Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Feel I Have to Address the New Batgirl

After all, I am Japan's #1 Cassandra Cain Batgirl fan, the person who bought every single issue at the old Shibuya Blister and completely depleted their Batgirl back issue supply. So I feel as Japan's leading expert and representative of Cass Fandom United (CFU, an organization I just made up while typing this sentence and of which I declare myself First Citizen and dictator-for-life) I should say something about Batgirl #1. So here goes...

I haven't read it.

I know from reviews and message board rants Cass abruptly removes her uniform and disappears into the night wearing only her underwear. And I know Stephanie Brown takes the uniform home and then starts wearing it to fight crime. Which obviously makes Stephanie Brown the new Batgirl. That's not really a surprise.

To be honest, I was ready to throw an apoplectic fit right here on this blog when I read how Bryan Q. Miller handled the change-over. But I thought, "Don't be more of an idiot than you usually are. Don't go off half-cocked based on a few reviews and angry outcries. Sleep on it. Wait until you can actually read the comic to see how it plays on the page." And you know what?

Thanks to this interview, I'm even happier now I didn't throw a hissy fit. I'm even cautiously optimistic.

Why? Because while I have no interest whatsoever in Stephanie Brown as either Spoiler, Batgirl or Queen of England, I kind of like what Miller is saying here and he's done something I thought impossible-- he's whetted my appetite for what will happen to Cass in the future and how she got to the point of quitting.

It seems he actually has some kind of plan. We'll see if the overall DC narrative needs allow him to develop it to anyone's satisfaction.

Flash forward one year:

DC Honcho: So, what have you got planned for us in Batgirl this summer?

Batgirl Writer: I'm planning to conclude my Mother's Day storyline with something really heavy duty. Steph and Cass track Lady Shiva down to the hidden fortress in the Himalayas where she's secreted Steph's mom and there's this seemingly hopeless battle they're forced into against an army of--

DC Honcho: Outstanding! Tie that in with our World War Ape crossover. The Joker uses Gorilla Grodd's technology to turn all our heroes into apes for four months' worth of books.

Batgirl Writer: But... my story has to do with emotional catharsis. Sure, it's action-packed and involves a certain level of violence but ultimately I'm dealing with themes of troubled mother-daughter relationships and how they can be resolved through--

DC Honcho: Great! Have Steph do that as a Capuchin monkey and make Cass a... a... I dunno...

DC Second Honcho: A marmoset.

DC Honcho: A marmoset?

DC Second Honcho: My kids love marmosets.

DC Honcho: Okay, Cass is a marmoset.

DC Second Honcho: Also, she's dead.

Batgirl Writer: Wha...? She's dead? When did this happen? I was--

DC Second Honcho: Two months from now in Red Robin. She gets insanely jealous of Red Robin's status in the Bat-family, reverts to evil and falls off a building while trying to kill him.

DC Honcho: Is this before or after she becomes a marmoset?

DC Second Honcho: I think it might traumatize my kids to see a marmoset die in one of our books.

DC Honcho: No, no. We can't kill a marmoset. Unless... Well, could we get some mainstream press coverage out of this? One of those "Comics aren't just for kids anymore" stories? A little "Biff! Pow!" with me doing a talking head thing on MSNBC?

DC Second Honcho: Kill the marmoset.

Batgirl Writer: Cass. Her name is Cass.

DC Honcho: Whatever the fuck her name is, she's dead as Julius Caesar in Red Robin. Have her turn into a marmoset next month in your book.

Okay, all frivolousness and gentle, good-natured joking aside, for now it seems Cass will somehow be part of this book's supporting cast. That they didn't kill her or immediately turn her evil is possibly good news. And even though I hated the five-page preview for its likeness to a trailer for the type of brain-dead aimed-at-teens-and-college students summer action movie-- perhaps an original vehicle starring Ashton Kutcher or else a sequel to something starring Vin Diesel-- I wouldn't watch if you paid me to, I am going to try to buy Batgirl #1 at the relatively new Harajuku Blister if it hasn't sold out.

And I promise to give the entire issue a fair reading.

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