I guess I’ve hit that point on “the shelf” where I’m reading the comics that don’t seem to directly tie in to the impending Infinite Crisis storyline as much as others. At least here, I’m met with a story that I enjoyed more than Rann-Thanagar War. Focusing on Batgirl, we follow Cassandra Cain as she attempts to learn the identity of her mother. Her father, Cain, refuses to tell her, and while she and Batman have a prime suspect in mind, she wants proof.
Traveling thousands of miles, Cassandra comes face to face with both Nyssa, the new Demon’s Head, and Lady Shiva, who has taken over the role of teacher for the League of Shadows. Cassandra confronts Lady Shiva, demanding to know if this is the mother she never knew.
Lady Shiva plays coy, refusing to give a firm answer. Meanwhile, Cassandra must battle through an army of assassins, being led by both Nyssa and Shiva.
The fighting scenes were fun, but I was much more interested in the story. In a surprising twist, Cassandra is fatally wounded, but Lady Shiva saves her and places her in Nyssa’s Lazarus Pit.
(Good thing too, because if something bad happened to another female member of the Bat-family, I would have been pissed.)
At this point we finally get the epic confrontation between Shiva and Cassandra, at which point Shiva reveals that yes, she is Cassandra’s mother, giving us the whole sordid tale. The two agree to have their final battle, presumably to the death.
The fight is well-fought on both sides, but Cassandra is victorious. She leaves Shiva to die, hanging from a hook about the Lazarus Pit. Of course, we also see a closeup of Shiva’s cloak tearing, implying that she could easily fall into the Pit and be resurrected, so I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of her.
The story closes with Cassandra reflecting on who she is. She comments that she doesn’t feel like an assassin, nor a costumed crime-fighter. Does this mean that her role as Batgirl is at an end? The comic isn’t really clear, and while I’d hate to see her go, this is a pretty good swan song for Batgirl. She’s always been a character in search of her identity, and maybe now she’s finally found it. If that means she has to finally break free from Batman, so be it. She wasn’t really working with him anymore anyway, having relocated to Bludhaven. I just hope this isn’t the end of her character. She’s far too nuanced and interesting to let fall by the wayside.
All in all, a pretty solid comic. It may not tie into the countdown to Infinite Crisis, but it’s still a solid story that helps propel an intriguing character. Hopefully Cassandra continues to play a role in future stories, either as Batgirl or as a unique character in her own right.