Now that I’m actually writing this down, I actually feel kind of scared, because I’ve been talking about this post for so long that at this point anything less than excellent would be a letdown, right? Unfortunately, I don’t do excellent…I do passable and so you will have to settle for that and hope that it works.
Now, I personally believe two people really did the most work to develop Cassie into a 3-dimensional, viable and interesting character; Phil Jimenez and Peter David. Unfortunately, I don’t have all my issues of Jimenez’s Wonder Woman and PAD’s Young Justice with me, so I will be using Cassie in Young Justice #50 as the pinnacle of her character development while I’ll be using many, many issues of Johns’ Teen Titans to show how he devolved her into a sad little girl instead of the powerhouse leader she had been before.
Now, to clear the air beforehand, I think Johns is obsessed with Wolfman’s Titans. From the first issue of his run-onwards, he has tried to make the new Titans into a mirror copy of the original, right down to bringing back Raven, using Starfire and Cyborg and having all the characters become junior versions of the old Titans (Wonder Girl adopted the Donna Troy costume, Impulse became Kid Flash, Speedy was added to the cast…) I have no problem with this if it is handled organically…unfortunately, and most blatantly in Cassie’s case, he wrote the book (or at least it seemed that way to me) and changed the characters to fit into the roles he had written. But I digress, let’s return to Cassie.
First up is an image of Cassie, the leader. What many forget is that Cassie has learned under Artemis and Diana and has benefited from both. She not only possesses a keen, analytical mind, she also is quick to learn and memorised many Amazon war manuevers during her training exercises. She understands her role as an Amazon protege and in this panel from Young Justice #50, she shows that she can take charge when required and let’s not forget, the Young Justice kids voted her into office after she proved time and again that she was more than suited for the role. Hell, she took over from Robin…she was deemed better than Robin…imagine that! Anyway, that continues with the second panel, also from Young Justice #50, which shows Cassie the tactician. She knows exactly where to send which teams, and handles the whole matter very professionally. Later on, she also shows that she is capable of quick thinking when the odds turn against the young heroes and she has to abandon her plans and just tell everyone to fight. Never, at any time, does she look to Robin or Superboy to validate her. She talks to Robin, sure, but only to make sure that there is no enmity because she has taken over as leader. That is how she ensures that Robin is onboard and marks the true strength of the character. Also, she is facing off against Devastation, a minor-goddess who practically beat her senseless in Wonder Woman, but she doesn’t show any fear. She is ready and willing to fight and wants this done right.
Which brings us to Johns and his incredible “Angst-character-ruination writing device”. In the first panel, we see an image from Young Justice/Titans: Graduation Day. I know this was written by Judd Winick, but c’mon, we all know Johns corroborated on it. Anyway, suddenly, Cassie is terrified. She confesses her fears to Donna and a vital part of the character disappears. But that could easily be redeemed…I mean she could genuinely be scared for once…but then comes Johns and his homemaker attitude. First off, he pushes aside everything else and decides that the most important thing to Cassie must become her friends and Conner…like a normal girl…only Cassie isn’t a normal girl. Even in the worst circumstances, Cassie always revelled in her powers…she never denied them…never felt they were constricting. She demanded she recieve powers!! And suddenly they’re overwhelming her and she wants to be normal again. C’mon!!
Look at Cassie here…instead of going into battle like she had been just a few short months ago (DC Time) she is looking to Connor and is asking for his permission almost. That is so insulting to the character that I almost gagged when I first read this issue. Not only is Cassie suddenly fearful and passive…now she is subservient to her boyfriend. Which was hinted at earlier, when a girl who stopped caring about what Connor thought of her ages ago, had to spend hours picking out an outfit he would like. Seriously…Cassie became Betty/Veronica from Archie instead of the strong character she is. Of course then we move to the final nail in the character’s coffin…the “best friend” role. I won’t even talk about her becoming Supergirl’s best friend (please…) but rather, Raven’s best friend. I can understand a girl wanting girls her own age around…what I can’t understand is why all they can do when they’re together is discuss clothes. Cissie and Cassie discussed parents, boyfriends, life in general and so much more…but all Cassie and Raven discuss are clothes? How does that seem like a fair trade-off?
Honestly I could go on, but as is obvious to me, I blathered on a lot more than I wanted to. I doubt I’ve changed anyone’s mind on the matter, but I just needed to get this out and it’s done. The rest of course, is for you people to read through and decide. Let me know what you think.