Cassandra Cain: 1993 - 2008
The daughter of two world-class assassins and martial artists, David Cain and 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, David Cain, a member of Ra's League of Assassins, decided the right genes were necessary to create this perfect warrior.
With Ra's giving him the go ahead, Cain searched for the perfect mother for this child, finding her in the Wu-San sisters who were two of the League's most promising initiates and who had 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 a situation in which she could discover her sister's body and in that moment, Cain attacked, using Sandra's emotional turmoil against her to the point where he defeated her.
Cain spared Sandra from death on the condition that she bear his child and allow him to raise the child to serve the Demon's Head. In her state of confusion and with Ra's al Ghul awaiting her answer, Sandra agreed to Cain's bargain in order that she might go on to become one of Ra's al Ghul's most impressive assassins.
Trained by her father to be the ultimate weapon, Cassandra was not taught to speak. Instead, Cain relied mostly on actions to communicate with her. Also, he cut her off from the outside world, only exposing her to anything or anyone other than him only when absolutely necessary. As a result, the parts of her brain normally used for speech and language processing were trained so she could read other people's movements and body language to recognize their thoughts without verbal communication and predict, with uncanny accuracy, their next move in a fight. This also caused her brain to develop learning functions different from most, a form of dyslexia that hampers her ability to talk, 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. At the time Cassandra had no idea what she was doing and believed it was only a game. 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 defeating not only her father but the dozen or so assassins that the League dispatched to apprehend her before she finally managed to evade them. Unable to read, write, or speak there was one thing for Cass to do: survive. So she did… alone, for six years.
She searched for her mother for a while, without a clue as to who she may have been. Cassandra improved her skills as she traveled, her reading ability enabling her to easily assimilate the styles of other great warriors, just by watching them fight. After seeing a clip of Batman fighting alongside the Justice League on a newscast, Cassandra recognized that he had not only been trained by the League, but by her father.
Believing that the Batman may have known her mother, Cassandra came to Gotham. Her timing could not have been worse. Cassandra found herself stuck in a city that had been walled off, its protector was thought to be dead, and its criminals had been let loose upon the citizens trapped inside the city... all of this orchestrated by her father and his League of Assassins.
Now a street urchin who found her skills in need, Cassandra roamed the streets and alleys of this troubled city in the midst of one of its darkest hours. She became “The Nothing”, an urban legend that prowled the night making no sound, only leaving broken criminals in her wake. That is how Cassandra came to my attention. It took weeks for Helena and Dinah to track her down but she was worth it...
Batgirl: 2008 - 2014
Cassandra became one of my agents mid-crisis. Gotham City had been attacked by terrorists, left in ruins, and Batman had been broken and nearly killed. With Tim Drake acting as a still wet-behind-the-ears-Robin and without a Batman, Gotham was without an effective dynamic duo, causing the burden of the “Batman Brand” to rest solely on Helena Bertinelli as Batgirl. This volatile situation became all the worse when an intense argument between Helena and a severely injured and ornery Bruce caused Helena to abandon the Batgirl mantle and become the Huntress, free from the oversight of Bruce Wayne.
Luckily for me, I had a replacement. I had recruited the mute vigilante, “the Nothing” as one of my agents. With superior fighting skills than me or Helena, Cassandra needed no training. Having no need for a civilian identity, Cassandra’s dedication to the duties of the cowl was around the clock, she patrolled day and night, breaking only to sleep. She was an ideal Batgirl for the time in which she began and was a significant force in winning Gotham back from the brink of destruction. Settling down proved a more difficult undertaking for her, however.
Adopted by Bruce Wayne, Cassandra was forced into undergoing speech therapy and sent to school to get a proper education. During this time, Cassandra became good friends with Tim. The Two studied together by day and patrolled by night, even undertaking the secret training of Stephanie Brown, aka: The Spoiler. The two even became integral members of Young Justice and later, the Titans.
Later, shortly after their graduation, Tim seemingly quit and fled Gotham, leaving Cassandra and Stephanie without notice. During this time, the two teenage girls bonded and became best friends, working even more closely when Stephanie was declared to be Robin, being officially sanctioned by Batman. It was that same summer that David Cain came to Gotham on assignment from the League, resulting in a confrontation which ended with Cassandra proving her mettle by besting her father in personal combat and then to finally prove to him that he had failed in his experiment: she refused to kill him.
Way to go, girl!
Black Bat: 2014 - 2016
After putting her father behind bars at Arkham, Cassandra Cain began making significant use of the speech therapy she had underwent as Bruce Wayne’s adopted child and would vent her anger and frustrations to the man who raised her to be an assassin. Much to her surprise, her father eventually apologized to her and as a gesture of goodwill, gave Cassandra something he never had before, the identity of her mother.
Learning that she was the daughter of Sandra Wu-San (aka: Lady Shiva), Cassandra requested permission from Bruce to leave Gotham on a search for her mother. Bruce agreed to her terms and allowed Cassandra to pass on the mantle of Batgirl and put Gotham behind her. She created the identity of Black Bat to use while operating out of Gotham and helped several overseas affiliates of the newly founded Batman, Inc. in the course of her search.
Cassandra eventually tracked her mother down to Hong Kong and Cassandra set up shop there for the better part of the year, cleaning up the streets of the city at night while searching for leads on her mother’s whereabouts. Ultimately, Cassandra did not have to find her mother, Lady Shiva found her.
The two had several long conversations and several ended with fisticuffs and thousands of dollars in collateral damage to property; but the two came to and understanding and even worked together a number of times before Lady Shiva’s methods proved too violent for Cassandra and the two had a complete falling out, resulting in the most brutal fight of all between the master-class martial artist. In the end the daughter proved to be the better and left her mother to live with the shame of knowing she was no longer unbeatable.
Back home, Black Bat has become a regular sight in Gotham and with "The Team", though when Cassandra’s college schedule allows, she often ventures off on solo foreign assignments to keep tabs on the League operations. Her schedule does not allow much for romance or a social life, but so long as she gets to spend time with Tim or Steph here and there, Cass is content..
- Physical Conditioning: Through continuous intense training, Cassandra represents the greatest fighting weapon ever conceived. She possesses peak levels of strength, stamina, speed and agility possible for a person of her size and build, truly comparable to the finest human athletes.
- 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 the al Ghul sisters. Upon taking the mantle of Batgirl, she was trained further by Batman, myself, Black Canary, and Ted Grant (who after one lesson told Bruce to not bother bringing her by again). She has also invented her own styles and techniques. Cassandra remains the only person I've ever seen able to regularly defeat both Batman and Black Canary, at the same time, in a sparring match.
- The Falling Leaf Technique: A nerve pinch invented by Chinese monks in the 16th Century. Cassandra and her father are believed to be the only living people who know how to use it.
- Leopard Blow: A maneuver created by her mother, Cassandra is one of the few people in the world capable of executing this attack.
- Body Reading Ability: Cassandra has the advanced ability to read body language enabling her to read what people are 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 nonhuman 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.
- Assassin: Cassandra is schooled in all known and many unknown assassin techniques such as pressure points, killing techniques and stealth to name a few.
- Investigation: Cassandra has had plenty of time to learn detective methods simply by watching Tim Drake and Bruce Wayne in the field.
- Stealth: Due to her excessive training she is also a master of stealth. This ability was furthered during her time as The Nothing. Basically put, if Cass doesn't want you to know she is there, you'll have no idea.
- Dyslexia: Cassandra has extreme dyslexia, making it very difficult for her to read and write. Though she has improved significantly thanks to mundane and psychic therapy, she has let her regular therapy sessions lapse as she realized that as those skills improved, her combat-instincts eroded.
- Over-Reliance on Body Reading Ability: While a definite strength in combat, Cassandra's ability to read body language can work against her when she can't properly discern an the intent of the opponents actions based on body language. Generally this can be happen when an opponent is very good ad disguising their intent like Slade Wilson, who can keep Cassandra distracted with subtle body language that could hint at many possible actions (Cassandra stated that when Slade moves, his body "sings like a chorus. Too fast with too many voices to pick up accurately".) In another instance it could be that an opponent isn't thinking or focusing on their movements as they make them like when Cassandra tried to stop a gunshot from a cybernetically enhanced assassin (KGBeast) but couldn't because his cybernetics took over the aiming for him independently of his movements. The last way in which this weakness manifests is when Cassandra is facing an opponent who is mentally unstable or ill. Such an opponent is simply too unpredictable to anticipate. When Cassandra fought the Joker, the Joker had an edge in the beginning of the fight because she couldn't understand the Joker's body language or as Batman put it "she can read his body language too, but his body language just comes out as gibberish".
Trivia and Notes
- Cassandra has scars across her back, arms, and legs from bullet wounds made by her father during her childhood training, teaching her how to evade gunfire.
- Cassandra Cain takes two hour long showers, treating it more like an act of spiritual meditation than an act of hygienic need.
- Cassandra has a very healthy appetite and has been known to shovel her food by the fork-full when given the chance. Not to mention ordering meal sizes more suited for people twice her size and shape.
- Apparently, Cassandra is quite the lightweight when it comes to booze. Half a beer and she's wasted.
- Due to her comparative lack of experience in socializing with other people and/or communication, Cassandra often takes to mimicking the actions, mannerisms and sayings of those around her.
- Cassandra's bedrooms in both Wayne Manor and in the Wayne Foundation Penthouse are very spartan, despite Alfred's attempts to spruce them up. Her only piece of decor being a single rose she leaves on her window sill, only replacing it once it withers and wilts.
- Cassandra possess extraordinarily high levels of serotonin, so much so that I have to wonder if her father had El Penitente perform some experiments on her as an infant.
- Due to her upbringing, Cassandra was unable to understand words being spoken and used body language to understand what people were saying. Eventually, she gained the ability to process and attach meaning to words. Now she is quite capable of speech, but still struggles with reading writing due to severe dyslexia.
- Cassandra admitted to me that she used to want nothing more than to die, over the guilt she felt from the single life she took. She has since come to accept that she is a champion of good and the lives she has saved outweigh the one she took.
- Her first spoken word was "Stop", warning Tim Drake that he was about to step on a landmine.
- Cassandra's favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate.
- Her favorite drink is Assam tea.
- The terrorist cult known as CRIME believe that Cassandra Cain is a being known as 'Who Is All' and have sought to recruit her many times, even being so bold as to assault Wayne Manor in an attempt to abduct her. Luckily, Batman had a rather quick response time to that assault and therefore Cassandra did not have to risk exposing her secret identity.
- Cassandra's first kiss was Conner Kent.
- Of Bruce's adopted children, Cassandra is the one to use her adopted name more regularly than her birth name, choosing to go by Cassandra Wayne on all official documents.
- Cassandra likes to hum songs while on patrol, her favorite being Schoolhouse Rock. When she's in a playful mood, she'll hide in shadows and hum loudly as she dashes between cover, causing criminals to believe she is all around them and just when she has them panicked, she drops in behind them and says "Boo." I know at least three wet themselves immediately.
- Due to her difficulty at reading, Cass chooses to take the same classes as Tim or Steph and then when studying, she meditates and has them read the text out loud to her.
- Cassandra is studying Physical Education at Gotham State University.
- There was an idea of Cassandra taking over the mantle of Batman (after adjusting and padding the suit) after Bruce's near death experience, but she was sent on a mission to find Joey Wilson.
- She made contact with Evey Hammond during a mission in London.