Comics Reviews

Batgirl, Not Batman, is Gotham City’s Most Important or Effective Superhero

Gotham’s most important and effective superhero is NOT Batman but he helped train her.

WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from Detective Comics #1048 and  Batgirls #2, both on sale from DC Comics now!

Batman has always been Gotham’s most important hero, committed to completing his crusade against crime no matter what it takes. But since Batman left Gotham, one hero has slowly made claim to the position of the city’s most important hero, and he helped train her.

Since her introduction, Barbara Gordon has been an incredibly important part of the Bat-Family. Her years spent as Batgirl cemented her as a key part of Batman’s war against crime. They also showed that she was one of the smartest characters and most capable heroes to ever wear a mask, capable of defeating villains that even her mentor had a hard time against. But it’s her time without a mask that has made her an invaluable asset to Gotham and every hero who works inside the city. As Oracle, Barbara became every member of the Bat-Family’s “girl in the chair.”

She supplied them all with the tactical information they need to defeat Gotham’s many villains and coordinated actions between them so that they’re at the right place at the right time. Even Batman relies on her information from time to time. Alongside working as their comms and tactical support, Barbara has also matured to become the mentor for a lot of the family’s younger heroes, particularly the two who took who became Batgirls after she left the mantle behind.

Related: Why the Most Ruthless Batgirl’s First Kiss Never Happened

In Batgirls #2 (by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Jorge Corona, and Sarah Stern), Oracle works as the pseudo-leader of the titular Batgirls. She functioned as their tactical advisor, tech specialist and even supplied them with their very own Bat-Mopeds. From their interactions, it’s clear that she cares deeply for her two young proteges, and they care a great deal for her. They don’t always follow her advice, but she is always there for them when they need her. Oracle was also central to investigating the Saints, an extremist offshoot of the deadly Magistrate. They work under the command of Seer, who’s the anti-Oracle, showing how important her duty as the Bat-Family’s communications support truly is. Seer blew up their former headquarters, effectively shutting down most of the Bat-Family’s communication between themselves and leaving them in the dark. Always the problem solver, Oracle had found ingenious low-tech ways to get around their limitations and bring them back into contact with one another.

Meanwhile, “The Tower” (by Mariko Tamaki, Ivan Reis, Danny Miki, and Brad Anderson) from Detective Comics #1047 and #1048 showed how Oracle coordinated the Bat-Family so they can effectively take on any challenge they have to face. Oracle helped Batwoman and Nightwing investigate the mystery surrounding the new Arkham Tower and its head doctor, who had seemingly found a miracle cure for Gotham’s criminals. While the series flashed backward and forwards in time, the few scenes that have featured Oracle showed her doing what she does best, guiding her allies in the middle of Gotham’s madness so they can solve the problem. As the criminals inside the tower escaped, she guided Nightwing through the tower while Batwoman and Cassandra Cain monitored the situation from the outside.

Related: Batman’s Newest Robin May Be The Death of Him – Here’s Why

Barbara Gordon Comforting Stephanie Borwn

Now that Batman is absent from Gotham, somebody had to step up and take the role of the leader of the city’s crime fighters and Oracle was the perfect person for the role. She helped the city during her time as a street-level crime fighter, but it’s her time as the Bat-Family’s tactician that has made her Gotham’s most important hero. Without her guiding her hand leading them through Gotham’s dark streets, the city’s vigilantes would be fighting blindly.

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