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Wednesday, April 01, 2015 

How Cassandra Cain got thrown away

IO9 wrote about the history of Batgirl, and DC editors' mistreatment of nearly all women who took the role. And one of the biggest flubs was when they tried to explain away Cassandra Cain being turned into a mass murderess:
But as controversial decisions had dogged Barbara Gordon, soon enough they would dog Cassandra as well. In a 2006 event called One Year Later — which, as you might guess, jumped the entire DC continuity one year ahead into the future — Cassandra was revealed to have become the head of the League of Assassins, casting down the Batgirl name.

As the Mary Sue explained, "Writing Cassandra Cain as a murderer and assassin, or someone who had become "disillusioned" with Batman's mission really leapt miles away from the core character." After years of building up a storyline about Cassandra's penitence over her past as a killer, DC threw that away for a shocking reveal that she had gone on a killing spree — showing a huge disregard for one of their most popular female characters.

There were fan campaigns to get DC to undo Cassandra's turn to villainy, but the damage was already done. Later, her killing spree was retconned as Cassandra having been drugged by the villain Deathstroke — which did not assuage the anger of fans who were annoyed that she had been abruptly turned into a villain, and then shoved to the side in order to put the focus on Tim Drake as Robin. Cassandra later returned to the role of Batgirl briefly, before handing the mantle over to Stephanie Brown — and then vanishing into obscurity.

Cassandra would return as the new reformed Batman character Black Bat, fronting Bruce Wayne's operations in Hong Kong as part of the Batman Inc. storyline. But for the most part, fans felt that Cassandra Cain was tossed away, first by being turned into a villain and then by being shunted into the background, where she's remained ever since.
Another interesting reason why attempts to appease the audience for Batgirl didn't work: because Deathstroke was in an equally bad situation, already compounded by Identity Crisis. After many years of his reforming post-Judas Contract, the awful 2004 miniseries was just the beginning of abruptly turning him into a one-dimensional villain again, and revealing he was behind Cassandra's drugging only furthered the wreckage. As for Tim Drake, he's fared no better in the New 52, having his own background retconned to make him less recognizable.

So much potential was trashed in the wake of Identity Crisis, and won't recover at the rate they're going by.

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As for Deathstroke, it really didn't help that because of the success of the 2003 Animated series, DC either figured or, more likely, was mandated to sync him with his animated counterpart, Slade, who was a master manipulator. Truth be told, Animated Slade was and is quite the popular character, and I could understand why DC did that, but he and Deathstroke are completely different characters, hence why all the problems.

Although, in Season 4, that's the closest Slade got to his comic book self, complete with the dry humor, and it worked out well enough, IMO.

Looks like they ruined the great work Chuck Dixon did with Tim Drake.

Talk about throwing away a character. Did you see what Remender did to Hank Pym today?

What's even the point of putting a character completely to waste like this?

Hi Avi,
You hear about the Indiana Religious Freedom Law controversy? Well, a bunch of comic book writers are mouthing off about in in opposition to religious freedom. Here are the ones I found: Ron Marz, G. Willow Wilson, Gerry Conway, Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek, Neil Gaiman, Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, . Some of the most noticable are of course on Marz who slanders the an Indiana pizza place that has received devasting backlash after a reporter came in their restaurant and asked them if they would cater a gay wedding. They said no and chaos ensued. And Wilson took the topic of the law to show how tolerant Muslims are. Also, Wilson and Conway are defending the antisemitic comedian Trevor Noah from the backlash he's receiving after being announced to as Jon Stewart's replacement on the Daily Show.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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