Passing superhero mantles between individuals could make issues…difficult. The strain of upholding a legacy, the potential jealousy, perhaps even emotions of being changed by a newcomer. Transitions of energy, costumes and codenames aren’t all the time the easiest way to make pals.
But typically, the precise reverse is true. In this month’s Relationship Roundup, we will dive right into a story of two as soon as (and future?) Batgirls, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain, and how issues that ought to have made them rivals simply introduced them nearer collectively.
Wait, Batgirls? Plural?
If you are new to Gotham City or to the DC Universe generally, you’ll have by no means encountered Steph or Cass of their former roles. They’ve been working recurrently with the Gotham Knights in DETECTIVE COMICS as Spoiler and Orphan, respectively, whereas Barbara Gordon maintains the Batgirl identify. But years in the past, issues have been somewhat bit totally different in that nook of the Bat household. Back earlier than FLASHPOINT, Barbara had given up being Batgirl in favor of a brand new position as Oracle, and consequently, the codename was up for the taking.
This is the place Steph and Cass are available…type of. Stephanie truly predates Cass’s first look within the comics by a couple of years (she confirmed up in DETECTIVE COMICS #647, again in 1992), however at first, she was something however concerned with turning into an official Bat. Instead, she glided by Spoiler (her costume even appeared just like the one she wears at present) and primarily hung round with Tim Drake, making an attempt to win the then-Robin’s affection whereas sabotaging her supervillain father’s plans.
Then, years later, Steph truly briefly turned Batman’s new Robin after retiring her Spoiler id—all of this earlier than she obtained the briefest probability to be Batgirl correctly. We’ll get to that in a second.
Meanwhile, Cassandra was launched in 1999 with BATMAN #567 in the course of the peak of the NO MAN’S LAND occasion, which minimize Gotham City off from the remainder of the world and let it descend into post-apocalyptic chaos. Cass wasn’t a lot in search of an opportunity to turn out to be a superhero both. At least, not actually. She had been educated since start by the ruthless murderer David Cain to be an ideal weapon. Cass wound up in Gotham making an attempt to flee his abuse and management, hoping that the madness of the No Man’s Land would give her an ideal cowl and permit her to do some good for a change.
Unlike Steph, nevertheless, Cass by no means paused to undertake a codename or a fancy dress. She did not actually perceive the entire “vigilante” factor from an inside perspective, so it wasn’t actually a priority. Also, the gifted younger fighter did not have any pit stops or checkpoints to clear alongside the best way. She turned Batgirl virtually instantly after she confirmed up, when she proved her talent and usefulness in a gang battle that received her observed by Barbara Gordon herself.
While Cass adjusted to her new position because the official Batgirl, Steph nonetheless flitted in and out of varied Bat household circles, orbiting Tim Drake, and sometimes stepping on Batman’s toes (by no means an excellent transfer, to be trustworthy).
So, How Did They Team Up?
You’d in all probability anticipate Steph to start out feeling just a little jealous on this state of affairs—perhaps even self-righteous. After all, she was there first. She’d been working off and on with the Bat for years earlier than Cass confirmed up, and but Cass was welcomed in with open arms whereas Steph continued to need to show herself.
But you would be mistaken. That’s to not say Steph did not have her justifiable share of moments feeling like she was continually caught on the surface wanting in, however in a shocking flip of occasions, she by no means directed that frustration again at Cass. And Cass, in flip, got here to belief Steph’s distinctive perspective on the ins-and-outs of the superhero way of life. Cass had by no means been given the prospect to stay a traditional life, whereas Steph might by no means actually escape hers. Together, they shaped a reasonably impeccable workforce.
Cass started to assist Stephanie study to battle and learn physique language, whereas Steph started working with Cass on regular, on a regular basis teenager issues—studying the right way to learn (Cass had by no means been taught language), work together with individuals on the road, gown when not in uniform and so on.
Years into their friendship, Cassandra hit some extent the place she was anticipated to do some issues for Bruce’s new Batman, Inc. initiative that weren’t actually fitted to the Batgirl id. She needed to transfer on to one thing new, however she did not need to depart Gotham brief considered one of its costumed heroes.
In 2009, a brand-new period of Batgirl began as Cass selected to formally cross the mantle on to Steph, whereas she left Gotham to go deep undercover.
And What About Now?
Though neither Steph nor Cass have truly been Batgirl because the continuity shift in Flashpoint, that does not imply their friendship has truly modified all that a lot. They could also be going by new (or in Steph’s case, previous) names, however they’ve nonetheless completely received each other’s backs.
And actually, who is aware of what the longer term may convey? Lately, time and area appear to be having a bit of hassle preserving issues straight, and on this month’s DETECTIVE COMICS #980, each of them have been handled to a glimpse of the historical past they can not keep in mind—a historical past that features a while as Batgirl for each of them. What that would imply shifting ahead is basically anybody’s guess. Your greatest guess is to regulate the horizon for extra Spoiler and Orphan revelations (and with a bit of luck, team-ups!) as the brand new Steph/Cass period marches on.
Look for Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain within the pages of DETECTIVE COMICS, beginning in DETECTIVE COMICS VOL. 1: RISE OF THE BATMEN.