(For those not up on their Batfolks: she's the illiterate offspring of a ruthless assassin who taught her how to kill but not to speak; he's a billionaire philanthropist and businessman who prowls the rooftops because his parents were murdered by a mugger. Together, they fight crime.)
Batman is domineering and controlling with Cass, but Batman's like that with everybody. So when he broke up her budding relationship with Superboy, no alarms went off.
Then came Batgirl #50, and people said, "Um, what the hell was that?"
Things got a little more puzzling after that, with Bruce Wayne being seen in public with Cass (the girl who didn't want a secret identity) at an art show opening in the latest issue of Batgirl. And whisking her away from the artist hitting on her.
Oh, and very expensive dresses are mysteriously showing up in Cass's closet.
Which is causing some of us to scratch our heads and wonder just what the writers are getting at.
My take was that Bruce Wayne could be looking at Cass as the solution to a long-standing personal problem: Batman comes between him and every personal relationship, particularly where women are concerned. But that's not a problem for Cass, because the Bat comes first for her, too. And she doesn't talk much, so if he were to spend three days in the Batcave without saying a word to her, she'd be fine with that. On a purely logical basis, Cassandra Cain could well be Bruce Wayne's ideal woman. Maybe that's why he's being so territorial: he's grooming her for something seriously long-term, and doesn't want anybody else horning in in the meantime.
So. This weekend, reading back issues of Gotham Knights, I came across this (in #35):
(They're talking about a picture of Thomas Wayne in the first panel, and the "big goon" referred to in the last is Bane, not Batman. Although it could just as easily go the other way.)
Now to issue #42. Background: Alfred is terribly ill, and the Family has rallied around his bedside at the manor. They take turns patrolling and sitting watch, and Bruce attempts to make chicken soup, with disastrous results. Then, one morning, a knock on the door announces the storyline for the next couple of issues. The first time I read this, I didn't even notice who brought Bruce his coffee. Or what she was wearing.
Yup. That's Cass.
Um... *what the hell?!?!*