- Piece of advice. Never hire a man to kill his own daughter.
- — David Cain src
David Cain is one of the world's premier assassins, paid to eliminate some of the most famous and powerful people on the planet, no matter how seemingly impossible the task. He was one of the people who trained the young Bruce Wayne with the skills that he would use as Batman, although Bruce has, naturally, never used the murder techniques Cain demonstrated. When asked why he went to Cain in the first place, Batman replied "Knowing how to kill doesn't mean you must kill."
Exceptionally meticulous, Cain's success can be partially attributed to his painstaking preparation, always planning far ahead for any contingency: hence his decision to train someone to be his partner and eventual successor. He had made several attempts in the past, training young children, but found every one of them to be a failure. Among his trainees are Bruce Wayne, Floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot and a child that would later be called the Mad Dog, who was the closest success he had. While he was highly skilled, he was also a feral insane child who was more animal than human. Giving up on this child, Cain decided that the answer to his problem lay in genetics. If he was to accomplish his goal, he would need to have a child of his own, whom he could train from the moment they were out of the womb.
But in order to do this, he also needed a to find a female warrior worthy to mother said child. David Cain found the perfect mate in Sandra Wu-San. While visiting, he witnessed Sandra and her sister Carolyn sparring in a martial arts tournament. While both women were highly accomplished fighters, Cain saw a kindred flame unto himself in Sandra, but noticed she sub-consciously held back for her sister's sake. Cain decided to spark her flame by removing her restraint, and one fateful day, Sandra found her sister's bloody corpse.
Discovering that David Cain had been her sister's killer, Sandra Wu-San hunted him down, only to be lured into an ambush by Ra's al Ghul's League of Assassins, of which Cain was a member. Although she lost the battle, in the heat of the moment, Sandra realized how much she had held back when fighting Carolyn and got a taste for just what heights she could attain with more experience--her life had now gained purpose. However, Cain held a price for sparing Sandra's life; in order to be reborn as something new and terrible, Sandra agreed to bear Cain's child and leave that child for him alone to raise. The child, Cassandra Cain, was to be Ra's al Ghul's "One Who Is All," a perfected bodyguard whose only native tongue was an instinct for hand-to-hand combat and the ability to read people's intentions simply by observing their slightest muscle movements. With Carolyn gone, Cassandra and Sandra were the only two humans known to share this gift. The day of Cassandra's birth, Sandra also set out for her own rebirth, as the Lady Shiva: creator and destroyer.
Cain trained Cassandra in every imaginable form of violence, from hand-to-hand combat to weapons and explosives. To further her skills, Cain never taught her how to speak; instead, physical movement became her language--she learned to read a person's body language as well and easily as other people can understand speech. This skill led Cassandra to be able to predict exactly what her opponents were going to do, sometimes before they knew it themselves.
When she was 8 years old, Cain took her to kill a businessman. After she did it, she "read" him as he died, and she saw death as the man saw it. "Terror and then... nothing". In addition to scarring her emotionally, she realized murder, like Cain's profession, is wrong, and she ran away from her father. Cain was surprisingly, genuinely devastated by her disappearance and has never been the same since. He has never quite given up hope that someday she might return to his life. While Cain is not that good of a father, he has shown that he does care deeply for Cassandra; he even began to cry slightly when he heard her speak for the first time, just the word "Stop".
This last incident occurred during Cain's attempts to kill Commissioner Gordon during the events of No Man's Land. Both times, he was stopped by Cassandra, who had become the newest Batgirl; in the first attempt he slew two police officers while escaping.
Framing Bruce Wayne
When Lex Luthor hired Cain to ruin the reputation of billionaire Bruce Wayne, Cain saw it as an opportunity to test the Batman to see if he was worthy of raising Cassandra, and framed him for the murder of Vesper Fairchild. Although it very nearly destroyed his relationship with the rest of the Batman Family, Bruce did recover, made amends with his friends, and hunted Cain down and subdued him. Believing Batman had succeeded in proving himself, Cain cleared Bruce Wayne's name by turning himself in.
Later, Luthor hired Deadshot to kill Cain in prison before he could go to trial and implicate him in the Fairchild murder. In a state of depression, Cain almost allowed himself to be killed before being reminded of Cassandra, which caused him to fight back and shoot Deadshot several times in the chest, leaving him in a minor coma. When Cassandra visited David in jail, although he was immensely happy to see her, she attacked him, and threatened to kill him if he ever committed another murder. Cain was proud of this, and told her when her birthday was before remarking, "My little girl... all grown up."
While Cain remains in prison, he has shown he can escape whenever he wants to. He once escaped to give Cassandra a birthday present and then returned to prison acting as if nothing had happened.
Truth and consequences
When Cassandra became curious as to the identity of her birth mother, she went to visit Cain in prison to ask him, but he wouldn't tell; he insisted that he had promised the woman he would not, and that some things were better left not known.
Following the events of One Year Later, Robin brings a subdued David Cain to the League of Assassins as ransom for Cassandra. However, it is revealed that during the Lost Year Cassandra had actually become the League's leader. Cassandra explained that she had changed after finding out that Cain had trained another child, "Annalea." Cassandra stated that the only thing that had kept her going over the years was the fact that she was the only child he had trained, and that she had decided to give up on being a hero (this contradictory behavior was later explained as a result of a mind altering serum she had been injected with by Deathstroke the Terminator). After her speech, Cassandra handed Robin a gun and told him to kill David, offering him a place in her League if he did. When he refused, she shot her father herself. As Robin rushed to check David's condition, he attempted to tell the boy that Cassandra and Annalea "weren't the only ones. There were others."
However, Robin was soon forced to leave Cain's body to continue the fight against the League of Assassins. When an explosion caused a fire to erupt in the vicinity, their fight ended, and Cassandra fled the scene. Robin left in a different direction, later returning to where David's body was, only to find all the assassins dead with broken necks and Cain's body missing.
- David Cain was one of the people who trained the young Bruce Wayne to become Batman.
- 43 Appearances of David Cain (New Earth)
- 16 Images featuring David Cain (New Earth)
- 5 Quotations by or about David Cain (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: David Cain (New Earth)