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 super-hero. Her best friend Marcy and she would spend endless hours designing super-hero 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, James Gordon, adopted the orphaned Barbara. James Gordon 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 (Now know as Spy Smasher), but that friendship ended when Katarina tripped Barbara on the running track and won the 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 didn't 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 didn't 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 by story's end, Batman swore her in an oath and also revealed his identity.
The Killing Joke
As the years went on, however, Barbara found her role as Batgirl less and less fulfilling, and she eventually more or less retired. That's when the Joker showed up at her house, shooting and paralyzing her and when he kidnapped her Uncle Jim. Batman rescued Jim Gordon, but 19-year-old Barbara Gordon's career as a crime fighter was over. She spent a month in a deep depression.
Recognizing she could no longer be the kind of superhero she had been, she 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 reads dozens of the world's top newspapers and magazines daily. She's also constantly gathering information from other, less public sources, such as the CIA's mainframe, not to mention the data networks of the FBI, NSA and Interpol (all without their knowledge or consent).
Oracle has proven 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 has formed an alliance with fellow heroes Black Canary and The Huntress to aid those in need. Together, they are the Birds of Prey, combining their unique abilities and skills in the war against crime and terror.
Barbara founds the Birds of Prey, a team of female heroes, whom she employs as agents. Her first agent is Power Girl. However, when an early case goes awry and several deaths result from it, Power Girl blames Barbara and stops working with Oracle on a regular basis (Although she helps Oracle occasionally, when Oracle invites Power Girl to rejoin the team after the events of Infinite Crisis, she replies that she'll do so "when Hell freezes over").
Barbara joins 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 (Birds of Prey #29). The two form the nucleus of the Birds of Prey.
During No Man's Land, Barbara employs various teenagers to be her eyes and ears on the street. One of these young agents is Cassandra Cain; she later saves Jim Gordon's life. Barbara realizes that Cassandra is actually one of the world's top martial artists; it is revealed that her father, David Cain, had trained her to be a weapon from infancy. Barbara accedes to Cassandra taking up the Batgirl mantle, and becomes Cassandra's mentor.
During War Games, Batman, who is battling the Black Mask, usurps Oracle's computers and satellites. This results in the destruction of Barbara's home and headquarters in the clock tower. Subsequently, Barbara decides to move on, and leaves Gotham City altogether. She cuts her ties with Batman, and after a temporary world trip with her team, relocates to Metropolis.
After becoming herself infected with an advanced virus delivered by Brainiac, Barbara develops cyberpathic powers that allow her to psychically interact with computer information systems. Although she loses these abilities after the virus is rendered dormant, following an operation by Doctor Mid-Nite she discovers she can move her toes. However, this proves to be a short-lived effect, and Barbara remains paralyzed.
Although Barbara and Dick Grayson (the superhero now code-named Nightwing) re-ignite their romance, Barbara ends the relationship when she feels Dick is being over-protective of her. In truth, the villain Blockbuster is attacking all areas of Dick's life. Barbara and Dick still love each other and remain in each others lives; after the destruction of Blüdhaven by The Society, Dick proposes and Barbara accepts.
However, their romance is cut short by the Infinite Crisis storyline. Alexander Luthor's master plan to recreate the multiverse relies upon diverting the attention of the world's heroes. Dick is severely injured in the battle for Metropolis, and Barbara stays by his side as he recovers. When Batman asks Dick to join him on his quest to recreate Batman, Dick is torn because of his engagement to Barbara. Barbara returns the engagement ring because she feels that Dick needs a soul-searching quest as much as his mentor, and understands that she and Dick aren't ready for marriage. Dick goes with Batman, but leaves Barbara a note, the ring, and a photograph of them as Robin and Batgirl, promising to come back to her.
A year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Oracle and her team continue to work in Metropolis. Barbara works with Batman, although not on a regular basis as before — she prefers to work primarily with her own agents. Oracle is not immediately aware of Cassandra's retirement as Batgirl, nor her subsequent take-over of the League of Assassins (Cassandra becomes a sore point with Oracle: she slaps Misfit, a metahuman girl pretending to be Batgirl, for merely mentioning Cassandra's name).
Barbara continues to lead the Birds of Prey, and expanded the ranks of the operation. Black Canary leaves the team, having decided to devote herself to raising her adopted daughter, Sin. Huntress remains as the team's de facto field leader, and Big Barda has been brought in as the group's heavy-hitter alongside a larger, rotating roster.
Oracle and her team struggle for power with Spy Smasher, a government agent who has taken over the Birds of Prey organization. After the completion of a mission in Russia in which the team rescues the resurrected Ice, Barbara challenges Spy Smasher to a hand-to-hand fight: the winner takes the Birds of Prey. Although Barbara wins the fight, Spy Smasher reneges on the deal. Every agent Oracle has ever employed, male and female, appears to provide support. Black Canary leads the group and, deploying reason and threats, convinces Spy Smasher that the Birds of Prey cannot exist without Oracle in charge. Spy Smasher is forced to admit her defeat. At the end of the issue, Barbara finds Misfit, discovers she's an orphan, and adopts her into the Birds of Prey.
In Countdown, Barbara dispatches the Question and Batwoman to capture Trickster and Piper following their role in the murder of the Flash. She struggles to keep the identities of the world's heroes from being stolen and coordinates 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 storm her headquarters, demanding her assistance. Unfortunately, Oracle was busy trying to keep Calculator from hacking her system, and so she attempted ot send them away. After defeating the lesser computer hacker, Oracle runs a series of test on Karate Kid and discovers that he is dying of some unknown illness, and she then sends him out to locate someone who might be able to help him.
Later, after discovering that Green Arrow has proposed to Black Canary, Oracle tries to talk Dinah out of the marriage, reminding her of all the times that Oliver cheated and hurt her. In the end however Dinah states that her love for Oliver is too deep to just give up. Dinah then asks Oracle to be her maid of honor at the wedding, which Oracle agrees to do.
Final Crisis and Battle for the Cowl
In the Final Crisis storyline, Darkseid who has finally gained control of the Anti-Life Equation attempts to put the mind-control equation on the Internet. Both Oracle and Mister Terrific make desperate attempts to stop Darkseid, even attempting to shut down the entire Internet. Unfortunately, they both fail and those affected ended up mindless slaves of Darkseid.
Freed from Darkseid control after the restoration of the Multiverse, she attempts to shut down the criminal Unternet 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, takes control of the Maxwell Lord, gaining the ability to thrive in cyberspace by controlling digital and cybernetic avatars, and tracks Oracle down with his newfound powers. Even though Oracle foils him, she starts doubting her abilities and fears she's losing her edge and brilliance, which results in her disbanding the Birds of Prey team to do some soul-searching.
Following the events of Batman R.I.P. and the Final Crisis, Oracle has returned back to Gotham, and although the Birds of Prey are disbanded, she continues to summon them to help Nightwing and Robin deal with the growing crime in Gotham.
The Calculator's plans finally come to their fruition, and Kuttler, hoping to save her dying daughter Wendy takes on the Babbage alias and begins prowling the digital world of Alta Viva, a virtual world game, for fragments of the Anti-Life Equation unleashed by Darkseid.
Oracle, now living in a dilapidated condo in Gotham, becomes aware of Kuttler's activities when Cheesefiend, one of her informants, is brutally killed, with the Anti-Life Equation itself, after coming in contact with Babbage.
Hoping to stop the Calculator and prevent him from piecing together the fragments of the Anti-Life Equation in his possession, Oracle travels to Hong Kong, hoping to steal them back by the means of an advanced supercomputer programmed to track the chunk of data left behind by Babbage. However the Calculator discovers her attempts, swearing vengeance upon her.
She manages to defeat Calculator, curing the Anti-Life Equation's fragments.
Working with Leslie Thompkins, Barbara has begun to mentor the Calculator's daughter, Wendy, who was crippled following an attack at the Titans Tower, which took the life of her brother Marvin. Recently it came to Barbara's attention (thanks to Dick Grayson) that Cassandra Cain has once again stepped down from the role of Batgirl, and has been replaced by Stephanie Brown. Still seeing Stephanie as an impulsive young girl, Barbara tries to talk her out of being Batgirl. When a new recreational drug known as "Thrill" is hitting the streets of Gotham, Barbara and Stephanie work together to stop the drug trade which they discovers to be run by Scarecrow and Black Mask. After Stephanie defeated Scarecrow and proved her worth and maturity, Barbara gives Stephanie an unused Batgirl costume that was supposedly designed for Barbara. Barbara also takes a job as an assistant professor at Gotham University.
During Blackest Night, Green Lantern crashes into the Batsignal after a fight with the Black Lantern Martian Manhunter. Barbara and Commissioner Gordon are both present. Origins & Omens hints towards an involvement in the storyline. After sending Green Lantern's intel to every superhero community across the planet of the Black Lanterns, the Gordons find themselves being attacked by the original Dark Knight's deceased rogue gallery members, whom are all reanimated by the Black Lantern Corps, Barbara and her father are forced to fight for their lives as they witnessing the Black Lanterns are massacring everyone on sight at Gotham Central. During the crisis, Barbara is being 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 are later being attacked by Batman and Red Robin's parents with their saviors, the reanimated Graysons and the Drakes. While Grayson and Drake battling the Black Lanterns, Robin takes the Gordons to their underground base where Alfred tending her and her father's wounds.
The Black Mirror
James Gordon, Jr. returns to Gotham after many years and Barbara tells her father not to trust him because he's a psychopath. During this time she also helps Grayson take down a new super-villain called the Dealer. It's explained that she first started distrusting her brother when he was implicated in the murder of her friend as a child. They investigate the medicine James Jr. is using to reduce his psychopathic tendencies, and discover that he's reversed it to increase them. Commissioner Gordon deduces that his son is using connections with Leslie Thompkins to poison an infant nutrition plant and turn babies into psychopaths. When her step-mother Barbara is attacked with toxin, Batman and the Commissioner go after Joker while James Jr. kidnaps Oracle. James Jr. tries to murder her in a secluded place, but Batman and the Commissioner stop him in time after Barbara stabs him non-fatally through the eye. It's left unclear whether or not they really stopped his plans, although it's implied that they might not have.
In this timeline, she was never born, the role of Oracle going to Selina Kyle instead.
The New 52
The DC Universe heavily changed its continuity into the DCnU following the events of Flashpoint in 2011. This was part of an effort to make storylines more accessible to newer readers, beginning with the New 52. This new timeline combines elements from the DCU, Vertigo Universe and Wildstorm Universe while drastically changing the origins and histories of characters.
In this new timeline, Barbara Gordon is the biological daughter of James Gordon and Barbara Eileen instead of Roger and Thelma Gordon. She recovers after being crippled for three years and returns to her position as Batgirl. The Birds of Prey have also been erased from continuity and they are given a new contemporary origin without Oracle as a founding member.
The Darkest Reflection
Batgirl initially refuses to join when her old friend Black Canary puts together a black-ops team called the Birds of Prey. However, she assists them on a mission when they go after the super-villain Choke. Their first encounter with him is erased from all the Birds minds, and Batgirl does not even remember the team-up. Despite this, she helps them take down Choke's sleeper agents known as the Cleaners. They track down their leader, a psychic named Trevor Cahill, and Batgirl is finally able to reconnect with Canary as close friends.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- 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 user of computers world-wide.
- 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.
- 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.
- Eidetic Memory
- Restricted Mobility: Barbara Gordon was paralyzed from the waist down, and used a wheelchair, after being shot by the Joker.
- 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.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985-86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- In Pre-Crisis continuity, Barbara Gordon was a brown belt in judo. In her Post-Crisis origin, she has a black belt in karate.
- In Pre-Crisis continuity, Barbara Gordon held a doctorate in history.
- Batgirl was once featured in a one-page advertisement for Hostess Twinkies Cakes. In the story, she must stop jewel thief extraordinaire, Jet-Set Jesse, from robbing a supply of jewels. Batgirl distracts her by throwing her a handful of Hostess snacks before taking her to prison.
- In Batgirl #45, Barbara says that she was 18 years old when she was Batgirl.
- Barbara Gordon graduated summa cum laude with a Ph.D at Gotham State University.
- While she was infected with the Brainiac virus she had cyberpathic powers and could psychically interact with computer systems.
- Batgirl (Volume 3)
- Batgirl: Year One
- Birds of Prey (Volume 1)
- Birds of Prey (Volume 2)
- Batgirl (Volume 4)
- 1,001 Appearances of Barbara Gordon (New Earth)
- 220 Images featuring Barbara Gordon (New Earth)
- 53 Quotations by or about Barbara Gordon (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Barbara Gordon (New Earth)
Discover and Discuss
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Detective Comics #359
- ↑ Birds of Prey #127
- ↑ Oracle: The Cure #1
- ↑ Oracle: The Cure #2
- ↑ Oracle: The Cure #3
- ↑ Batgirl #1 2009
- ↑ Batgirl #3 2009
- ↑ Blackest Night #2
- ↑ Blackest Night: Batman #2
- ↑ Detective Comics #872
- ↑ Detective Comics #873
- ↑ Detective Comics #875
- ↑ Detective Comics #879
- ↑ Detective Comics #880
- ↑ Detective Comics #881
- ↑ Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance #2
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Batgirl (Volume 4) #1, 2, 3, 4
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Birds of Prey (Volume 3) #1
- ↑ Batgirl (Volume 4) #5-6
- ↑ Birds of Prey (Volume 3) #4
- ↑ Birds of Prey (Volume 3) #5
- ↑ Birds of Prey (Volume 3) #6
- ↑ Birds of Prey (Volume 3) #7
This is an in-universe article with out-of-universe material.
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