As hokey as it sounds, I’ve teared up a little re-reading this.
This is the pitch Gail Simone made back when Cassandra Cain was still Batgirl. It would’ve involved Cass saving a minister from a robbery, and in the midst of her violent beatdown upon the thugs who’ve attacked him, the minister would’ve begged for Cass to stop. Cass is, at first, unable to comprehend his ability to forgive so easily, and she begins visiting him in the hospital. His faith in God and his compassion really moves Cassandra, and she begins to study the bible. From that point Cass becomes truly devout and spends her time helping the downtrodden of Gotham that the Bat Family doesn’t normally deal with. The poor, the mentally ill, the immigrants, the runaways, and the homeless. She would’ve adopted an all-white costume, and people would start calling her the Angel of the Bat, Essentially, it would’ve been about Cass finding religion, but not in a hamfisted, Lifetime Movie/Mel Gibson’s Passion sort of way.
For whatever reason, this idea was considered too controversial to the editing staff at the time, and they decided to go with Cass becoming evil and leading the League of Assassins, which was met with universal disdain and resulted in a few years of writers attempting to rectify the damage, only for Cass to give up the Batgirl name and give it to Stephanie Brown.
I don’t know if I would’ve supported it then. I mean, back when Cass had just turned evil, I had only broken the surface of mainstream comics and started collecting them regularly instead of doing research on obscure characters from the 40s to 80s, buying the odd issue, and trade paperbacks. The only Batman books I bought were Batman, Detective Comics, and Nightwing (though that stopped after three or four issues).
I have to give Miss Simone credit for attempting to write a story about a character finding religion, especially when she herself has admitted to being an atheist. At least I believe’s she an atheist. I also can’t help but note a parallel between Cassandra finding religion, and the subject matter that Peter David handled when he wrote Supergirl, which dealt with redemption and joy and an analysis of certain religious beliefs in the case of Matrix and Linda Danvers.
All I know is, this seems like another representation of a boneheaded move made by DC’s editing staff.
I’m unsure how I feel about this pitch because I think in general there’s this attitude in fiction of Christianity = Salvation that just doesn’t exist for other religions so to an extent I think this would’ve made me uncomfortable. Particularly given the hypocrisy in most organized relgion.
BUT, I think if handled delicately and not done 100 percent “in your face”, it might have worked. In particular I like how a lot of writers have handled Huntress’ religion without having her force it on people or act like it’s her defining characteristic.
Yeah, that was never going to be the story. I son’t think Cass needed Salvation. Truthfully, pretty much any religion would’ve worked. This may have been the problem, lotta preconceptions, But it still seems weird that having her find religion, even for a story arc, is more controversial than making her an evil assassin or whatever.
I really like the idea of someone in the bat-family trying to help people who are having trouble finding work, sick, unable to pay bills, or just basically down on life. I adore that Batman is darker, a lot of the stories are very serious and in theory saving someone from death is the Best Thing You Can Do… But sometimes people just need saving from bad situations.
It disappoints me that a lot of times this kind of effort HAS to be related to spirituality or religion. Doing good things and helping people doesn’t need to be about that, does it? I understand that all of this was very tentative, but it really disappoints me that it was shot down because it may have flirted with religion.
I think the bat-family could really use someone willing to do the kind of saving that doesn’t involve beating thugs into the ground.
Edit: Just re-read things and realized this wasn’t even what Ms. Simone was necessarily going for. Whoops. Well anyway, I still think there are more ways to save people than beating thugs and I’d be interested in reading about them.