Now that she’s back as Oracle full-time, albeit with full use of her legs thanks to a spinal implant, Barbara Gordon has received a new costume – but that isn’t the only twist to the Batman mythos to come out of the latest issues of Batman: Urban Legends and Joker.
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As far as the new costume goes, it’s not much to write home about. Debuting in Batman: Urban Legends #2 and looking like a tracksuit, it harkens back to Kill Bill more than a time when female heroes like Wonder Woman kicked butt martial arts skills in groovy leather outfits.
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Keep in mind looks can be deceiving, as the costume is equipped with a variety of gadgets, including a holographic smartphone, a cane weapon that doubles as a Wi-Fi antenna, and a stealth utility belt – all fitted and amplified to keep Barbara connected in the field and ready.
As seen in the pages of the issue, she’ll need every tool, as well as the help of allies Nightwing and Spoiler, to fight a foe from her past.
Additionally, Joker #2 features an unexpected revalation for Barbara and the Bat family. In the issue, there is a moment where Jim is with Batman and, speaking to an avatar of Oracle on a computer screenm, calls the former Batgirl by her name – Barbara.
It’s also implied that he knows Bruce Wayne is secretly Batman, as Gordon then gives an inner monologue about what else he’s “put together” – i.e., Batman’s identity, maybe.
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After a pause, she summons him to the clock tower so they can talk.
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Their conversation quickly turns to Barbara’s dead brother and an infamous exchange in Batgirl #50 where Jim blamed Batgirl for letting her sibling die at The Joker’s hand. Walking back his disdain for Batgirl, Gordon explains he was really lashing out and blames himself for pushing his son away.
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Some analysts are viewing this as a retcon, but in actuality, it’s not. For it to be one, canon and the characters’ memories have to change. This is clearly not the case here, as Barbara and her father not only remember the heated conversation that took place, but also openly discuss it.
Regardless, it’s up to the readers to decide if DC capriciously changed their mind or if they did the right thing by restoring Gordon to less of a J. Jonah Jameson style reactionary regarding vigilantes.
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It was this way once before. In the 1970s, Jim knew Babs was Batgirl. In fact, they even worked together.
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Here is the solicitation for Joker #2, on sale now:
(W) James Tynion IV – Sam Johns (A) Guillem March – Mirka Andolfo (CA) Guillem March
As the dust settles on Arkham Asylum and tragic recent events, The Joker is the most wanted man in the world—and powerful forces are lining up around the globe to hunt him…but where exactly is the Clown Prince of Crime? Jim Gordon, facing his twilight years haunted by the madman, knows where to start the hunt, and he’s been given the go-ahead to pursue him… but will he be willing to pay the price? And what shocking revelation will Gordon stun Batman with before he departs? And in the backup story, within the walls of Blackgate Penitentiary, Punchline has become the target of the Queen of Spades from the Royal Flush Gang. It’ll take everything Punchline has just to survive, while on the outside, Bluebird digs deeper into Punchline’s horrific past! In-Store: 4/13/2021 $5.99”
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And for Batman: Urban Legends #2:
“BATMAN URBAN LEGENDS #2 CVR A HICHAM HABCHI
(W) Various (A) Various (CA) Hicham Habchi
The new Batman anthology series continues! In part two of Chip Zdarsky and Eddy Barrows’s epic Batman/Red Hood story, Jason Todd has taken a man’s life, and now his mission is to keep the dead man’s young son safe. But Batman plans to take down Jason before he can make another mistake. Then, in chapter two of Matthew Rosenberg and Ryan Benjamin’s senses-shattering tale, Cole Cash earns his pay as personal bodyguard to billionaire Lucius Fox, but what led him to Gotham in the first place? How does the mysterious HALO Corporation play into it all? And which Bat-Family character does he have an unfortunate meeting within this chapter? And in part two of Brandon Thomas and Max Dunbar’s epic Outsiders story, see Katana’s perspective on what brought the Outsiders to Japan, who wants her dead, and what her ultimate punishment will be for no longer having her husband’s spirit in the Soultaker sword. Plus, Barbara Gordon has identified a citywide system hack from a foe she faced before as Batgirl…but this time around, Babs may have found a way to defeat her for good as Oracle!
What do you make of Babs’ new costume? What about Gordon’s knowledge of her identity? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!