Celebrating Ten Years of Batgirl: July – August 1999

We continue our look at the history of the greatest of Batgirls by focusing on the rest of the summer of 1999. Last time, Cassandra (Although not known by that name yet) had been given the mantle of Batgirl by Batman and Barbara Gordon and even got to meet the rest of the bat family. This great honor has been bestowed on her, so where do things go from here? Well Batgirl teams up with a certain Agent of the Bat.Azrael_No.056_p00

Azrael: Agent of the Bat #56 is written by the great Denny O’Neil with art by Roger Robinson. Batgirl makes quite the entrance into the issue and shows how she is not to be taken lightly right away.

Azrael_No.056_p07

 Azrael_No.056_p08

Haha I love that she took him out without bruising him. I Azrael_No.056_p12can guarantee you Stephanie Brown can’t do that! Cassandra had style! For the record this issue marks the first meeting of Batgirl and Leslie Thompkins.

Later on in the issue, Azrael explains how the suit effects  him to Batgirl and once again she shows how much of a spectacular fighter she is. She has Batman’s disappearing trick down and this is her first full issue in costume. She is the true heir to the bat.

Azrael_No.056_p13

Batgirl’s communication with body language alone really made her the type of character you need a talented artist on. (And even though she can talk now, Cassandra chooses to use her “native tongue” instead of oral communication more often.) Roger Robinson pulled it off nicely.

Since her career as Batgirl really begins with this issue I will be tracking some statistics from here on out.

Issue Firsts:

Meeting with Leslie Thompkins

Being Written by Denny O’Neil

Being Penciled by Roger Robinson

Knock-Out Count:

2

Total Knock-Out Count:

2

She has spent her whole life in war zones. This is just one more. Who the people are, what they shout about, the territory they battle over may be different. But one thing never changes. Violence. The language of force and fists…luckily it it is her first language.

Batman - 569-00

The above quote comes from the Batgirl’s next appearance in Batman #569 written by Janet Harvey with art by Sergio Cariello. Two creators I have never heard of before but I like them already. It would be great to interview creators on their experiences writing and drawing Cassandra Cain some day for this blog. Maybe one day. One can hope.

Once again Batgirl is underestimated and shows that she should not be taken lightly as she takes on a whole street gang in a beautifully drawn fight.

Batman - 569-03

This issue is the first time we see Cassandra fighting her own violent training as she realizes she is enjoying the beating too much and has to stop herself.

Batman - 569-07

Bruce once again shows the confidence he has in Batgirl Batman - 569-09over Dick Grayson in this issue and Barbara connects with her eagerness to please Batman. I always loved the father-daughter relationship between Bruce and Cassandra – and that is why I kind of understand why she abandoned the role of Batgirl with Bruce’s death. I just wish DC would play up the role of Cassandra as Bruce’s daughter instead of ignoring her like they do today.

Batgirl takes on the gang who are trying to take a man’s gas station (this was no man’s land days when gas was a commodity) and the gas station is blown up. Batgirl loses her temper and is reminded about the symbol of the bat and how it means not to kill. Batman is proud of her restraint and feels she accomplished the mission. The issue ends with this great panel showcasing the father-daughter relationship between Bruce and Cassandra with Bruce’s hand on her soldier – proud of his “daughter”.

Batman - 569-22What an awesome panel to end this issue on. I love how most of this issue of Batman was a Batgirl solo tale! Oh those were the days! I am interested in seeing what else Harvey has done. She set up the Bruce-Cassandra relationship nicely here.

Issue Firsts:

Being Written by Janet Harvey

Being Penciled by Sergio Cariello

Creator Count:

Writers:

Denny O’Neil (1)
Janet Harvey (1)

Kelley Puckett (2)

Greg Rucka (1)

Artists:

Roger Robinson (1)

Sergio Cariello (1)

Deodato (1)

Damion Scott (2)

Knock-Out Count:

0 (But she beats the crap out of a lot of thugs)

Total Knock-Out Count:

2

Batgirl’s next appearance that summer was in Catwoman  (Volume 2) #72 by John Ostrander with art by Jim Balent, but it was only in a montage of images related to what was going on in Gotham at the time. Balent’s Batgirl is of course quite bustier then she usually is drawn.

Catwoman_1999_#072_16

And to bring us full circle, Batgirl’s last appearance this summer was in Azrael: Agent of the Bat #57 by the same creative team of Denny O’Neil and Roger Robinson.

Azrael_No.057_p00 Batgirl rescues Azrael from the villain called Scratch. But first she sneaks up and disarms a couple of thugs. I love O’Neil’s narration here (Gliding with the shadows…merging with the darkness) combined with Robinson’s beautiful rendering of Batgirl.

Azrael_No.057_p05

Later, Batgirl saves Azrael again by jumping from out of no where to kick ass. (Should we start a count on how many times she does this….and by the way it never gets old, it’s her signature move)

Azrael_No.057_p16 

Sneak Attack Count:

2

Total Sneak Attack Count:

5

Creator Count:

Writers:

Denny O’Neil (2)
Janet Harvey (1)

Kelley Puckett (2)

Greg Rucka (1)

Artists:

Roger Robinson (2)

Sergio Cariello (1)

Deodato (1)

Damion Scott (2)

Knock-Out Count:

5

Total Knock-Out Count:

7

That’s it for the summer of 1999. Check back soon for Batgirl’s further adventures in the last year of the 20th century.

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