why is the cassandra cain batgirl so awesome. i mean, she is really, really awesome. easily the best bat in the cave, & definately one of my favorite of all comic book characters, ever. but, i, uh...i'm not sure i can articulate why. i can't quite put my finger on it. which is a good sign, i think. she's complex as a character. you can't easily reduce her. i like that, you know? & in a female comic book character, which is pretty rare (sadly). you know what though? maybe i'll just babble a little while about why she might be so cool. i don't know. just caught myself thinking about her.
first thing: she's got a good origin story. i mean, you can strip it down to essentials, you can kind of four panel it, like grant morrison did in all-star superman. little girl raised by assassin; never taught to speak; runs away after killing first target; idolizes batman. it has the over-the-top quality (you could say mythic) of a good back-story. sure, you can complicate it with trivia & continuity, but that isn't neccisarily bad (her relationship to shiva is alright). if you don't like it, you can always boil it back down again.
she has a good "power." it isn't really a power, the same way that batman's dedication, training, & gadgets are. she can read body language, she was trained from birth to be an assassin. more storytelling goodies; you can use that kind of short-hand. tells the history of the character without much exposition. she's possibly the greatest living martial artist based on these qualities. i got it.
she also has a distinctive look. the whole tim burton sewn up suit is something that is unique to her (well, & catwoman in the burton film, making it a nice little homage of sorts). she's got a utility belt that looks too big on her, like she's carrying the same stuff as batman despite being half his size. she looks like no one else. not only that, she has a distinctive storytelling style. i only saw it used a little bit, but i thought it was super-effective. since she didn't learn to talk as a child, she learned to read body-language, & i've seen it done so that every person on the page, from the background people in the street to the person in front of her, had a little "body-language" bubble. it was different & cool.
her relationships are golden. she does more than idolize batman; she practically worships him. there is a storyline in which some of the other batfamily realize she's never asked batman his "real name" because it never occured to her: to batgirl, his real name is batman. so cool. she also mentions how much she liked alien, because she identified with the aliens, all creeping, hiding in the rafters, scaring. fucking great. at the same time, she's a teenage girl; she gets embarassed, she tries to make friends. see? facets! also she is a girl. & asian. it speaks volumes that these are not the most important facets of her character. they aren't neglected, though, which also speaks volumes.
which i guess is all a way of saying that i like her because...she's a good character? you don't need too much science to figure the out. of course, she's recently had some downs: her series was cancelled (why?), she became "evil" cassandra cain, which was a stupid editorially mandated decision, they found out she was being given "evil drugs" to make her evil (whatever, at least she can be fixed, then), & now dan didio is saying she's going to be given her own "mini-series." i won't complain. i'll just hope that her mini-series has good talent & does well, so she can maybe get a full fledged series again. fingers crossed.