Missing: Cassandra Cain
I love Stephanie Brown, favourite character in DC Comics, easy. But, I have to acknowledge the kind of horribly problematic elements in her becoming Batgirl. Or even her coming back to the DC universe before Cassandra Cain.
In the line of canonical Batgirls, Cain was the second after Barbara Gordon. She was the first Batgirl to have her own book, which ran from 2000 to 2006. At which point she turned evil, which was then retconned as her being brainwashed. Like a lot of retcons, it seems more tacked on to please fans then anything else, but her brainwashing causes her to feel disillusioned. She quits being Batgirl, gives the costume to Stephanie Brown and goes on to become Black Bat in Hong Kong.
One tiny thing I’ve left out is that her and Brown are pretty good friends. During the period in continuity when Brown was “dead” (Later retconned so she was in Africa after faking her death.), her ghost appeared to Cain various times.
But once Brown takes over as Batgirl, Cain is very rarely mentioned, let alone seen. And it wasn’t confined to the Batgirl book, most Batman-related books ignored her entirely or left it off at “She’s in Hong Kong.”
I love Brown’s Batgirl series, but I can acknowledge that taking away one of the strongest relationships she had and making it seem almost like a footnote in her life takes away from the book. It would’ve maybe solved a lot of the problems in the first couple issues, where pretty much the rest of the Batman characters either don’t trust Brown or think she won’t be able to be Batgirl if Cain was there to defend her.
This is ignoring the implications of shuffling the Asian Batgirl out of the spotlight to replace her with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white woman.
Cassandra Cain was one of the few people of colour to be featured so prominently in the Batman canon. She was one of the few Asian heroes to get their own book, especially one that lasted as long as her’s did.
She deserved more than to be shoved and hidden away to make way for the new Batgirl. She doesn’t deserve to gather dust while Stephanie Brown has fan campaign after fan campaign to get back in the DC Universe.