|Real Name||Barbara Gordon|
Expert in eskrima arts
|Base of Operations||Gotham City, Metropolis|
Barbara Gordon, who is also now known as Oracle, is a fictional character in the Batman universe. She was the first major Batgirl (Bette Kane came before her), but after an incident involving the Joker, Barbara now works behind the scenes, assisting many heroes across the DC universe. Barbara Gordon first appeared in Detective Comics #359, and was created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino.
Barbara Gordon, daughter of Commisioner James Gordon (though in some variations it is mentioned that James Gordon is Barbara's uncle, and adopted her after her parents were killed), was primarily created to bring a female following to the Batman franchise, but her character has gained a diverse community of fans. From females to people with disabilities, Barbara has been quite an inspiration to many comic readers since her appearance.
Barbara took on the life of a crime-fighter in an effort to prove that women too can make a difference in Gotham City. She was inspired by Batman and her father, both of which never gave up on the crooked town. Her crime-fighting days seemed over after an encounter with the Joker, but Barbara realized her potential in detective skills and computers, taking on the name 'Oracle' after a following dream. She created a female-based team known as the Birds of Prey, working around Gotham and Metropolis, as well as assisting many DC superheroes.
Like most kids growing up, Barbara was in a stage of 'identification,' something that she can see herself as one day. She immediately picked up on superheroes, and was so serious about it that she'd spend hours with her best friend designing costumes to fit the role of one. Naturally, Barbara took a liking to Batman, who's presence and role in Gotham led him to be a role model for her whilst growing up. Barbara, in order to fufill her childhood dream, pleaded with her father to enroll in martial arts. Commisioner Gordon agreed, realizing that his family may be in danger due to his line of work.
Excelling in various martial arts in such a short period of time, Barbara also brought her education up a notch. Gifted with a photographic memory, Barbara graduated from high school at the age of sixteen, and went on to get a university degree with honors in a short period of time. Continuing in martial arts training, Barbara took a part-time job as a research assistant Gotham's public library. It wasn't her intentions to take on that job, as she wanted to follow in her father's footsteps to assist in her 'crime-fighting,' but she wasn't taken
seriously in her interviews. Barely hitting 17, Barbara traced back her old costume designs, and created a female version of Batman's outfit. As Batgirl, Barbara attempted to make a mark in front of Gotham's richest community, during a masquerade ball.
Batgirl got more than what she bargained for, however, as Killer Moth decided to crash the party in hopes of getting filthy rich. Batgirl managed to save Bruce Wayne from Killer Moth, and fended off his goons in time for Batman and Robin to show up, though in the end she cost the Dynamic Duo from capturing Killer Moth, as he trapped her using his specialized weave gun and escaped. In truth, Bruce allowed Batgirl to save him, to make him look less conspicuous of his alias: Batman. Batman scolded Batgirl after saving her, advising her to not pursue of life of crim-fighting. This hurt Barbara, because it has been her childhood dream to become a superheroine, and to receive this scolding from her idol wasn't easy to take in. She didn't give up though, and eventually received 'bat-equipment' via Dick Grayson (who revealed himself to Barbara) under the orders of Batman. Batgirl redeemed herself by catching Killer Moth, earning Batman's respect in joining the team. Batman also revealed his identity to Barbara after having her take an oath.
With her high level of intellect and abilities in martial arts, Batgirl fit right into the Batman Family. Her adventures with the Dynamic Duo also brought her closer to Robin, the two constantly flirting with one another. In fact, Batgirl and Robin worked together so often that they were regarded as the Dynamic Duo in their own right. Barbara was in no way overshadowed by her alias though, as she worked together with a Vietnam War veteran, detective Jason Bard, in cracking several cases within Gotham.
Batgirl had become so popular that she made guest appearances in Metropolis, as well. Working with Superman and Supergirl, Batgirl assists in taking down Bat-Mite and Mister Mxyzptlk through deducing where they'll strike next. Batgirl and Supergirl would meet again numerous times before the crisis, teaming up to take down growing criminal organizations. She would also help the Justice League take down the villain known as Queen Bee.
Although Batgirl appears in various series, fans have argued that she wasn't used properly. Her identity, for instance, wasn't hidden from her guardian Jim Gordon for very long. In fact, he mentions that he was well aware of who she was. Barbara's character, though strong and determined, only made appearances in other comic series. Her role during the Crisis was also more of an appearance, as Barbara is seen giving Supergirl's eulogy. Following the one-shot comic, Batgirl Special #1, Barbara gives up her life of crime-fighting, leaving it up to the more capable superheroes.
After DC pushed Barbara aside, having her give up her cape, the Joker is seen out for revenge on Batman and Commissioner James Gordon. In The Killing Joke, Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum and heads straight for Gordon's home. Barbara answers the door only to be confronted by a gunshot, a bullet which paralyzes Barbara from the waist down. In her weakened condition, Joker takes pictures of Barbara while undressing her to help torture and break down Commissioner Gordon's mentality. Barbara's character seemed to plunge even deeper due to the events that occured in The Killing Joke. Losing the use of her legs guaranteed her not returning as Batgirl, or ever.
Batman: The Killing Joke is still to this day one of the most renowned, most praised Batman stories around, depicting Joker's psychotic character perfectly, as well as showing Gordon's trust in ths legal system. It did not, however, show any remorse for Barbara. Some female comic writers felt that Barbara's experience was very de-moralizing, and that she never got a fair role in the DC universe. Comic writers Kim Yale and John Ostrander, a married couple, decided to bring Barbara back into the series, showing her worth whilst having a disability.
After Barbara is patched up and realizes the extent of her injuries, she becomes extremely depressed. She didn't know what to do with her life until one night whilst she was dreaming, she envisions herself as an all-knowing Goddess of Greek mythology. This brings back Barbara's confidence in herself and she adopts the alias of the Greek goddess, Oracle. Under this codename, Barbara uses her superior knowledge and training to help the police force as well as the Batman family and other DC superheroes. In the present world, a world which relies on technology and other forms of information, Barbara has excelled in various forms of science, computers and electronics, and hacking (she's even capable of hacking into Lex Luthor's computer system). Barbara also retains her various studies in education and photographic memory.
Barbara knew that if she was going to pursue a life of crime-fighting, though behind the scenes, a time would come where she would need to defend herself against an enemy. With that in mind, she travelled to Richard Dragon's academy, a famous martial arts master. For months, Barbara went through intense training using a pair of eskrima, given to her by Dragon. Richard Dragon also helped Barbara improve on her accuracy in ranged weapons such as guns and batarangs. Barbara makes an appearance in the 12-part series, The Hacker Files, assisting a team as a hacker before heading up an organization of her own.
 Birds of Prey
Although Barbara was assisting Batman, Nightwing, and other DC superheroes, she felt held back because she had no help for her own missions and objectives. Oracle decides to head up a female team of superheroines, first electing Power Girl into the team for her strong resemblance to Supergirl. The partnership is cut short, however, due to Power Girl's distaste for taking orders. To make matters worse, Oracle had to go into hiding for assisting Nightwing in taking down Blockbuster, a vicious man who put large bounties on both of their heads. Light shined at the end of the tunnel though, as Oracle ran into the Black Canary. To two understood each other, developing a long-term friendship, and Black Canary becoming a full-time member of the team: Birds of Prey.
Oracle set up her base of operations at a clocktower, her home. She had access to the world with her fingertips, using technology such as super-computers. During the events of War Games, however, Black Mask takes ahold of Oracle's clocktower and engages in a gruesome battle with Batman. Batman eventually gains the upper hand, and with Spoiler's death plaguing him, he sets aside his one rule in order to take out Black Mask. Oracle realizes this, and sets off a self-destruct sequence in the tower in order to avert Batman's judgement. Batman does so and saves Oracle from her destroyed home. Afterwards, Barbara decides to take her leave from Gotham after witnessing Batman's recklessness and cuts her ties with him temporarily. She decides that now is the best time to clear up international affairs, and so the Birds of Prey go around the globe, eventually ending up in Metropolis. Barbara settles in the city, establishing a new base of operations there with her team.
Trouble soon finds the Birds of Prey in their new home, however, and it goes by the name Brainiac. Brainiac attempts to take control of Barbara due to her advanced learning in cybernetics, and he infects her with the Brainiac virus. Barbara manages to stop Brainiac's plans, expelling him from her body, and Brainiac is once again destroyed for some time though Barbara is still seen infected with the virus, cybernetic symbols forming all over her body. The virus had a blessing in disguise, however, as it enabled Barbara to interact with computer systems with her mind. The pain was too much to bare, though, and Barbara seeked out Doctor Mid-Nite for help on ridding her of the disease. He performs a successful operation on her, and afterwards, Barbara realizes that she can move her toes (though she is still unable to move her legs).
Soon after, Barbara and Dick rekindle love for one another, that is until the events of Infinite Crisis takes place. Oracle and Martian Manhunter are seen working together to take down the Secret Society's plans for a global jailbreak. After the events of the crisis, Oracle somewhat forgives Bruce's actions and assists him once again, and still leads the Birds of Prey. Black Canaray departs from the team for some time, and Oracle brings in The Huntress and Big Barda to fill in. After a battle for supremacy with Spy Smasher, Oracle expands the Birds of Prey once more by bringing in Misfit.
After expanding her team, Barbara, who is shocked by Bart Allen's (also known as Flash) death, sends the Question and Batwoman to apprehend those responsible. Whilst leading up Bart's investigation, Barbara is called upon to deal with a villain and hacker known as the Calculator, and she prevents him from stealing top secret files, including those with superheroes secret identities. During this time, Booster Gold, a futuristic member of the Justice League, is sent back in time to prevent a tragedy from happening. That tragedy just so happens to be Joker shooting a paralyzing Barbara, however in the end, Booster Gold's attempt fails and Barbara's history is kept unchanged.
Sometime later, Barbara gets word that Cassandra Cain, who is no longer under the control of Deathstroke and her father thanks to Robin's anti-toxin, is hell-bent on getting revenge and killing them. Barbara contacts Cassandra while she was trying to find her targets through the Bat-Computer, telling her that she hopes Cass will do the right thing, and Barbara even assists Cassandra in deleting the files she pulled up. Nightwing is aware of this and has a dispute with Oracle, asking for confirmation on her actions. Sadly, Oracle replies "yes," and Nightwing walks away, putting a hold on their relationship once more.
Most recently, Barbara has been involved in the Final Crisis arc, seen teaming up with Mister Miracle in order to stop Darksied from mind-controlling innocent lives, which he does by showing the Anti-Life Equation throughout various electronic devices, such as e-mails, radio, and television. Their many plans and combined effort fail, however, as Darksied succeeds in mind-controlling many innocent lives with help from Libra. Oracle does manage to shut down the Internet, but is a little too late in the process.
 Powers and Abilities
Barbara has trained in various martial arts, most notably judo, before her tragic encounter with the Joker. Her will to defend herself wasn't diminished by the inability to use her legs, however, as she learned to fight with a pair of eskrima sticks. In case of a threat, Barbara can retrieve her weapons through the armrests of her wheelchair. Barbara also has precise aim with firearms and batarangs, among other ranged weapons.
Like the rest of the Batman family, Barbara doesn't possess any superhuman abilities but rather, peak abilities that a human can obtain. She has the natural gift of a photographic memory, and excels in hacking, computing, electronics, and various sciences. Before her incident, Barbara, as Batgirl, had access to various bat-gadgets courtesy of Batman and Robin, including an infrared scanner, bataraangs, and even a vehicle, the batgirl cycle. As Oracle, Barbara continues to reach new heights in the technological world, including taking command of Lex Luthor's advanced satellites. Barbara is often turned to by many DC superheroes, including the Batman family, for her exceeding knowledge and assistance.
 Other Media Appearances
As the first major Batgirl, Barbara has appeared in various renditions of the Batman series. Her portrayal as Oracle was put into play as well with a series based off her team, the Birds of Prey.
In the 1960's Batman live-action television series, actress Yvonne Craig was brought in to portray Batgirl in the show's third season. Although her appearance in the series didn't stop the show's cancellation, Craig claimed in an interview that she's often getting praise about her role as Batgirl, that the character did set out what it was meant to do, inspire females.
Another television series, Birds of Prey, was put into action on Warner Bros. television. It features Oracle, Huntress (who in this series is Earth-Two Huntress), Black Canary, and others. The series only made it by one season, however. Oracle was portrayed by actress Dina Meyer. She's seen as Batgirl in flashbacks of a few episodes.
In the action film, Batman & Robin, Batgirl makes her debut on the big screen being portrayed by Alicia Silverstone. The film was below average according to many critics, and though it had many Hollywood stars, it earned the lowest amount of gross out of the previous Batman films. In the movie, Batgirl's character was tied in to be Alfred Pennyworth's niece, and with her help, Batman and Robin were able to defeat Poison Ivy. Batgirl and Robin would later encounter Bane, who they defeated by removing his venom-providing tube to his brain.
 Video Games
Barbara Gordon has appeared in various Batman-related video game titles, sporting her previous alias of Batgirl. She's appeared as a playable character in Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, and most recently in the game, Lego Batman. Barbara is scheduled to make her first appearanced in a video game as Oracle in the upcoming title, Batman: Arkham Asylum, where she will be assisting Batman.