally see Harley dressed up as Batgirl on the big screen.
Nightwing Vol 1 issues #81: Cassandra Cain vs Deathstroke. This issue is really cool in my opinion since they actually fight. It's part 2 of a 3 part Nightwing story.
Batgirl Vol 1 Issue #45: First and only time Cassandra Cain wears Barbara’s original Batgirl costume… surprisingly, not the first time someone other than Barbara wears it. Cassandra learns the stupidity of fighting in high heels.
Batgirl Vol 1 Issue #50: Batman vs Cassandra, who doesn't want to read that!
Batgirl Vol 1 Issue #54: Oracle flips out on Cassandra because she hasn’t learned to read. Easily one of my top 5 favorite comics of all times, if not number 1. The real story is Cass has to stop a robot but she can't read the kill code! How will she stop it?
Batgirl Vol 1 Issue #64: Cassandra Cain vs Ravager… I think Cass slits Rose's throat.
Batgirl Vol 1 Issue #71: Cass dies and is brought back by Lady Shiva using the Lazarus Pit.
Batgirl Vol 1 Issue #72: Cass finds out Lady Shiva is her mom… and impales her on a hook. This is kinda odd, it always seemed like Lady Shiva had a connection to Cassandra… maybe everyone knew except Cassandra. Clearly she didn't take the news well. Cassandra leaves the Bat Family. End of the series.
Robin issues #150-151: Cassandra vs Robin. I'll be honest, I hate these issues. It never feels like Cassandra, she's so different. It's important to understand what make a character that character before trying this, clearly that wasn't the case.
Supergirl Vol 4 Issue #14: Batgirl vs Supergirl… not so much. They do fight, but Batgirl is a clone or something silly. It's not Cassandra… Might as well be a dream.
Batgirl (2009) Issue #1-6: Cassandra returns as Batgirl. Issue #3 She teams up with Ravager and there's a Deathstroke cameo. Issue #4, she fights Deathstroke briefly. Issue #6 is the first mention of Bruce Wayne adopting Cassandra, which I think stretches out for a while.
Batgirl Futures End #1: This book is totally bizarre and kinda interesting all at the same time. Barbara is Bat'Bane and Cass and Steph are her minions. Not key, just really bizarre.
Batgirl Convergence #1 and #2: Stephanie Brown is front and center. Cassandra is involved. For some reason Detective Comics #935 reminded me of these.
Batman Robin Eternal #26: Cass takes up the new superhero name Orphan… I've got to level with you guys on this. I own a copy, so if you're a die-hard Cassandra Cain fan, grab it. As a speculator, I don't know where this will end up. You're the market, you tell me.
Did I leave something out? Of course I did, we skipped like 40 issues of the regular series and she was Batgirl for over a decade. So sound off in the comments below with your favorite Cassandra Cain Batgirl issues or moments.
Till next week, same bat time, same bat website!