I promised a friend a while back that I would make some sort of presentation of the history of the women that wore the mantle of Batgirl. As to not over complicate things for her (a non-comics geek as I), I’ll stick to post-crisis Batgirls, and with those existing on New Earth (and these are really brief descriptions, so those that get mad that I left out stuff, I’m sorry – just trying to give an overview, and not write an epic tale of the Bat women I love…but now that gives me some ideas ;).
And then there were five.
Some may argue that only 3 should count, but if you continue reading, you will understand why. But basically – once you put on the cowl, you are the cowl. No one can take that away from you – even if it’s a brief wear-age.
The first and the best.
Barbara Gordon. Batgirl. Oracle
|Ah yes. Barbara Gordon, otherwise known as Babs to her friends. What has she not done? A super genius, a lawyer, and oh yes, a LIBRARIAN – a woman after my heart she is. Had a rough year starting out (what hero doesn’t) – but made it very difficult for the great Bat and the Boy Wonder to keep her out of the club. Yeah – the Joker ended up shooting her and paralyzing her from the waist down, really putting her in a depression (obviously), and eventually worked her way out of it, and found a new role to play in the world of capes and capers. ORACLE.|
Yes. Oracle. You don’t need use of all your limbs to play a major role in saving the world multiple times over (umm, yeah, how many forum posts were there in recent months of Red Arrow losing an arm?? Sure he can’t shoot arrows with one arm, but it’s not like Babs can run around chasing after baddies? Or what about Cyborg? That’s all I’ll say about that). So she is the information go to person in the DCU. Even the great Bat goes to her for resources. I love it. She’s had this on/off thing with Robin I/Nightwing/the Current Batman, but who knows where that’s going to go. She runs her own operation now (thanks to the return of the Great Gail Simone to my favorite series) called the Birds of Prey, a group of women that can take care of themselves, while helping each other.
Helena Bertinella. Batgirl II. Huntress.
|One of my favorite story arcs ever. No Man’s Land. In short, a major earthquake hits Gotham, just about everything is destroyed, the government declares it a No Man’s Land – not part of the country anymore, so that anyone who doesn’t get out, gets no help. The great Bruce Wayne leaves Gotham to try and secure resources and help, and fails. While Bruci is off brooding, the city is in turmoil. Gangs are taking over – not to mention all the super bads that escaped Arkham and other jails/prisons.|
Helena Bertinelli. Mafia Princess. Child of Blood. Her parents and brother were murdered in front of her when she was 8 (coincidently, the same age of Bruce Wayne when he witnessed the murder of his parents). Everyone with the name Bertinelli, or blood of a Bertinelli was also executed. She is the last. After the horrific event, she was sent off to live with family in Sicily. Her cousin basically took her under his wing, and made her decide to either have nightmares the rest of her life, or take control. Blood cries for blood. She picked her weapon of choice (crossbow), and he trained her. When she was a little older, her cousin and uncle were arrested, and again, she was alone. She went to college for mob studies, and eventually came back to Gotham – as the Huntress. She wanted vengeance for her family…..oh, so back to the Batgirl part. As I mentioned, after the cataclysm, Gotham was on fire (figuratlvely, and I guess also literally, in some parts) – Helena recognized what the symbol of the Bat meant. Someone was looking after the city. With Batman gone – the convicts/gang bangers, had nothing to fear. Helena decided to put on the cowl. And yeah, people started noticing, and becoming scared again. Batman comes back, eventually, puts her to work, gets mad at her for failing one of her assignments (I’m sorry, 500 vs. 1, there’s no contest in that) – and strips her of the mantle – but really, he’s using Nightwing (her one time lover), no help manipulate her into feeling that she yet again has something to prove – by infiltrating one of the gangs. Yeah, so in the end, Helena, as Huntress, saves the day by getting shot like 6 times by the joker, and saving the babies of Gotham
Later. When Oracle’s ‘agent’ (later to be known as one of her Birds), Dinah Lance, the Black Canary — gets captured by Savant, it is Huntress who Oracle turns to rescue Dinah. In the end, the day is saved, and since Canary is injured, Oracle keeps Huntress on to help out, eventually inviting her to be part of the team. They’ve had years of having a love hate relationship based on methods, or Oracles jealousy of Helena’s (brief) history with Nightwing. They had another falling out, when Helena found out about Oracle being manipulative in the ‘types’ of missions she was sending her on…eventually they made up. I’m worried now that since Oracle disbanded the Birds a while back, now that the band is getting back together, how is Helena going to feel about the abandonment (something the Bat Family is known to do), and will it affect the team? She is currently running around with Question (who I hope will at some point play with the Birds). (Yeah, Babs may be the first and the best, but Helena Bertinelli is my favorite DC character 🙂 can you tell)
Cassandra Cain. Batgirl.
|What can I say about Cassandra Cain? Yeah, not one of my favorite, characters, in general. The daughter of Lady Shiva and David Cain -both assassins. Oracle took her in during NML, and used her to gather information around the city. Eventually Bats and O decide to let her be Batgirl. Argh — Eventually she gets adopted by Bruce Wayne, only for him to die. She feels like she lost her purpose in life, so she gives her costume to Stephanie Brown – Spoiler.|
Charlotte “Charlie” Gage-Radcliffe. Batgirl. Misfit.
Oracle shows her a morgue picture of a girl with a toetag – Spoiler’s – as a way to scare this girl off. She agrees to not be Batgirl, but she refused to stop helping/fighting. The Birds basically adopt her. After Oracle disbands the Birds, Oracle delegates Huntress (who Charlie has said she wants to be when she grows up (but blonde) to be her caretaker. She did a brief stint helping out the Teen Titans, but really haven’t seen her in a while since her brief time with the Birds.
Stephanie Brown. Spoiler. Robin. Batgirl.
Stephanie Brown. Daughter of the Cluemaster (villain) – but she’s of the light side. She’s a bit like Huntress, where it was difficult for the Bat Fam to accept her, but she never stopped fighting. She even at one point, donned the Robin costume (hmm, that would make her the 4th Robin out of 6th? Here’s the chrono of those that are Robins:
Dick. Jason. Tim. Steph. Tim. Damian.
Then Tim got over himself, and went back to being Robin, she went back to being Spoiler, then the darkness began. Basically she starts a gang war (one of Batman’s secret scenarios of how all destructive that can happen to Gotham, so he can practice how he’s going to save the day) not knowing that one of the key characters in the scenario is Bats himself, so sh*t hits the fan (read War Crimes), fighting everywhere, Steph gets captured by Blackmask, is beaten and sexually assaulted, Bats finds her, takes her to Dr. Thompkins, she fakes her death so that Brucipoo stops playing war with little kids. Leslie takes Steph to Africa, Bats finds her and tells her to never come back (unknowingly that Steph is alive)….but guess what, they do. Everyone is surprised (and there’s that moment of, uh oh, are tim and steph going to get back together – and please let DC retcon that whole, ‘steph had a random baby that no one ever saw, during NML)- but then pissed when Steph starts fighting with a mask on again. ‘You almost died!’ etc. etc. —- well a little reminder – how many times have Batman/Nightwing/Robin almost died?? Please, and there was no question that they would keep on fighting. Yeah so when Bruce dies, Cassie gives the Batgirl costume to Steph – and hell yeah she puts it on! Oracle was not happy at first – but soon realized, after Steph proves herself, that she has bloody earned it dammit. Then there’s this whole sentimental, the old batgirl and the new batgirl need each other…well, yes they do. Barbara Gordon has turned a bit dark in recent years, especially during the end of Birds. Steph is helping her get out of it, while O is helping Steph come into herself as Batgirl. I love it. And yes – when DC announced there was to be a new Batgirl, you bloody well know that Stephanie Brown was first to come to mind in my heart of hearts that belongs to the Bat Family. I mean, after EVERYTHING they did to this poor girl – she’s earned it. This is her time – and I really hope it lasts.