The New Batgirl Debuts aka DC Comics Shows Us Their Idea of Diversity


Written on 10:25 PM by Jack B.

So the new much-hyped Batgirl debuted today in Batgirl #1. DC had kept the identity of the new Batgirl a secret, hyping the mystery of who it was to get readers interested in the book. Favorite canditates included the former Batgirls: Barbara Gordon (the paraplegic computer whiz & information broker now known as Oracle) or Cassandra Cain, the Eurasian daughter of master assassin David Cain who was raised mute, knowing only the language of body language. After her first kill as a child, she resolve d never to kill again and with Batman (and Barbara's) blessing became Batgirl. In that role she had a series that lasted over 70 issues. Then DC Editorial decided to turn her into a Dragon Lady Asian-stereotype killer, Head of the League of Assassins and arch-enemy of Robin (who knew now could read and write fluent Navajo despite previously not knowing how to read at all). The writer DC assigned to her admitted he didn't much about the character before writing her with just the instructions to turn her into Robin's enemy. So he turned a girl who was agonized over the training her father brought her through, terrified over her first and only kill, and resolved never to kill again into a STONE COLD KILLER. Yes, really. When this storyline backfired Geoff Johns ret-conned the idea that she had been brainwashed by Deathstroke to explain her actions and then DC gave Adam Beechen (the man who had written Robin and destroyed her character) the task of writing a mini-series that would bring Cass Cain back to hero status - in other words the guy who did the damage in the first place was able to do more. Needless to say, the mini-series did poorly and when the Batgirl series was announced, few really thought it would be Cassandra back under the cowl.

So the other options were Charlotte "Charlie" Gage-Radcliffe, a teenage orphan Barbara Gordon took in who had super-powers (teleportation, super-healing). Charlie was a possibility other it would have meant giving a super human a "Bat" cowl - not something usually done in such a usually street-level "realistic" series.

And so we come to Stephanie Brown, the former heroine known as the Spoiler, daughter of a D-level super-villain (the Cluemaster), former girlfriend of Tim Drake (aka the third Robin) and herself the first and only female Robin (it was all a gambit by Batman to get Tim back as Robin). She supposedly "died" in the Batman War Games storyline but was ret-conned (by writer Chuck Dixon) to have been alive all this time (living in Africa). So now she's back in Gotham, Tim is mad at her (and the world), Bruce Wayne is "dead" (long story), Dick Grayson is Batman, Bruce's demon-seed son Damien is Robin and her best friend, Cassandra Cain, is Batgirl. Or at least she was. In yet another out-of-character-action Cassandra just dumps the Batgirl suit on Stephanie (who had promised to give up being Spoiler) and walks away (despite being devoted to the idea of the "Bat" and Batman's mission).

and so....
Behold, the new Batgirl:
As many expected it was indeed the ex-Spoiler, Stephanie Brown. Don't get me wrong. I really like Steph. She's a good character. But ... when you combine the new Batgirl with Superman's cousin, Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl:
And combine them both with Wonder Woman's protegee, Cassandra Sandsmark, Wonder Girl:
See any similarities? Yes, indeed. The three female protegees/namesakes of DC Comic's "Big 3": Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are now ALL white blonde teenagers. DC Editorial Head Dan Didio always says he wants to bring more diversity to the DCU's heroes. Well, way to go, Dan. Some of your more high profile and well-known characters are now all versions of what appears to be Jessica Simpson - now that's diversity!

Meanwhile in another corner of Gotham, the now-former Batgirl Cassandra Cain still waits - for a good writer:

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