DC Comics is about to overhaul everything, or half of everything to say the least. Change is often a scary thing when it comes to comic book universes and this one looks to wind up a good change. Then they announced there would be a new Batgirl comic book, leaving many comics fans asking, “What about Oracle?”
For those who don’t know, Barbara Gordon, daughter of Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, was once Batgirl. She was spunky, she stood up for herself, she fought crime with the best of the Bat Family. Then the Joker shot her and took away her ability to walk. The Joker couldn’t take away her self-reliance, her will to fight, and her desire to help those who can’t help themselves. Barbara doesn’t let anything stop her. She’s still tough, still incredible. She traded in a cape for a computer and took point on the entire cyber-intelligence network for the DC Heroes. The picture above this paragraph is of Oracle’s team, the Birds of Prey; as their leader, Oracle takes the dominant position at the front of the image.
Oracle plays an active role with the Birds of Prey, unlike Professor X in the X-Men. Charles Xavier isn’t the main character of the X-Men, Scott Summers is. Oracle is different. Barbara Gordon is the main character of the Birds of Prey, though Black Canary and Huntress are frequently close to the lead, the book Birds of Prey belongs to Oracle.
DC wants to take Oracle away and give us back Batgirl, even though at least three other women have filled that role in the past. It’s not even the return of Batgirl that’s the issue, it’s the fact that Barbara is being taken out of the role that makes her special, the role that makes her a stronger force for good, and pushes her back into the role of just another Bat-themed superhero. Even if they use some excuse that she’ll be able to walk with an exoskeleton or a power suit or something else, it’ll just look like an excuse. This move takes a very moving character out of the DC pantheon and turns her into just another hero.
How many DC heroes swing around on ropes and jump off rooftops, especially in Gotham City? Lots. How many DC heroes have been paralyzed and become greater heroes and strong leaders because of it? Oracle.
Don’t take my word for it. If you want to read a better though about this turn of events, read this amazing op/ed piece by Jill Pantozzi. You will be moved.