”Miss Dark and Spooky”
Essentially her characterisation while in uniform (not when out of uniform), Cassandra was arguably first classified as the “Dark and Mysterious” character type in Young Justice #21. This archetype has been reinforced by her characterised preference to remain silent and stand in the background in group settings.
Previously, Cassandra acted as the “Intimidating Rival” in associations with Timothy Drake and the “Youthful and Loyal Prodigy/Protégé” in associations with Batman and although she still alternated between these characterisations, the “Dark and Mysterious” characterisation became her default in all comics outside of the Batman-associated comic book runs.
Desire for a Family and Batman Relationship
A major character drive for Cassandra was her desire to belong within a family.
Thanks to the harsh treatment that her biological father showed her (due to her training) Cassandra latched on to Bruce Wayne as a parental figure and furthermore adopted the Bat Family as her own family. However, due to narrative flings, her current familial interactions usually result in themes of her being left out as a “Black Sheep”.
Much like how interactions between Bruce and Richard Grayson, or Bruce and Timothy Drake, might reflect interactions between fathers and sons, interactions between Bruce and Cassandra sometimes reflected interactions between fathers and daughters.
In addition, interactions between Barbara Gordon and Cassandra Cain usually reflect that of interactions between older and younger sisters.
Perhaps the most notable character trait, possibly due to its fan service factor, Cassandra has been featured in various poses in her comic appearances in the shower/bath or exiting from a shower/bath wrapped in a towel. This characterisation trait of exposure seems to serve as a contrast to her otherwise chaste appearance, particularly while in her uniform which shows no skin.
This association with showers has been noted in Robin #134 where Timothy Drake makes a remark about her showering habits. The quirk came to a head when Cassandra walked by fully nude in front of her female teammates during her Batman and the Outsiders run.
Batman and the Outsiders #3
Above Average Appetite
Usually displayed as a comedic quirk, Cassandra’s natural eating habits are far from refined. Possibly associated with her physical prowess (needing to eat more to fuel her body) Cassandra has been shown to shovel her food by the fork-full when given the chance. Not to mention ordering meal sizes more suited for people twice her size and shape.
Due to her comparative lack of experience in socializing with other people and/or communication. Cassandra has more than once taken to mimicking the actions, mannerisms and sayings of those around her. Such persons she has mimicked include Timothy Drake, Bruce Wayne, and various television media.
During the duration of the Gotham Knights team, Cassandra learned the entirety of William Shakespeare's playwrights through mimicking Basil Karlo's performances (Basil was using it as a teaching tool to get Cassandra to openly speak entire sentances. Although it only lead to her being able to speak in "Shakespearean"). Their downtime "rehearsals" got to the point where they could re-enact entire scenes together without scripts.
Much like Bruce Wayne, Cassandra's torso is covered in scars due to her father's harsh training.
First noted in Batgirl 18, the scars are only apparent when Cassandra takes off her clothes; usually noted as being on her back, although in Batman and the Outsiders they are shown to also extend to her legs and arms. Some fans note that, due to her death and resurrection via the Lazarus Pit, her scars should have all healed by the time she had joined The Outsiders team.
In spite of her dark characterisation, Cassandra has not been depicted as a user of, what general audiences would consider dirty, narcotics such as alcohol, tobacco or illegal substances. In fact she has been referred to as having an aversion to these instances, specifically to alcohol in which Superboy refers to her as “a lightweight” due to being unable to keep it down.
Drugs have served as a disruption for the character, the usage of which was first shown in Batgirl #46 with the accidental usage acting as a catalyst for the character’s frustrations in the narrative. Further, unsolicited, addiction to another drug serum, created by Slade Wilson, resulted in the character’s temporary though infamous time as a villainess in Robin #148 - #162, Supergirl #13 - #14 and Teen Titans #41 - #46.
An off-shoot trait from her ability to read body language, Cassandra has demonstrated in various instances in her comic book series to anticipate where the shooter is aiming and move fast enough to get out of the bullet’s way.
This trait has been explored in various degrees; with the trait acting as her trademark fighting move (whereas her speed is her trademark fighting style and body reading is her trademark ability). The hampering of her martial abilities once resulted in the temporary lose of her ability dodge bullets, the training she undertook to learn the ability also served as an explanation for her scars.
No-Longer Active Instances
Originally a prominent instance, characterisation and quirk; during the time of her initial comic book run, Cassandra Cain could not read written language due to a combination of not having been taught and an aversion to conventional teaching methods.
This quirk acted as a narrative foil to Barbara Gordon, Cassandra’s “Big Sister”, whose entire superhero and civilian characterisation relied on literacy. While this quirk has sometimes been missed by authors (resulting in her being able to read and write with no explanation), various comic stories dwelt with Cassandra’s illiteracy, usually resulting in her making a struggling attempt to learn, until Robin #149 where this quirk was first demonstrated to have been overcome without explanation until the Batgirl miniseries #1 where it was revealed that English Second Language classes and homeschooling from Alfred Pennyworth helped her become literate.
That being said, her level of natural literacy has so far not been established.
OOC literacy Gotham Knights #42
During her initial comic book series, Cassandra bought a rose during a venture through the Gotham streets during the day. Taught how to care for it by Barbara Gordon, the rose made frequent appearances throughout the series, with it being passed on to a supporting cast member near the series’ end. Due to the destruction of Bludhaven and the onscreen death of the cast member, it is assumed that the rose was destroyed as the series ended.
While the rose itself first appeared in Batgirl #17, Cassandra has been portrayed playing with flowers since Batgirl #1.