Created by Kelley Pucket and Damion Scott, Cassandra Cain, one of the Batgirls, has been through a lot in the DC Universe, she even disappeared for a while after the “New 52,” but the recent years have been fantastic for her.
Introduced in the “Mark of Cain” story-line, Cassandra suffered years of abuse and was never taught how to speak or write, all so she would accurately interpret and read body language to the level she would even be able to predict it. Cassandra was trained to be a killer, but she escaped that life and, nowadays, does her best to save people and dedicate herself to justice and heroism. With an obsession that surpasses and even scares some of her friends, like Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown, Cassandra wants to be Batman; she wants to grow and be the same symbol that said she could change and be better.
As I said, Cassandra went through a lot, even lapses into villainy and weird mind control. Those things are never good. But they only represent a tiny fraction of her story, and I’m sure you won’t want to miss the rest of it. She’s not just the best Batgirl, she’s one of the best characters from DC Comics.
Collects: Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #116-121, Azrael: Agent of the Bat #51-57, Batman #563-568, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83-88, Detective Comics #730-735, Catwoman #72-74, Robin #67, The Batman Chronicles #16-17, Nightwing #35-37, Batman: No Man’s Land (Collector’s) #1, Batman: No Man’s Land Gallery #1, Young Justice In No Man’s Land #1
Cassandra, a girl that Barbara is teaching how to speak, reveals herself to be David Cain’s daughter. She shows Batman that she’s strong and kind enough to help Gotham stand up again and becomes the new Batgirl. She meets the Batfamily and works together with Azrael.
Cassandra Cain Cut (every comic she’s in): Batman #567, Detective Comics #734, Batman: Legends of the Dark Night #120, Azrael: Agent of the Bat #56-57.
Collects: Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #122-126; Azrael: Agent of the Bat #58-61; Batman #569-574; Batman: Shadow of the Bat #89-94; Detective Comics #736-741; Catwoman #75-77; Robin #68-73; The Batman Chronicles #18; Nightwing #38-39; Batman No Man’s Land #0; Batman: No Man’s Land Secret Files #1
Batgirl goes on her first mission alone and teams up with Azrael some more.
Cassandra Cain Cut: The Batman Chronicles #18, Batman #569, Detective Comics #738, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #124, Detective Comics #739, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #93, Azrael: Agent of the Bat #60-61.
A great start to her run! Cassandra Cain, now Batgirl, struggles with the hero world: fighting metahumans, saving everyone even if it’s impossible, all the sacrifices one needs to make. Her obsession with helping others is crystal clear, all to redeem herself from her past and become more like Batman.
We also get Cass teaming up with Batman, interacting a lot with Barbara, and even fighting Shiva (one of a thousand more spotlights).
Collects: Batgirl #1-12, Batgirl Annual #1
Collects: Batgirl #13-25
Collects: Batgirl #26-37
Unfortunately, Batgirl (2000) issues #38-52 haven’t been collected yet.
Collects: Action Comics #775, JLA #100, JLA Secret Files 2004, Justice League Elite #1-4
Collects: Justice League Elite #5-12
Collects: Batgirl #53, #55, Batman #631, Batman: The 12-Cent Adventure, Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight #182, Batman: Gotham Knights #56, Catwoman #34, Detective Comics #790-797, Nightwing #96, Robin #126-129, Solo #10
Cassandra Cain Cut: Batgirl #53, Detective Comics #797, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #182, Batman: Gotham Knights #56, Batgirl #55, Batman #631.
Collects: Batgirl #56-57, Batman #632-634, #642-644, Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight #183-184, Batman: Gotham Knights #57-58, Batman Secret Files And Origins Allies 2005, Batman Secret Files And Origins Villians 2005, Catwoman #35-36, Detective Comics #798-800, #809-810, Nightwing #97-98, And Robin #130-131
Cassandra Cain Cut: Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #183, Batman: Gotham Knights #57, Batgirl #56, Batman #632, Detective Comics #799, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #184, Nightwing #98, Batgirl #57, Batman #633.
Collects: Robin #132, Batgirl #58, Robin #133, Batgirl #59
Collects: Batgirl #60-64
Collects: Batgirl #65-73
Batgirl appears in Robin #148-151. Not collected yet. From these chapters to Robin #162, you will be reading Cassandra’s evil arc; most fans don’t like it and tend to ignore it, but there is good stuff to be found there.
Collects: Supergirl #10-19, Infinite Holiday Special #1
Cassandra Cain Cut: Supergirl #14.
Collects: Teen Titans #1-26,29-46,50, Teen Titans Wizard 1/2, Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page #2, Beast Boy #1-4, Outsiders #24, Robin #146-147, Teen Titans Annual #1, Teen Titans/Legion Special (2004), Infinite Crisis (2005) #5.
Cassandra Cain Cut: Teen Titans #43-46.
Collects: World War III #1-4
Cassandra Cain Cut: World War III #1-2, #4.
Batgirl appears in Robin #160-162. Not collected yet.
Collects: Batman and the Outsiders #1-5
Cassandra Cain Cut: Batman and the Outsiders #2-5.
Collects: Batman and the Outsiders #6-10
Batman and the Outsiders #11-14 haven’t been collected yet.
Collects: Batgirl #1–6
Collects: Battle For the Cowl: The Network
Collects: Batgirl #1-12
Cassandra abandons the Batgirl identity.
Cassandra Cain Cut: Batgirl #1.
Collects: Red Robin #13-17
Cassandra Cain Cut: Red Robin #17.
Collects: Red Robin #18-21, 23-26
Cassandra Cain Cut: Red Robin #19, #25.
Collects: Batman: Gates of Gotham #1-5, Detective Comics Annual #12, Batman Annual #28
Collects: Batgirl #13-24, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batgirl #1, Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes! #1
Cassandra Cain Cut: Batgirl #24.
Cassandra Cain was reintroduced in Batman and Robin Eternal, where her new origin was explained. Secretly trained by her father, David Cain–also known as Orphan–to read people’s movements as if they were language, Cassandra became a highly-skilled fighter. In her first mission as an assassin, Cassandra only realized what she was doing after making her first kill. Batman helped the traumatized girl, who after many events and her father’s death, assumed the mantle of Orphan and joined the Batfamily.
Currently, after moving past her trauma and finding out about her life before the “New 52,” Cassandra and Stephanie Brown work together as Batgirls.
Collects: Batman and Robin Eternal #1-12
This is Cass’ new origin, but it’s quite similar to the old one in some aspects. Someone called Mother is after Dick Grayson and the Batfamily, and Cassandra, a stranger to everyone at the time, mysteriously arrives and starts helping them. Orphan intended Cass to be a gift for Mother, showing that assassins didn’t need drugs to get stronger; Mother rejected the girl but still used her in missions.
In Batman and Robin Eternal #7, Cassandra sees a ballet presentation for the first time, and it’s as beautiful as you can imagine. Her love for dance is one of my favorite things, it’s such an important part of her character for me and always a blast to see.
Cassandra Cain Cut: Batman and Robin Eternal #1-8, #11-12.
Collects: Batman and Robin Eternal #13-26
Issue #13 is definitely the best of the bunch; if you like Cassandra, you need to check it out!
After David Cain dies, sacrificing himself to save Cass, she decides to take his mantle and help Gotham as Orphan.
Cassandra Cain Cut: Batman and Robin Eternal #13-14, #19-20, #22, #24-26.
Collects: Detective Comics #934-949
Here we see Cass joining a team with Batman, Tim Drake, Stephanie, Clayface, and Batwoman. It features some pretty great action moments with her (it’s always good seeing how badass she is), and it’s nice seeing her developing a friendship with Clayface. It is sweet and meaningful for both of them, so it quickly becomes one of the best things about this book.
Cassandra Cain Cut: Detective Comics #934-947.
Collects: Detective Comics #950-962
I can’t even begin to describe how much I love issue #950. It gives Cass the focus she deserves in a heartfelt and beautiful chapter while developing her character and introducing her mother, Lady Shiva (it also has Cass dancing ballet which I LOVE to see). The whole “League of Shadows” arc is great, maybe Tynion’s best writing in Detective Comics, even though I wish it would’ve developed Cassandra’s relationship with Shiva even more. You can’t miss it for the world.
The following arc shifts focus, giving Azrael and Batman more space, which is a good change of pace, not to mention it’s great to see Batman and Zatanna’s friendship. But Cassandra has some good moments too, like when Clayface teaches her Shakespeare.
Collects: Detective Comics #963-973, Annual #1
Clayface is at his lowest; he can’t see himself getting better or as anything more than a monster. To make matters worse, the Victim Syndicate wants to use him to tear Gotham down. Cass tries her best to help him, but she still can’t give Clayface the happy ending he wants (don’t forget your tissues).
Cassandra Cain Cut: Detective Comics #964-965, #967-973.
Collects: Detective Comics #974-982
(After everything that happened, your heart is already ripped into shreds, so I’ll focus on something else) In issue #974, Cass says what the symbol of the bat means to her; that’ll continue to be really important and it’s great to see her thoughts about it being brought up. This is also when she and Steph finally learn some things about their lives before the “Flashpoint.”
Cassandra Cain Cut: Detective Comics #974-976, #978-981.
Collects: Detective Comics #982-986
This pretty much works as a prelude for Batman and the Outsiders. I wouldn’t say it’s completely necessary, but it’s still a good read.
Cassandra Cain Cut: Detective Comics #983-986.
Collects: Batman and the Outsiders #1-7
Batman and the Outsiders finally give us the payoff we were expecting from the “League of Shadows” arc in Detective Comics. As Batman forms a new team to help him fight Ra’s al Ghul, Cassandra meets her mom again and becomes one step closer to being something even better.
Collects: Batman & the Outsiders #8-12, Annual #1
Collects: Batman and the Outsiders #13-17
Collects: Batman #95-100, tie-in stories from the pages of Batgirl, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Nightwing, Detective Comics, Batman: The Joker War Zone
Cass and Steph know the city needs a symbol, so they search for the Bat-Signal. Their plan fails, so they put their Batgirl suits on and decide to become the symbol the city needs (At last! This story makes me so happy!)
Cassandra Cain Cut: Batman: The Joker War Zone, Batman #99-100.
Collects: The Joker #1-5
Tynion is one of my favorite comic creators and I love seeing him writing Cass, so this was a treat! The Batgirls investigate the mysterious person who hired Jim Gordon to catch the Joker.
Cassandra Cain Cut: The Joker #3-4.
Collects: Detective Comics #1034-1039
Cassandra Cain Cut: Detective Comics #1038-1039.
Collects: The Joker #6-9, The Joker 2021 Annual #1
Cassandra fights a Talon (badass as always).
Cassandra Cain Cut: The Joker #7.
You can also find Cass in The Joker #11-12, not yet collected.
Collects: DC Festival of Heroes #1: The Asian Superhero Celebration
Collects: Batman: Urban Legends #7-10
In issue #7, we see Cass in an alternative future fighting the Magistrate with incredible art by Guillaume Singelin. And in #8, Cass is framed for murder by Seer and teams up with Batwoman.
Cassandra Cain Cut: Batman: Urban Legends #7-8.
Collects: Batman #112-117; Batman Secret Files: The Gardener #1; Batman Secret Files: Peacekeeper #1; Batman Secret Files: Miracle Molly #1; Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1; Batman: Fear State: Omega #1
Collects: Nightwing #84-88, Nightwing 2021 Annual
“Fear State” event Cassandra Cain Cut: Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1, Batman #112, Batman: Urban Legends #8, Batman #115, Nightwing #85, Batman #116, Nightwing #86, Batman #117.
Still being chased by Seer, the Batgirls have to lay low while finding a way to defeat her. But, as always, a new baddie appears to make everything harder.
Even though the tone is more soft and comedic than most would hope, it’s fun and worth a read.
Collects: Batgirls #1-6, short stories from Batman #115-117
Collects: Detective Comics #1047-1058