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Batgirl, a DC Comics monthly series published from 2000-2006, was the first ongoing series to star the character Batgirl, who had existed in the comics continuity since 1967. The starring character was Cassandra Cain, the second woman to hold the Batgirl mantle, which she assumed in the Bat Family Crossover Batman: No Man's Land.
Cassandra Cain had been raised by her father, notorious assassin David Cain, in complete language deprivation. She was never spoken to or taught to speak or read, and as such became adept at interpreting body language, able to deduce complex thoughts and emotions from minute movements. This made her an almost unmatchable fighter, since she could predict where you would strike before you began to move, but also made her completely unable to communicate with other people. When her father had her commit her first murder (at the age of six), she read the victims dying spasms and understood the horror of killing, and ran away. She wound up in Gotham during the "No Man's Land," when the city had been damaged by an earthquake and formally severed from support or authority of the United State government, and received tutoring and care from Oracle (Barbara Gordon), who had been the first Batgirl before she was crippled. When they learned of her history, Oracle and Batman adopted her into the Bat-Family and gave her a costume as Batgirl.
The series focused on her ongoing adventures in crimefighting, as well as her relationships with the other Bat characters, as she attempted to adjust to her new life and heal from the abuse she received as a child. It was cancelled in 2006 and briefly revived for a six-issue limited series in 2008.
- Abusive Parents: Cass's father, notorious assassin David Cain, raised her in complete silence and forced her to kill a man when she was six years old. When he would get angry at her he would shoot her and likewise played "two for flincing" with guns.
- Amazon Brigade: Most of the Gotham street gangs that Cassandra fights are composed solely of women.
- The Atoner: She works as a vigilante because she feels regret of her first kill.
- Back From the Dead: Twice, both times by Lady Shiva
- Black and Grey Morality: Tarakstan is ruled by an oppressive regime supported by foreign interests who have hired Dr. Death to build them biological weapons (One of which turns dead bodies into oil), and it is opposed by a local terrorist organization that kidnaps foreign businessmen and executes hostages.
- Brought Down to Normal: She lost her ability to read body language in favor of normal language comprehension. She gets it back several issues later.
- Captain Obvious: When Superboy wonders how Batgirl managed to discover his secret identity, she first just says "detective," but later also points out that he told her where he lived when they first met.
- Combat Stilettos: Cass once wore Barbara's original Batgirl costume in the hopes that it would help her understand why people reacted to her as they did. She looked beautiful in it (As Robin would not stop commenting), but the high-heels proved horribly impractical to fight in, and she tripped while fighting a pair of common muggers. Even Barbara admits that they were a horrible idea, and she explains that she should have done away with them and worn simple boots instead.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Cass is the darkest of all the Bat characters, wearing a costume of solid black the includes a full-face mask, and frequently terrifies the people she meets even more than Batman. However, she is the one most dedicated to not killing, and is just as helpful and well-meaning as all the other heroes.
- Defiant to the End: After her first fight with Shiva ended badly we have this internal monologue:
Cassandra: Uh-oh. Kill shot. Nothing I can do. Guess I could still... spit on her face.
- The Empath: Non-psychic example: her body-reading skill is so great she can sense what other people are feeling.
- First Kiss: When Spoiler tells Cass that she gave her baby up for adoption (An event that has since been quietly dropped from continuity) Cassandra admits that she has never even been kissed. In a later issue she rides a train to Smallville for the express purpose of kissing Superboy, but they keep getting interrupted and she eventually realizes that she is really just looking for friendship.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: When Cass accidentally ingests the designer drug "Soul," which exaggerates a person's fundamental nature (The good become blissful and passive, while the bad become angry and violent), her internal selves war for control. The "bad" Cass, dressed in red, points out that Cass has every right to be angry and violent given her history, and that her supposed "family" is no better than all the scum she fights on a daily basis. The "good" Cass, dressed in white, points out that her friends are trying, even if they do not get it quite right, and that all they have ever asked in return is that she try as well. The gang of Soul-sellers that are watching her point out that she has good and evil inside of her and they are fighting for control. The bad side wins.
- Interrupted Kiss: Cass rides a train to Smallville seemingly for the express purpose of getting a kiss from Superboy, but they keep getting interrupted. When they finally get to have the kiss, neither of them wants it; Cassandra realizes that she was really just looking for friendship, and Superboy admits that he was terrified of kissing her.
- In the Blood: Cassandra's father is David Cain, notorious assassin, and her mother is Lady Shiva, one of the deadliest martial artists in the world. Cass herself is steadfastly committed to fighting crime and never taking a life.
- Moment Killer: Superboy's first "date" with Batgirl (If it could so be called) kept getting interrupted by such things as a Martha Kent, a low-flying plane and an attacking telepathic monster.
- Monster Sob Story: The "Black Wind," head of a terrorist organization in Tarakstan, joined the insurgents after the oppressive regime killed his entire village at the behest of foreign interests who wanted the oil beneath their village.
- Nonchalant Dodge: Since she can read where her enemies will strike, her most common method of deffense is simply moving away.
- Odd Friendship: Cass and Stephanie Brown, the Spoiler, form one of the oddest pairs there is. Their history is superficially similar, both are the children of supervillains who decided to fight back against their fathers, but Stephanie is a pollyanna Genki Girl who takes even the worst events with a smile.
- Overprotective Dad: Batman is extremely protective of Cass, and has even threatened boys who show an interest in her. This poses some problems when Cass is the one doing the pursuing, especially when the boy is also under the protection/tutelage of Superman.
- The Paralyzer: Cass uses a punch on a specific nerve to keep Spoiler out of the most problematic fights.
- Pregnant Badass: Lady Shiva was one.
- Qurac: Tarakstan, a former Soviet republic where the oppressive regime is supported by American interests and opposed by a local terrorist organization.
- Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: One of the top 5 hand-to-hand fighters in the world, but could not speak or read.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Superboy, it turns out, goes "Eek!" when surprised.
- Self-Parody: Cass's internal battle between good and evil was accompanied by exaggerated parodies of the other Bat-characters. The Oracle fantasy spouts about love, the Batman fantasy spouts about "the mission," and the Robin fantasy will not stop talking about how sexy Cass looked in Barbara's old Batgirl costume (Which, to be fair, the real Robin did, too).
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Even more than Batman, since she knows exactly what one feels during those final moments.
Cassandra: Terror. Then... nothing.
- Violence Really Is the Answer: When given her first chance to do detective work, she does not know how to do it, until:
Barbara Gordon: Of course, you can just beat up every mob in Gotham until you find the right one