Barbara Gordon was the first Batgirl, a teenage vigilante inspired by Batman but also her foster father, Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. A life-changing encounter with the Joker made her lose the use of her legs, but she didn't let that stop her. Using her skills with the computer, she became Oracle, the premiere supplier of information for all heroes, and the founder of the Birds of Prey.
- 1 History
- 2 Powers and Abilities
- 3 Paraphernalia
- 4 Notes
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Recommended Reading
- 7 Related
Barbara Gordon was born the daughter of Roger C. Gordon and his wife Thelma in the suburbs of Ohio. Even as a young girl, Barbara wanted nothing more than to be a superhero. She and her best friend, Marcy, would spend endless hours designing superhero costumes and heroic identities for themselves. At this precocious age, the seeds of Barbara's future crime-fighting career began to foment.
When Barbara was 13, her mother and father were tragically killed in an automobile accident (due largely to her father's drinking problem). Barbara adjusted as well as she could. After the accident, her uncle, Jim Gordon, adopted the orphaned Barbara. Jim and his wife (also named Barbara) lived hundreds of miles east in Gotham City, where James worked as the police Captain. Barbara immediately became infatuated with the Gotham City's most legendary phantom of the night – the Batman.
Barbara had become completely obsessed with the Batman and learned everything that she could about him. One evening, she snuck into her father's private home office to discover him engaged in a secret conversation with the Batman. Barbara had no idea that her adoptive father actually worked with the mysterious Dark Knight. Her obsession with the vigilante only intensified.
The following morning, Barbara insisted that James enroll her in martial arts classes. While reluctant at first, he recognized that the daughter of Gotham City's police captain could definitely benefit from some knowledge of self-defense. Barbara excelled in her training and earned her black belt within a short span of time.
As dedicated as she was towards her physical development, Barbara equally committed herself towards her academic achievements. Gifted with a photographic memory, she easily rose through the ranks of Gotham Heights High School and graduated early at the age of sixteen.
That same period, Barbara earned herself a scholarship to Gotham State University. She became one of the University's youngest students, graduating with honors before she was even a legal adult. She became friends with Katarina Armstrong, but that friendship ended when Katarina tripped Barbara on the running track to win a race. They did not speak again for several years.
Barbara continued with her self-defense training, this time learning the art of Jujitsu under a sensei named Dragoncat. To supplement her income, she accepted a position as a research assistant at the Gotham Public Library. Her true dream, however, was to one day work in the field of law enforcement. She asked her father about joining the police academy, but James laughed at her, claiming that she did not even meet the height requirements. She also attempted to enroll at the local FBI office as a field agent, but they dismissed her, citing many of the same reasons.
A few nights later, Barbara found an opportunity that would ultimately change her life forever. The Gotham City Police Department decided to host the Million Dollar Masquerade Ball at the Bristol Country Club. Dozens of Gotham City's most affluent leading citizens, including the likes of Bruce Wayne, and J. Devlin Davenport, were expected to attend. Barbara sewed a stylish, feminine version of Batman's costume based upon designs that she first conceived as a child. For the most part, she intended on crashing the party as this "Batgirl" merely to spite her father.
When she arrived, however, she found that somebody else had decided to crash the party before her. A costumed criminal named Killer Moth and his cronies raided the country club, grabbing Bruce Wayne as a hostage. It was their intent to rob the charity proceeds as well as extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from Gotham's wealthiest patrons.
Barbara now found herself acting as Batgirl in deed as well as in name. She tackled Killer Moth in the hopes of rescuing Bruce Wayne from his clutches. What she did not realize though, was that Bruce Wayne was actually Batman. He allowed Batgirl to "rescue" him so that he could sneak off to change into his "work" clothes. Returning to the scene with his sidekick, Robin, Batman discovered that Killer Moth had gotten the better of Batgirl. In order to free her from the morass of Killer Moth's silk-spinner gun, they were forced to let the criminals get away. Batman chided Batgirl harshly for her foolish antics and warned her against pursuing such a reckless lifestyle. Hearing such criticism from a man she idolized for so long was a shock for Barbara, but it did not deter her from her chosen path. Despite his disapproval, he sent her batarangs via Dick Grayson, who subtly revealed to her that he was Robin. Barbara was able to solve the case, and shortly after, Batman swore her in an oath and also revealed his identity.
The Killing Joke
Barbara continued her career as Batgirl for a few years, until it came to an abrupt end when the Joker showed up at her house, shooting and paralyzing her before kidnapping her uncle Jim. Batman rescued Jim Gordon, but 19-year-old Barbara Gordon's career as a costumed crime fighter was over.
Recognizing she could no longer be the kind of superhero she had been, Barbara instead devoted all her time to developing one of the world's most complex and powerful computer systems and set to work accumulating information, renaming herself "Oracle."
Blessed with a photographic memory, Barbara read dozens of the world's top newspapers and magazines daily. She was also constantly gathering information from other, less public sources, such as the CIA mainframe, not to mention the data networks of the FBI, NSA, and Interpol (all without their knowledge or consent).
Oracle proved an absolutely invaluable resource to the Batman and his allies, as well as countless other superheroes, few of whom know anything about the person behind the name. Oracle was responsible for finding information about the Order of St. Dumas and shared it with Batman.
Founding the Birds of Prey
Barbara founded the Birds of Prey, a team of female heroes, whom she employs as agents. Her first agent was Power Girl. However, when an early case went awry and several deaths resulted from it, Power Girl blamed Barbara and stopped working with Oracle on a regular basis.
Barbara joined forces with superhero Black Canary. The two – similar in both having lost their original abilities while fighting crime, yet managing to overcome their handicaps – would later meet in person and become best friends. The two formed the nucleus of the Birds of Prey.
The Huntress later joined the team as a full-time agent, as did Lady Blackhawk. Although the personnel on Barbara's team continued to grow and change, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk remained core agents.
During the quarantine of Gotham, Barbara employed various teenagers to be her eyes and ears on the street. One of these young agents was Cassandra Cain; who later saved Jim Gordon's life. Barbara realized that Cassandra was actually one of the world's top martial artists; it was revealed that her father, David Cain, had trained her to be a weapon from infancy. Barbara acceded to Cassandra taking up the Batgirl mantle and became Cassandra's mentor.
When the gang war broke out in Gotham City, Batman started using Oracle in a way that made her feel like a "glorified operator" and at the same time, she broke up with Dick Grayson. Some days later, Batman took over the airwaves of Gotham, including Oracle's main system and prevented her from accessing her own information. Though it was a temporary measure, Oracle was further upset with Batman for not sharing his plans with her. However, when Batman's "war games" plan was foiled by Black Mask, Oracle was fast to contact the members of the Batman Family and sent them to Robinson Park to help Batman.
After this, Oracle supervised Robin's activities while he defeated the Ravens, Trickster and Mister Fun. Under Batman's instructions, Oracle hacked into the surveillance cameras of Gotham in search of Spoiler and found her location. Later, Tarantula contacted Oracle asking for help and Oracle reported the current situation to Batman. Oracle sent Batgirl to aid Onyx and a few minutes later, she realized that Black Mask had been gathering all the criminals in Gotham and leading them towards the Gotham Clock Tower; her home and secret headquarters. As the criminals stormed the tower, Oracle prepared a series of traps that stalled them while she tried to call for backup. Black Mask managed to overload the system by taking the power down and found Oracle in the main chamber. Batman arrived at the Clock Tower just in time to prevent Black Mask from hurting Barbara, and then both men engaged in a brutal fight to the death. Barbara couldn't stop them by talking and she activated a self-destruction mechanism to blow the entire place, which would have killed her as well. Batman was forced to stop fighting to save Barbara just as the building collapsed. Once outside, Barbara was carried by the reporter Arturo Rodriguez to a safe place. Barbara's home and headquarters was utterly destroyed, thus she decided that it was time for her to move away from Gotham.
Having left Gotham, and after a temporary world trip with her team, Barbara relocated to Metropolis. She later became infected with an advanced virus delivered by Brainiac, which caused her to develop cyberpathic powers that allowed her to psychically interact with computer information systems. She lost these abilities, however, after the virus was rendered dormant. Following an operation by Doctor Mid-Nite, she discovered she could move her toes. However, this proved to be a short-lived effect, and Barbara remained paralyzed.
Although Barbara and Dick Grayson (now Nightwing) re-ignited their romance, Barbara ended the relationship when she felt Dick is being over-protective of her. In truth, the villain Blockbuster was attacking all areas of Dick's life. Barbara and Dick still loved each other and remained in each other's lives; after the destruction of Blüdhaven by The Society, Dick proposed and Barbara accepted.
However, their romance was cut short. Alexander Luthor's master plan to recreate the multiverse relied upon diverting the attention of the world's heroes. Dick was severely injured in the battle for Metropolis, and Barbara stayed by his side as he recovered. When Batman asked Dick to join him in his quest to recreate Batman, Dick was torn because of his engagement to Barbara. Barbara returned the engagement ring because she felt that Dick needed a soul-searching quest as much as his mentor, and understood that she and Dick were not ready for marriage. Dick went with Batman, but left Barbara a note, the ring, and a photograph of them as Robin and Batgirl, promising to come back to her.
Oracle and her team were still working in Metropolis when Barbara once again began working with Batman, although not on a regular basis like before as she preferred to work primarily with her own agents. Oracle was not immediately aware of Cassandra's retirement as Batgirl, nor her subsequent take-over of the League of Assassins.
Barbara continued to lead the Birds of Prey and expanded the ranks of the operation. Black Canary left the team, having decided to devote herself to raising her adopted daughter, Sin. Huntress remained as the de facto field leader for the team, and Big Barda was brought in as the group's heavy-hitter alongside a larger, rotating roster.
Oracle and her team clashed with Barbara's childhood friend Katarina Armstrong, who had since become a government agent and adopted the alias Spy Smasher, who attempted to take over the Birds of Prey organization. After the completion of a mission in Russia in which the team rescued the resurrected Ice, Barbara challenged Spy Smasher to a hand-to-hand fight: the winner taking the Birds of Prey. Although Barbara won the fight, Spy Smasher reneged on the deal. Every agent Oracle had ever employed, male and female, appeared to provide support. Black Canary led the group and, deploying reason and threats, convinced Spy Smasher that the Birds of Prey could not exist without Oracle in charge. Spy Smasher was forced to admit defeat. Barbara later found Misfit, discovered she was an orphan and adopted her into the Birds of Prey.
Barbara dispatched the Question and Batwoman to capture Trickster and Pied Piper following their role in the murder of the Flash. She struggled to keep the identities of the world's heroes from being stolen and coordinated the response to a global crisis engineered by the Calculator, a villainous hacker and information broker. At the same time, the Legion of Super-Heroes members, Karate Kid and Triplicate Girl, stormed her headquarters, demanding her assistance. Unfortunately, Oracle was busy trying to keep Calculator from hacking her system, and so she attempted to send them away. After defeating the lesser computer hacker, Oracle ran a series of tests on Karate Kid and discovers that he was dying of some unknown illness. She sent him out to locate someone who might be able to help him.
Later, after discovering that Green Arrow had proposed to Black Canary, Oracle tried to talk Dinah out of the marriage, reminding her of all the times that Oliver hurt her. In the end, Dinah stated that her love for Oliver was too deep to just give up. Dinah then asked Oracle to be her maid of honor at the wedding, which Oracle agreed to do. Oracle was later contacted by Catwoman, who asked her for all the information available on Thomas Elliot's bank accounts and Oracle provided the information without hesitation.
Final Crisis and Battle for the Cowl
When Darkseid gained control of the Anti-Life Equation, he attempted to put the mind-control equation on the Internet. Both Oracle and Mister Terrific made desperate attempts to stop Darkseid, even attempting to shut down the entire Internet. Unfortunately, they both failed and those affected ended up mindless slaves of Darkseid.
Freed from Darkseid's control after the restoration of the Multiverse, she attempted to shut down the criminal "Ünternet" set up by her opposite number, the Calculator, as a Darkseid-free replacement for the regular Internet and still used by tech-savvy criminals. However, the Calculator, preventing her moves, took control of Kilg%re, gaining the ability to thrive in cyberspace by controlling digital and cybernetic avatars, and tracked Oracle down with his newfound powers. Even though Oracle foiled him, she started doubting her abilities and feared she was losing her edge and brilliance, which resulted in her disbanding the Birds of Prey team to do some soul-searching.
After Bruce Wayne's apparent death, Barbara learned of Nightwing's hardships and visited him at his base in New York City, where she managed to break in and upgraded his security systems as a favor. Some time later, on her birthday, Dick took Barbara skydiving.
When Nightwing returned to Gotham, he summoned a group of heroes that would team up to maintain order in the city. Oracle returned to Gotham and resumed her position as the main informant for the Bat-Family, and her first act was the summoning of the Outsiders to Gotham. Later, she reported Arkham Asylum's destruction to Nightwing and also informed him about a mysterious assassin whose M.O. resembled that of Azrael. Oracle's surveillance system spotted this new Azrael and also a new vigilante acting as Batman. Later, she was able to locate Damian Wayne, allowing Nightwing to reach the boy's location.
Having settled in a low-rent apartment, Barbara started searching for the fragments of the Anti-Life Equation and discovered that the Calculator was collecting them, hoping to save his dying daughter Wendy with it. Later, Oracle organized a plan of action when she uncovered a gambling rake by Hugo Strange, which she disabled with help from Batgirl, Huntress, Manhunter, Misfit and Ragman.
Hoping to stop the Calculator from getting the Anti-Life Equation, Oracle traveled to Hong Kong to steal Calculator's data by the means of an advanced supercomputer, but after getting the data, Calculator tracked her signal and almost destroyed her. Oracle returned to Gotham, where she managed to defeat Calculator, curing the Anti-Life Equation's fragments and she vowed to help Wendy, who had become paralyzed just like Barbara.
Working with Leslie Thompkins, Barbara began to mentor the Calculator's daughter, Wendy, who had become crippled following an attack at the Titans Tower, which took the life of her brother Marvin. It came to Barbara's attention (thanks to Dick Grayson) that Cassandra Cain had once again stepped down from the role of Batgirl, having been replaced by Stephanie Brown. Still seeing Stephanie as an impulsive young girl, Barbara tried to talk her out of being Batgirl. When a new recreational drug known as "Thrill" hit the streets of Gotham, Barbara and Stephanie worked together to stop the drug trade which they discovered was being run by Scarecrow and Black Mask. After Stephanie defeated Scarecrow and proved her worth and maturity, Barbara gave Stephanie an unused Batgirl costume that was supposedly designed for Barbara. Barbara also accepted a new job as an assistant professor at Gotham University.
When Green Lantern crashed into the Batsignal after a fight with the Black Lantern Martian Manhunter, Barbara and Commissioner Gordon were both present. After sending Green Lantern's intel of the Black Lanterns to every superhero community across the planet, the Gordons found themselves being attacked by the original Dark Knight's deceased rogue gallery members, who were all reanimated by the Black Lantern Corps. Barbara and her father were forced to fight for their lives as they witnessed the Black Lanterns massacring everyone on sight at Gotham Central. During the crisis, Barbara was possessed by Deadman, channeling Barbara's athletic capability to save Commissioner Gordon from the reanimated King Snake and the Trigger Twins. After being rescued by Batman, Robin, and Red Robin, the Gordons and their saviors were later attacked by Batman and Red Robin's parents, the reanimated Graysons and the Drakes. While Grayson and Drake battled the Black Lanterns, Robin took the Gordons to their underground base where Alfred tended to their wounds.
Return of Bruce Wayne
A new vigilante appeared in Gotham, the Insider, whom Oracle learned of when Batgirl confronted him stealing from WayneTech. Oracle tried to prevent further encounters against him and shortly after this, Barbara was interrogated about Batman by Vicki Vale, who had managed to discover their secret identities.
Barbara avoided giving Vale a straight answer and a few days later she was contacted by Insider, who informed Oracle that many criminals were on the lookout for Vale and her information. Oracle helped Insider rescue Vale from an attack by Penguin's mercenaries and later she discovered that the criminal after Vale was Ra's al Ghul. Oracle organized a few members of the Bat-Family to protect Vicki from the incoming threat of the Seven Men of Death, and during the battle she deduced that Insider was, in fact, Bruce Wayne, who had somehow returned from the dead.
The Black Mirror
Barbara's cousin and adoptive brother James Gordon, Jr. returned to Gotham after many years. Barbara told her father not to trust him because he was a psychopath. At the time, she was helping Grayson take down a new super-villain called the Dealer. Barbara first started distrusting her brother when he was implicated in the murder of her friend as a child. Oracle investigated the medicine James Jr. used to reduce his psychopathic tendencies, and discovered that he had reversed it to increase them. Commissioner Gordon deduced that his son was using connections with Leslie Thompkins to poison an infant nutrition plant and turn babies into psychopaths. When her step-mother Barbara was attacked with Joker Venom, Batman and the Commissioner went after Joker, while James Jr. kidnapped Oracle. James Jr. tried to murder her in a secluded place, but Batman and the Commissioner stopped him in time after Barbara stabbed him non-fatally through the eye.
- Computer Hacking: As Oracle, Barbara is an expert computer hacker. With her computer hacking skills, she is able to breach the highest security systems. Her skills are rivaled by none.
- Computer Operation: Barbara is extremely proficient with computers. She is by far the most computer literate of the Bat-family, and one of the most efficient users of computers worldwide.
- Genius Level Intellect: Barbara is shown to have a naturally high intelligence.
- Investigation: Trained by Batman himself, Barbara is on a team of the world's greatest detectives.
- Law: Barbara took a correspondence course in law obtaining a Juris Doctor degree which allowed her to sit for a state's bar exam, leading to a license to practice law. After getting the basic degree, she took an extension course in Harvard University, earning a Master Degree of Laws.
- Martial Arts: Barbara is a trained martial artist. She was trained by Kung Fu master Richard Dragon who helped Barbara hone her martial prowess during a time when he too was using a wheelchair.
- Sewing: Barbara designed and sewed her first Batgirl costume.
- Restricted Mobility: Barbara Gordon was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by the Joker, and uses a wheelchair.
- Utility Belt: As Batgirl, her equipment included Batarangs, smoke bombs, a grappling hook, and some other gadgets.
- Cowl Lenses: As Batgirl, Barbara could press a button on her cowl which put various lenses over her eyes. She had a clear lens, a telescopic-vision lens, a microscopic-vision lens, a thermal lens, and a multi-light tracer lens. The multi-light tracer device had eventually replaced her Batcycle's function.
- Batcycle: As Batgirl, Barbara Gordon rides a specially modified motorcycle, with a built-in crime-detection lab.
- Batgirl was created for the Batman TV series, first appearing in "Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin". However, she first appeared in the DC Universe in Detective Comics #359, months before her TV debut.
- There have been numerous attempts to fix Oracle's legs so she can walk again. Simon LaGrieve once mentioned that they couldn't use the brace used by Ravan because part of her spine is missing and there's been extensive neurological damage.
- It has been mentioned that Barbara Gordon can no longer have children after becoming paraplegic.
- In Batgirl #45, Barbara says that she was 18 years old when she was Batgirl.
- While she was infected with the Brainiac virus she had cyberpathic powers and could psychically interact with computer systems.
- Barbara's online screen name is MarpleMiss99.
- Batgirl (Volume 3)
- Batgirl: Year One
- Birds of Prey (Volume 1)
- Birds of Prey (Volume 2)
- Batgirl (Volume 4)
- 907 Appearances of Barbara Gordon (New Earth)
- 177 Images featuring Barbara Gordon (New Earth)
- 59 Quotations by or about Barbara Gordon (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Barbara Gordon (New Earth)
- Detective Comics #359
- Batman: Sword of Azrael #1
- Birds of Prey #29
- Detective Comics #798
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #97
- Catwoman (Volume 3) #35
- Detective Comics #799
- Robin (Volume 2) #131
- Batman: Gotham Knights #58
- Batgirl #57
- Catwoman (Volume 3) #36
- Batman #633
- Detective Comics #800
- Detective Comics #850
- Birds of Prey #127
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #150
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #153
- Battle for the Cowl: Man-Bat #1
- Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #1
- Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #2
- Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #3
- Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1
- Oracle: The Cure #1
- Battle for the Cowl: The Network #1
- Oracle: The Cure #2
- Oracle: The Cure #3
- Batgirl (Volume 3) #1
- Batgirl (Volume 3) #3
- Blackest Night #2
- Blackest Night: Batman #2
- Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batgirl #1
- Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Commissioner Gordon #1
- Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Oracle #1
- Detective Comics #872
- Detective Comics #873
- Detective Comics #875
- Detective Comics #879
- Detective Comics #880
- Detective Comics #881
- Batman: Gotham Knights #25
- Man of Two Worlds; 2000 (Schwartz Autobiography)
- Suicide Squad #51
- Suicide Squad #48
- Detective Comics #845, see excerpt
|Batman Family member |
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This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
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Suicide Squad member
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