On the final page of SUPERMAN #15, on the bottom right hand corner there is a teaser for what is in store next for Superman. In very few words, Superman will come face to face with "the cosmic entity known as The Oracle." I don't know about you, but after reading that, two things came to my mind. First, the all-knowing, omnipotent being known as Brainiac. Brainiac has been considered one of the most intelligent cosmic beings in the DC Universe, and has always boasted about his, or its, omnipotence. The next thing that came to mind was the name of this "cosmic entity." To us, the name "Oracle" was an obvious nod to Barbara Gordon's former identity. Prior to the 'New 52' Gordon took on the moniker "Oracle" and was considered the ultimate information broker of the DC Universe. So are either of these two characters related to this "all-new Oracle"?
After looking through past issues of SUPERMAN and BATGIRL, we're inclined inclined to think that this all-new Oracle is neither Barbara Gordon nor Brainiac, nor do we think it has a connection to either of these two characters. We even caught up with Scott Lobdell, the current SUPERMAN writer to try to get him to talk. And he did, sort of.
Comic Vine: In the solicit for SUPERMAN # 17 Superman and his 'family' will face off against an "all-new Oracle." Can you tell us anything about this Oracle?
Scott Lobdell: Hmmm... "face off" might be a bit off. The truth is Oracle is such a cosmically powered entity that he/she could probably obliterate an entire solar system with a sideways glance! Fortunately for Superman, Supergirl and Everyone on Earth... Oracle has a higher calling than to slug it out with anyone.
Oracle is someone who can see the past, the present and the future all at once. Now, you and I would find that pretty disorienting just trying to do about our day. But Oracle is a cosmic entity, so multiply whatever you're thinking by a few infinities... it is any wonder he/she has a hard time relating to us humans (or Kryptonians as in the case of Kal, Kara and H'El.)
Most of the time Oracle does this from the farthest reaches of time and space... but when something of reality-altering important is about to happen, he/she is summoned by one of the countless Heralds throughout the universe. So in short, if you ever see an Oracle? It is not a good thing.
Comic Vine: it have any relation to Brainiac?
Scott Lobdell: Not that I'm aware of. I can't say for sure but I think the an Oracle predates a Brianiac by eternity. (Give or take a few decades.)
Comic Vine: Anything else you can tell us about the concept, where you got the idea for it, etc.?
Scott Lobdell: I can tell you I am excited about having a cosmic character to play with in SUPERMAN (And the larger DC as a whole)! One of the best things about SUPERMAN is that he is a character that lends himself to almost any story imaginable! Alternate realities, time travel, strange new worlds and ancient civilizations, super science villains or cloned warriors from a parallel dimension...? Everything is on the table with a Superman story! So to be able to have Superman find himself involved in something as awe-inspiring as the crisis that calls Oracle to Earth? I'm already having more fun than is legally acceptable by the law!
Lobdell is clearly excited about what he's doing on SUPERMAN and although he managed to be relatively vague in regards to who this Oracle character is, he does clear up a few things for us. First, he confirms that to his knowledge there is no connection between The Oracle and Brainiac -- at least for now. Next he draws the focus to this character's powers and its ability to see past, present and future all at once. He goes on to imply that this "Oracle" has the cosmic powers of a God and that if you do see an Oracle "it's not a good thing."
Looking back at previous issues we recalled a moment where the Oracle was first mentioned in Lobdell's SUPERMAN series, specifically in issue #0. You might not remember it (or perhaps you do), but the Oracle was mentioned in passing; much in the same way that it was referenced in SUPERMAN #15. In the #0 issue on the very last page a "herald dies having honored his Master." The Master being The Oracle. Does this sound a little bit like the relationship between the Silver Surfer and Galactus?
This discussion did make us curious as to why DC editorial and Scott Lobdell chose to call this new character "Oracle." When we first saw the reference made to the character we immediately thought of Barbara Gordon, the character who previously held the name. Now that the universe has seen a reboot, it is unclear whether the three years which Barbara spent in a wheelchair after being shot by the Joker were also spent as Oracle. So was she ever Oracle or wasn't she? Although the series' writer Gail Simone has referenced Barbara's years out of the Batgirl costume in the current BATGIRL series, she hasn't really delved much into it. There hasn't been any mention of Barbara's years as Oracle, and something tells us that by naming this new "cosmic entity" 'The Oracle,' DC has hit the proverbial head on the nail of the Barbara Gordon aka Oracle coffin.
What do you think? Do you think Barbara Gordon was ever Oracle? Do you think this new Oracle character has any connection to Brainiac, or is it a completely new concept? Are you looking forward to seeing what happens between Superman and The Oracle in issue #17 of SUPERMAN?