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The Wheelchair Isn't Retconned: Batgirl #1 6-Page Preview

New preview pages reveal the fate of Alan Moore's 'The Killing Joke' in the "New 52."

One of the biggest stories to come out of the new DC Universe and DC Comics' 52 new ongoing titles is the return of Barbara Gordon to the role that made her famous -- Batgirl. The movie is definitely a controversial one, as many die hard Barbara fans would agree that comic characters evolve, and the crippling of Barbara in fact evolved her character and added a new dynamic to her role in the DC Universe as the only superhero that could fight crime behind closed doors. Her role became essential to the Bat family's detective skills, and she organized her own team of crime-fighting women, the 'Birds of Prey.'

Barbara Gordon had not allowed the wheelchair to hold her back, and many fans would agree it made her stronger. She became the mentor first to Cassandra Cain, who would take her place as Batgirl, and then to Stephanie Brown, the current Batgirl. Now this September, Barbara will return to her roots and to her past, and to the cape and cowl as she once again swings across the rooftops of Gotham City. This is certainly an exciting time for Babs, but what will that mean for the 20 plus years of character history since she was first shot by the Joker in 'The Killing Joke'? Until now, fans weren't sure how much of Barbara's character would keep and pass over into the new 52, but a revealing exclusive 6-page preview of the first issue of Batgirl in the New York Post answers a lot of unanswered questions.

== TEASER ==

"It’s tremendously exciting to see her smiling on the cover of her own hit book finally, ready to kick ass against Gotham City’s worst monsters," said the series’ writer, Gail Simone.

Batgirl, which is being written by Gail Simone may not be a hit book, yet -- but if pre-orders are indicative of anything, many of the DC's big 52 titles already have hit over 100 thousand pre-orders, and in the case of Justice League, 200 thousand. Needless to say, people are definitely going to be reading DC Comics this fall -- and that includes Batgirl comics.

The big reveal in this short preview, however, has to be the fact that DC is acknowledging the fact that Barbara had been shot in Alan Moore's 'The Killing Joke' and for a while, had been in a wheelchair. The big question remains, however, will her years as Oracle, when she fully came into her own as a strong, empowered, intelligent female character remain in continuity? Is the moment when tragedy struck (Babs getting shot by the Joker) nearly as important as how she dealt with the tragedy afterward? I never thought so. Check out the 6-page preview of Batgirl #1 which is due to hit stores on September 7th, 2011.

Source: New York Post

BATGIRL #1

Written by GAIL SIMONE

Art by ARDIAN SYAF and VICENTE CIFUENTES

Cover by ADAM HUGHES

Yes, it's really happening!

Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl – and she's going to have to face the city's most horrifying new villains as well as the dark secrets from her past. You won't want to miss this stunning debut issue from fan-favorite BIRDS OF PREY writer Gail Simone!

DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US

On Sale September 7, 2011

91 Comments
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Posted by lorex

Sorry to any of you who have drank the kool aid already, but any change to how Barbara became Oracle is a retcon plain and simple. Any change to that history would be an insult to thee fans.

Posted by EdwardWindsor

Good to see they arent completly retconing Alan Moore since that should be illegal in my eyes.

Posted by entropy_aegis
Posted by scarlettexashes

I dunno...I like Babs, she was a great Batgirl, but Oracle was such a STRONG character in so many ways. Its a reason WHY, I love the Bat family more then other super hero families...Sure, theyre comic book heroes, but their hero's with human limitations. Its inspiring, to watch the human body and spirit over come monstrous obstacles. I dont know how I feel about Babs returning to the Batgirl mantle, but I do hope DC will give me some other character (if not Barbra) who isnt "perfectly physically fit" to be a super hero. 

Posted by entropy_aegis

Meh i'll pass on this.

Posted by TheMadMonkey

I seem to recall someone at DC saying that Barbara wasn't raped by Joker.  That's just never been something he would do, despite his varying levels of insanity.  He did remove her clothes and took the pictures of her in front of Jim, but he never did physically abuse her...other than the gun shot, I mean.  The faces we see her making are just those of the pain she's suffering due to the bullet wound. 
In a way, yes, Joker did rape Barbara...but not in the traditional sense. 
I wish I could remember who it was that confirmed she was not sexually abused.  It may have been Brian Bolland explaining how he felt drawing that particular scene...or something like that.  I do, however, clearly remember feeling rather relieved that it didn't happen to one of my favorite female comic characters.

Posted by goldenkey

I HATE THIS IDEA!!!!  It says plain as day that the risk factor of a hero has now been shortened.  It takes away from the great and tragic story that Alan Moore wrote called "Killing Joke"  Anytime I had to make a point to a person about comic books are not for kids, but are written for adults I would hand them my copy of Killing Joke to read.  It was a one shot.  Everyone knows who the Joker is.  Everyone knows who Barbarra Gordon is from the T.V. show.  They know she's Batgirl.  The only question I used to get is "Who is H. Dent?" because they showed Batman walking past Two-Face in the beginning.  It's a quick read, it's a very surprising read to see Joker shoot Batgirl and from the what the reader is supposed to assume is that Batgirl was not only shot, but stripped and I had the idea that she was raped too.  It shows that Joker wasn't a bad guy he just had that "One bad day"  that changed his life.  Proving to Batman and the reader that "One bad day" is all it takes to make one man go the route of the Joker, and one man go the route of Batman.  Both are crazy as hell, the minor difference is that each has his own motive now.  Giving back Batgirl her legs just takes away from that and makes it pointless is some aspects.  For years I always heard, "Don't bring back Bucky, Uncle Ben, or Jason Todd." I always thought "Don't bring back Batgirls legs"  I bet Alan Moore is pissed.  I would be.  It's a bad situation.  I would have understood if they did what they did with Bruce and brought her legs back quickly but after yeeeeeears of not walking it's just dumb. 
Posted by Aiden Cross

Hmm.. never was warm of cold toward Babs. But I really warmed up to Steph as Batgirl... >_>

Posted by Handski253

My knowledge of Barbara Gordon is very limited. I mainly added this book to my list because of sheer curiosity on how she'd be out of the wheelchair and wanting to read more Bat titles than Batman, INC. After reading these 4 pages, I have a feeling it's going to be a BEHEMOTH of a book and can't wait to get my mits on it. 

Posted by blur1528

Nothing but don't miss!!!

Posted by blur1528
@Babs: Pretty sneaky, Babs! I thought they seemed easier to read...
Posted by Eyz

So...she's partially retconned?

Posted by GBrutality

so...birds of prey, her whole shtick as oracle, other batgirls, at least two new robins, bane breaking batman, hush, so many things, just three years? really? lame.

Posted by sputnik
@KRYPT babs back! uber cool. but what will happen to cass and steph now?
Posted by ReVamp
@Roldan said:
@ReVamp said:
@Jake Fury:  Wait, was it ever confirmed/hinted at on panel that she was actually Sexually Abused?
if you have The Killing Joke, then look at the page where Joker shows Gordon the pictures of naked Barbara. Look at the middle ones where Barbara's making faces. Those faces suggested sexual abuse as well.
Yeah, welll not to sound completely innocent, but she just got shot, so I think she's allowed to make those faces. I'll go check it out regardless.
Posted by Omega Ray Jay

Interesting way of salvaging some of the continuity.

Posted by 672253

Batgirl's at the top of my list, although feeling a bit nostalgic for the yellow and black costume...

Posted by 04nbod

THE BULLET NEVER BEAT HER!
 
Heaven!!

Posted by Oghmata
@Bat_Mite51: Yeah, just like Cap. But technically, in both cases there was a lethal attack and then a corpse (and don't tell me it was never his corpse, I know that, thanks). They should have stopped at the corpse stage. 
So, let's say I am one of these people who wish Bruce Wayne had been actually killed by Darkseid, once and for all, permanently.
Posted by Jake Fury
@entropy_aegis said:
@Jake Fury said:

http://www.themarysue.com/dc-reboot-batgirl-1-preview/  Nice link explaining some finer details of this preview.  Apparently, Barbara was shot and sexually abused by the Joker. It says her recovery time was about 3 years.
She was raped?

That's what the comments at the link I posted seem to imply.
Online
Posted by fodigg

Even with her legs, even flying around beating the hell out of people, it doesn't make enough sense to me. She's Oracle as much as Dick is Nightwing. Why make her Batgirl? Oh well, I guess that's what makes this a reboot, as uneven as it is. 
 
And am I the only one who dislikes that they're including it but with some miracle cure? I'd almost prefer if it was just handwaved out of continuity. This sort-of-in-continuity but then magically cured thing just makes me feel like it's undercutting the gravity of her handicap (and therefore the strength she brought to bear to overcome it and grow far, far beyond it) all those years she was Oracle.

Posted by fodigg

Re: sexual abuse by the Joker, I think stripping her down naked and taking photos of her while shot was the sexual abuse they're talking about. That is sexual abuse. Whether it went further than that I don't believe was ever brought up in the comics. I don't think it went further than what they showed on the page, but really, did it have to?

Posted by Jake Fury
@ReVamp said:
@Jake Fury:  Wait, was it ever confirmed/hinted at on panel that she was actually Sexually Abused?

I'm not sure. I clicked on the link and they seemed to be implying it.
Online
Posted by No_Name_

@fodigg said:

Re: sexual abuse by the Joker, I think stripping her down naked and taking photos of her while shot was the sexual abuse they're talking about. That is sexual abuse. Whether it went further than that I don't believe was ever brought up in the comics. I don't think it went further than what they showed on the page, but really, did it have to?

This. ^^

I also think taking away from her time as Oracle undermines her character. I care more about THOSE years than what happened to her in 'The Killling Joke.'

Posted by kennybaese

A LOT of people hate the idea of making Barbara Batgirl again, which I don't really understand. I get that people like Stephanie and Cass (Cass is the Batgirl that I grew up and my favorite, just like Wally West is my Flash and my favorite), but Gail has written Barbara better than anyone. And people thinking that her being Oracle in for three years or whatever doesn't make any sense should just look at the fact that Bruce Wayne hasn't aged in the last 30 years. And Tim Drake has been a teenager for the last 10 or so.

Seriously, Gail has earned my trust, especially with Barbara Gordon. I'm looking forward to reading this book and loving every minute of it.

Posted by batflasharrow96
@xhavoc86: Just to let you know, I'm not in a wheelchair or anything like that. I'm just saying that for the people who are and look up to her. I said it because I've read articles that are very sad about people who look up to her and it annoys me that DC decides to make a very unique character who just happens to be the greatest disabled hero a fully physically able hero. It's not that I think the story'll be bad but i do not support this idea. I am annoyed because if I were in a wheelchair and they did this, i'd feel in a way betrayed.
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

"She of the Eidetic Memory" 
 
Seriously? 

Posted by Bestostero
@batflasharrow96: I see your point of view, I felt extremely betrayed when Ryan Choi was randomly killed off for no apparent reason other than to give the title back to Ray Palmer. But I'm not debating that lol
Posted by U R Sofa King We Todd Did
@walkingcarpet said:

A LOT of people hate the idea of making Barbara Batgirl again, which I don't really understand. I get that people like Stephanie and Cass (Cass is the Batgirl that I grew up and my favorite, just like Wally West is my Flash and my favorite), but Gail has written Barbara better than anyone. And people thinking that her being Oracle in for three years or whatever doesn't make any sense should just look at the fact that Bruce Wayne hasn't aged in the last 30 years. And Tim Drake has been a teenager for the last 10 or so.

Seriously, Gail has earned my trust, especially with Barbara Gordon. I'm looking forward to reading this book and loving every minute of it.

wish i could like comments
Posted by blackkitty

Okay, I'll admit I like Barbara better in the wheel chair, but that's not really my complaint. What I can't figure out is, if heroes are only here for the last 5 years. And, I've been told barbara is a college student now so she's been deaged like everyone else. Okay, cool. So, that means in 3 years she became batgirl, got shot, became paralyzed, went on to become oracle and is now batgirl again? This whole thing seems like she was in a wheel chair for all of a day and a half.
Posted by labarith

So Reverse Flash did what Booster Gold could never do... :/

Posted by keith71_98

See, I can't read it yet. I want to sooo bad but I must be strong! One more week...one more week...I can do it...

Posted by ReVamp
@Jake Fury said:
@ReVamp said:
@Jake Fury:  Wait, was it ever confirmed/hinted at on panel that she was actually Sexually Abused?
I'm not sure. I clicked on the link and they seemed to be implying it.
I think that the most probably answer is the one Fodigg gave. I don't think that the Joker raping Barbara fits into the story/character too much.
Posted by okayla

This is as annoying as I anticipated it being. 

Posted by CaptainCockblock

HOORAY! Killing Joke still happened! As long as they left Cassandra as Batgirl for the time that Barbara was paralyzed, I'm happy. 

Posted by Grimoire

Looks interesting to me. I might pick this up.

Posted by FinalAvalanche

Gail Simone is one of my favorite writers, and even though I prefer Cassandra or even Stephanie over Barbara as Batgirl, I trust Simone enough to make the series enjoyable.
 
If I remember correctly, Cassandra and Stephanie are said to still exist in the rebooted universe. It may take awhile, but they're bound to show up sometime once the DCnU is established enough. In fact this could be a great opportunity for Cassandra, since her characterization ever since OYL has been fairly inconsistent.  Her relationship with her father, David Cain, was also changed drastically after OYL. Retconning some of her OYL appearances may be a good thing (at least to me). A fresh start could do Cass some good.

Posted by cagedleo730

They should never had only 1 disabled hero for the handicapped to latch on to. It's like having 1 black hero or 1 Asian/Hispanic/female heroes. All minorities should have multiple heroes. As for her walking again, no miracle cure like Bruce. She'll have to rehab the old fashion way. As for Batgirl being a demotion, I don't get since Oracle was her hacker/tech ID. Is she gonna be patrolling Gotham as Oracle??? Nightwing outgrew the Robin role. Babs had the Batgirl role taken from her. If there was no Batwoman maybe she would have picked that name.

Posted by The Velvet Rabbit
@blackkitty: my thoughts exactly
Posted by Casshern

I've herd she cheats and uses a Lantern Ring. Still looking to confirm this WILD THEORY...but damn she did get shot, IT APPEARS KILLING JOKE happened, BUT....?

Posted by pinkdaizygirl

I think itll be good to see more of Babs dealing with her nightmares and memories. Ill miss Oracle, but its good to see,her back in the cowl.