This is the second of an eight part blog series that will explain why Flashpoint should never have happened to the Bat-Clan and it started with Dick Grayson and will follow through each character in order of appearance chronologically until we come full circle with Bruce Wayne at the end. (This was originally posted on my tumblr at http://mrmessyface.tumblr.com but I decided to post on here too to get your opinions as well.)
Previous entry: Dick Grayson.
Our second entry is about one of the most iconic female characters in comic book history, Barbara Gordon. That is not as arguable as Dick Grayson being the greatest hero in the DC Universe. Barbara was the first official Batgirl. (Bette who?) She was basically the literal version of a “fangirl.” From what I could gather, she was pretty much just a big fan of Batman when it started out. (Much like her brother in the Dark Knight movie series.) At least that’s what my interpretation of her character in the early days.
In her original appearance in DETECTIVE COMICS #359 in 1967, Barbara decided to dress up as a “female version of Batman” for a police masquerade ball. She stumbled upon an attempt to kill Bruce Wayne by Killer Moth and felt the need to help. Turns out it was a dummy Wayne set up by Batman and Robin and she messed it all up. Refusing to quit, she eventually found Killer Moth’s hideout and rescued Batman and Robin from a gravity free chamber. Batman was impressed and told her that he would accept help from her whenever he needed it. But the Barbara we all know and love wouldn’t just wait for invitation and she’s been in the Bat-Clan ever since.
In 1988, Alan Moore gave a striking blow to every Batgirl fan out there. In BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, Joker was dead set on kidnapping Commissioner Gordon and abusing, torturing, and humiliating him any way possible. He wasn’t going to let anything or anyone get in his way. So, when he knocked on the Commissioner’s door, Barbara answers and he just shoots her through the stomach straight into her spine, paralyzing her from the waist down. The sad thing was that Batman did not actually punish Joker when he finally got a hold of him. Instead, they shared a laugh, which was quite brutal.
In SUICIDE SQUAD #23 in 1989, the enigmatic identity of Oracle first appeared. This unknown character was the source of information for the team, and later Batman and many other heroes. It wasn’t until SUICIDE SQUAD #38 in 1990, that they revealed that Oracle was actually Barbara Gordon. She eventually went on to becoming one of the most useful allies Batman has ever had. No, seriously, without her Batman would probably be only as good as Green Arrow. (lol) She ended up starting her own team of heroes under her guidance called the Birds of Prey who usually starred Black Canary, Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, and many others. She also mentored Cassandra Cain as the second Batgirl and taught her to speak English.
When the infamous Final Crisis came and Batman was assumed dead, Barbara was locked in an all-consuming battle with the Calculator over the Anti-Life equation being spread over the internet. She eventually succeeded and then proceeded to mentor his daughter, Wendy, when she was in a wheelchair. Wendy eventually became Proxy, Oracle’s protege.
When Dick Grayson was running around as Batman, Barbara was not only running the Birds of Prey, but also mentoring Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. Later, in the storyarc titled “The Death of Oracle,” the Calculator and his new friend Mortis try to get revenge on Oracle for all of the times she took down the Calculator. He shoots down a helicopter during a Birds of Prey rescue mission and assumes that Oracle was inside it. She led everyone, except for some very close friends, to believe that she actually died. Her last comment being “Big sister is watching everyone.”
After Flashpoint, she was seen getting back the use of her legs and returned to being Batgirl. In this new world, she was only paralyzed for 3 years and was never Oracle. Also, without any way of arguing it, proved that both Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown have never been Batgirl in this timeline. Barbara is struggling with her confidence to return to being a superhero while Cassandra and Stephanie are nowhere to be found. She is also a member of the Birds of Prey as Batgirl with Black Canary as the leader. Her teammates include Starling, Poison Ivy, and Katana. Also, in this universe, she has obviously never fallen in love because the relationship with Dick Grayson was erased and Ted Kord never existed in this universe to begin with. As far as I’m concerned, that is a very sad development.
Instead of changing everything, Barbara should have stayed as Oracle, allowing all the developments between Cassandra and Stephanie to stick. I like that everyone believed she was dead and that would have proved worthy in her efforts to guide both the Birds and the Bat-Clan.
Solution: Don’t flashpoint the universe and make Barbara go back to being Oracle, but make her even stronger than before. One of the best things about her was that she was a good role model for every young boy or girl who was in a wheelchair that felt useless. Her being able to walk again and the readers can’t felt like some kind of insult to those readers, to me.
Next entry: Jason Todd.