Saturday, July 13, 2019

Batgirl Episode 33: Bruce Fugitive Part 13

The Dynamic Duo, Batwing and Robin...I mean Nightwing team up to solve the case: Who murdered Vesper Fairchild? 


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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Episode 14: Crossfire

Helena Bertinelli moves into a new rent controlled apartment in an at risk part of town, keeping her low profile while trying to figure out who she, Helena Bertinelli, really is.  Meanwhile, we have an early 90's shock talk show host, a mobster with ambitions of exploitation of the masses, and a potential all out gang/race war.  

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Friday, July 5, 2019

The Silent Knight

Back in July 1999 Cassandra Cain, created by Kelly Puckett and Damion Scott, made her debut in Batman 567,  a chapter in the huge event, BatmanNo Man's Land.  Reading the saga several years after publication, I was intrigued by Batman having to go back to basics, the Bat Family placed in positions that showcased their skill set and vulnerabilities, the rogue gallery making do with scarce resources, and a peripheral ascension of  an errand girl turned ward for Barbara Gordon, the Oracle.  

The story about a fallen Gotham told in over 50 issues, assembling dozens of creative teams crafting a narrative of how Batman and Fam regained Gotham interested me a great deal.  And in all the adversity, a silent hero was born, Cassandra Cain.  

Kelly Puckett and Damion Scott are one of my favorite pairing in comics.   Cassandra Cain, who started out nameless, voiceless, and homeless, is not powerless.  Skillful in their storytelling, the creative team display language without words, yet still having voice, which is uplifted by a strong supportive cast, an interesting background, poignant moments, and action. 

At times there are pages with no words, but a script that is gripping, much like the punches distributed by Cassandra Cain.  Indeed learning about Cass's background post crises/pre New52, is quite gut wrenching, but what a fantastic hero we are given my this publishing company.

Folks, I'm still hung up on the music I loved from junior high and high school, scoffing at newer artists of the day, which I consider a huge character flaw of mine, and I am working on it.  Yet Cassandra, who was raised to be a killer, is able to work through her origin of child abuse, motivated to do GOOD in Gotham and beyond the city limits.  It's not like she started this horrific training at 14 years old.  We are talking since birth her twisted upbringing has brought what could have easily been a life of tragedy and malice.  Her father, David Cain, highly skilled-killer, created an environment where a young Cassandra never interacted with others, nor did she ever engage in speech or conversation, which engendered Cassandra becoming a weapon, communicating through body language, allowing Cass to go undefeated, predicting her opponents moves and bullet dogging ability.  

Although this piece is all about Cass, I am also a Helena Bertinelli lover, so I must mention that the iconic Batgirl suit we see on Cassandra was actually created by Helena when she, a true Gotham Girl, remained behind during No Man's Land to defend it.  Yep, while Bruce was out there finding his way, Helena never left.  Feeling like her Huntress persona wasn't enough, Huntress sought after a symbol that would instill fear into those who engaged negatively in the lawlessness of the abandoned city.  Although Bruce Wayne dished out his best jerk sandwiches towards Helena, she knew that the Bat, a symbol that cast fear in the cowardly, would elevate her mission in engendering some type of justice in what many considered a lost cause.    

Many people think the "sealed mouth" feature of the costume is because Cassandra does not speak.  However, the reason for the concealed cowl, if you will, was because Helena was spray painted in the face, leaving her mouth exposed a day after.  And through trial and era of being the 3rd Batgirl, (Bette Kane counts) Helena sewed the mouth shut to disguise being identified in her dual roles.  Many issues later via Batman's manipulative games, he fired Helena, donning Cassandra as the new Batgirl.  All of this in the pages of No Man's Land.  

    Now Gotham has a new protector.  Puckett and Scott did well, allowing the character to breath and grow in the pages of her own book.  Each story its own, yet adding layers and dimensions to this dynamic character with movement, a change in countenance, eventually dialogue, and of course, action.  30 issues into the book and there were still key elements about the character that were not yet revealed, but looking back one knew the creators had it all plotted out.  And no, the story doesn't come across as dragged out.  With Batman and Oracle playing the role of pseudo parents in a way, the audience, whom may still be uneasy with a new Batgirl, have Barbara and Bruce as the ultimate co-sign.  

Today her story and identity would be told in a single trade, and if that wasn't enough to intrigue the readers, the book would be dropped quickly.  Cassandra is now Orphan.  She is not starring in her own book, but she is on a team in the pages of Batman and the Outsiders.  Also, the name I.D., Cassandra Cain will be said in the movie, Birds of Prey: The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.  Many people are not fully comfortable with these interpretations of the character, but I feel like as long as the character's name is ringing out in the streets, DC Comics will always have new comers seeking out Cassandra's origins.  And with these stories so readily available in their entirety in a digital platform, such as DC Universe, new readers are able to enjoy a new experience with old stories of the Silent Knight.  


Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Huntress Special #1

Sean Ross of the Squadron Supreme Podcast joined Ashford to discuss his discovery of the The Huntress back in 1989. 
Write to us at and on Twitter @HuntressPodcast
Check out his podcast on iTunes.  Catch him on Twitter @sean42AZ and

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Batgirl Episode 32: Die Batgirl, Die!

Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown make such a good pairing.  Unfortunately, the two must part ways for personal reasons.  Also, some mystery man is keeping tabs on Batgirl, which is not looking good for our hero going forward.
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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Huntress and Batgirl Blog

After reading 12 issues of the original run of the post-crises Huntress, Helena Bertinelli, my expanding love for the character continues to...expand.  My memory is fuzzy at best, so I can't remember if my first exposure to the character was in Batman: No Man's Land, Birds of Prey, or Hush. Based on the aforementioned stories I just...mentioned, one can see that I discovered the character in the early 2000's.

Helena's spunk, pluckiness, and "don't back down" swagger are just too endearing for me to ignore.  She doesn't have meta-human powers, nor was my favorite hero injected with something to augment her physiology.  Of course she is trained, but The Huntress is not ever mentioned in DC's top tier hand to hand combat fighters; however, when written well, when this character is faced against odds not in her favor, I for one always believe she's going to pull through in the end.  Might not be pretty or graceful, but definitely able to live to fight another day.

Back in the Summer of 2018, I cracked open, well I read the book digitally, so let us say that I clicked on issue 1 of The Huntress, which I found disturbing, thrilling, and compelling.  Each page contained that late 80's/early 90's grit that I was all too familiar with having grown up during this time period. Joey Cavalieri, the writer, captures the sounds, cadence, and heartbeat of the landscapes one would imagine while listening to Nas's first song on his debut album, "New York State of Mind".

Being that this was the early 90's, The Huntress didn't fight aliens from outer space, megalomaniacs, or peers with powers greater than her own.  In these twelve issues she is facing the mob, drug lords, street gangs, existential threats, and the inner demons from her own bloodline.

Pre-Crises Huntress, Helena Wayne is a legacy character, the offspring of Batman and Cat Woman.  In Helena Bertinelli's case, her father was a powerful mafioso. Not something you would brag about when walking the corridors of a prestige college or the Justice League.

There is something quite intriguing about a character who didn't have to do this, being a hero and all.  Taking her family's inheritance and living her best life was an option. She didn't have to be a fighter for those who could not defend themselves.  She didn't have to be a voice for the voiceless. She didn't have to stand with those who stood alone. On the opening pages of issue 1, she saves a woman from an assailant, reflecting back on when she, Helena, used to be the victim.  Now, as the Huntress, where she finds inner peace and outer strength, she swings roof top to roof top, not to show off, but to show those who prey on the innocent, that she is the darkness that will bring justice to light.

- Ashford

Friday, June 21, 2019

Episode 13: Huntress Podcast - The Talking Cure

After 12 issues of the Huntress, the Baker's dozen story works like an epilogue; however, the narrative isn't just frolicking around.  Helena is faced with the demons of her past, being a hero in the present, and having to bring dark justice to those in the future.  Helena Bertinelli is the Huntress, a character DC must recognize as quite valuable.

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Episode 31: Batgirl (Bruce Wayne Fugitive)

In Batgirl #27, our hero Cassandra Cain is back in top form fashion, solving cases and fracturing faces.  In this fun book about a dark topic, we get guest appearances from Robin, Nightwing, Oracle, and the Spoiler.  Although this is apart of a huge crossover event, the Wright On Network is proud that Cass is apart of it, for this story actually plays a pivotal role in restoring faith in Batman to the Bat-Family.
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Huntress Podcast Episode 12: Party at Ground Zero

Laurel, Diane, and Ashford discuss issue 12 of the Huntress, where story lines continue to wrap up as our hero emerges from the light, shining justice on those who commit crimes in the darkness. 
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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Huntress Episode 11: Mad Scientists

Laurel, Diane, and Ashford discuss the story that brings the Book Worm story arc to a conclusion, while the Crack Dealers thread is still unraveling.  Will Helena be able to tie up the loose ends before they tie her? 
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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Huntress Podcast Episode 10: Nuclear Crack Down

Laurel and Ashford discuss the 10th issue of Volume 1, The Huntress.  Our hero, Helena Bertinelli, aka, the Huntress, is trying to stop the so-called Book Worm, a creepy-creep with the mind of a genius, who has a deep resentment against woman and who is seeking to ruin the lives of people to gain power.  High plotting and drama are beginning to form in the second story arc in Helena Bertinelli history. 

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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Batgirl Episode 30 issue 26

Batgirl is recovering from her fatal/unfatal battle with Lady Shiva.  Now Stephanie Brown, the Spoiler, must fight a battle in Cassandra Cain's stead.  Has Spoiler bitten off more than she can chew.  Check out episode 30 of the Cassandra Cain podcast.
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Huntress Podcast 9: Solitary Confinement

Such a chilling cover, displaying the height of the crack epidemic, destroying the fabric of a lot of major American cities in the late 80s to early 90s.  The creative team depicts these stories quite well in the pages of this DC book.  Ashford and Laurel recommend pick this book up, for Joey Cavaleri really delivers as far as the narrative is concerned.  And for the art, capturing the grittiness of the era and city, yet, without glorifying nor being nostalgic in a misguided way, Joe Staton's art is on target. 

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