Not exactly a Helena Wayne related question, but how since you mentioned them, what do you think about Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, and the treatment DC has been giving them since the reboot? Moreover, and maybe this is just wishful thinking, but how would you feel if they showed up in Earth 2 as Batgirl and Spoiler? I really like your blog, by the way. Your commentary is always wonderful.
Hi there! Thank you for your comments. :)
I actually liked Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown as characters. I particularly liked that Cass was Lady Shiva’s daughter and despite her upbringing to become better than her mother as an assassin, she became one of the best heroines in the DC Universe. While I didn’t like how Cassandra got her Batgirl costume (basically after Batman gave Helena Bertinelli shit for not living up to some unreasonable expectations), I do feel she built her way up into becoming one of the most recognisable Batgirls in the DC Universe. I feel that her relationship to Barbara Gordon was an important relationship because in addition to being mentored by her, it also helped Barbara move on past her own need for Batgirl and become a heroine of her own right: independent of Batman and in an identity and role that was uniquely her own. Outside of Calculator, no one else could top Barbara in computer hacking skills and digital data manipulation. Another thing that I felt was an important development for Cassandra’s character was her relationship to Bruce. In addition to being the only other heroine to share the “daughter” title besides Helena Wayne, she would also remind Bruce of basic human emotion that he would often deny himself.
With regards to Stephanie Brown, I can’t say I have as thorough a knowledge of her character as I do Cassandra, but in the stories I did read her in, I really loved her optimism and upbeat personality despite all that’s happened to her throughout life. I liked that she was pretty snarky but also had a very strong and unwavering sense of right and wrong. She was smart, outgoing, and friendly but was also not afraid to assert herself when she needed to. She’s also the only heroine who got to be both a Robin and a Batgirl! Who else can seriously claim that? In a way, the fact that Stephanie upgraded her heroine identity (first as Spoiler, then Robin, and Batgirl) was parallel to the developments she achieved as a character. (Also ignoring that War Games happened).
That being said, I think it’s sad that the PTB don’t feel there’s a place for them in this new DCU despite the fact that their stories wouldn’t change anyone else’s in any significant way. I don’t feel that making Lady Shiva the same age as Dick Grayson is a development that makes sense for an experienced assassin character such as herself, and worse, it lessens the chances of Cassandra being brought back into continuity. If Cassandra does get brought back, she’ll still lose a very important part of her history.
The fact that DC wouldn’t let Brian Q. Miller use Stephanie in his Smallville Season 11 run is also pretty sad. While I do like Barbara, I do see Stephanie more easily as Nightwing than I do Babs given that Steph already has a history of “upgrading” her superhero identity.
As for seeing Steph and Cass on Earth-2, I would actually be all up for them showing up on Earth-2 if this was the pre-Crisis Earth-2, or even the version of Earth-2 I described in the previous post. The current Earth-2 as it stands has been pretty “doom and gloom” from the start, and given that James Robinson is quite fond of fridging characters as shortcuts for moving a story forward, I would honestly keep them as far away from his hands as much as possible.
I am, however, oddly optimistic that we will eventually see Steph and Cass again, and I do hope they get treated better this time around than they have been as of late. One thing I have definitely noticed is consistent with DC is that no character (including female ones) ever stay dead forever.
Hopefully as this new DCU evolves and becomes a better place, more of the characters we love can start coming back again. :)