Thursday, August 25, 2011

No repsect for Oracle

Batgirl is coming back.

No not Cassandra, or Stephanie.


THE Batgirl.

One of the big announcements that shows up with the New 52 is the return of Barbara Gordon to the mantle of Batgirl. I'd like to sum up my initial thoughts on this in one word.........but I try not to swear on this blog.

Despite assurances from the woman who's been doing a sensational job of building Barbara's character and value as Oracle in recent years, I'm having a hard time taking Gail Simone at her word when she says "we’re doing everything we can to be respectful to this character’s amazing legacy."

Like Barry Allen, Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan before her (amongst numerous others) Barbara Gordon's character was rocked to its foundations in what many people consider to be a seminal moment in comics history.

Since being put in her wheelchair, Barbara has grown and evolved as a character and her value to the DCU as Oracle far exceeds any value I ever saw in her as Batgirl.As Oracle she became the lifeblood of the Birds of Prey, and the information power broker of the entire super hero community. Beyond that, she represented in my mind, a powerful image of the physically challenged and how they can impact our world.

Apparently DC didn't think that was an important role for her.

Sometimes when a character is killed, crippled or deeply altered there is an eventual necessity to find an 'out' from the events that created that situation because the book, or the character, are dying under the weight of it. I don't see that as the situation with Barbara (much as I don't believe it was the situation with Barry Allen and the Flash.)

The changes in Barbara's character grounded her in my eyes. They made her more genuine, as though she could move herself out of the books and into the real world. Now that they're taking that away from her, I have to wonder why I should care about her instead of The Huntress or BatWoman or The Question or any of the other 'street level' heroines that have gained exposure in the time that Barbara spent as Oracle. Without reading a single page of Gail's new series, my concern is that Barbara becomes an interchangeable spare part that isn't so dissimilar to any of the other Batman family members.

She is no longer unique.

And to me, that's not respectful to her legacy at all.


Randy Meredith said...

Keep in mind that the Batman canon is to stay intact. While Superman is being rebooted. What happened in Batman still happened.

This means that Babs still...
was attacked
became Oracle
led the Birds of Prey
has recovered
is taking the identity from Stephanie Brown, who Babs has been coaching as her replacement Batgirl.

Oh, and all this happened in 5 years.

Yeah. Right.

If DC wants to reboot characters, that's fine. But how about putting some thought into having it make sense?

Once again good reason to wait for the trades and see what people are saying about each of the 52 books.

PS> BTW, check out this website, "New DC Covers" as created by assorted artists. Some books I'd be more likely to buy...

Randy Meredith said...