Friday, February 24, 2012

Cassandra Cain

Cassandra Cain is a fictional character in the DC Comics Universe, one of several who has served as Batgirl, an important character in the Batman comic book franchise. Cassandra's backstory presents her as the daughter of assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva. She was deprived of speech and human contact during her childhood as conditioning to become the world's greatest assassin. Consequently, Cassandra grew up to become an expert martial artist while simultaneously remaining mute, developing very limited social skills, and being illiterate. Cassandra first appeared in Batman #567 (July 1999) and was created by Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott (though it was Alex Maleev who designed her costume). Cassandra was the first Batgirl to star in her own ongoing Batgirl comic book series. An Asian American, she is also the first non-white member of the Batman family and remained one of the most prominent non-white superheroes until she was replaced as Batgirl by Stephanie Brown in a 2009 storyline. She returned in late 2010, where she was now shown working as an anonymous agent of Batman in Hong Kong before adopting the new moniker of Black Bat.

Critical reception of the "One Year Later" storyline was mixed. In general, the portrayal of Tim Drake was praised, whereas Cassandra's depiction was not. Upon being asked if Cassandra's characterization was editorially mandated, writer Adam Beechen stated, "When I came to the book, I was told that the first arc would deal with presenting Cassandra as a major new enemy for Robin. From there, I worked out the details of just how that would come about with our initial editor, Eddie Berganza, and then his successor, Peter Tomasi." In a follow-up interview, he clarified further, stating, "They didn't present me with a rationale as to why Cassandra was going to change, or a motivating factor. That was left for me to come up with and them to approve. And we did that. But as far as to why the editors and writers and whoever else made the decision decided that was a good direction, I honestly couldn't answer."

In recent interviews and press conferences, Dan DiDio and others have stated that Cass will "be going back to basics," as in her early adventures before she was able to talk. Later, Geoff Johns was quoted as saying, "We will be addressing in Teen Titans exactly what the deal is with her. Is she a bad guy? How? Why? She was a completely different character before 'One Year Later,' so let’s find out what happened."

According to Wizard Magazine #182, the storyline was "one of the most controversial changes to come out of DC's 'One Year Later' event," and "fans rose up in arms, organizing websites and letter-writing campaigns to protest the change." Dan Didio commented, "I'm glad to see there was a reaction created, it shows that people care about the character and want to see something happen with her."

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