In this week's "Batgirl" #1, DC Comics readers dove back into a Gotham City inhabited by heroic Batgirl whose mask was sewn up tightly. With writer Adam Beechen at the helm, her continuity will remain that way, too.
"What we're doing now with the new 'Batgirl' series is reconciling all of [Cassandra Cain's] continuity and figuring out exactly how it makes sense," explained Beechen of the new six-issue miniseries focusing on Batgirl's taking control of her life in the wake years of brainwashing and manipulation. "When I came on to write the miniseries, the first thing I did was to organize the timeline and try and rationalize how all of this could possibly happen. It took a lot of work and a lot of research and a lot of figuring stuff out, and that's what we're going to be doing."
Beechen certainly does have a history with the assassin-turned-hero that is Batgirl, as the scribe worked on both the controversial One Year Later storyline in "Robin" that turned the silent heroine into the leader of an assassin cult, as well as the "Teen Titans" arc that explained her evil actions away as the result of the manipulations of the villain Deathstroke. But as the writer explains, Beechen's tenure with the teen crimefighter had its own series of twists and turns, including his original plans for "Robin" getting thrown for a loop by the moves of his "Titans" collaborator.
"Batgirl showed up in 'Teen Titans' before I got there, when Geoff Johns was writing the book," said Beechen. "Geoff had a plan for how to explain everything that had happened with Cassandra regarding David Cain and [Deathstroke] and how she got to be where she was. In 'Teen Titans,' they explained she had been drugged by [Deathstroke] and that's why she had gone homicidal, and then she was cured of that. Then what happened in 'Robin' a couple of months later was that she showed up again and killed somebody else. And that was because the 'Robin' story was written before the 'Teen Titans' story."
While the "is she/isn't she?" nature of the publishing schedule forced some course corrections on Beechen's part, the writer says that the controversy and continuity issues surrounding Batgirl have made her a more complex character and helped lead to this latest mini. "I think ultimately what it's done is made Cassandra a very confused young lady, and that has played into a lot of the character turns she's taken in the last couple of years since the end of One Year Later. She's as confused about herself as many of the readers have been about her. She doesn't know who she can trust. She doesn't know who her family is or where she belongs.
"That's always been the case with her, and I think part of what we're going to do in the mini series is reconcile all of that and deal with some of that confusion she feels and give her a real place in the world. At least that's what we hope. We hope to reconcile as many issues of her past as we can. This is Cassandra dealing with what's been done to her by David Cain and Deathstroke and feeling the need to do it on her own. This was done to her personally, so she's taking it as a personal mission to right the wrongs that were done to her without involving the Bat family. And because she has recently come back to the side of good, they're not necessarily the most trusting of her. When she is off doing stuff and they're not watching her, they're a little suspicious."
As readers who have already picked up the first issue of "Batgirl" have seen, Cassandra's quest for revenge will lead her to some startling discoveries -- namely that she isn't the only girl on the trail of daddy dearest. "Well, if David Cain raised one girl to be the perfect assassin -- and this is something we explored a little bit over in 'Robin' -- it made sense to me that he would hedge his bets and raise more. He couldn't be certain that any one of the girls would work out, so it made sense to have backups in place," offered Beechen. "Part of what we're doing in this series is introducing the daughters of David Cain. The army he's been gradually assembling this whole time with an eye towards running an assassination empire that could rival The League of Assassins. And not all of those daughters are necessarily on David Cain's side. Like Cassandra, some of them may have gone rogue and be working against Cain. That might be something we're going to explore as the series goes on."
And with legions of kung fu fighting females in the mix, DC tapped "Gotham Underground" penciler Jim Calafiore to draw "Batgirl" -- a choice that has Beecher's inner fanboy bubbling up. "I met Jim last year in San Diego, and we hit it off really well. He did a fantastic Batman sketch in my sketchbook," laughed the writer. "He's incredibly dynamic with his action choreography. Jim and I have had conversations about every script as we've gone along. He's said, 'Can I change this and this so I can make the action flow a little better?' and sure enough it does. And even in the quiet moments, which I think Jim is underrated for, he's done an amazing job. There's a lot of explaining we have to do in the first issue about what has happened to Batgirl, where she's been and how she got there, and Jim found great ways to make even that dynamic and interesting to look at."
In the end, Beechen is hoping the retribution Batgirl will be reaping over the next six months won't go unnoticed by readers and promises that it certainly won't go unnoticed by the Dark Knight himself. "Batman definitely makes an appearance as does the entire Bat family," confirmed the writer. "They're very much a part of this story because they're very much a part of her world. And they're the family that she wants to be part of. So they're going to be around, and they might not be very happy about what Batgirl's doing."
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