Four Developments From BATGIRL #0

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Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

I wanted to wait a little bit before I dug into BATGIRL #0 in case anyone still hadn't read it, but I figured that a week was long enough. The release of BATGIRL #0 was pretty significant for any Batgirl fan, and one that many readers were anxiously anticipating. Like many of you, I had a lot of questions about Barbara's identity and about who she was before she became Batgirl after reading BATGIRL #1 nearly a year ago. Needless to say, this issue certainly clarified just how much of the Barbara Gordon I grew up with has changed.

Barbara Gordon Was Never Oracle?

BATGIRL: YEAR ONE was a comic I read that led me to all in love with Barbara Gordon's character. I thought she was incredible as Batgirl. However, it was only after reading Barbara's appearances as Oracle that I realized her full potential as a character. Here Barbara was able to be this incredible smart, tech-savvy information broker. She wasn't just another cape, she was more important than that. She became vital to the Justice League and to Batman, making herself indispensable. Not only that, but Barbara was also given the opportunity to evolve as a character. She still fought crime when she had to -- she didn't let the wheelchair dictate what she could and could not do. She formed her own team of heroines and became this truly iconic character. Issue #0 of BATGIRL opens four years ago and depicts the very first time that Barbara wore a Bat costume and fought crime. The issue speeds through a full year, implying that she fought alongside Batman and Robin until the day she opened the door of her home to find the Joker. The panel is one that any comic fan would recognize, and is one of the defining moments in THE KILLING JOKE. It would be three years before Barbara would recover and become Batgirl again. So, what happened in these three years? Sure, there's a chance that Barbara was Oracle for three years, but that isn't very likely. Even if she were, would that be enough time to tell the story of the Birds of Prey? Probably not. This might mean that some of my favorite Barbara Gordon stories, and the Babs I grew up with, doesn't really exist in the DC universe. At least not anymore.

== TEASER ==

Barbara Doesn't make her suit, she finds it

Barbara Gordon's first appeared in DETECTIVE #359. Initially, the character never had any intention of donning a superhero costume and going out and fighting crime. The opportunity just sort of presented itself to her, and given the chance to save a life, she did so. She did it accidentally, and she felt this sort of thrill after having done so that really stuck with her. Later, in BATGIRL: YEAR ONE, Barbara's origin sort of changed a little bit. In the first issue of Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty's mini-series, Barbara donned a costume fully intending to fight crime.

After "not meeting the height requirement" to be a police officer, Babs went straight to the Justice Society looking for tutelage. Thus, she embarked on her path towards becoming a super heroine. In BATGIRL #0, however, that sort of changes. I don't believe it was Gail Simone's intention to write Batgirl as a super heroine off the bat. It just so happened that Babs wound up at the right place at the wrong time but was fortunate enough to have a costume already made for her. While wandering through the Gotham Police Department, Barbara notices the replica Bat suit and puts it on after she is threatened by Harry X. The two characters then proceed to fight each other hand-to-hand, and Barbara wins. The scene that follows Barbara's fight with Harry X reveals another change made to the character.

Batgirl and Robin sitting in a…No, wait, never mind

One of the things I always loved about BATGIRL: YEAR ONE was the cat and mouse chase and the chemistry between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon. To me, theirs is a sweet romance and truly epitomizes adolescent crushes. So, did their romance ever happen? There have been hints so far that Dick was Barbara's "first crush," but so much has happened between that beyond that. I mean, they almost got engaged!

Batman thinks Batgirl is A-OKAY

One of the things I really enjoyed about BATGIRL: YEAR ONE is that Batman never initially agreed on Batgirl being a good idea, even after Barbara saves Bruce Wayne's life. He never really tells her she is doing a "good job," because that's not really something Bruce Wayne does. To Batman, Batgirl hasn't "proven" that she should be allowed to wear the Bat symbol. It's a dynamic that launches the mini-series and continues throughout up until the very end of the 9th issue, and it makes a lot of sense.

Most of the relationships between Batman and, say, any one of the Robins, has been contentious because he's not one to commend their good work very often. More than likely you will witness Batman scolding his peers on not doing something correctly, than commending him or her on their efforts. Barbara doesn't have Batman's permission to be Batgirl, and this is a big obstacle for her in BATGIRL: YEAR ONE. It's also what gives her drive. She wants to prove him wrong not only for him, but for herself as well. It's a collection of moments in comics that make a lot of sense. Batman doesn't trust easily; he's wary of anyone who tries to get close to him. He is secretive and he lurks in the shadows; so for him to give Babs the OK after one fight in issue #0 of BATGIRL; well, that felt a little bit out of character. Looking at the issue, Barbara didn't have to work very hard to earn the acceptance of Batman.

So there you have it! The New 52 definitely changed a lot of things about a lot of characters in the DC Universe; Barbara Gordon included. What other changes did you find in the series? Which changes do you think have benefitted the character? Which do you dislike?

#1 Edited by SolthesunGod (278 posts) - - Show Bio

"Not only that, but Barbara was also given the opportunity to evolve as a character"

Pretty much this. Batgirl #0 was okay. But Barbara has just devolved so it's still a bit meh. If all these interesting and well written developments just get dropped so easily it makes you wonder why buy DC?

#2 Posted by SilverHammerMan (20 posts) - - Show Bio

Wait, what? Barbara just finds a Batgirl costume? How does that even make sense? Can someone provide a more full explanation, because I've very confused as to why the hell a Batgirl suit would just be laying around in the GCPD.

Also, these scans really show the gulf in art quality between the old DC and the new one. In the new DC everything looks like it's trying to hard to be Jim Lee.

#3 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3549 posts) - - Show Bio

Batgirl was never Oracle.....?.Wow, that would be messed up if true. I agree that only three years is a bit too short for all of that character evolution. Though, how do they then reason where the Birds of Prey team came from?

I really have a problem with comic reboots that takes away character evolution. It's not building upon. It's taking away. As Oracle, she wasn't just another member of the Bat Family living in Bruce's shadow. Now, she's right back there.

Though it's a bit off topic, was Cassie ever Batgirl in Barbara's short absence of the cape? What became of all her character development during the Oracle era?

#4 Posted by Sovereign91001 (4000 posts) - - Show Bio

@SilverHammerMan: The Police built a mock-up of Batman's costume with riot gear, trying to determine what tech/equipment he had. So there was a Kevlar vest, a riot helmet, nightsticks etc.

#5 Posted by hyenascar (192 posts) - - Show Bio

Eh, oh well. They actually change some of the stories after a reboot. Boo hoo. This is a new story. I'll say it again your stories have a beginning and end. These are all new Don't ruin the stories looking for the dot to connect to. Instead remember its all new , with new possibilities.

#6 Posted by nomadicxnightmare (142 posts) - - Show Bio

And this is just another reason why reboots are such a bad idea... I might be in the minority here, but I honestly wish Barb had never got back out of the chair. She had developed so much as a character since the Killing Joke and I thought her Oracle persona was far more interesting in comparison to her time as Batgirl. Plus she was one of the few mainstream disabled heroes out there; still kicking ass while overcoming all odds. Now we're basically back at square one... Thanks DC for butchering character history and development that was better left as it was.

#7 Posted by EnSabahNurX (2313 posts) - - Show Bio

@hyenascar said:

Eh, oh well. They actually change some of the stories after a reboot. Boo hoo. This is a new story. I'll say it again your stories have a beginning and end. These are all new Don't ruin the stories looking for the dot to connect to. Instead remember its all new , with new possibilities.

Only problem is the "new" Is not up to par with the past or even near as interesting.

#8 Posted by Fudgie29 (70 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome article babs.

#9 Posted by KnightRise (4785 posts) - - Show Bio

Adding "... Nice work. But it ends here" would've saved some of the character and story Sarah mentioned in point four. I've never read any Barbara previously, but I like the idea of Batman opposing a partner that he didn't legally adopt hand pick and train.

#10 Posted by jointron33 (1902 posts) - - Show Bio

ed benes art has always looked like jim lee

#11 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

Hold on, you're telling me that some people don't like one of the changes in the New 52?

*gasp*

color me surprised

...I think we're all starting to sound like a severely damaged record at this point

#12 Edited by evilvegeta74 (4521 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman is a habitual as well as serial child endangerment violator, thats what I know, and he's praised . Cyclops meanwhile in marvel kills one species enslaver, leaves a clone of his wife and take the child to be with her, and he's the scum of the earth. Call me Mr. Super Troll and everything else. Batman / Bruce Wayne is just as bad as the lunatics he's sworn to protect innocents from Joker etc... This guy let jim Gordons daughter become intwined in his world but Cyclops is scum, and it's okay to be a hero and allow you're child to kill a villain with no reprecussions! Wait, I'm Batman!!!, I don't have to explain my actions for Jason Todd, Batgirl, or Damien Wayne! Call me Trolls"R" Us if you choose, but it's very clear that certain heroes get a free pass right?

#13 Posted by Omega-Man (761 posts) - - Show Bio

Hate it. Just as much as I hated Batman #0 like batman #0 it completely misses the point of a few things sure they are NEW stories but why fix something that isn't broken? It was just so much of a coincidence that she just happend to find a mock up bat costume....yeeahhh that sounds like it's trying too hard. Same thing went in batman #0 in that story Bruce had been fighting crime without being Batman all I got to say is why did he need to put on a cape and cowl in the first place? It wasn't his first case either in Batman #0

I like the stories normally in 52 but the origins suck.

Thats all I'm saying....

#14 Posted by JohnnyGat (1561 posts) - - Show Bio

This article is making it sound like the costume Barbara found was the one she uses all the way in her series. She could have still made her own costume considering that the mock up bat costume she found was really more to give her protection and added weaponry (kevlar and nightsticks). The costume she found was never made for her just coincidentally able to provide help for her given situation at the time.

Now you have confused people coming in thinking that Barbara actually found out of coincidence the costume that she's actually using in the series and not just a bat costume.

#15 Edited by Ama_Sama (101 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a New 52 change that I'm not feeling. It takes away quite a bit of what made me love Babs as a character, which isn't cool. I'll just stick with my "old school" image of Barbara and ignore this new take on her until it shows some worth in her as a character.

#16 Posted by Danial79 (2333 posts) - - Show Bio

A lot can happen in 3 years. If you think of an average story arc, most only happen over the course of a few days (if that), and 3 years is around 1100 days, so that's a LOT of stories. Same goes for Justice League's 5 year thing. I think comic fans get hung up on DC's new time specification because they think of 5 years as being 60 issues rather than 1800 days.

#17 Posted by X9 (751 posts) - - Show Bio

Ahh, I'm so freaking tired of fans' whimper... GET OVER IT!

Batgirl #0 was a good issue and, for God's sake, it's NEW 52, we don't wanna read the same stories over and over again....

Barbara will have like 20 years to establish herself as Batgirl again and to develop her relationship with Dick and other Bat Family members. JUST WAIT AND STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT EVERY SINGLE THING YOU READ. If you don't like it, then DON'T read it ¬¬

(sorry for the capital letters, but, really, they were necessary)

#18 Posted by Twentyfive (2843 posts) - - Show Bio

Barbara is the best!!

#19 Posted by LinuxScouser (2 posts) - - Show Bio

Why do I only count four points instead of five? I also feel like a three of the four points I've read are things that can be addressed in the future. It's great referencing Batgirl Year One. It's one of my absolute favourite comics. But that was a collection of nine issues to tell that story. Gail has had one. I think it's an interesting start and I'm interested to see where the story will go after the Joker story which Gail said she will do. I think there is room for those points to be discussed then.

#20 Posted by jpblair88 (45 posts) - - Show Bio

i tend to agree with you 100%. Her new origin isnt bad. it works but the Batgirl: Year One story was SO GOOD! this really fell short of the standard.

#21 Posted by warpgirl (52 posts) - - Show Bio

If we are sounding like a broken record, then DC should take notice. We don't like what's going on in the New 52. I've personally given up on both DC and Marvel.

#22 Posted by TheMess1428 (2176 posts) - - Show Bio

The only thing I hated was the fact that the story dictates that she was Batgirl during Dick's Robin era for an entire year and then retired until she got shot. That makes no sense for the Robin time periods to stick. Apparently Dick didn't become Robin until after the Justice League formed and the 5 years was supposed to allow Dick, Jason, and Tim to be Robins for at least 3 and a half years before Damian meets Bruce. The timing just doesn't make sense to me.

@FoxxFireArt said:

Batgirl was never Oracle.....?.Wow, that would be messed up if true. I agree that only three years is a bit too short for all of that character evolution. Though, how do they then reason where the Birds of Prey team came from?

I really have a problem with comic reboots that takes away character evolution. It's not building upon. It's taking away. As Oracle, she wasn't just another member of the Bat Family living in Bruce's shadow. Now, she's right back there.

Though it's a bit off topic, was Cassie ever Batgirl in Barbara's short absence of the cape? What became of all her character development during the Oracle era?

In the New 52, Birds of Prey is Black Canary's team, not Barbara's. And nobody else has been Batgirl. At least I don't think so, because Barbara should have mentioned it by now if there was.

#23 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

Batgirl: Year One was a great comic book indeed.

#24 Posted by hyenascar (192 posts) - - Show Bio

@warpgirl: good for you, now go away. If you don't like it and your not buying it, you've made your opinion clear, and there is nothing left to say. All the rest of us buying and enjoying it won't miss you.

#25 Posted by lifeboy (1675 posts) - - Show Bio

@evilvegeta74: why are you defending cyclops? nobody was even talking about him. Lol

#26 Edited by SplatOZ (7 posts) - - Show Bio

This was a reboot, not a relaunch. NONE of the stories from issues before the New 52 exist unless they are confirmed as having happened in the current New 52. It isn't about squeezing all those Oracle stories into a 3 year period because all those stories never happened. Variations of those stories may exist in the new universe but It is silly to dwell on what may or may not have happened when you should just be enjoying the comic for what it is right now.

#27 Posted by lifeboy (1675 posts) - - Show Bio

@jointron33: hows ed benes's art on batgirl? he is really talented, but he was out of place on Red Lanterns. i think they did a good job moving him to batgirl.

#28 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1071 posts) - - Show Bio

Ok, but that last page. THAT was amazing.

#29 Posted by ltbrd (561 posts) - - Show Bio

to be honest I'm kind of worn out from picking apart everything DC has done wrong with the new 52 for the extremely minimal spike in sales they've enjoyed.

the only thing I will say about Barbara Gordon..........I kind of wished she'd never been Batgirl in the first place and had always been a wheelchair bound Oracle. I know it would destroy the Killing Joke and previous canon, but I thought the idea that Barbara was handicapped from a young age (in a slight homage to Killing Joke she might have been shot by a criminal her dad once put away) but despite her injuries held a number of computer, science, and criminology degrees and was applying to the Gotham PD as part of their new cyber division and acting as a crimes analyst at the same time Batman appeared on the scene. Like Tim Drake she was actually able to determine one of Batman's secrets (in her case the location of his first base of operations rather than his identity) and as a result joined his team as Oracle and Batman's second contact within the GPD.

like I said, huge move away from continuity but might have been cool to simply focus on a 20 years period for the character that so drastically changed how people saw her and also the notion that a person doesn't have to be at peak physical condition and the world's greatest detective/acrobat/martial artists/etc to be a hero and make a difference.

plus, that way Cassandra could be the one and only Batgirl (yeah, I know people want to see Stephanie Brown back but I think it would have been more interesting to keep her around under Dick's tutelage and given her the mantle of Flamebird in the new 52......not saying DC needs to make another Bat family title like "Nightwing and Flamebird", just that following her time as Spoiler instead of becoming Robin for a time Steph instead was placed under Dick's wing and took the codename Flamebird and is a part of Batman, Inc in that identity.....was a thought and lets us have all the Bat family characters that we wanted).

#30 Posted by carnivalofsins00 (938 posts) - - Show Bio

I understand that Sara loves Batgirl Year One, but I think it's a bit unfair to Gail Simone's Batgirl to keep comparing this New 52 Barbara Gordon to Year One's, especially when it comes to the review. Honestly, you can go read anything that was published in the past any time, it still exists, and I don't need continuity to decide whether or not I'm enjoying something.

#31 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

I will miss her time as oracle. One can only hope she was a techy and used the moniker during her downtime, even if it wasn't for superheroics. And unfortunately, the "GCPD Batsuit" is one of my favorites for any batgirl, and we'll probably never see it again.

#32 Edited by The Stegman (23140 posts) - - Show Bio

 Batgirl does not find HER suit, she finds A suit, big difference, the GCPD was under attack, and the police developed a suit which they thought Batman wore, Barbara but it on in order to survive the assault, however she is later seen in this: 
 
  
 

Which if you ask me, does look hand made.
Online
#33 Posted by Senno (49 posts) - - Show Bio

She's an awesome girl, period. I absolutely love her.

#34 Posted by carnivalofsins00 (938 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, I was also going to mention that she finds "a" suit in the GCPD building, she doesn't keep it though.

#35 Posted by neiliusprime (247 posts) - - Show Bio

The only two things that really bother me about Batgirl #0 is her randomly finding a batman suit that is conveniently tailored to fit a her and the fact that she didn't have to work that hard to earn a spot under Batman. Don't get me wrong, Barbara Gordon is a great character in the New 52, but her origin in pre-New 52 is better, while her new origin is somewhat ok.

#36 Posted by haydenclaireheroes (8895 posts) - - Show Bio

I really liked this issue. Gail is doing a great job with this series. It is one of my favorites from the Dc reboot

#37 Posted by x_29 (2274 posts) - - Show Bio

*Sigh*

#38 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Never Oracle ::Shakes head and sighs:: I'm losing more and more faith every day. And Batgirl using a replica suit just smacks too much of coincidental deus ex machina to me for my taste. As for Dick and Babs never having had their flirtatious times together, sadness I say. The rest is all fine in my opinion.

#39 Posted by yellowflowerevy (8 posts) - - Show Bio

orz As a semi new Comic reader it would be waaay nicer if they just...ohhh i dont know RESTARTED FROM THE ACTUALL BEGINNING!!!! or something you know maybe since they might have claimed that from the start. Most i find is great but now i keep finding big loop holes. And all I wanted was to understand QQ

#40 Posted by Mbecks14 (2068 posts) - - Show Bio

Barbara Gordon is my favorite female DC character. I'm so torn on the Batgirl/Oracle identity. She's my favorite batgirl of all time. I love everything about her as Batgirl. But Oracle is such an amazing path that she takes. Where she finds herself broken and puts herself together and becomes this amazing new identity.

Interesting changes, I did love Batgirl: Year One. I will always love Barbara.

#41 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3549 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheMess1428:

Oh yeah, I think I remember that now. That's kind of messed up that she's no longer the founder of the very team she created. That almost confirms that she was never Oracle at all or anything else she did while as their leader.

#42 Edited by bsavelli (57 posts) - - Show Bio

This 'five year' thing sure's been messing a lot of things up, especially in the bat-family. It's almost impossible to find out what and when things really happened, and to think all those characters would be able to develop, not just themselves, but also their relationships with other characters in such a short period of time is just crazy. This reboot could've actually worked if the editors had considered doing it in a bit longer period (although, maybe, that wouldn't have been a reboot at all).

Anyway, about Batgirl #0, I enjoyed it. I'm also upset about her never being Oracle, but even with DC just wiping out some of Barbara's greatest moments, Gail Simone's been doing a great job keeping the character just as "Intense", "Driven", and "Exceptional" as ever (sorry about the cliché).

#43 Edited by JohnnyGat (1561 posts) - - Show Bio

Rereading this I have a few points to argue.

1. Barbara was never Oracle?

-This assumption wasn't established in Batgirl #0 it was established in the some issues of Batgirl explaining how the history of her getting shot by the joker was still in place except one of the thugs had a change of heart and eventually called for an ambulance. The fact they showed that scene as a key part of her New 52 self already answered that she never was everyone's favorite handicapped heroine.

2. Barbara didn't make her suit, she found it.

-See my previous comment as well as Stegman's comment. She used a costume that was beneficial to the situation but by no means was it her costume.

3. Batgirl and Robin

-As in the picture that Stegman posted you see Batgirl with both Batman and Robin. If anything the appropriate question would how much of the relationship angle with Dick and Barbara remains untouched (like the mentioned engagement)? In earlier issues of Nightwing you still see the two of them flirting so it's safe to assume they had the relationship that you're worried might not have happened.

4. Batman thinks Batgirl is A-ok

-My critique for this is that Batman was impressed with what she just did. It doesn't necessarily mean that he's a-ok with Barbara as a vigilante. Being impressed based on action does not equal to being approving of life choice. Barbara when she decided to do vigilante work full time could still have been met with resistance from Bruce.

Edit: Before I forget as the entire article goes, as well written as it is there instances of research problems (1 and 3), Misunderstanding (2), and assumptions (3 and 4). Thus the title seems out of place because there are no new developments and the only point that you can argue as a new development is based on assumption (4).

#44 Posted by Shotgun (900 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm starting to feel numb...in a bad way.

#45 Posted by herrweis (428 posts) - - Show Bio

i personally fell out of love with batgirl after the crisis when she was de-aged to be around dicks age ..when in her 1st appearance she was already out of college and a working adult when he was still in high school

#46 Posted by sethysquare (3843 posts) - - Show Bio

Why is Babs hating on batgirl? :(

#47 Posted by JordanDrake (150 posts) - - Show Bio

Well, I like it!

#48 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2219 posts) - - Show Bio

Ummmmm I'm pretty sure this doesn't negate her time as Oracle. If all the other Robins' stories are supposed to fit in 5 years, Barbara can be Oracle in 3. And then she DOES make her costume AFTER using the makeshift one. Her relationship with Dick is not once rejected or contradicted.

Seriously, you're jumping to way too many conclusions.

#49 Posted by Beast_in_the_Shadows (424 posts) - - Show Bio

"This might mean that some of my favorite Barbara Gordon stories, and the Babs I grew up with, doesn't really exist in the DC universe. At least not anymore."

This is pretty much how I feel about all my favorite characters in the new 52. Most all my favorite characters were second or third string heroes and they have all seen the heaviest overhauls. Beast Boy, The Question, Huntress(Bertinelli) Martian Manhunter. Some of them nave had key features pulled away from them, others were never even heroes in this new world. While my favorites have everything of their pasts undone so now all they have in common with the characters I loved are a name and a similar power-set.

I really liked Barbara as Batgirl, but I LOVED her as Oracle. Not only did she rise from a devastating blow, but she did it in a heroic and inspiring way. She was not just a sidekick or a spin-off character, she made something truly unique of herself and it would be very disappointing to find al that gone to appease someone's opinion of the status quo.

Not only did making her Batgirl rob us of Oracle, but there were many other great characters who could have filled in as Batgirl. I mean if any character could have benefited from a reboot to undo some of the character destruction they received in recent years, it was Stephanie Brown.

I don't know, I just haven't found much to praise DC on since the reboot and the more I pay attention the more I find myself distancing myself from them.

#50 Posted by hyperman (280 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually liked this new origin even though I think the story was too thin, it needed more of development but it was ok. it sort of reminded me of her origin in Batman TAS.

Her first costume in this new continuity is rather similiar to the one worn by Alicia Silvertone in "Batman & Robin". I must admit that I would have liked to see her classic-non-armoured-costume. XD

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