Four Biggest Ways DC's 'New 52' Changed 'Batgirl'

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Posted by No_Name_ (16193 posts) - - Show Bio

As you probably already know, DC Comics will be releasing 52 new ongoing titles over the course of September which will both reintroduce new interpretations of some of DC's classic characters, and introduce new ones to fans. Of all the major changes brought on by "the new 52" one of the most controversial to any character were the changes made to Barbara Gordon.

Not only would Barbara Gordon be returning to the role of Batgirl, but she would be out of the wheelchair and walking on her own once again -- something she hadn't been able to do for over 20 years. For a long time fans had anticipated this change to her character, so the decision to have her walk again may not have been altogether surprising to fans, but that didn't make it any less controversial. Yet, this isn't the only thing to have altered Babs' character with the launch of the "new DC Universe." Therefore we've identified what we believe to be the five major changes to Barbara's character (so far) based on the first issue of Batgirl and listed them below.

== TEASER ==

The Wheelchair

Barbara Gordon post Alan Moore's 'The Killing Joke' spent over 20 "comic years" confined to a wheelchair as a result of being shot point blank through the base of her spine by the Joker. Of all the changes made to Barbara's character with the revamp of the DC Universe, giving Babs the ability to walk again is not only the most obvious, it's also the most controversial of changes. For comic fans with disabilities, Barbara Gordon became a symbol of hope -- something greater than herself. Not only did the traumatizing event (The Killing Joke) put Barbara Gordon in a wheelchair, it was also a potentially damaging event that could have prevented her from continuing to pursue crime-fighting. However, rather than allowing the event to control her destiny, Barbara took matters into her own hands and became one of the most important members of the Bat-family. Barbara did not allow the event to control her life and she continued to pursue her dreams. She was an inspirational character whilst in the wheelchair, and grew to be more interesting as a result of the accident. Taking her out of the wheelchair is almost like disregarding a huge portion of the events that molded her into becoming an interesting character.

The New 'Batgirl', but what about 'Oracle'?

Yeah, what about 'Oracle'? For over twenty years Barbara Gordon had evolved into a driving force in the 'Batman' family. Barbara trained both Batgirl's that followed in her footsteps (Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown). She taught Cassie how to speak and Steph how to be a proper crime-fighter. Knowing she was unable to fight crime on her own, Barbara started the 'Birds of Prey,' bringing some of DC's biggest female crime-fighters together and onto one team, leading them from the comfort of the Gotham Clocktower. Oracle was also, at one time, a member of the Justice League, doing a lot of the investigative work for the team. In the first issue of 'Batgirl,' it is unclear whether or not the years that Barbara spent as Oracle helping the Justice League and organizing the 'Birds of Prey' is still a part of her continuity. Following 'The Killing Joke' did Barbara simply "get better" in three years? Will any of the things she accomplished as Oracle transfer over into the new 52, or did they just not ever happen? So much of what makes Barbara Gordon an interesting character happened during her time as Oracle -- Barbara became Oracle and overcame so many of her challenges, and if those aspects of her character are erased from her continuity then that would be immensely disappointing. Not only would it be disappointing to her character, but it would be a disappointment to all of her fans that looked up to her character as someone who overcame adversity and persevered.

New Rogue's gallery

One of the more exciting developments to come out of Batgirl #1 is what apparently will be Barbara Gordon's very own rogues gallery. Even though Babs had been an influential and important member of both the Justice League and the Birds of Prey, she never had any adversaries of her very own. Sure, Babs had the Calculator, (a general DC villain) who eventually became her greatest adversary; but she never had a rogues gallery of her own. In the first issue of Batgirl #1 fans are introduced to 'The Mirror,' a villain who will be targeting Barbara in the next upcoming books.

New Costume

Barbara Gordon has not only left her Oracle identity behind her, but she has left her old Batgirl costume behind her as well. In its place Barbara has adopted an all new, seemingly high tech costume and her very own bat-cycle in the new series. The only remnant of Stephanie Brown's Batgirl costume adopted by Barbara is the purple cape.

It will be interesting to see whether or not more changes will be made to Barbara Gordon's character in the upcoming issues of Batgirl by Gail Simone; but so far, the changes have been pretty big. What did you think of the first issue of 'Batgirl,' and are you looking forward to reading more? Do you think these changes made to her character are for the best or do you wish some things would go back to the way they were? The second issue of 'Batgirl' hits stores on October 12th, 2011.

#1 Posted by Trodorne (2755 posts) - - Show Bio

I thought the first issue is great. While they do not discount Killing joke it does make me wonder if she was oracle but that would be something to get into in another time. right now its the whole crippled thing that matters and it is driving her character and story. and I can't wait to read the next issue after reading the first.

#2 Posted by lemontron (63 posts) - - Show Bio

It's sad to see all of her development as the orcale just fly out the window, but it was a promising start to the new series despite it.

#3 Posted by War Killer (20945 posts) - - Show Bio

Still would have rather had the new DC 52 Batgirl series with Cassandra Cain as Batgirl and Barbara as her mentor...

#4 Posted by danhimself (21307 posts) - - Show Bio

the only thing I don't like about the book right now is her costume...specifically the gloves and boots....the shape and texture on the them just seems wrong to me...but who knows maybe they'll grow on me

#5 Posted by trackstar352 (27 posts) - - Show Bio

I really think DC underestimated how great of a character oracle was. 

#6 Posted by Morgaine_Levesque (2111 posts) - - Show Bio

I really liked this issue. My biggest issue when we first heard that Babs was gonna be Batgirl again was if Killing Joke was going to be canon or not. I was going to be seriously disappointed if they had just wiped that from her history. But not only did they not wipe it, but as evidenced by not only the flashback/nightmare, but also by the last page of this issue 

she is suffering consequences. Which is a human touch to the story that I really enjoyed. 
#7 Posted by Trodorne (2755 posts) - - Show Bio
@Morgaine_de_Bourbon: Yeah that was good and its good they are focusing on good character driven stories now.
#8 Posted by themanwoaname (32 posts) - - Show Bio
@trackstar352 said:
I really think DC underestimated how great of a character oracle was. 
exactly, just like they've underestimated booster gold, rip hunter, and ted kord.
#9 Posted by Bestostero (5782 posts) - - Show Bio

This is one of my favorite titles so far, and one I plan on keeping up with. Everything is shaping up to be amazing, changes and all.

#10 Posted by Cafeterialoca (1581 posts) - - Show Bio

This book is overrated.

Annoying dialogue ("Oh there you are my babies, you been bad babies, you are gonna get it, you bad babies you. Deserve a span-"SHUTUP!!!!!) (Oh, and Gothem, bless my aim), and just a goofy cliffhanger.

Really, I think this book is riding the insane Batgirl and Simone hype for people to see it could be better. Don't encourage something that's decent as amazing. Say that it could be better!

#11 Posted by Venoval (16 posts) - - Show Bio

I absolutely adored this issue!

It's the first time I read Batgirl, so I might not have the best perspective, but I find the writing and artwork in that comic perfect!

#12 Posted by LoganRogue24 (1314 posts) - - Show Bio

i rather steph as batgirl she was my fav.

#13 Posted by Radread (319 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved the first issue. Added the book to my pull list as a result.

#14 Posted by ChernobylCow (96 posts) - - Show Bio

It seemed like a strong start to the series. I feel like the roommate was pretty annoying/lame/underdeveloped. I don't really like the whole batcycle thing. It was a very nice touch when you learn about Barbara's civilian vehicle...and intriguing.

#15 Posted by krazyman27 (75 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked the issue. I didn't love it but I'm gonna keep getting it (at least for a while). Some of the dialogue was corny and I can only read it as purposely ironic (despite that quality not being shown in the new Babs). The ending is the only thing that bugged me. That lady cop sat there just is much as Bargirl and watched the Mirror do what he did. She has way more reason to be blamed than Batgirl (she's an officer of the law), and while the person who actually committed the crime is standing there she decides to point the blame (and gun) at Batgirl? Way too corny. But most of the other stuff made up for it.

#16 Posted by krazyman27 (75 posts) - - Show Bio

Also, the reason I, and many others, prefer Stephanie Brown is that she's funny. No one in the Bat-Family is anymore, (Dick hasn't cracked a decent joke in years). And if the corny dialogue that happened in Batgirl #1 happened with Steph under the mask we would have assumed she was joking and poking fun at all of the Bat-related melodrama. With Babs I just don't know... but at least she isn't as much of a stick in the mud any more.

#17 Posted by Mbecks14 (2114 posts) - - Show Bio

Barbara Gordon is my favorite DC Heroine. She has always been THE batgirl to me, even during Cass and Steph's times under the mask. I'm glad to see her back as Batgirl and enjoyed Batgirl#1, but i am sad to see Oracle go.

#18 Posted by labarith (730 posts) - - Show Bio

She's got her own batcycle?

OMFG, that is absurd!

Hey, I just got out of a wheelchair... why don't I buy + customize/ask bruce for a dod gamned batcycle.

#19 Posted by Joe Venom (1290 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd have to agree with what Sara said in the Podcast, this totally feels like she is written as Stephine Brown, its like she has a second chance at being a kid again. Sure I understand the carefree attitude it would be a blessing to be able to walk again but there were to many moments in this issue when I felt, "yea there is no way this girl was ever Oracle" (that is if she ever was Oracle)

Maybe I'm judging this book too hard for it to only be the first issue, but I am not looking forward to reading about Babs re-learning the ropes noway nohow. I want to see her take the the many things she learned as Oracle and implementing them to become a better Batgirl for the new DCU. I will ride this first arc out (mainly to understand how she became able to walk again), but as of right now I say we re-cripple her!

#20 Posted by obscurefan (297 posts) - - Show Bio

Just wondering but did they de-age Babs any like they did some of the other characters? When I heard that she was going back to being Batgirl I had many of the same concerns that everyone else did about her time as Oracle and the Killing Joke, but also I was wondering if her being BatGIRL meant she wasn't even going to be an adult anymore, since it seems odd to me for a twenty something year old woman to still be calling herself Girl.

#21 Posted by Grim (2187 posts) - - Show Bio

i loved every Batgirl ive read (cass, Steph, and a bit of Barb in flashbacks and such) so i dont really care that shes being writen like Steph. My concern is that she really wasnt that major a player before she was injured. They crippled her initially because if worse came to worse, her removal from action wouldnt affect much (similar to the killings of Supergirls throughout DC history).

So my only concern is : what if people stop caring about her? What if she falls into the same "half love and half hate" category that Steph was in? Her universal love was majorly due to her being handicapped and the immense level of empowerment (to both women and handicapped peoples) she delivered. So now that shes back to being the same as nearly every other female hero out there (even worse at the moment, cuz shes freezing up and getting people killed in a very "little girl" sort of way), how can she possibly keep the love she had? maybe the injury is what made her the character we loved.

shes spent more time in the wheelchair than out of it is all im saying.

#22 Edited by FoxxFireArt (3622 posts) - - Show Bio

Really, it's pretty damn impressive that DC stuck with Babara in a wheelchair for as long as they did. It honestly just got to the point where it was almost silly that she was still in a chair when Bruce miraculously recovered from a back injury, and Damian was getting a replacement spine, as if it was a new cape.

It's just kind of sad to see them do it at the expense of her character growth she'd had over all these years. It just rubs me the wrong way to see a character's developed history being treated as a burden rather than an asset. She was less a random member of the Bat Family and became a power broker

I sometimes look at the "Killing Joke" as Barbara's version of the death of Bruce's parents. Bruce could of been a victim after such a tragic loss. Instead, he stood up and made himself into a hero. Barbara could of just retired from crime fighting after the gun shot, but she faced that trial to make herself into Oracle. It raised her profile as her own hero. Now, that's just.....gone.

Gail Simone I think is one of the few writers who could really be trusted with this remake of Babs. I just wonder if this reboot can allow her to reclaim that level clout she held as Oracle. She's missing her biggest test. It just feels so weird to be typing "Batgirl" and meaning Barbara rather than Cassandra, or to a lesser degree Stephanie.

Something I look forward to see is how does Barbara react with Cassandra since most of that history has been undone. Honestly, why does DC not seem to be able to find a place for Cassie? She's a hell of a lot more interesting that Stephanie was.

#23 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

Really does seem like Stephanie has been swept to the old DC rug with this change. Alas, I'm not as opposed to the idea of Babs putting on the cowl once more like some are. Sure, she was a symbol of inspiration as Oracle and we had grown accustomed to her being in the wheelchair for the last 23 years in comics, but I'm ready for her to be the inspiration Batgirl once again that we all know and love. As for a Batgirl Rogue's Gallery, well I guess that sounds fine. Can't let Bruce have all the fun now, can we? Keep up the great work, New 52!

#24 Posted by PirateNeal (35 posts) - - Show Bio

I love comics! This whole reboot thing worked perfectly for me. Now i'm the nerd i've always wanted to be

#25 Posted by goldenkey (3033 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate this. I won't give it a chance what so ever. Boycotting it. It takes away from so much. The risk of being a crime fighter. It's like "Oh she got shot thru the spine. No big deal, we'll just give her legs back" IT'S CRAP!!!!! She wasn't just a character that over came adversity she was a staple of what could happen to someone when they get in the crime fighting business. Sure she wasn't even on the job at the time but her daddy is a cop and it shows what can happen to family also. It's weak, it's a ploy to make money, and here DC is taking away something that was cool.

#26 Posted by moywar700 (3013 posts) - - Show Bio

People say far having been saying Bat-girl is actually a very good comic

It was sold out at some stores

Might check it out

#27 Posted by LP (683 posts) - - Show Bio

@themanwoaname said:

@trackstar352 said:
I really think DC underestimated how great of a character oracle was.
exactly, just like they've underestimated booster gold, rip hunter, and ted kord.


#28 Posted by Eyz (3184 posts) - - Show Bio

@LP said:

@themanwoaname said:

@trackstar352 said:
I really think DC underestimated how great of a character oracle was.
exactly, just like they've underestimated booster gold, rip hunter, and ted kord.



#29 Posted by Geniusmonkey (15 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the whole DC reboot was overdue and I loved the art in this issue. The writing/villain/subcharacters are all promising and engaging but I can't help mourning Oracle a little. Kind of weird that all of that narrative and personality has been wiped out, it made me feel a bit resentful of the new version. Shoving in a frame from 'the Killing Joke' and a insane explanation of her miraculous recovery from, like, being shot (point blank) in THE SPINE seems a bit mental. And three years later she's swinging off of skyscrapers? It cant still be continuity if it's something that could never possibly happen. All felt a bit forced and weird, but at the same time quite good? Hope Cassandra is still Blackbat and gets her own title. Not so fussed about Stephanie-it's interesting because I'm blonde and Cluemaster was my dad- Brown turning up, always thought she made a lame Batgirl/Spoiler/Robin/whatever.

#30 Posted by Frobin (104 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not against the reboot of the DCU ... as long as it is made well - like in Detective Comics, Action Comics and Justice League. But the return of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl is an bad idea ... DC doesn't thing out things well, in my opinion. You can't take one template and put it on all characters.

Reboot of Green Lantern worked out pretty well, because Hal Jordan is the best Lantern character and the Lantern universe with Kyle, Guy and all the other Lanterns is a small universe within the DCU. The same concept didn't work very well with the Flash ... and here I don't speak of sales figures (of course you always can boost sales for a short time with a reboot), but of a sustainable concept for a characters and his/her book. It worked for Green Lantern, it didn't for Flash, in my opinion. And it will not work for Batgirl and Barbara Gordon. Barbara Gordon is a much better character as Oracle and with her history ... it's totally stupid to abandon this valueable characters, since Cassie is the best Batgirl ever.

It's always the same with DC ... there's no general concept ... they always let one writer play with their characters as they wish ... sometimes it's great like with Green Lantern, mostly it's bad. And Gail Simone's reboot of Batgirl is totally overrated ... seh did great work on the characters, but just because she worked for years on the characters doesn't mean that the return of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl is a good idea. On the other hand, I'm afraid it's mostly a sales decision and even Simone can't make it a good decision. That's the problem with DC ... the sales decision is the main decision! But the sales decision should be the "second main decision", because the "main main decision" should be the quality - which means storytelling/character building AND artwork together.

#31 Posted by .Mistress Redhead. (26668 posts) - - Show Bio

@Babs: Did you think it was worth getting? I like the look of it so far but am nervous about the changes.. reading this though you seem quite positive about it!

#32 Posted by Aiden Cross (15726 posts) - - Show Bio

It was 'meh'. She seems more like Stephanie Brown than the Oracle we're used to.

#33 Posted by MrGutts (268 posts) - - Show Bio

I want to know the tie in and back ground of her. Like for instance, how in the hell can she afford a high tech bike or a high tech suit, like batmans? Is she and batman buddy buddies and he gave her that stuff?

#34 Posted by Nwing77 (17 posts) - - Show Bio
@Cafeterialoca said:

This book is overrated.

Annoying dialogue ("Oh there you are my babies, you been bad babies, you are gonna get it, you bad babies you. Deserve a span-"SHUTUP!!!!!) (Oh, and Gothem, bless my aim), and just a goofy cliffhanger.

Really, I think this book is riding the insane Batgirl and Simone hype for people to see it could be better. Don't encourage something that's decent as amazing. Say that it could be better!

Couldn't agree more.  While there are some qualities of this book that are subjective in taste, there are FAR more technical executions of this issue that  were universally bad. 
The plot is average, which is fine, but the ending itself is so ridiculous that you see this whole endevour as an attempt to stir up drama so Babs can have a 'conflict' to overcome, no matter how fake or insincere it comes off.  There was also a failure to introduce supporting characters in a clear way.  The roomate is actually given in name--but you really have to look for it.   
And OMG, the dialogue!  Geezus, never has prose been this choppy, cheesy, distracting, and full of fragmented stream of thought nonsense that clogs up the page.  Some panels you couldn't tell if she was talking, talking presently or in the past, or if the whole thing was a thought bubble, because quoted dialogue was also being put into the narrative boxes--and yes the babies/Momma talk is just stupidly corny...  Dick or Stephanie wouldn't talk like that, and that's saying something.
Personally, I think Gail is well intentioned with Babs, but her love for this character and her ego tied into how she's percieved by fans [she's smarter than Bruce, she's Batman's star pupil!] has truly swallowed her whole.  She has done better work than what was delivered here.  I can guess that maybe she was rushed, but there are some amateur problems with how this debut story unfolded.

#35 Posted by Kato (13 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved the first issue. I hope that they address the Oracle conundrum (and I'm surprised that Simone or another DC head hasn't done so already) but that being said I'm excited to see where the series goes.

#36 Posted by tbone1225 (277 posts) - - Show Bio

I thought the issue was less interested in telling a story than it was in editing a story. I am excited to read more of Batgirl, however, hoping that we get into more storytelling meat. Certainly, Barbara's fear as she returns to Batgirl will be an important driving factor, but I really don't want the story to dwell on what has come before so much. It's a new world after all.

#37 Posted by fodigg (6211 posts) - - Show Bio

It's Gail Simone, of course it's great. But I can't help but feel like they could've found a way to get her back in the field without 1) curing her injury, 2) calling her Batgirl, or 3) effectively dropping Cass, Steph, Misfit, and the others from the launch titles.

I would've preferred a solution like the one they're doing in Venom with Flash Thompson, where the symbiote gives him the mobility he needs to be a typical superhero but then he's back in the chair for his civilian life. I would've preferred Babs swinging from the rooftops as the high-tech Oracle, still "managing" fights but from the front lines. I would've preferred Cass, Steph, and all the Birds stay as a part of her supporting cast instead of dropping her into an entirely new status quo where it's just her, her Dad, and some new roommate we don't even know.

But hey, if they're going to go this route, then at least Gail Simone is penning it because, for all the changes, it is good and will continue to be good. I just hope some of the history as Oracle bleeds through and that Cass and Steph are reintroduced post-haste. And I am hopeful about new villains. You should always be happy about new Bat villains.

#38 Posted by redwingx (1225 posts) - - Show Bio

@krazyman27: BS. Jason cracks jokes all the time and so does Damian.

#39 Posted by Omega-Man (825 posts) - - Show Bio

The thing is about this I still don't like it even after reading the first issue (I didn't buy it I read it/scaned in the store and threw it back as another friend also bought it, saved me money) I think it's a total stupid move from what I read of it. Barbara was wheelchair ridden for 3 years and just simply got better, it's a cop out and Barbara is still better as Oracle and I don't care if Gail Simmon is writing it, I still don't like the concept of it. Plus as for Barbara when she first became Batgirl it made sense she had to make a home made costume, where did she get the money to make this armoured suit? And even the batcycle she is driving around.

There has to be an explination for these things you can't accept fans who have brains to pick this up and accept that she simply has armour as high tech as Batman's considering she doesn't have that kind of money, and if Bruce gave her it either show it in a flash back or at least hint at it.

It's one very big nit pick I have about Batman in comics right now since Justice League is year one of the heroes and five years forward in Batman and even Batman & Robin comics he is wearing the same suit, things change over time and the suit changes. I don't think DC explained this well how Bruce obtained this suit plus I don't get how Batman Inc fits in all of this or Batman the Road home or Batman Reborn, Or No Man's Land, Or War Games Or Final Crisis or Blackest Night. All these Batman arcs and DC arcs have given Bruce a reason to update his armour and to change the look of it.

#40 Posted by TheBlackHood (540 posts) - - Show Bio

I really enjoyed this first issue and generally the direction that all the DC books are taking in the first couple months. One thing that I really noticed is that so far of the three months of books that DC is advertising, only one has an appearance by a character from another book. In issue 3 of VooDoo she is going to run into Kyle Rayner. This really excited me because it isn't happening in every book, every other month. I hope DC continues to focus on self-contained character driven stories instead of major events. Instead of really competing with Marvel, they can attempt to be the polar opposite.

#41 Posted by anthol (188 posts) - - Show Bio

They need to keeps what she has done in the past canon imo. If they don't then then that could erase most of Batman's continuity instantaneously.

#42 Posted by Swixer (3 posts) - - Show Bio

Can't wait to find out how she got out of the wheelchair.

#43 Posted by THEBlaqueBasterd (384 posts) - - Show Bio

LAME... The only real disappointment in the New 52 so far

#44 Posted by Crowman (443 posts) - - Show Bio

DC needs to make up their minds. It's no use creating such a large impact on a character, that readers need to get used to, then when they begin to love her again, you take the easy way out and give her back 'er legs. 
#45 Posted by luckydomino1 (495 posts) - - Show Bio

i dont get it how did she get her legs back was one of the changes in flash point her getting her legs back

#46 Posted by darksoul7th (214 posts) - - Show Bio

hmm... she really hasn't much change that much

#47 Posted by Samimista (21848 posts) - - Show Bio

Barbara just grew on me more with the #1 issue of the new Batgirl series. I really can't wait for the next issue to come out.

#48 Posted by Utandi (220 posts) - - Show Bio

@Swixer said:

Can't wait to find out how she got out of the wheelchair.

Yeah, me too.

#49 Posted by soccersss (561 posts) - - Show Bio

This was a very encouraging 1st issue. Although some of the cops in this issue annoyed the hell out of me. It's good to see Barbara walking and retaking the Batgirl mantle again even though I'm going to miss Oracle

#50 Posted by reaperkenswolf (45 posts) - - Show Bio

The thing that I just don't understand is why she has to regress as Batgirl. Why not, for the first couple issues, she dons her old Batgirl outfit, just to get the feeling of it again, but by around the third issue she takes on a new identity? It's not gonna happen, but that would be nice. It's kinda like having this new Dick Grayson in what's basically his Ravager outfit. He was doing a good job being Damian's mentor, so why make it stop?

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