A Timeless Story
Cassandra Cain goes on a quest to find out who she is outside of her father’s nefarious influence in Shadow of the Batgirl from all-star writer Sarah Kuhn with art by Nicole Goux.
Shadow of the Batgirl is a timeless coming of age story that explores Cassandra Cain’s origin story, introducing the character for young fans who haven’t met her yet while also giving established fans a fresh look at one of the most beloved members of the Bat Family.
All Cassandra Cain ever knew was fighting and killing. When one of her targets begs her to think of his daughter before killing him, she has an existential crisis that sends her away from her father and his team of assassins. She finds herself in a library, where she works to figure out who she is and what she stands for.
Kuhn and Goux give Cassandra many layers that are stripped away throughout the story. She is very tough and capable of killing grown men, but without language she is also incredibly vulnerable.
Life In The Library
Thanks to endless reading material and Barbara’s reading groups, Cassandra eventually figures out how to express herself. She’s very bright and she’s a very fast learner, and the more she learns the more she realizes that she can never return to her previous life.
Even though she sees herself as being alone, Cassandra actually surrounds herself with friends who care about her. Jackie, Erik and Barbara Gordon are all there for her, and when they are in danger Cassandra springs into action to protect them. Without realizing it, she has found herself a family of her very own.
Seen AND Heard
Obviously kids are not raised to be assassins, but Cassandra’s story resonates so strongly because there are tons of kids who don’t feel seen by the people around them. Whether they’re struggling with who they are, searching for their own identities or even as they struggle with physical or emotional abuse, what’s important is that they are looking for a place to fit in. A place where they can be themselves.
Cassandra has been raised to be a stealthy assassin, which is why her father never taught her to speak. At first she can’t express herself verbally but she finds ways to communicate with the people around her and when she eventually finds her voice she makes sure to use it to stand up for herself help people around her. She won’t be bullied ever again, and she will protect the people in her life who matter to her.
Dawn of the Batgirl
Throughout the story there are mentions of Batgirl and her disappearance. Cassandra comes to understand that Batgirl never kills people, rather she saves people, and so Batgirl’s legend becomes an inspiration for her.
Batgirl is MIA and Barbara is in a wheelchair so it’s easy to put two and two together. When she learns that Cassandra is the daughter of an assassin, she reveals that she used to be Batgirl before an accident grounded her. She offers Cassandra a chance to become Gotham City’s newest heroine, giving the youngster an outlet to help people and forge her own path.
The story is a celebration of self-discovery, friendship and teamwork. Kuhn weaves a tale that any reader – young or old – can relate to, and Goux brings the story to life with vivid illustrations and a dynamic look for the characters. Once again DC’s young adult graphic novels deliver an enchanting coming of age story that will inspire readers to find their voices and be seen.
Shadow of the Batgirl is available at your local comic book shop and wherever comic books are sold.