The first time I heard about Cassandra Cain, I had no idea that she was Asian American. I only knew that she had had a run as Batgirl, and that I should check out the issues featuring her. So imagine my surprise when she made a cameo in Red Robin, looking distinctly…Asian. I had to search her up on Wikipedia immediately, and discovered that she’s half Asian, the daughter of assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva.
Raised to be the world’s greatest assassin, Cassandra was deprived of human contact and speech throughout her childhood. The result is that while she is able to read body language like most people read books, she cannot speak or read words or write. She first appears in the No Man’s Land arc, gathering information for Oracle, and later becomes Batgirl with the express approval of Batman. After Batman’s disappearance, she hands the Batgirl costume over to Stephanie Brown, and now works as an anonymous agent for Batman in Hong Kong.
It was mindblowing enough when I read Batwoman: Elegy and encountered the modern Batwoman, who is a soldier and a lesbian. Now I’ve found out that there’s an Asian Batgirl! She’s the only person of color in the entire Bat-family, and her run as Batgirl has been highly recommended to me. I’ve found the trade paperbacks on Amazon, but they’re expensive (they’re out of print now). If you’re a Batman/comics fan, and find it in your library (or are willing to pay ~$25 for each volume), definitely check it out. Just don’t spoil anything for me!
(I’m actually reading Greg Rucka’s novel adaptation for No Man’s Land right now, and while I like it, it doesn’t quite compare to seeing Cassandra in comic book action.)