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Barbara Gordon

Prime DC Comics Universe

Oracle's History

Barbara Gordon was born the daughter of Roger C. Gordon and his wife Thelma in the suburbs of Ohio. Even as a young girl, Barbara wanted nothing more than to be a super-hero. Her best friend Marcy and she would spend endless hours designing super-hero costumes and heroic identities for themselves. At this precocious age, the seeds of Barbara's future crime-fighting career began to foment.

When Barbara was 13, her mother and father were tragically killed in an automobile accident (due largely to her father's drinking problem). Barbara adjusted as well as she could. After the accident, her uncle, James Gordon, adopted the orphaned Barbara. James Gordon and his wife (also named Barbara) lived hundreds of miles east in Gotham City, where James worked as the police Captain. Barbara immediately became infatuated with the gothic city's most legendary phantom of the night � the Batman.

Barbara had become completely obsessed with the Batman and learned everything that she could about him. One evening, she snuck into her father's private home office to discover him engaged in a secret conversation with the Batman. Barbara had no idea that her adoptive father was actually worked with this mysterious dark knight. Her obsession with Batman only intensified.

The following morning, Barbara insisted that James enroll her in martial arts classes. While reluctant at first, he recognized that the daughter of Gotham City's police captain could definitely benefit from some knowledge of self-defense. Barbara excelled in her training and earned her black belt within a short span of time.

As dedicated as she was towards her physical development, Barbara equally committed herself towards her academic achievements. Gifted with a photographic memory, she easily rose through the ranks of Gotham Heights High School, and graduated early at the age of sixteen.

That same period, Barbara earned herself a scholarship to Gotham State University. She became one of the University's youngest students, graduating with honors before she was even a legal adult. She became friends with Katarina Armstrong(Now know as Spy Smasher) but that friendship ended when Katarina trip Barbara on the run track and that she won the race. (They never spoken again until a few years later.)

Just starting out at the tender age of 16, Barbara continued with her self-defense training, this time learning the art of Jujitsu under a sensei named Dragoncat. To supplement her income, she accepted a position as a research assistant at the Gotham Public Library. Her true dream however, was to one day work in the field of law enforcement. She asked her father about joining the police academy, but James laughed at her, claiming that she didn't even meet the height requirements. She also attempted to enroll at the local FBI office as a field agent,but they dismissed her, citing many of the same reasons.

A few nights later, Barbara found an opportunity that would ultimately change her life forever. The Gotham City Police Department decided to host the Million Dollar Masquerade Ball at the Bristol Country Club. Dozens of Gotham City's most affluent leading citizens, including the likes of Bruce Wayne and J. Devlin Davenport, were expected to attend. Barbara sewed a stylish, feminine version of Batman's costume based upon designs that she first conceived as a child. For the most part, she intended on crashing the party as this "Batgirl" merely to spite her father.

When she arrived however, she found that somebody else had decided to crash the party before her. A costumed criminal named Killer Moth and his cronies raided the country club, grabbing Bruce Wayne as a hostage. It was their intent to rob the charity proceeds as well as extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from Gotham's wealthiest patrons.

Barbara now found herself acting as Batgirl in deed as well as in name. She tackled Killer Moth in the hopes of rescuing Bruce Wayne from his clutches. What she didn't realize though, was that Bruce Wayne was actually Batman. He allowed Batgirl to rescue him so that he could sneak off to change into his work clothes. Returning to the scene with his sidekick, Robin, Batman discovered that Killer Moth had gotten the better of Batgirl. In order to free her from the morass of Killer Moth's silk-spinner gun, they were forced to let the criminals get away. Batman chided Batgirl harshly for her foolish antics, and warned her against pursuing such a reckless lifestyle. Hearing such criticism from a man she idolized for so long was a shock for Barbara, but it did not deter her from her chosen path. Despite his disapproval, he sent her Batarangs via Dick Grayson, who subtly revealed to her that he was Robin. Barbara was able to solve the case, and by story's end, Batman swore her in an oath and also revealed his identity.

As the years went on, however, Barbara found her role as Batgirl less and less fulfilling, and she eventually more or less retired. That's when the Joker showed up at her house, shooting and paralyzing her and when he kidnapped her Uncle Jim. Batman rescued Jim Gordon, but 19 year-old Barbara Gordon's career as a crime fighter was over. She spent a month in a deep depression.

Recognizing she could no longer be the kind of superhero she had been, she instead devoted all her time to developing one of the world's most complex and powerful computer systems and set to work accumulating information, renaming herself "Oracle."

Blessed with a photographic memory, Barbara reads dozens of the world's top newspapers and magazines daily. She's also constantly gathering information from other, less public sources, such as the CIA's mainframe, not to mention the data networks of the FBI, NSA and Interpol (all without their knowledge or consent).

Oracle has proven an absolutely invaluable resource to the Batman and his allies, as well as countless other superheroes, few of whom know anything about the person behind the name. Oracle has formed an alliance with fellow heroes Black Canary and The Huntress to aid those in need. Together, they are the Birds of Prey, combining their unique abilities and skills in the war against crime and terror.

Barbara founds the Birds of Prey, a team of female heroes, whom she employs as agents. Her first agent is Power Girl. However, when an early case goes awry and several deaths result from it, Power Girl blames Barbara and stops working with Oracle on a regular basis. (Although she helps Oracle occasionally, when Oracle invites Power Girl to rejoin the team after the events of Infinite Crisis, she replies that she'll do so "when Hell freezes over.")

Barbara joins forces with superhero Black Canary. The two � similar in both having lost their original abilities while fighting crime, yet managing to overcome their handicaps � would later meet in person and become best friends (Birds of Prey #29). The two form the nucleus of the Birds of Prey.

The Huntress joins the team as a full-time agent, as do Lady Blackhawk and Vixen. Although the personnel on Barbara's team grows and changes, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk remain core agents.

During the "No Man's Land" storyline, Barbara employs various teenagers to be her eyes and ears on the street. One of these young agents is Cassandra Cain; she later saves Jim Gordon's life. Barbara realizes that Cassandra is actually one of the world's top martial artists; it is revealed that her father, David Cain, had trained her to be a weapon from infancy. Barbara accedes to Cassandra taking up the Batgirl mantle, and becomes Cassandra's mentor.

During the "War Games" storyline, Batman, who is battling the Black Mask, usurps Oracle's computers and satellites. This results in the destruction of Barbara's home and headquarters in the clock tower. Subsequently, Barbara decides to move on, and leaves Gotham City altogether. She cuts her ties with Batman, and after a temporary world trip with her team, relocates to Metropolis.

After becoming herself infected with an advanced virus delivered by Brainiac, Barbara develops cyberpathic powers that allow her to psychically interact with computer information systems. Although she loses these abilities after the virus is renderd dormant, following an operation by Doctor Mid-Nite she discovers she can move her toes. However, this proves to be a short-lived effect, and Barbara remains paralyzed.

Although Barbara and Dick Grayson (the superhero now code-named Nightwing) re-ignite their romance, Barbara ends the relationship when she feels Dick is being over-protective of her. In truth, the villain Blockbuster is attacking all areas of Dick's life. Barbara and Dick still love each other and remain in each other's lives; after the destruction of Bl�dhaven by The Society, Dick proposes and Barbara accepts.

However, their romance is cut short by the Infinite Crisis storyline. Alexander Luthor's master plan to recreate the multiverse relies upon diverting the attention of the world's heroes. Dick is severely injured in the battle for Metropolis, and Barbara stays by his side as he recovers. When Batman asks Dick to join him on his quest to recreate Batman, Dick is torn because of his engagement to Barbara. Barbara returns the engagement ring because she feels that Dick needs a soul-searching quest as much as his mentor, and understands that she and Dick aren't ready for marriage. Dick goes with Batman, but leaves Barbara a note, the ring, and a photograph of them as Robin and Batgirl, promising to come back to her.

A year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Oracle and her team continue to work in Metropolis. Barbara works with Batman, although not on a regular basis as before � she prefers to work primarily with her own agents. Oracle is not immediately aware of Cassandra's retirement as Batgirl, nor her subsequent take-over of the League of Assassins. (Cassandra becomes a sore point with Oracle: she slaps Misfit, a metahuman girl pretending to be Batgirl, for merely mentioning Cassandra's name.)

Barbara continues to lead the Birds of Prey, and expanded the ranks of the operation. Black Canary leaves the team, having decided to devote herself to raising her adopted daughter, Sin. Huntress remains as the team's de facto field leader, and Big Barda has been brought in as the group's heavy-hitter alongside a larger, rotating roster.

Oracle and her team struggle for power with Spy Smasher, a government agent who has taken over the Birds of Prey organization. After the completion of a mission in Russia in which the team rescues the resurrected Ice, Barbara challenges Spy Smasher to a hand-to-hand fight: the winner takes the Birds of Prey. Although Barbara wins the fight, Spy Smasher reneges on the deal. Every agent Oracle has ever employed, male and female, appears to provide support. Black Canary leads the group and, deploying reason and threats, convinces Spy Smasher that the Birds of Prey cannot exist without Oracle in charge. Spy Smasher is forced to admit her defeat. At the end of the issue, Barbara finds Misfit, discovers she's an orphan, and adopts her into the Birds of Prey.

In Countdown, Barbara dispatches the Question and Batwoman to capture Trickster and Piper following their role in the murder of the Flash. She struggles to keep the identities of the world's heroes from being stolen and coordinates the response to a global crisis engineered by the Calculator, a villainous hacker and information broker. At the same time, the Legion of Super-Heroes members Karate Kid and Triplicate Girl storm her headquarters, demanding her assistance. Unfortunately, Oracle was busy trying to keep Calculator from hacking her system, and so she attempted ot send them away. After defeating the lesser computer hacker, Oracle runs a series of test on Karate Kid and discovers that he is dying of some unknown illness, and she then sends him out to locate someone who might be able to help him.

Later, after discovering that Green Arrow has proposed to Black Canary, Oracle tries to talk Dinah out of the marriage, reminding her of all the times that Oliver cheated and hurt her. In the end however Dinah states that her love for Oliver is too deep to just give up. Dinah then asks Oracle to be her maid of honor at the wedding, which Oracle agrees to do.