With an army of protégés at his side, DC Comics' Batman has no shortage of potential successors to the Dark Knight mantle, but one Batgirl deserves that honor more than all the others - even Robin. Cassandra Cain may not be the first hero that springs to many fans’ minds when the topic of replacing Bruce Wayne arises. But when compared to her fellow Bat-Family members, Cass is the obvious choice.

Created by Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott, Cain is the daughter of the notorious Lady Shiva, a fan-favorite character in her own right. She's also the only member of the Bat-Family that genuinely wants to be Batman - at least for the right reasons. And Batgirl #50 by Dylan Horrocks and Rick Leonardi demonstrates why.

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After Batgirl and Batman are dosed with Dr. Death’s aggression-inducing drug Soul, the two master fighters begin trading blows at an alarming speed. Their battle takes them across Gotham as the pair come at each other with everything they have with neither side really breaking a sweat. Eventually, their deathmatch takes them to Sprang Bridge where an exploding gasoline tanker snaps the Bat-Family members back into their right minds and into the Gotham River below. As the two wash ashore, they hold each other as Cass explains that the only physical contact she ever had with her birth father, David Cain, was violence. Finally, Bruce asks her where her loyalties truly lie between himself, Barbara, and David. Cass simply points at the Bat Symbol on his chest and responds, “No. Not you. This,proving that, like Bruce, she understands that Batman isn’t just his identity, it’s a symbol of justice for those in need.

This is just one instance of the reverence that Batgirl holds for the Batman legacy, and it’s just one reason why she’s the logical choice for the mantle.  In the premiere issue of her solo series by Scott Peterson, Kelley Puckett, and Damion Scott, and for years before her erasure from the timeline in Flashpoint, Bruce himself remarked how similar they are. And aside from the fact that she is without a doubt the best fighter in the Bat-Family - even better than Batman himself - the drive and dedication for the mission that she shares with Bruce are what make her the natural successor, especially when compared to the Robins.

Nightwing made an excellent Batman, but he spent his whole life stepping out of Bruce’s shadow and would never want to fully take up the mantle again, while Red Hood has his own issues with Bruce that need to be resolved before he could ever consider taking over. Tim Drake may be the Bat Family’s greatest detective, but fans have seen time and again that the pressures of following Bruce’s legacy drive Tim to an incredibly dark place in many timelines. Likewise, Stephanie Brown is an amazing hero on her own, but her relationship with vigilantism has been so touch and go that there’s no way she’d stick around as Batman. While Damian may be Bruce’s biological heir and the Robin who most frequently proclaims that Batman mantle as his birthright, readers have seen the dark future his Batman creates and there’s a very real part of him that wants to claim the mantle out of ego rather than a genuine desire for justice.

Cassandra Cain Batgirl

Cassandra Cain may not be the first person fans think of when it comes to replacing Batman, but she should be near the top of everyone’s list. Out of DC Comics’ entire Bat-Family, she’s the one who values the legacy from the most genuine place, and she’s the one most suited to carrying it on. Hopefully, with Batman leaving Gotham after the upcoming Shadows of the Bat event, Bruce and the Robins will do the city a favor and have Batgirl fill in for him.

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