One of the more obvious controversies of the DC re-launch is giving Barbara Gordon back the use of her legs and having her become Batgirl once again. Brian may have loved issue #1 of the new Batgirl title with Babs reprising her role, but I'm not attacking the series. The story might be great, the art fantastic – the problem is: Barbara Gordon should not be Batgirl.Like many others I could not see Stephanie Brown as Batgirl when she first took up the cowl. All the previous Batgirls I knew and loved just seemed so much better than this inept blond who appeared to be more of a wannabe heroine rather than an actual heroine. But after reading the ongoing Batgirl series I quickly accepted and grew to love Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. She became - by far - my favorite Batgirl. I love how her character developed, especially when this character development culminated in my favorite issue of the "Road Home" one-shots, Batgirl #1. This issue solidified Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and it felt like a slap in the face to me - if at first only in a blind Stephanie Brown fan-girl rage – when I heard that Barbara would resume her role as Batgirl, kicking Stephanie (and all that character development) to the curb. Also, seeing as Barbara was her mentor, it makes Barbara, regardless of the circumstances, look bad for stealing her student's suit from her when her time with the cowl has clearly past.Even in the first issue of Batgirl, all of Barbara's dialogue coming out of Barbara's mouth while under the cowl just doesn't fit her personality. I could see Steph saying things like " Oh, yes I did babies" but not Barbara. Her narration in the comic may fit her, but while in costume her dialogue doesn't.Not only has Steph been cheated out of the cowl by Barbara, but Barbara was cheated out of playing the very important part of Oracle, which only she can accomplish. Oracle was the heart of the Birds of Prey, who will not be the same without her. Barbara also broke boundaries by being a member of the bat family without having to wear a cowl. She was also wheelchair bound, creating positive imagery that is now gone.
Saying I prefer Barbara disabled sounds terrible when thinking about it realistically, but in the context of comics she's better off in the chair. Barbara has become a symbol over the years for people with disabilities everywhere and changing her character this drastically makes it seem like her creators felt she was inadequate the way she was – not the message they should send. The creators are abandoning a great concept for an old one. And the case they make for her walking again is flimsy.If you believe in Barbara as Batgirl tell me why in the comments. Of course I get the love for Barbara as Batgirl, and the first issue of her new series was great, but I personally prefer Barbara using her tec-savy nature as Oracle rather than Barbara throwing batarangs as Batgirl. And while having two Batgirls, both Barbara and Steph, could be interesting and pander to both characters fan bases – and is clearly possible since there were comics after Killing Joke (like Batgirl: Year One) that still had Barbara as Batgirl – but we already have ten too many Batmen – so let's not start with Batgirls.
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.