Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A quick break

I haven't abandoned CADS, and while I'm overdue for a post, I'm up-to-date on my reading, and will try to have something tonight.

In the meantime, however, I have another pressing issue on my mind. DC Comics lately has tried to drive sales with big identity mystery/reveals: who is Superwoman? Who will be the new Batman? I didn't care much about the former, and the latter turned out to be pretty much exactly who you would expect. (This is not a complaint. The last time there was a new Batman, it was a character that was introduced specifically to take over the role, and it sucked hard.)

A new Batgirl ongoing series goes on sale today, and the promotional material is trying to drive speculation about who exactly the new Batgirl will be. Casual fans may or may not know that Barbara Gordon hasn't been Batgirl since the late 80s, and a new character, Cassandra Cain, took over the role in 1999.

Without rehashing the whole sordid story, Cassandra Cain has been a bit of a hard-up character lately. Her own unlimited series ended in 2006, and she was turned into a villain as part of the "One Year Later" storyline. This move proved to be unpopular, and so Cassandra was revealed to have been under the influence of a mind-control drug. She floated around the second-tier "Batman and the Outsiders" title until that team collapsed during the "Batman: RIP" storyline, and Cassandra went to work organizing a new Outsiders team to help fill the gap left by Batman's apparent death. Oh yeah, she also had her own six-issue miniseries where she sought revenge for the mind control incident, learned a bit about herself, and finally was going to be adopted by Bruce Wayne (as Tim Drake, um, Tim Wayne, um, Robin had already been.)

What's the point, you ask? Exactly, I say. What's the point of all this if there's going to be a new Batgirl? What happened to Cassandra Cain? Is this just a Cassandra Cain Batgirl relaunch? (Which, I should say, would be well deserved) I'm going to be a bit peeved if I'm being sold a "who is Batgirl?" storyline if the answer turns out to be "the person who was already Batgirl before we started this storyline."

All the same, I'm going to be equally peeved if I don't find out exactly what Cassandra Cain is up to. Dick Grayson and Tim Drake make a big deal of the fact that they are adopted brothers, and there's a real bond between the two characters. It would be very un-Bat-Family for Cassandra to be adopted and for no one to know or care what she's up to.

However, I got to thinking this morning about the Battle for the Cowl storyline, and how while it really made sense for Dick Grayson to take over as Batman, part of me was hoping that Tim Drake would do it. It would be a bolder choice, as Tim is far younger than Bruce Wayne was when he first became Batman. (Tim is in his late teens, and Bruce is normally presented as being in his mid to late twenties on his first adventures as the Batman.)

In that spirit, I realized that there is a similar option for the new Batgirl, another character besides Cassandra who has been abused in every possible way, and largely overlooked even after her recent reintroduction: Stephanie Brown. It would be totally in character for Stephanie to take on the Batgirl mantle without asking permission, and I'd really like the character to come into her own as a full member of the Bat Family and become more than an ongoing well-intentioned troublemaker and comic relief.

So if DC had any guts, or ever did anything unexpected, Stephanie Brown should be the way they go. Based on the covers of the first few issues, however, I think it's going to be Cassandra (and I fear that it might just be a new character altogether.)

(Update, 11:38AM: Woot!)

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