- I've been avoiding you. It's... your background. The assassin training and all that. It's just... my childhood's so normal. I mean, Batman and Nightwing had some rough stuff to deal with growing up, but... but you -- you were raised to be that guy down there, and you turned yourself into one of us. That's... pretty intimidating.
The daughter of David Cain and Sandra Wu-San (Lady Shiva), Cassandra Cain was conceived and trained from birth with the intention of creating the perfect bodyguard for Ra's al Ghul. After many unsuccessful attempts to train children from birth in martial arts to make them inculcate it like a native language (the most successful being The Mad Dog), David Cain, then a member of Ra's League of Assassins, decided the right genes were necessary to create this "One Who Is All". With Ra's go ahead Cain searched for the perfect mother for this child, finding her in the Wu-San sisters of Detroit, who practiced martial arts with each other nearly every moment of their childhood in a type of sister's language. Cain sympathized with the younger sister, Sandra, when he noticed that she held back out of love for Carolyn. To "help" Sandra reach her full potential, Cain murdered Carolyn, then lured Sandra into an ambush by the League of Assassins, where he defeated her. Cain spared Sandra from death on the condition that she bear his child, and leave her for him to raise. Awed by the potential heights she could reach in her physical talents now that Carolyn was gone, Sandra agreed to Cain's bargain in order that she might go on to become the unstoppable force of nature known as Lady Shiva: creator and destroyer. Shiva's hope for her child was that she might one day grow to be the one force that could stop her reign of destruction.
Trained by her father to be the ultimate weapon, Cassandra was not taught to speak. Instead, the parts of her brain normally used for speech were trained so she could read other people's movements and body language and predict, with uncanny accuracy, their next move. This also caused her brain to develop learning functions different from most, a form of dyslexia that hampers her ability to read and write.
When she was 8 years old, Cain decided his experiment had progressed far enough for him to test Cassandra's abilities in the real world, and took her to a hit; the target being Faizul, a 'book man' in Macau. At the time Cassandra had no idea what she was doing and believed it was only a game (an interpretation in keeping with her own reaction to what happened, and matching the interpretation of Alfred Pennyworth, an expert on children who saw a tape of events). After striking a deathblow, she "read" the target as he died, and saw death as he saw it.
In addition to scarring her emotionally, she realized murder, like her father's profession, was wrong, and she ran away from her father.
No Man's Land
Cassandra spent the next nine years homeless, beating herself up mentally over what she'd done as she traveled the world. Entering Gotham City at 17 Cassandra came to be one of Oracle's agents in the No Man's Land of Gotham City. After saving Commissioner Gordon's life from her assassin father, she was given the Batgirl costume with the approval of both Batman and Oracle. She became Barbara's ward and in a sense, the Batman's adoptive daughter. As the No Man's Land wore on, the new Batgirl was introduced to the rest of the Bat-clan with varying levels of acceptance. Usually going out under the Batman's watchful eye she was finally allowed to go on a solo mission when a petrol station needed guarding against a local gang. Near the end of No Man's Land, Batman noticed her death wish and forced her to make a decision between suicidal actions and self preservation. She opted for self preservation.
Despite her notable handicap of being unable to talk, read or write Cassandra did remarkably well. Capable of understanding others' intentions due to her ability to read body language she was a more than capable listener, even if she couldn't reply. It was this trait that made her one of the Batman's most loyal and trusted followers and helped her to survive when the Bat-clan became hunted by the Blood Hawks. Although the fact that she couldn't talk frustrated Barbara Gordon, she proved herself useful in other ways during a team up with the spectral vigilante Ghost in hunting down disappearing corpses. The running successes and final understanding of her mission as Batgirl allowed Batman to give her the privilege of running solo in Gotham City on the condition that she faced no 'costumed criminals' (Joker, Bane, Two Face, Penguin, etc)
- Remember. On those streets, you...are me.
From going undercover in Madras with Batman to saving local heroes from the mob, Cassandra continued to impress as the new Batgirl. Especially when, despite Batman's warnings, she went face to face with a meta-human and won. She even managed to, despite her restriction to Gotham City, make it on the reserve member list of Young Justice.
But Cassandra's career was not the only thing that was growing. In the background a rift between Oracle and Batman was slowly emerging, as was the growing image of Batman as a father figure in Cassandra's eyes but the major development was David Cain's growing longing to have his daughter back.
Batman learned about Cassandra's past when Cain transmitted a tape he had made of Faizul's death to the Batcave. Nevertheless, Batman continued to accept Cassandra. Things became more strained when a run-away psychic altered Cassandra's mind so that she could understand words. As an after effect she lost her ability to read body language and thus, her ability to fight. After she almost died while trying to protect the psychic from assassins, Batman took away her costume and began retraining her.
The training remained ineffective however, perhaps due to Cassandra's dwelling on her lost ability instead of focusing on accumulating more, and Cassandra wanted to roam the streets, with or without the costume.
It was during one of these 'unauthorized' vigilante outings that she encountered her mother. Lady Shiva noted Cassandra's missing skills and offered to train in a way that will allow her to possess them again but in exchange they will fight in one year. A death duel. Cassandra accepted.
Duel to the Death
Cassandra began training immediately; going after every talented fighter she came across in order to gain more skills. After hearing how notorious the Joker was withing the Bat-clan, she freed him in order to apprehended him again in order to gauge just how good he was. Batman and Oracle deduced that Cassandra had not given up her death wish away and that it was due to guilt over her murdering Faizul. They began looking into what had brought the death wish back.
Her reckless training was interrupted when an Officer Down was called over the frequencies. Batman's longtime ally and friend, Commissioner Gordon had been shot in cold blood.
It was during yet another training session in the Batcave that Cassandra first met her future friend Stephanie Brown (The Spoiler).
It wasn't long until Batman gave her a cave of her own to operate from and her training crusade continued as she found even more powerful opponents like Bizzaro, Supergirl and Shadow Thief during the Joker's Last Laugh, as well as numerous female villains during the aftermath of Our Worlds at War. These activities had not gone unnoticed by Batman and Oracle; Despite Oracle's protests Batman allowed Cassandra to continue until the fateful day arrived that Cassandra fought Shiva on the building tops of Gotham City. Shiva won the battle fairly easily, killing Cassandra with a shot to a nerve cluster near the heart. After the battle, within a temple devoted to her, Shiva brought Cassandra back to life and requested another fight. This time, with her death wish satisfied, Cassandra Cain won and became the first to defeat Lady Shiva in martial combat.
Unfortunately the victory would be short lived; Bruce Wayne was in jail under suspicion of murder. Cassandra arrived back at the cave in time to see Batman leave. It was during an investigation into the murder that Cassandra discovered that Batman and Bruce Wayne were in fact the same person. Later she, along with Spoiler and Nightwing, discovered critical clues that pointed to Bruce Wayne's innocence and, eventually, incriminating evidence to the real culprit: David Cain.
Fists of Fury
Her father safely behind bars and no battle-to-the-death with Shiva to train for, Cassandra focused on her crime fighting career.
Following War Games, the Gotham City Police Department declared all costumed heroes illegal. Because of this and Nightwing being injured during the War Games, Batman suggested that he and Batgirl move to Blüdhaven, as well as financially supporting the two.
There, she quickly made a name for herself by defeating the Society of Evil. Deathstroke later took on a contract from the Penguin to kill Batgirl and decided to let his daughter Rose Wilson (the current Ravager) do the job instead. Cassandra beat Rose by critically wounding her and giving Deathstroke no choice but to get her medical attention.
It was during fathers' day that Cassandra became infatuated with knowing who her mother was. Interrogating all the contacts she had (including Batman and her father, David Cain) she eventually found her mother to be Lady Shiva.
Cassandra joined the Justice League Elite, masquerading as an assassin named Kasumi to monitor the team for Batman and participated in several missions with them. Ultimately she helped them save the world from the Worlogog and a psychic impression of Manchester Black that had taken over the team's leader, Vera Black. She revealed herself to her teammate Coldcast to tell him that he was not a bad person before he was accused of murder due to the death of a target on a mission, and stood by him in clearing his name.
One Year Later
Returning to Gotham City Cassandra discovered that not only had her adoptive family left on a year-long training trip without her but that Batman had left a recently cured Two-Face to protect Gotham in his stead. Despite this Cassandra still retained the Batgirl persona and patrolled Gotham while staying at Wayne Manor under Alfred's care. Due to Alfred's influence Cassandra would gradually learn to read and write due to her attending ESL classes between her nightly activities. It was during one of these patrols however that Deathstroke managed to not only inject her with a controlled dose of his serum but influence her enough to join him in a plan to form an army involving David Cain's 'daughters'. Under Slade's influence Cassandra gained control of a part of the League of Assassins, assassinating Nyssa al Gul in the process, and became a member of his Titan's East. As leader of the League of Assassins she also, again under Slade's control, attempted to kill Kara Zor-el and masterminded the escape of David Cain from prison. She would eventually be freed from the serum's influence when Timothy Drake injected her with an antiserum during a confrontation between the Teen East and the Teen Titans, however, suffering residual effects of the drug, she briefly worked for David Cain in attaining the drug Pheno before fully coming to her senses and returning to the Bat Family.
Feeling partially responsible for what happened to her Batman allowed her to return after a strict detoxification program and had her under strict curfew. Nightwing however was not so accepting, regarding her with open hostility and suspicion. When Cassandra began seeking vengeance upon her father and Slade for drugging her she had to do it secretly due to their mistrust but eventually she was found out, resulting in her clashing with Nightwing and stealing a Batwing from the Batcave. The ordeal however resulted in Cassandra being cleared from the suspicion of Slade and her father’s influence and being officially adopted as Bruce Wayne's daughter.
With Batman's invitation Cassandra began working in the Outsiders team and, despite some mistrust from some members due to her recent activities under Slade, she was accepted as part of the team. However when Batman suddenly disappeared without word or warning and Cassandra took it upon herself to lead, the team fractured from an attack by the Black Glove and a shunned Cassandra was left to return to a demolished Batcave.
With the absence, and now suspected death, of Batman Cassandra created the Network as a countermeasure to his absence. This action was not well received by Nightwing who was having trouble coming to grips with his adoptive-father’s possible death. The two would eventually sort out their conflict after Alfred intervened on a fight between the two. Cassandra handed over further creation of the Network to Nightwing.
When the third crisis hit Cassandra was among the heroes responding to an Article X draft to combat the rise of Darkseid.
Following the Battle for Batman's cowl Cassandra began to feel emotional about her adoptive father's death, becoming disillusioned and passing her costume on to Stephanie Brown who becomes the new Batgirl. Cassandra leaves via the Gotham Airport, warning Stephanie not to follow her. After Batman's return, it was revealed that Cassandra had handed over her Batgirl mantle to Stephanie, acting under her mentor's order in the event of his death or disappearance and because giving over the role would help Stephanie become a stronger hero. Drake had been in regularly contact with her, implying that she's been working as an anonymous agent in Batman's plans.
Shortly thereafter, Red Robin visited her in person at Hong Kong to exchange information on cases they were working with, on the crime boss and possible undercover cop Lynx and a mysterious assassin known as Cricket that Cassandra was searching for. Aside from the minor aid they offered each other, Tim had brought her a new costume with a Bat on it to replace the plain black costume she had been wearing even since she gave her Batgirl uniform and name to Stephanie, telling her that it didn't matter if she called herself Bat-Chick, Knightbat, or Black Robin, she had a family. She thanked him but said that family is not always home as she left, giving no sign she'd use the new costume but taking it with her regardless. Drake noted that despite her not wanting to be Batgirl any more, there was no sign she was being anything but true to herself and who she had wanted to become.
Cassandra later becomes an operative of Batman Incorporated protecting Hong Kong, using the suit given to her by Tim and calling herself Blackbat. Bruce Wayne has her take down a neo-heroin smuggling operation.
Black Bat travelled to Paris following a homing signal to Red Robin to the final site in a tournament of assassins, saving him from being raped by Daughter of Acheron, Ra's Al-Ghul's half sister, and defeated the vigilante Promise while freeing Drake. Cassandra then proceeded to take a sword and impale Tim in the chest, triggering confirmation that she had won the tournament, being only the eight in history to do so, and activating a system that would 'immortalize' her, by killing her with a laser. Red Robin saved her from the beam, and the two revealed they had faked Red Robin's death, using a trick sword, blood packets, and a stopped heart to fool the temple's automated systems. They attempted to examine the base, but although Tim conversed with the assassin tournament's creator, a previously unknown centuries old immortal, the base self destructed before they could learn any close as to his location.
Red Robin came to Hong Kong to assist Black Bat in Cassandra's hunt for Cricket, but Red Robin and Black Bat were defeated by the superhumanly fast assassin, badly injuring Tim including having an arm and several ribs broken, and Cricket promised to fight Cassandra 'For real' next time.
It is unknown what role Cassandra will play in the New 52 continuity, however the writers have stated that she does exist and resume her role as Blackbat and part of the Bat Family.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Peak Human Conditioning: Through continuous intense training Cassandra represents the greatest fighting weapon ever conceived. She possesses peak level strength, stamina, speed and agility comparable to the finest human athlete.
- Martial Arts: Due to her life long training Cassandra has a master level knowledge of all fighting arts known and unknown and continues to learn with every new opponent she faces. She was trained by her father (David Cain), along with several other members of the League of Assassins, including Bronze Tiger, Merlyn and Alpha. Upon taking the mantle of Batgirl, she was trained further by Batman, Oracle, Black Canary, and then by Lady Shiva, and has received supplementary instruction from Onyx. She has also invented her own styles and techniques such as the 'Falling Leaf' technique.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Cassandra is schooled in all known and many unknown assassin techniques such as pressure points, killing techniques and stealth to name a few.
- Body Reading Ability: Cassandra has the advanced ability to read body language enabling her to read what a person is thinking and tell what they are going to do next before they do it. She has been shown able to read opponents far faster than herself, along with non humans and even alien lifeforms once she is given a chance to learn their body language. This enables her to identify disguised and transformed people as well.
- Investigation: She was also very briefly trained in detective methods by Tim Drake during their time in Blüdhaven.
- Stealth: Due to her excessive training she is also a master of stealth. This ability was furthered during her time as The Nothin and Kasumi.
Cassandra possesses the peak human strength level of a woman her age, size and weight, in addition who engages in intensive regular exercise and combat training. Cassandra is capable of press lifting at least twice her own weight and can lift 230 lbs while running. Her strength makes her capable of swinging uninjured with a grapple.
- Mental Suggestion: She is vulnerable to mental suggestions via some foreign narcotics, particularly psychotropics.
- Dyslexia: Cassandra has extreme dyslexia, making it very difficult for her to read.
- Batgirl Suit
- Utility Belt
- Shadow Belt: (formerly) During her time as Kasumi on the Justice League Elite, she wore a belt of Thanagarian origin that allowed her to transform into and travel intangibly as a living shadow. Kasumi mostly used this when the team was on under-cover missions as the metahuman gang member The Nothing, the shadow form covering even her Kasumi disguise.
- As Cassandra Cain, Batman #567 (July, 1999); (As Batgirl) Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #120
- The Batgirl profile at DC Comics gives Cassandra's eye color as brown, but is given as green in the DC Comics Encyclopedia.
- In 2000, Cassandra Cain became the first Batgirl to get her own ongoing self-titled comic book series (Barbara Gordon Batgirl having been featured in a couple of one-shot releases).
- The alias "Black Bat" may refer to two unrelated heroes featured in different pulp magazine series during 1930s, well known for their similarity to Batman.
- Cassandra has scars across her back from bullet wounds made by her father during her childhood training.
- She tended to keep a rose around during her time as Batgirl.
- High levels of serotonin. 
- She possessed a death wish due to guilt over killing. Resulted in nightmares and self destructive behavior (seemingly solved after second encounter with Lady Shiva). 
- First word was "Stop". 
- Her favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate.
- Cassandra's birthday is January 26th.
- Her favorite tea is Assam. 
- Cassandra was called One Who Is All by Lady Shiva.
- Cassandra's first kiss was Conner Kent
- Cassandra was formally adopted by Bruce Wayne and now goes by Cassandra Cain-Wayne.
- Batgirl (Volume 1)
- Batgirl (Volume 2)
- Batman: No Man's Land
- Bruce Wayne: Fugitive
- Batman: War Games
- Robin: Wanted
- 209 Appearances of Cassandra Cain (New Earth)
- 130 Images featuring Cassandra Cain (New Earth)
- 25 Quotations by or about Cassandra Cain (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Cassandra Cain (New Earth)
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This character is or was primarily a member of the super-hero team known as the Outsiders, in any of its various incarnations. They are a black ops team dedicated to fighting evil and taking the fall in public opinion that bigger groups like the Justice League cannot, started by Batman to avoid being crippled by public relations needs. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Outsiders members" category.
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This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.