I have to admire Gail Simone for doing this-- addressing the end of Oracle in an interview with the woman who wrote the most impassioned, affecting essay about DC's plans for Barbara Gordon. This interview is some big time damage control from DC, and I have to express my complete and open admiration for Simone for doing this. When DC wrecked Cassandra Cain's narrative, all her fans got were smirking dismissals and vague promises. In this case, a creator is tackling reader concerns head-on in as open and candid a way as possible without giving away secrets best left for the stories themselves. That said, I still see more divisions and impassioned essays in our immediate future.
But here's what I really want to talk about.
Cassandra Cain. And the silence from DC regarding her. While trying her best to soothe understandably upset Oracle fans, Simone hints at two things. One, that many of these characters are being re-set to earlier points in their careers:
This is a huge wave going through the DCU, and part of that wave is that most of the Bat-verse, and the DCU at large, are going to be shown a bit earlier in their careers, a bit less experienced. We don't want the characters to already know everything. As time goes on, at both DC and Marvel, characters notch up so many victories that we often start to think of them as infallible, which is kind of death for adventure fiction.
And two, that for now, there are zero plans for Cass in the new order:
I know people are worried about Cass and Steph. All I can say is, I cannot imagine that those characters won't have a role in the new DC. It just seems very unlikely. If no one else is using them, don't be surprised if they show up in Batgirl in the near future. They are awesome.
It could very well be that point one answers point two-- Cass will be re-set to before she became Batgirl. It could also be Simone just isn't privy to DC's plans for Cass because she's not the one writing the character. For now. Grant Morrison has already revealed Batman Incorporated-- with its international league of Bat-associates, it's the book that's most likely the best fit for Cass-- will continue with a new #1 in 2012, so perhaps she'll soldier on in the Blackbat costume as if nothing's changed. In this case, no news would be good news (as they say in the news industry right before they get fired for being wrong about no news being good news).
This is interesting:
When Steph was announced, I don't know if you remember, Jill, but there was a massive outcry from the readership. Massive. They felt that it was a betrayal that an Asian character, Cass Cain, who was much beloved and tremendously popular as Batgirl, was being replaced by a blonde-haired white girl. There were angry letters and threats of boycotts, the whole thing.
That's true. But a sizeable chunk of that outcry wasn't just the replacing of Cass with Steph. It was also that before doing so by having Cass quit being Batgirl-- in the most asinine, perfunctory way imaginable short of her slipping on a banana peel into the path of an oncoming steamroller or being beaten up and murdered by a baby-- they wrote her completely out of the DC universe as if she'd never existed, turned her into a grotesque Dragon Lady stereotype, mooting the entire character arc of her monthly series, returned her as an evil Batgirl, stuck her in Batmand and the Outsiders and just as quickly jerked her out again, involved her in a shamefully slapdash miniseries, set her up for new adventures, then wrote her out of the DC universe again at the beginning of a storyline in which by the nature of her relationship with its central figure she should have been a major player. And then more vague promises before having her show up again seemingly repaired for the foreseeable future. And now a huge, potentially game-changing announcement involving almost DC character that's ever existed in the company's long history... except Cass. To understate the matter, fans tend to find such things unpleasant.
Especially when, with such a track record, DC could just as easily do worse to Cass and her long-suffering fans.
However, in lieu of hard info and in the interest of generating some good will for my favorite DC character, I'm going to try my best to stay positive and use my mighty brain to convince my uncertain heart my good friends at the company that owns her wouldn't do something quite so stupid as put us through all that again, not when they so recently gave Cass a compelling new identity and sense of purpose. Which is why I'm going to keep grinning as if my face had been badly Botoxed by a doctor of uncertain credentials operating in a seedy strip mall also featuring a massage parlor, a title pawn establishment and more empty storefronts than tenants.
Yes. See how happy I am? See my smile? It's a big, big smile of love and joy and it means I'm anxious to see what Morrison's going to do with Cassandra Cain in Batman Incorporated volume 2! Or what Gail Simone's going to do with her in Batgirl volume infinity! But would it kill someone at DC to include something to that effect in one of their many relaunch press releases?