Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the mute girl that was once Batgirl and then became: Black Bat
Appearances in Heroclix: Batman, Crisis, Cosmic Justice
First Appearance: Batman #567
Team Affiliations: Young Justice, Justice League Elite, League of Assassins, Titans East, Outsiders, Batman Incorporated
Created By: Kelley Puckett, Damion Scott
David Cain sought a perfect bodyguard for Ra’s al Ghul and hoped to breed one, with himself as the father. He believes that he finds a potential mother when he sees Sandra Wu-San (who would go on to become Lady Shiva) fighting her sister Carolyn in a martial arts tournament. Believing that Sandra was holding back for her sister, Cain kills Carolyn and lures Sandra into a deadly trap. He offers her a chance to save her life: give birth to a child and leave it for David to raise. Sandra reluctantly agrees, leaving after giving birth to Cassandra Cain.
Cain trains Cass from birth how to be an assassin, refusing to teach her how to read or write. Instead she is only taught how to read her opponent’s body language. When she is eight, David takes her on her first mission: the assassination of a businessman. Cass read his emotions as he dies and realizes the horrible act she has committed. It is at this point that she escapes her father.
Cassandra Cain reappears after the massive earthquake hits Gotham City acting as one of Oracle’s agents. Though she is mute, she proves herself to both Batman and Oracle by saving Commissioner Gordon and is given the Batgirl costume.
A telepath “rewires” Cass’s brain so that she can think with words and use language but this comes at the cost of her ability to read people’s body language. This weakens her fighting abilities and forces her to undergo intensive training with Bruce Wayne. After finishing this, Cassandra learns that Lady Shiva can read people like she used to be able to. Cass seeks Shiva out and asks her to teach her; Shiva agrees on the condition that they will have a duel to the death one year later. During their battle, Shiva defeats Cass and seemingly kills her. However, Shiva quickly restarts the girl’s heart realizing that Cass has a death wish. Once Cass is alive again, Shiva demands a real fight which Cass wins. She does not, however, kill Lady Shiva.
Cassandra goes on to have a short-lived romance with Conner Kent and helps Batman control violence during a brutal gang war in Gotham City. After saving Gotham, Cass moves to Bludhaven with Tim Drake. During this time a contract is taken out on Batgirl which Deathstroke gives to his daughter, Rose. Rose is defeated by Batgirl and severely injured, forcing father and daughter both to abandon the contract. Batgirl works under Sister Superior to track and eliminate metahuman threats which also leads to her working alongside Green Arrow, the Flash and Coldcast.
Cass eventually begins to amass evidence that points to Shiva being her mother. When she amasses enough she confronts Lady Shiva and is proclaimed by Nyssa al Ghul as the “One Who is All.” The students of the League of Assassins split their allegiances at this point between Shiva and Cassandra. Cass becomes mortally wounded while saving a student and is resurrected by Shiva in a Lazarus Pit. Once alive again, Shiva explains Cassandra’s parentage to her. Cass asks Shiva if she has killed since their last fight and Shiva admits she has. When Cass asks if Shiva will ever stop, Shiva answers, “it’s why I had you.” Mother and daughter fought again and Cass is able to break Shiva’s neck, paralyzing her. Cassandra is about to use a Lazarus Pit on her mother when Shiva begs her not to. Cass instead impales Shiva on a hook and leaves, abandoning the Batgirl identity and becoming a vagabond.
One year later, Cassandra has become the new leader of the League of Assassins. Tim Drake (Robin) kidnaps her father and brings him to the League, not aware that Cassandra is the new leader. She gives Tim a gun and offers him membership in the League. Robin refuses and Cass shoots David herself before battling her former friend. The platform they battle on explodes and gives all members of the fight time to disappear, though Tim has secretly recorded the conversation to clear himself of any murder charges and inadvertently pushing them onto Cassandra.
Cassandra and the League are hired to kill Supergirl and though she nearly defeats the Kryptonian with the use of swords that emit ultraviolet radiation similar to Krypton’s red sun, Supergirl is able to grow crystals from her body that injures Cass. She also obtains a drug that is capable of creating metahuman powers before killing the businessman that had been producing the drug. She joins Titans East as a result of a brainwashing drug used by Deathstroke. Tim Drake is able to inject her with a counter-serum that frees her mind but leaves her demanding vengeance. She fights alongside the other Titans and helps defeat Titans East, about to kill Deathstroke before being knocked unconscious by Nightwing. Deathstroke manages to escape the Titans’ custody and soon after, Cass disappears with Duela Dent.
Cass becomes Batgirl again at the request of Batman and joins a new team of Outsiders. After several missions and the apparent death of Batman, Cass is sure that she was placed on the team for just such an event. Cass takes leadership of the team and gives them their first mission: find Batman.
Some time later, the Outsiders again disband and Cassandra moves into Wayne Manor with a new mission: kill David Cain (who is somehow alive) and Deathstroke for what they did to her. She uses the Batcave’s computer to locate them and though Nightwing does not approve, Batman and Tim Drake both give her the benefit of the doubt. She eventually confronts her father and bests him, but does not kill him. This earns her Batman’s trust.
After Batman’s apparent death, during the Final Crisis, Cassandra passes on the Batgirl mantle to Stephanie Brown and leaves Gotham City. Unbeknownst to many of Batman’s allies, Cass is actually acting under instructions from Batman and is acting on a global scale. When Bruce Wayne returns and creates Batman, Inc, Cass takes on a new moniker: the Black Bat.
Cass, as the Black Bat, later infiltrates a tournament for mercenaries and rescues Tim Drake, now under the name Red Robin. After rescuing Tim, Cass fakes his death via katana in order to win the tournament and allow them both to escape. The pair travel to Hong Kong to confront a ten year old assassin called the Cricket and are easily defeated. Before they pass out, the Cricket tells them he will face them again some day and he hopes they put up a better fight next time.