My Kind of Scum
After two issues full of flashbacks, I was glad this issue started in the now. Sure, I had no idea what was going on at first, but Tynion quickly pulled the curtain aside and showed us a badass Cassandra Cain doing badass things. She heads into Mother's Nursery and believe me, I don't think they have to worry about Bill Porter banging on the door selling brushes. Then the flashback begins...oh, great.
While I wasn't a fan of the origin story flashbacks in the last two issues, I liked the one we get here because it's all about the feels. It shows little Cassandra trying her best to deal with her awful upbringing by stalking Mother's children as they arrive at the Nursery. It's one of those "the grass is always greener" things, but in a real fucked up way. While you can never say that Mother's children have it nice and easy, they do compared to Cassandra. There are a couple of really touching scenes here, but the best is when Cassandra learns what a hug is and tries unsuccessfully to use the new knowledge on Sculptor. The way she brushes the little girl aside like a stray dog is awful, but powerful stuff. This is the part that makes you appreciate the groundwork that Ed Brisson laid out the last couple of issues. It feels like the Cassandra Cain origin in now complete.
It all leads back to the present and a confrontation with Orphan that felt a little forced and convenient. I did like the dialogue here, though, as it plays off so well with everything that happened in Cassandra's past. That continues as we again go back in the past to see when Batman gave Cassandra the thumb drive that started off this whole series. Batman comes off as the greatest person in the world and I am left believing that Cassandra would do just about anything for acceptance and a little hug. While I was left a little bit confused on how Cassandra's information got on the Bat thumb drive (Did Batman take Cassandra's info, put it on a thumb drive and hand it back?), I guess I'll have to go with it.
The issue continues with a pretty good fight between Cassandra and Orphan, especially if you've been waiting to see David Cain get his ass kicked. It does, with the help of Dick Grayson and Harper Row who finally show up after leaving Sculptor's mirage mansion. The issue then takes a turn for the worst for everyone involved as we see how far Mother will go to get rid of her past mistakes. I'd say it was an explosive ending, but it wasn't...yet.
I liked this issue. I didn't love it, but it's a step in the right direction. The Cassandra flashback did a ton for understanding the character and if I could step inside the comic and give her a big hug, I would. As far as the overall story, not much happens here to move it forward until the cliffhanger. It was a damn good cliffhanger, but I'd trade it for some solid information...you know, like who Batman's heir is or was that really him with the smoking gun. Just saying.
I really want to know what happened to Tony S. Daniel. I thought he was going to be doing a big chunk of this book's art and I was wrong. It isn't the first time... It didn't bother me that much this issue as Marcio Takara did a fantastic job. The part where Cassandra "puts on" her mask was so great and the panel with Batman and his flowing cape during the flashback was one of my favorites in this series. Great job all around and a special shoutout to Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz and Romulo Fajardo Jr for such an awesome cover.
Bits and Pieces:
This wasn't the series best issue, but it was one of the better ones. James Tynion gives us a heart felt Cassandra Cain history lesson and I really liked it. While it may not have pushed the overall story ahead as much as I was hoping, it ended with a crazy cliffhanger that I'm hoping gets resolved soon. If this weekly could maintain the quality of story and art found here, I'd gladly stick around for the second half of the story. We can only hope.