Oracle/Batgirl/Barbara Gordon isn’t someone you f*ck with. She’s been a representation of feminism and a wonderful role model for the disabled–especially those wheelchair bound due to spinal cord injuries. I could spend hours talking about how awesome she is and how nuanced a character she is. And if you’ve caught me drunk and happy after a comic reading binge you’ve had to deal with these talks.

I’ve already expressed my reservations for her Lazarus like return to the Batgirl mantle. And today we find out exactly how she’s returning to the role she created.

From Bleeding Cool via DC Women Kicking Ass:

[quote align=”center”]For example – Batgirl. The Killing Joke still happened and she was Oracle. Now she will go through physical rehabilitation and become a more seasoned and nuanced character because she had these incredible and diverse experiences.[/quote]

So apparently if you believe hard enough while missing a chunk of your spine you can walk again.

And yeah, I’m mildly irritated by this and I get why fans are upset. But why were they okay with the variety of amputees in the comic universe who snap their fingers and get new limbs? Amputations are just as devastating an injury and just as common (maybe more so in these times of war). They can create just as fractious an emotional response in the survivor and they deserve to be treated just as seriously.

Look at Roy Harper. He lost his arm a few years ago and got a brand new one that was stronger and smarter and just as capable as the old one. Not even close to realistic. Oh but there was a downside to his sweet new arm. Phantom pain! Only phantom pain is a common ailment in ALL amputees and they don’t get a brand spankin’ new robot arm in exchange.

So where is the outrage over Roy Harper? And where is the outrage over his makeover for the relaunch of the new DC universe? In case you missed:

Note the arm.


Barbara Gordon isn’t the only character finding herself miraculously healed by the DC reboot.

I would love love love if DC used their injuries as an opportunity to explore the minds of those who survive similar injuries, but I can’t in good conscience get terribly worked up over Barbara Gordon’s new legs when Roy Harper is waltzing around with a new arm.

Agree with me? Have a whole bevy of examples to use to put me in my place? Sound off in the comments then!

  • Rob

    Barbara Gordon’s being shot in “The Killing Joke” graphic novel, was not supposed to be in continuity – but it was such a sales success, that in time, it became so. Superheroes are constantly killed and severaly injured in all sorts of ways and routinely come back from the dead. Just because some people like Oracle as a representative of disabled people, doesn’t mean she has to be stuck in that situation permanently while countless others survive and move on from much worse. Ad Gail Simone rightly pointed out, there were always fans that were disabled that wanted her to walk again, why don’t those opinions count? Add to that the chorus of fans who never wanted her to be Oracle, but had no option, as this was the only thing DC would offer up for the character. Now, at last, she is being handled by top talent (the cover artist of Batgirl #1 aside) and given a chance to shine on her own – an opportunity never given to her. As Babs Gordon is THE reason that Batgirl is a part of American pop culture, she should have her time in the sun. A misguided sense of political correctness does nobody any good.  

  • Kerry

    I would rather see Oracle stick around. The DCu is pretty malleable, so there’s no reason a writer can’t decide to develop a character with an incurable disability if she wants to and it is okay with the editors. DC just doesn’t seem to want this particular disabled character anymore. Also, I’ll miss Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl, which has been well-written and sometimes genuinely funny. A real antidote to all the sturm and drang in many mainstream comics.

  • I definitely see what you’re saying. Even Batman himself had his back broke and then got better fairly quick. I think fans are making a fuss about Barbara because she has been one of the characters to stay disabled the longest in continuity. And becase she wasn’t just shuffled off to the side after her injury but made herself a newer, perhaps better role in the Bat verse.

    Another thing I’m upset about with Babs being back in the cowl is that both other Batgirls are seemingly being pushed aside or forgotten! All the guy Robins are still around in the reboot but with Babs as Batgirl, where does that leave Cass Cain and Stephaine?