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What's with the name?

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Cautiously Optimistic

TheKilling Joke is in the DCnU’s Batgirl #1

The New York Post, DC’s go to news outlet for leaking various bits of comic book information, has a six page preview for Gail Simone and Ardian Syaf‘s Batgirl #1, which handily answers a lot of the continuity questions that arose when DC announced that paradoxically, Barbara Gordon would be Batgirl and the events of The Killing Joke (the Alan Moore comic in which she is paralyzed by the Joker) would remain canon.

First, we’ve got an aside to Barbara’s upper body strength:

It’s the black box in the bottom middle panel, and don’t bother clicking to embiggen, these are as big as the NYP could offer. The line is: “Fortunately… …I’ve got upper arm strength like a mother at this point.”

And then the finale page of the preview is one more entry in the long line of homages to the art and events of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland‘s The Killing Joke.

Note Barbara’s crooked knee in the bottom panels: Barbara Gordon of the DCnU regained the use of her legs over a period of at least three years after being shot (and sexually abused) by the Joker, and now after emotional and physical trials she’s excited to be Batgirl again. For better or worse, despite pleas from fans of Oracle to allow DC’s highest profile disabled superhero to continue as a kick-ass minority representative, despite pleas from fans of Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain as Batgirl; despite many pointing out that reasoning like “She’s still the most famous Batgirl, so making her Batgirl again makes sense” melts in the face of four former Robins running around the DCnU while the one with the least seniority remains in the Robin identity; this is the DCnU’s Batgirl.

Hopefully, it will turn out to be at least some for the better. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that was excited to see Barbara as Batgirl again, seeing as how I was two years old when The Killing Joke was published and got to know her as Batgirl primarily through Batman: The Animated Series. And there’s a part of me that’s really excited at the possibility of a Barbara Gordon/Kate Kane teamup, and a Barbara Gordon vs. the Joker, and Gail Simone’s writing…

Comics: they are always more complicated than you thought going in, in every respect. And I’m not sure whether to take it as good news or bad that no matter how cynical the industry makes me, a part of me still gets excited to read about their superheroes.

(via Bleeding Cool.)

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  • Bel

    This is even worse than if they just brought her back.  Just.  The fuck.

    And if they’re doing rampant reworkings ANYWAY, why leave in the sexual abuse?!

  • Anonymous

    It would be a lie by omission if I didn’t admit that I’m disappointed (convoluted sentence structure notwithstanding).

  • Ipstenu

    The sexual abuse implication of “Killing Joke” was always weird.  Half the people I know read that as the Joker was just screwing with Gordon, and the other half said it was rape.

    All that said, I’m glad they’re keeping Killing Joke in continuity, because it is bar none the best Joker comic ever.  Even if we had to see Jim’s naked patottie in it.

  • Anonymous

    The sexual abuse I’m referring to is usually glossed over, I only mention it because it usually isn’t mentioned. Specifically, in The Killing Joke, after shooting her in the stomach, the Joker strips her naked and takes a roll of pictures of her, to use them as part of a plan to drive her father insane. Being shot, stripped naked, and then photographed by one of your worst enemies counts a serious sexually-charged mental trauma in my book. 

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Whenever you add a sexual quotient to the Joker’s plans, things always seem to get muddled. 

  • Eric Bazilio

    “SUPER-HERO Comics: they are always more complicated than you thought going in, in every respect.”

    Fixed that for ya.

  • Bel

    Yeah, I already knew what you were talking about – and I recall (with unfortunate clarity) the way it was drawn.

    I want a retcon.

  • Anonymous

    i cant believe this!! me and my sister just got two i-pads for $42.77 each and a $50 amazon card for $9. the stores want to keep this a secret and they dont tell you. go here, EgoWì

  • Anonymous

  • Alexandre Desbiens-Brassard

    Okay, so this is my first time here, and I may not be familiar with your style of commenting, so apologies if I do something wrong.

    But for me, as a feminist man (yes, this is possible, at least in literary criticism where I revolve), I think this is not a good development. For one thing, while the original crippling of Babs was a big mistake, what came out of it, Oracle, was a very cool thing. So to erase that entirely in an attempt to fix the original mistake is throwing the bay out with the bathwater. 

    My main problem is less that she gets to walk again – I would have loved to see a story of adult Barbara, after years as Oracle, deciding to try something new, designing some kickass prosthetic, and using her legs again. In the process, a big reevaluation of her life, in all of its aspect, could come back. My problem is with her being Batgirl again. Here you have a competent woman character with her own identity, and you suddenly winds back the clock to make her not only a “girl” again, but a girl with an identity directly dependent of an older man. Babs is now Daddy’s girl, or more to the point, Bat’s girl. That is my problem – why not just give her her legs back, but also give her a new name, or make her keep the name oracle. DC is making all kind of non-sensical acrobatics to keep Dick Grayson as late 20′s Nightwing (even if that means keeping Damian Wayne, a character who shouldn’t be more than five in a universe where Batman has been around for only five years), but can’t do the some for Barbara. 

    I’m really disappointed of Gail Simone on this one. I know she’s trying to save as much as she can in this debacle, but somehow I wish she had stuck to her principles, as she stated them time and time again, and jumped ship. I’m sure she would have got work somewhere else- she is a big name, and Dark Horse supposedly would have loved to bring her on Buffy. I’m pretty sure there would have been a Quesada free spot for her at Marvel too, writing Black Widow or Rescue. (Actually, I think she could do a perfect Rescue book)

  • Nick Gaston

    Oddly enough, I could see how you could have her jumping back into being Batgirl, but still have her going back to being Oracle…

    Try this: see her as, say, a sports star trying to get back into the game after a crippling injury or a long retirement. She’s not just trying to get back to work, but she’s trying to reclaim her youth, her old life. Despite that she’d done a lot of good—as Oracle—while she was sidelined, she wants to get back in on the action. Hey, if Batman had gotten horrifically maimed, but became a kind of mastermind “mission control” for the other superheroes, and surprisingly did a lot more good in that role than he ever did as The Bat, he’d be satisfied with that? That he wouldn’t give it all up to be back on the streets, with terrified thugs under his knuckles?

    So Batgirl’s back, and she’s happy to leave Oracle behind her. But she’s not back to normal…even leaving aside any mental or emotional scars, she’s still getting let down by her body. She’s strong, but the aftereffects of that kind of punishment just isn’t something you can dismiss…she’s a little older, a little slower, and she’s hurting. She’ll keep pushing herself, like any hero would, but the fact is that she’s hurting herself. And at some point she ends up recognizing that she’s not the person, that girl she used to be—and if she keeps pushing herself, one of these days she’s going to end up in that chair permanently. But she also realizes that doesn’t mean she’s just “failed to be Batgirl”—she’s grown, she changed, she’s becoming something different, maybe even better. If she has to hang up the cowl, it doesn’t mean she has to hang up the “cape,” so to speak.

    (It also means she can still jump back in the action as Batgirl a couple times a year, as crisis-crossovers or Next Big Events demand. Plus with some extra room for drama—”Yay, Barbara’s back—oh no, her leg’s gone numb in the middle of the Climactic Battle! Was this the One Time Too Many?”)

  • Anonymous

  • Anonymous

  • Senor Chang

    I understand your point and my comment is little off the mark of what your point is: But how exactly do we know how or why Gordon has her legs back?

    I still am utterly confused as to why any readers are led to believe that everything in the DCNU is a ‘remake’ or ‘reboot’.  Especially when DC staff themselves have pointed out that what is and isn’t retconned is pretty much on a case by case basis.

    Barbara Gordon in all new Batgirl just able to walk, voila… LAME.
    However, give me a story where Barbara gets the ability to walk again after spending years as Oracle, then great.

    But… I don’t know which of those 2 is going to go down because I haven’t read this book yet because the book is not out.  So until then, I don’t get why people want to assume so much.

    Just look at the differences today VS when the Relaunch news initially broke… turned out a lot of garbage was being spread by comic bloggers and a lot of it ended up debunked.  Lame fanboys went from being mad to now saying they will be at their local shop for midnight sales.


  • Alexandre Desbiens-Brassard

    How do we know how Gordon has her legs back? Hmm, by reading those preview pages above and the article accompanying it, which clearly indicate she got shot by the Joker, but recovered in the space of a few years. So even if Oracle might be canon, it would be only for a year or two, and that would probably make most of her accomplishment vanish. 

    Also, here you clearly see the whole “I was paralyzed for a few years” is told in a flashback – her getting her legs back is background stuff, not the point of the storyline. 

    And, you do know DC is on the record saying the entirety of the New DCY is only five years old -some character keeps more of their history, but it is compressed. WHich is idiotic, but it is what DC is on the record saying.

  • Boredlizzie