The news has broken and Stephanie Brown is out and apparently Barbara Gordon is coming back to reclaim the mantle of Batgirl. If you follow any geeks on twitter you would’ve known in the past day or two that this is a controversial move. Writer Gail Simone confirmed the news that she was bringing back Barbara, but many fans want to know why? Years ago, Barbara’s crime fighting career was ended when the Joker shot and paralyzed her. Since then Barbara Gordon has gone on to become Oracle, a behind the scenes super intelligent crime fighter with ties outside the Bat-Family including the Birds of Prey and Justice League. To anyone who doesn’t read comics, there is no other Batgirl BUT Barbara even though she hasn’t held the title since the 80s. To modern comic book readers though, Stephanie Brown was quickly on her way to being THE Batgirl though that chance is now cut short.
My introduction to Batgirl was from Batman The Animated Series where Batgirl was Barbara Gordon, the spunky redhead out to clear her father’s good name when Batman seemingly did nothing. Her banter with Robin, her ability to stand up to Batman, and her skills as both a fighter, acrobat and detective made her every bit the equal of her teammates. Stephanie Brown was a character brought into comics in 1992 and though less known among non-comic readers, she has gained quite the following as The Spoiler, Batgirl and even a short stint as Robin believe it or not. I’ve reader several issues of Batgirl and enjoyed the interaction between Stephanie and Barbara as Ms. Gordon eventually approves of Stephanie taking on the role.
To me, taking a character like Barbara Gordon who has become so important and strong as Oracle and suddenly say “Ta-Da! You can walk again! Lets go back to how things were back in the day!” is sort of a slap in the face of many fans. What’s even worst is that you know somewhere down the line she’s going to end up back in the wheelchair. You can almost hear GOB Bluth saying “I’ve made a horrible mistake” already. If you haven’t visisted the DC Women Kicking Ass blog, click here to see Gail Simone’s view on Barbara returning. To be fair, it’s hard to argue with someone who is as talented a writer as Gail. If anyone was going to be able to pull it off, it’s her. But at the same time, comic book geeks like any other geek are a fickle group and quick to spit on an idea they don’t agree with. Me? Time will tell on which of the new titles will work. For Gail, I hope Batgirl works. For all fans, I hope Batgirl works.
PETER is overly critical sometimes, but thinks if anyone is crazy enough to pull off this Barbara Gordon walking again as Batgirl thing, it’s Gail Simone.