Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Thoughts about a Steph-Cass teamup.

Okay, so Ragnell made a post about the idea of two batgirls which made me think. And surprisingly considering I'm usually a giant sycophant, I actually somewhat disagree with her.

As full disclosure, I like Cass. A lot. For a long time I didn't (and I still think her origin is remarkably contrived) but over the past few years I gave her another chance and found out that...surprise! She's actually one of the few characters in the Batclan that I can actually stand. I actually suspect that she is my favorite now. And that's very hard to admit.

I also don't like Steph Brown at all. Her origin is, if anything, more contrived in my opinion. And I don't think she's grown a lot as a character and I think she's pretty much incompetent.

And I do think the two are not really compatible as mutual Batgirls. But it's for an opposite reason. I actually think that Cass will completely overpower Steph as a lead character.

Cass has better dramatic potential. Her backstory is darker. She's more competent and more badass. While both girls have villain fathers, Cain is a credible threat to Batman. The Cluemaster never broke even with Robin. If you're going with a "superheroes juggling superheroics and school" type plot, well, let's be honest. It'd be a lot more interesting seeing quiet, socially maladjusted Cass trying to deal with it than Steph.

Steph's incompetence will be in stark relief as well. If they're using the same name? It's not going to work.

But, I do think they could actually work as partners. One as Batgirl (I'd actually let Steph keep the title) and one as...I dunno, Lady Shiva? Some other identity?

Thing is, they totally fit the time-honored pattern of the buddy cop set-up, which we see over and over again in action tv and movies.

1) Dark haired, extremely competent, nearly superhuman, more conventionally beautiful/attractive, socially inept lead character.

2) Blondish, smart-mouthed, snarky, cute in a quirky way, socially experienced, klutzy, comic relief and general voice of sanity.

We see the pattern a lot because it generally leads pretty good results. As examples:

Benton Fraser and Ray V/Ray K from Due South. (Steph is more Kowalski than Vecchio, IMO.)

Or for a more current example: Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams from the 2010 version of Hawaii Five-0.

And there's the quintessential girl-power example: Xena and Gabrielle.

It would work very well. Cass is the action girl, Steph as the spunky sidekick. Steph fans might consider it a demotion, but the pattern doesn't really work the other way around. And honestly, the sidekicks usually end up with the bigger fanbases anyway. :-)

We already know from previous examples that the characters vibe well together, and this set up would actually get me to buy a Stephanie Brown book. Which is why I don't think it'd ever happen. But I'd enjoy it.


  • At January 09, 2011 12:52 AM, Blogger Matthew McKinnon-Gray said…

    For a new identity, how about the Silent Knight? It would fit with Cass's taciturn nature, the original was active in the middle ages so there's no one to share the name with in the present day, and they're going to have to renew that trademark sooner or later.

  • At January 09, 2011 4:32 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    It's not bad and has a nice tie with Batman sorta (Dark Knight vs. Silent Knight). But I'm not sure the imagery works as well for me.

    I'd rather see her as like a modern Richard Dragon type, the thing I just posted. :-)


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