Saturday, August 1, 2009

Well, It's Obviously Not Cassandra Cain...

Not with those baby... er... purples. And I don't mind that one little bit. I think it's high time Cass outgrew the Batgirl job. She's better than that. I don't understand why people think it's Catwoman, although she fits Bryan Q. Miller's "redemption" quote. Seems kind of like a demotion. But whatever.

No, who's wearing the suit doesn't matter one whit to me. What bugs me, what irks me and worries me is down among the comments where "[someone seriously believes] that Cassandra Cain will give up being Batgirl so she can free her mother and together they will be the greatest threat in the new Batman's rogue gallery." You know, Lady Shiva. Nevermind how Cass has always been thematically partially about will and self-determination trumping genetics or fate or what have you. You know, 73-odd issues of "You can decide for yourself your own path and don't have to follow in Daddy's (or Mommy's) footsteps," plus the whole "if she's gone evil, it must be a mind control drug because she'd never do that" episode and the Redemption Road adoption denouement.

It scares me because this guy's idea is so knuckle-headed it might actually be what DC is planning.

It would be a totally unnecessary repositioning of the character, but it's what I've specifically been dreading since the announcement of the new series. I'm still hoping against hope they'll give Cass a new kick-ass heroic role to play, something vicious and gritty but on the side of good nevertheless. Perhaps even without a costume. Kill Bill and Crouching Tiger or-- what the hell-- Deadly Hands of Kung Fu and all that as I've suggested so many times before.

Well, knuckle-headed or not, the guy's little suppositions have the ring of mainstream superhero storytelling and writer's logic about them. Yeah, I could waste a lot of time and effort pulling examples out of the various Batgirl storylines to counter them, but ultimately, they're at least as valid as anything argument I could toss out there.

Not because I really agree with them, or think they're in any way non-knuckle-headed, but simply because as I've painfully learned over the course of my comics blogging "career," my aesthetic concerns aren't those of the big companies and the run-of-the-mill comic fan. That and any character I like will eventually be ruined beyond reclamation. Yeah, it irks me he's more than likely right and anything I posit in response will be proven wrong by the actual story events and narrative explanations. In fact, in so doing I'll seal Cass' fate! I'm like Jack Crabb to Custer in the movie Little Big Man: an almost perfect "reverse barometer" for what will happen. There ya have it.

So I can't help but worry if DC wants to repeat the same mistake they've made once before with poor Cassandra Cain, then by Kirby, that's what they'll do. There probably aren't that many "Cass Fans" like me left to jerk around after all the characterization shifts they've pulled with her, and as we've repeatedly seen, there's no narrative theme or character arc that can't be undone, retrenched, retconned or just plain ignored in superhero comic books.

Well, we'll all know for sure come August 19th. But maybe it's better just to forget all that junk and just read Nana and Love and Rockets, Hellboy and BPRD and other works where the author's vision trumps corporate/editorial mandates and the creators have a better grasp of characterization, or at least one that pleases me. Hey, there's even a new New Mutants series that's getting better issue by issue. The new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is... you know... extraordinarily good.

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