Guide to the Injustice Roster: DLC Appendix 2

May 4th, 2013 by | Tags: ,

While we’re just about to finally get that Lobo DLC for Injustice: Gods Among Us, Netherrealm Studios just released confirmation that the second character on that list will be none other than Batgirl. Because the game needed more Batman characters. Regardless, this only supports a rumored list of downloadable characters that’s been making the rounds. I’ll continue these updates for each official reveal. Even if the rumored fourth named isn’t even a DC comic character.


Alias: Barbara Gordon, Oracle
First Appearance: Detective Comics #359 (1967)
Powers: Skilled martial artist and acrobat, super intelligent, world’s greatest hacker
Other Media: A lot of Batman cartoons, the 60’s Batman show and also that one movie that killed Alicia Silverstone’s career

The original, original Batgirl was Betty Kane. Back in the early 60’s, writers decided to fight the claim that Batman and Robin were gay by introducing Batwoman and Bat-Girl. Betty and her aunt Kathy had a thing for Batman and Robin, so they started fighting crime for the sake of tapping that Bat-ass. They made a handful of appearances, but faded into obscurity. Betty came back eventually and found a new identity as Flamebird (much like Nightwing, Flamebird is a name of an old Kryptonian superhero). She was recently seen fighting crime along with the current Batwoman, her cousin Kate Kane. The two had a falling out and Flamebird went off to patrol the streets alone. She received a grave injury and was last seen hospitalized.

Barbara Gordon was the adopted daughter of Commissioner Gordon. A librarian during the day, she felt the need to do something to help her father and ultimately do good. Despite Batman trying to shut her down, she refused to give up her persona as Batgirl. She became a huge hit, due to being a more independent female role model and was popular enough to become a major character in the final season of the 60’s Batman show. A season that occurred a year after her debut.

Batgirl mostly teamed up with Robin and Supergirl, having a romantic relationship with the former. In the late-80’s, writer Alan Moore changed the Batgirl game with his Joker-centric story Killing Joke, where the Joker decided to prove a point by screwing up Commissioner Gordon’s life so hard that he’d make him snap. This included Joker shooting Barbara in the stomach, which shattered her spine. He removed Barbara’s clothes and snapped photos in order to torture her father more, though it’s been insisted by the author that Joker didn’t go further with her. The comic ended with a meaningful scene that involved Batman and Joker laughing together as Batman took Joker into custody. Barbara – paralyzed from the gunshot – wasn’t really pleased with that. Guess you just had to be there.

Originally, Moore meant for the story to be out of continuity, but DC decided to make Barbara’s situation canon. About a year later, a mysterious information broker named Oracle started showing up in DC’s comics, mainly in the series Suicide Squad. This benefactor turned out to be Barbara Gordon, who decided to help the fight against evil, even if she couldn’t physically get involved. As Oracle, Barbara got a lot of play for the decades that followed. She did work for the Suicide Squad for some time. She became the go-to information girl for the Bat-family, expanding into her fulfilling a Zordon-like role for the Justice League. Most important, she started up a Charlie’s Angels racket with Huntress and Black Canary (and later a bunch of other mostly-female heroes) called Birds of Prey, where Barbara was Charlie.

For years, people debated about Barbara’s status as being physically disabled in a superhero universe. She’s acquaintances with Cyborg. Couldn’t the Justice League just give her a cyber spine or whatever? In-story, Barbara refused to give into that kind of idea because that would be too easy. Why should she get the perks? Once everybody can get that kind of treatment, she will too. There was a time when she was infected by a virus from the alien genius Brainiac and although she was able to reject it, it did fix her spine just enough to give her movement in her legs. Not in the sense that she’d get up and start doing backflips, but more that she did a lot of physical therapy with hope that maybe one day she could reach that point.

Also, she came clean to her father about her double-life. Commissioner Gordon admitted that he figured out the Batgirl thing a long time ago, but was surprised at the Oracle aspect.

During the big Batman event No Man’s Land, a new Batgirl appeared. It turned out to be the Huntress and upon finding that out, Batman told her to cut that shit out. To the Bat-family, Huntress was like the employee who spat in one customer’s face, cursed out the manager and came back a month later, casually asking for her job back. In other words, no, she was not allowed to be Batgirl. Instead, the job went to Cassandra Cain, a mute, Asian teenager who Barbara met during the No Man’s Land fiasco.

Cassandra was created to be the ultimate assassin, being the daughter of David Cain (one of the guys who trained Bruce Wayne during his globetrotting days) and Lady Shiva (considered to be one of the top martial artists in the world). David raised her himself, making sure never to speak or have anyone speak around her. The idea was that she would only communicate in terms of body movement, evolving to a point where she could tell what you were going to do before you did it just based on body language. That gave her a special edge to go with her impressive fighting skills, making her Batman’s rival in the hand-to-hand department.

While David loved his daughter, his harsh training went very over-the-line in terms of tough love abuse. It was mentioned once that because of her father shooting her at times when she was very young, her adult body had some very gnarly, stretched exit wound scars on her back. Cassandra killed her first victim at 8-years-old and it messed her up to the point that she ran away from home to find a life outside of her demented father. As Batgirl, she hoped to protect human life and atone for her sin.

Her appearance as Batgirl was pretty awesome, looking like a stitched-up leather ninja with bat ears and her face completely covered up. Her silent demeanor and dark appearance made her the first member of the Bat-family to actually come off as intimidating outside of Batman himself. Like, Batman would be hanging out in the shadows and making criminals soil themselves while all his sidekicks were all, “Whoo! Look at me! I’m flipping around and smiling! Can’t catch me!”

A psychic ended up giving Cassandra the ability to understand speech, which completely offset her fighting abilities for a while. Not to mention, she still didn’t know how to read. Batgirl became a big player in the Bat-family and her series lasted over six years, which is actually pretty impressive. Unfortunately, the series was canceled as part of One Year Later and that’s when everything went wrong.

It was decided that over the unseen year of continuity, Cassandra turned evil. Somehow. She made her first evil appearance by killing off Nyssa al Ghul, which was tremendously stupid in its own right, but I don’t feel like going into that. She antagonized Robin and Supergirl in their respective comics and fans absolutely hated it. Despite her series’ sales dipping towards the end (and to be fair, the writing got laughably bad, like turning Mr. Freeze’s frozen wife into a flame-based villain), people really liked Cassandra, so having editorial go, “Yeah, she’s evil now,” got people steamed. DC backed off by revealing that Deathstroke was using a mind-control serum on her all this time and she returned to being a good guy.

Outside of being a member of Batman’s team the Outsiders, Cassandra didn’t really do much after that and bequeathed the role of Batgirl to Stephanie Brown. Stephanie was mostly known as teenaged vigilante the Spoiler and at one point became Robin very briefly. She fought crime due to her father being a C-list Batman villain named the Cluemaster. She had a relationship with other Robin Tim Drake and was shown to be Cassandra’s best friend. Her new series was more optimistic and adventurous than the usual DC fare, but it got two extreme reactions.

On one hand, there were people who were refreshed at seeing such a fun series amidst the dread that Marvel and DC usually liked to peddle. On the other hand, a lot of people were against the comic because they wanted more Cassandra. Meanwhile, Cassandra moved to Hong Kong to be one of Batman’s Batman Inc. agents, calling herself Black Bat.

The new Batgirl worked closely with Barbara Gordon, became best friends with Supergirl and had to put up with Damian Wayne Robin, who acted like a complete brat to make up for his obvious crush on her. Also, there was a time when she and Supergirl fought an army of black and white Bela Lugosi Draculas. It was great. The series went for two years, but became a casualty to Flashpoint and the New 52.

After Flashpoint, Barbara Gordon was Batgirl again. It was explained that while she did get shot and crippled by the Joker, she was able to come back using special South African healing techniques and went back to being Batgirl a year later, only with some serious PTSD whenever she sees a gun. To make matters worse, not only were Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown apparently not Batgirl at any point, they also NEVER EXISTED! At the very least, neither has been mentioned at all since the reboot.

Lot of people are annoyed at that. Cassandra fans. Stephanie fans. Fans of Oracle. Disabled comic book readers who had a role model they could identify with. Virtually nobody wanted Barbara Gordon back as Batgirl. Even Gail Simone, writer of her current series and the one who wrote the brunt of her times as Oracle, has basically summed up that she’s only doing it because it’s editorially mandated. You know, because she was Batgirl on the TV shows, so she has to be Batgirl in the comics.

Probably the dumbest instance of DC messing with their fans with this whole mess is when they revealed a digital comic series based on the further adventures of Smallville. Smallville, of course, is not part of regular comics continuity in any way, so they aren’t as bound by editorial. One of the things hyped up was that in this world, Batman’s female sidekick would be known as Nightwing and she was going to be Stephanie Brown. Hey, how about that! Steph’s fans would get to read new exploits with her in some fashion! Only it was changed later that Smallville Nightwing is Barbara Gordon. Cripes…

As for what Batgirl’s up to now? Eh, I don’t know. Right now, she’s not even the most interesting redheaded, female, bat-based vigilante in Gotham.

Similar Posts:

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

9 comments to “Guide to the Injustice Roster: DLC Appendix 2”

  1. I like Batgirl. I like Gail Simone’s take on her. I know DC’s editorial mandates are sketchy at best, but I don’t care. As for Babs not being the most interesting redheaded Batchick in Gotham? Kathy Kane can eat a sack of d- . . . oh, wait. Never mind.

  2. @Jason: New Thing I Learned Today: If I’m going to fake HTML, I need to do it with brackets, as in “[badjokeineedtomake].” I read Gavok’s last paragraph, and my brain came up with a stupid joke that HAD to get out.

  3. So countdown to the Guide of Scorpion and of Mortal Kombat universe’s netherrealm being once own by Lucifer before he got kick out and now forever walks the hellish landscape telling his story to any passerby.

  4. Cassandra WAS mentioned. In Batman Inc, she joined under the name Black Bat, and is operating in Hong Kong.

  5. @Rhio2k: Which was pre-Flashpoint.

  6. “The Killing Joke” was a mistake, and I’m happy to see it undone as much as it can be, with Babs back in good physical health again.

    That said, there is still a way to make just about everyone happy: have Barbara quit kicking muggers in the face, in favor of the Oracle role. A woman as smart as Barbara should be able to realize how much more good she does as the DC Universe’s top information source. Turn her comic into a sort of “Batgirl, Inc” that features any and all Batgirls, with Stephanie as the “new” Batgirl of Gotham. And, would people object to Stephanie being the one who first encounters Cassandra Cain, so Cassandra falls under the Batgirls’ general umbrella rather than Batman’s?

    The only people that wouldn’t help are fans of a disabled heroine, but I say a heroine who was disabled by editorial excess is a poor place to start anyway. Instead, how about having Barbara take an active role with the disabled of Gotham, maybe show some real normal-life heroes and heroines? Why, she might even discover one or two who can be real assets to Oracle’s work.

    But if people truly won’t be happy until Barbara Gordon is in the wheelchair again, at least undo the worst of “The Killing Joke”: have her lose the use of her legs through heroic sacrifice, rather than a lurid refrigerator incident.

  7. Bat woman’s book is one of the few from DC that I still was, and it keeps delivering every month.

  8. If the Facebook page is any indication, Batgirl’s addition to the game is not getting he best reception. So far, I’ve seen “Oh, guess this game didn’t have enough Batman characters,” “Barbara sucks, I want Cass,” and “Where’s Animal Man and Bizarro and Blue Beetle and Swamp Thing?”

  9. Just saw the trailer. Impressed by Babs’ super move. What do you call that . . . the Reverse Bungee?