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Celebrating Ten Years of Batgirl: Azrael 61 – Batgirl’s First Christmas

February 9, 2010
Over at The Continuity Blog, I have been spotlighting Cassandra Cain’s ten year reign as Batgirl. Here is what I said when I first started that:
Yes it has been a decade since the one true Dark Knight Damsel first made her comics debut. Barbara Gordon may have been the first to go by the name Batgirl (if you don’t count Bat-hyphen-girl Betty Kane) but it is Cassandra Cain who in the last decade has shown that she is the Dark Knight Damsel.

 

She is one of the most underappreciated (By creators, not fans) characters in comics today. Cassandra should be a member of the Bat Family on par with Dick, Tim, and Babs but superstar creators like Grant Morrison and Jeph Loeb have consistently neglected her.

 

A new Batgirl series is debuting in August and if it is not Cassandra Cain under the mask, I want to show how stupid that is on DC’s part by showcasing her to the maximum here.

 

Cassandra made her debut in May 1999 in Batman #567. So from here on out I will be doing posts spotlighting her comic appearances and her awesomeness as a hero and a character. Starting with her debut issue and then going chronologically from there
Since then, Stephanie Brown has taken the role and I have spotlighted the majority of Cassandra’s comic book appearences in 1999. I last covered Azrael: Agent of the Bat #60, Cassandra makes a brief appearance in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #93 but her next significant appearance is what I will be covering today. Today I will be covering December 1999’s Azrael: Agent of the Bat #61:

 

In this issue the Bat Family get together after discovering that the Joker is kidnapping Babies all over the city (which at this point in time was No Man’s Land, Gotham had been abandoned by the rest of the US after a terrible earth quake – it’s a great Bat story check it out for yourself sometime) and while Azrael is talking to Leslie Thompkins about the significance of the nativity scene Batgirl makes her typical badass entrance into the events of the issue.

azrael61enter

azarel #61 p06Look at her stance above, now that is Batgirl!

As Batgirl and Azrael go on their mission the ever perceptive daughter of Cain wonders why Azrael hasn’t put on his mask. I loved this moment. Especially since it leads to this three page exchange between the two characters where Azrael basically explains how similar they are to each other.

 

azarel #61 p07

azarel #61 p08

azarel #61 p09

I had to post the whole scene because it was just a wonderful exchange between these two characters who have quickly become friends. It could be seen as a continuity screw up if you think of this as Jean-Paul first seeing Cassandra’s face (he saw it when he first met her back in Legends of the Dark Knight #120) or you could just read it as an intimate moment where he wanted to see her face again. Azrael hints at one of the huge strengths of her character, she overcomes her upbringing and becomes her own person and fights for her own principals. I also love how she is so bad ass she doesn’t even get cold!

This all leads to a hilarious scene where both Azrael and Batgirl receive their first Christmas Gifts ever from Oracle!

azarel #61 p11

Haha I love Batgirl’s reaction to the perfume in the above panel. Batgirl quickly kind of gets the idea of a Christmas gift when she gives her own version of one to Jean-Paul.

azarel #61 p14

Azrael is later burned up pretty bad by a bomb posing as a Christmas Tree, Batgirl is by his side in Leslie’s medical center in the final touching moment of this wonderful issue.

azarel #61 p22 What a beautiful Christmas issue and a wonderful first Christmas for Batgirl! It’s too bad Denny O’Neil never got to write Batgirl’s solo series because her guest appearances in Azrael were fantastic!

Only one more post before we are done with 1999 and follow Batgirl into her solo series. See you then!

Issue Firsts:

First meeting with Mercy Graves

First Christmas

First Recieving of Christmas Gift

First Giving of Christmas Gift

Sneak Attack Count:

0

Total Sneak Attack Count:

3

Significant Creator Count:

Writers:

Denny O’Neil (4)
Janet Harvey (1)

Kelley Puckett (2)

Greg Rucka (1)

Devin Grayson (1)

Artists:

Roger Robinson (4)

Sergio Cariello (1)

Deodato (1)

Damion Scott (2)

Dale Eaglesham (1)

Knock-Out Count:

0

Total Knock-Out Count:

8

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