Robin/Batgirl: Fresh Blood
Batgirl (2000-2006) #58
"This is my… Journal or is it a… uh What’s the — Oh, yeah, diary. Don’t understand the difference. Will have to find out. Batman calls it his ‘journal.’ So I will, too. I need to keep… Records of my cases. But mostly I want to learn to… think better in words, because… All I’ve ever known is 'movement.' And movement is fleeting. Flowing. Gone — No. Changed… Before most people can understand it. Really see it.”
For a very long time, until I read the Kelley Puckett run for myself, Gabrych’s run was my definitive Cass. In many ways, she still is.
More than both prior runs, we will now investigate the relationship Cass has with language, how it effects her interaction with the world, and how it can help her both be alienated from and yet best understand people because of it. It is my single favorite aspect of her character: the ability to speak both with and without conventional language.
It’s true that this can, at times, conflict with how Cass acquired her ability to speak back in Puckett’s original run, but that was admittedly the weakest point of the story then. Cass’ understanding of language was immediate and yet at the same time her understanding of it and the rules to how far her comprehension held were at times amorphous and inconsistent.
Gabrych’s run portrays Cass learning to use words the same way many experience learning a new language — and not simply from one Latin based form to another, but like learning English when your one native tongue is Sino-Tibetan. It does not betray either the difficulty or the intelligence Cass has despite difficulties learning. As someone whose only a second-generation American from a family which had no basis in English before entering the country, I’m familiar with that isolation and insecurity by association.
This made Cass incredibly relateable to me in the same ways I think her relationship structures and aspirations made her relateable in the prior runs.
It’s why I firmly believe the recorder set-up for her now running monologue is one of the best additions to the series and is an insight that sets Gabrych’s run apart.