Characters / Batgirl

Like Robin, many women have taken up the identity of Batgirl.

Bold indicates current identity.

For Helena Bertinelli (Batgirl II), see the Batman Supporting Cast page.
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    Batgirl I / Oracle (Barbara "Babs" Gordon) 
"A little over a year has passed since my old life ended, since I died and was reborn. The shadows remain, but only to give contrast to the light. I am no longer a distaff impersonation of someone else — I’m me, more me than I have ever been. I embrace it, and the light, with a deep, continuing joy."
Barbara as Batgirl

The most popular and recognizable of the Batgirls, mainly due to originating in the 1960s television series and then appearing on the animated series before being the only Batgirl to appear in a feature film. Barbara Gordon was the daughter of police commissioner James Gordon, who debuted by foiling a kidnapping attempt made by Killer Moth. Unlike Batman and Robin, who were possessed of pasts filled with angst, Barbara was a relatively lighthearted and cheerful crimefighter whose motivation was completely altruistic.

Unlike Batwoman and Bat-Girl (characters introduced during the Silver Age), who were merely female counterparts to the Dynamic Duo, Barbara was completely independent of male superheroes, being a representation of the feminist movements of the 1960s (she even had a PhD; however, she was only allowed to be a brown belt in judo).

Anyone who pays sufficient attention to the comics nowadays, however, knows that she has passed on the mantle of Batgirl and taken up the motif of the computer expert Oracle. Why? It all started in The Killing Joke, which had the Joker shoot her, paralyzing her from the waist down. Alan Moore intended for it to be a non-canon one-shot, but the story proved to be so influential that DC decided to adapt it into the mainstream continuity. John Ostrander's lauded Suicide Squad series then set her up with the Oracle role, with Ostrander's wife Kim Yale being instrumental in her progression.

Incidentally, Barbara's identity as Oracle is arguably more important in the DC universe than her role as Batgirl ever was. Of course, despite being primarily the brains of the Bat-family, she can still fight off anyone who's not a world-class martial arts expert, thanks to tutelage under Richard Dragon. She later became the de facto leader of the Birds of Prey team.

She has returned to her role as Batgirl in the New 52, having regained the use of her legs thanks to years of physical therapy. However, the events of The Killing Joke still happened.


  • Action Girl: Even in a wheelchair, she can still kick ass.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Her early equivalent to Robin's "Boy Wonder" was "Dominoed Dare-Doll" (despite the fact that she obviously did not wear a domino mask).
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing
  • Ascended Fangirl: Originally, her Batgirl costume was home-made, and was apparently made out of sheer admiration for the Dynamic Duo.
    • In Batgirl: Year One, she made the costume to piss her dad off at a policeman's costume party and ended up saving the day. In this version, she's a fangirl of Black Canary, instead of Batman and Robin.
  • Badass Boast: "You've escaped, and you think the world is a huge place, and you can hide anywhere, right? I'm here to tell you... That world? I own it. Your world is getting smaller by the second, and you can't hide anywhere from me."
  • Badass Bookworm: Even as Batgirl, she is a bookworm, physically unimposing and underestimated. As Oracle, she's in a wheelchair and still capable of kicking the ass of various muggers, five Men In Black and the elite secret agent Spysmasher on different occasions, in addition to being a master strategist with a photographic memory, unmatched computer skills and genius-level intellect.
  • Berserk Button: Harming her father.
  • Beta Couple: With Nightwing.
  • Big Sister Mentor: To both Cassandra and Stephanie.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to James Gordon Jr.'s Cain.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Combat Stilettos (though in Batgirl: Y1 she switched to flats after her heel broke on her first mission)
  • Daddy's Girl: Is extremely close with her father.
  • Defective Detective: Jason Bard, Barbara's Love Interest in her Detective Comics days, was a private eye and Vietnam vet with a trick knee that often took him out of the action when Batgirl appeared.
  • Disabled Love Interest: To Nightwing, while she was Oracle.
  • Distaff Counterpart
  • Dual Wielding: Like Nightwing, she likes to use Escrima Sticks while fighting as Oracle.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In Convergence she finally marries Dick.
  • Everything Is Online
  • Fangirl: how she started her crime-fighting career: she went dressed in a Batman outfit to a costume party. She's pretty much an ascended cosplayer.
    • Compared to her predecessor Bette, though, Barbara has always been portrayed as open-eyed and level-headed about it, avoiding the Stalker with a Crush vibe that made Bette less popular.
  • Fiery Redhead
  • Genius Cripple: Prior to the New 52, she used to be the poster girl for this trope.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Standard Bat-family equipment.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sometimes written this way, given Nightwing's tendency to attract women, even unintentionally.
  • Handicapped Badass: She's kept her upper-body muscles from atrophying in case she has to fight, which she actually does should the situation require it.
  • Happily Adopted: Post-Crisis-but-Pre-Flashpoint, she was the niece of Jim Gordon who was adopted after her parents died in a car accident. The New 52 has taken this out of her history, as she is now Jim's biological daughter with his first wife.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Black Canary.
  • Hollywood Hacking: She's so good at it, she allows many to mistake her for a super advanced AI of some kind, which helps protect her identity.
  • Hot Librarian: Even as the wheelchair-bound computer hacker Oracle, she's drawn as hot with glasses, simply proving that Nerds Are Sexy. Bonus points for being an actual librarian back when she was Batgirl.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Thankfully one of the less heavy-handed versions.
  • Knowledge Broker: Especially in her debut in the Suicide Squad books, when her identity had still not been decided.
  • The Leader: Of the Birds of Prey.
  • May-December Romance: Depending on the Author: In the 60s, she was at least seven years older than Dick Grayson. However, it wasn't until the 90s (after Batman: The Animated Series) when DC began to seriously push the Grayson-Gordon relationship, where her age is implied to be much closer to that of Dick's, due to them being Childhood Friends. In Batgirl: Year One, she seems to be 2-3 years older, at most.
    • She has now been retconned to the same age as him thanks to Flashpoint. They were already about the same age in earlier works such as Batman: TAS.
  • Mission Control: Plays this role for Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, and the Birds of Prey.
  • Photographic Memory: Unfortunate in this case, since she remembers every detail of getting shot by the Joker.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Invoked and lampshaded, and contentiously justified; at one point in the comics, Barbara admits that as a superhero, she has access to a large array of potential cures for her paralysis; magically fixing herself, cybernetic implants, experimental cellular regeneration serums, untested surgical procedures, even medical exoskeletons. She just refuses to use any of these sources on moral principle, as they aren't commercially available and she feels it's wrong for her to take advantage of her unique connections to fix herself when other people have to live with their paraplegia.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: Her relationship with Dick Grayson. Since the 90s, they've been an Official Couple, have broken up, and then later engaged. Said engagement was retconned when plans to kill off Dick were shelved. Since then, they've been Amicable Exes, up until the New 52, which has them as Childhood Friends with a heavy dose of Will They or Won't They? that occasionally ventures into Belligerent Sexual Tension territory.
  • Retcon / Ret Canon: Barbara's age. She was originally a college graduate with a Ph.D while Dick Grayson was still in high school (later a Congresswoman while he was in college, meaning she was, at some point, at least 25), but has been gradually de-aged over the years until the post-Flashpoint reboot has them at the same age, and barely out of college. Rumor has it that one of the reasons for the reboot was that word around the office was that Barbara was probably pushing 30 by this point, and that wasn't workable. This arguably began with Batman: The Animated Series, which showed her as roughly the same age as Dick and paired them up romantically.
  • Sensual Spandex: varies on the artist, but particularly noted during the 1970s as the writers aged Barbara into her mid-20s.
  • The Smart Girl: Oracle is arguably one for the entire DCU, considering how much heroes rely on her information and hacking skills.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Her injury in The Killing Joke is this, no question. It's been noted that she's not so much a character in that story as she is a plot device to cause Commissioner Gordon and Batman pain. Alan Moore is on the record saying that this was a case where DC probably should have reined him in.
    • Rectified, however, by re-establishing her as the disabled superhero Oracle, which garnered praise for DC in its handling of disabilities, at least until they decided to retcon Oracle (and the events of The Killing Joke) out of existence in the New 52 continuity.
  • Team Mom: Before her leaving Gotham during the 'War Games' arc, she fulfilled this role to the Bat-Family. Which made things slightly odd given that Batman is one of her father figures. And that for a long while she was dating Nightwing.
  • Technopath: Just... read the entry there. You may want to prepare a barf bag, though.
  • They Do: With Nightwing, at least for a time.
  • Vague Age: Prior to Flashpoint, her age in relation to other characters often fluctuates. See entry under May-December Romance.

Post-Flashpoint, Gail Simone's Batgirl:

  • Deer in the Headlights: Early on, she has moments where she freezes up at the sight of a gun pointed towards her, due to her PTSD.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Barbara tries to do this to her father, but, in a manner not dissimilar to Batman No Mans Land with him and Batman, he refuses to look, not wanting to know who is under the cowl.
  • Hollywood Dateless: She says that she has trouble keeping a boyfriend.
  • Mythology Gag: Her guilt complex over the neural implant that fixed her spine is a subtle call back to why she chose to stay paralyzed as Oracle in the pre-Flashpoint continuity.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Barbara also goes through a lot of it while trying to reconcile her choice to go through treatment to walk again.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Barbara doesn't have a great time as Batgirl. She's wanted by her own father for apparently killing her brother, her father puts her love interest in the hospital (who then wants to sue Jim), she's still suffering from PTSD, and her closest friend/semi-boyfriend Nightwing seemingly dies in Forever Evil.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: In the New 52, she has only been crippled for a few years, and was never Oracle. An experimental procedure restored the use of her legs, but she still has psychological scars.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Dick Grayson. While it's clear that there's mutual attraction, it's implied that they never found time for a steady relationship. Though there have been ambiguous references to some sort of romantic past.

Post-Flashpoint, Batgirl of Burnside:

  • Cheap Costume: Upon losing her fancy armored suit in a fire, she puts together a homemade costume with a leather jacket.
  • Hollywood Nerd: This run heavily emphasizes her computer science background.
  • It's All About Me: At one point, she decides to enjoy her newfound social media celebrity status. Dinah calls her out on it, and tells her that Batman wouldn't approve.
  • Lighter and Softer: As a contrast to Simone's darker run that dealt with PTSD, the Burnside arc sees Barbara going to grad school, making friends, and embracing her youth.
  • Photographic Memory: Heavily used in her detective work. She can recall entire events, and find clues that had been previously missed.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: There's a lot of petty bickering between her and Dinah. They do eventually make up, though.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dinah gives her a few of these. First for accidentally burning her storage unit, and then for concerning herself too much with her social media fame. Barbara's Gadgeteer Genius Qadir also calls her out on this.

    Batgirl III / Black Bat / Orphan II (Cassandra Cain)
Click here to see her post-New 52 appearance 

"I'll never take another life. Not even hers. So I'll pretend to go all out... and then I'll die. I don't have to do this. I can still study Batman's method. I can be good enough for the costume. I can be... mediocre. For a lifetime. Or perfect. For a year."

First introduced during the No Man's Land arc, Cassandra quickly gained the approval of both Batman and Oracle (who was the original Batgirl) to become Batgirl after saving Commissioner Gordon's life. Come the turn of the century, much of her past was explored, and it was revealed that she had assassin roots, was mute, and killed a man at the age of eight. Oh, and she was an expert body-reader as well.

Miraculously, mainly due to good writing, the character managed to avoid earning the ridicule of the fans, and ended up pretty well-liked by the fandom (well, most of them). She eventually gave up the mantle of Batgirl after a long storyline in which she tries to discover if the infamous assassin Lady Shiva really is her mother.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. When she resurfaces in the One Year Later continuity jump, she has, for some reason, joined Deathstroke's "Titans East" as a villain and re-donned her Batgirl costume. What's more, her personality was twisted into that of a stereotypical Dragon Lady, all due to Executive Meddling. Attempts to explain this away with Deathstroke's brainwashing drugs generally proved fruitless.

Eventually, she regained the mantle of Batgirl. As of the latest "Batgirl" series, Cass has relinquished the mantle to the Spoiler following Bruce Wayne's "death". Upon his return, Wayne has founded Batman Incorporated, and he and Tim have approached her to become the Black Bat, a member of the team operating in Hong Kong.

She did not make any appearances for a long time after the New 52 reboot, but as of October 2015, Cassandra is now officially back in the picture with volume 1 of Batman and Robin Eternal. At the end of that series, she takes the codename "Orphan" after her father, although she's on the Bats' side.

     Spoiler / Robin IV / Batgirl IV (Stephanie Brown) 
"It's only the end if you want it to be."
Click here to see Stephanie as Batgirl: 
Click here to see Stephanie as Robin: 

Daughter of the Cluemaster (a second-rate Riddler copycat), Stephanie was enraged when her father, who claimed to have gone straight, returned to committing crimes (only without his compulsion to leave clues). Donning a costume of her own, Stephanie became the Spoiler, at first only showing up whenever Cluemaster did and spoiling his plans, hence the codename. She eventually became a full-fledged vigilante, partly because of her attraction to Tim Drake, the third Robin.

Of course, she then found herself the target of every female misfortune that DC could think up. Her relationship with Robin became strained (mainly due to Bats not letting her know their secret identities), she was revealed to be the victim of an Attempted Rape by her babysitter, she went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge after her father was killed while working with the Suicide Squad, she got captured and tortured by Black Mask, and infamously, she was withheld medical treatment for said torture by Dr. Leslie Thompkins. This was, of course, later retconned to having her smuggled out of the country for her safety. Has a page for when she assumed the identity of Batgirl from Cassandra Cain until Executive Meddling gave Barbara Gordon back the identity.

As of the New 52, she is back in her Spoiler identity, and reappears in "Batman #28" as such, in a prelude to her story in the 2014-2015 weekly Batman Eternal storyline beginning in April 2014. Within said series, her history has been Retgone'd, and she is just starting out.

(Don't let her attire fool you; she's not Raven.)

  • '80s Hair: While wearing her Robin costume, her hair inexplicably becomes much longer, thicker, and spikier than it actually should be
  • Action Girl
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Subverted. It looked like she was going to be the standard continuity's first female Robin, but more recent interviews reveal that her run as Robin was mainly a publicity stunt: DC did it fully intending to bring back Tim's Robin and kill her. Both DC and some fan contingencies claim that she 'doesn't count' as a Robin, she was never given a memorial in the Batcave like the other dead Robin, and according to the new reboot, there's only been four Robins... guess which one they left out?
    • It's acknowledged in story as well. Tim Drake quit the job after Batman tricked him into some convoluted training exercise involving a false future. Alfred thinks Batman just took Stephanie in to make Tim jealous (not helped by the fact that he compares everything she does by how Tim would do it). Its also notable that Bruce withheld a lot of the same respects and trusts he'd given his other Robins; she wasn't informed of the secret identities of characters such as Catwoman, she was never told Bruce's real name, and most notably, was never informed of his other aliases, specifically Matches Malone. It was this lack of trust that lead to the events of War Games. Catwoman actually comments on the fact that Bruce seriously failed Stephanie by not giving her the same trust he'd given Tim, Jason, and Dick.
  • Always Second Best: She began to shine once she assumed the Batgirl title, but Stephanie has a long history of failing to measure up against her compatriots. In particular, she and Cassandra Cain (The Batgirl to precede her, and with whom Stephanie had one of the friendliest relationships amongst the superhero community) would frequently spar and train together, each occurrence only demonstrating how far ahead of her Cassie actually was.
    Stephanie: When my dad was mad at me he'd lock me in the closet—what did yours do?
    Cassandra: Shot me.
    (Both laugh hysterically)
    Stephanie: Oh, man. I can't beat you at anything.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing
  • Audience Surrogate: Similar to Tim, a big part of Steph's popularity is how easily readers can relate to her as a character, especially teenaged girls.
  • Black Sheep: Batman alternated between accepting and training her to treating her like one of these so often that it's a wonder the poor girl's head didn't explode.
  • Butt Monkey
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Stephanie has mastered the art of the Seinfeldian Conversation while facing her own impending doom.
  • Character Development: The theme of the series seems to be growing up in both the literal and figurative sense, with Stephanie Brown going to college and also approaching superhero work with a more mature and developed attitude.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Following The New 52.
  • Cool Big Sis: Towards Damian.
  • Cool Car: After becoming a member of Batman, Incorporated, Bruce gives her a car she dubs "The Compact". When driving around the city she uses it in "Stealth Mode", where it looks like a very uncool, purple, compact car, something perfectly plausible for a non-wealthy college girl to be able to afford. But when on a mission, it can go into "Combat Mode", where it reveals layers of armor, an armored grille for ramming purposes, and roof mounted cannons.
  • Cool Mask: A full-faced black(or blue, depending on the artist) one as Spoiler.
  • Determinator: Batman or his subordinates have told her to stop being a hero a LOT, and she ignores them every time. You'd think they'd learn after a while...
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In her "The Road Home" one shot, while meeting Bruce for the first time since his "death", she breaks down and slaps him for putting her through another one of his 'tests' to see whether she is competent enough.
    • Then she runs off, saying "I'm glad you're not dead!" thinking "OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod!"
  • Fun Personified: Arguably the most upbeat member of Batman's "family", next to Dick Grayson.
  • Genki Girl
  • Genre Savvy: Stephanie really is a product of her generation, with all the TV and movie knowledge that implies. She is ever-aware of the clichés that occur, and are expected to occur, in wacky situations. This leads to frequent Lampshade Hangings, such as quoting the Chekhov's Gun maxim verbatim, and even commenting on tropes that she herself has not yet experienced.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Her thigh belt was revealed to be empty. Apparently just there for aesthetics.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Standard Bat-family equipment.
  • Groin Attack: She's pretty fond of it - she's done it at least three times.
  • In the Hood: As Spoiler.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Stephanie has never once lost her positive, upbeat attitude, never descended to the same levels as the people she fought, and also never so much as cheated on a test. She is the only Bat-character to never angst or approach psychosis because of her affiliation with the icon.
  • Insistent Terminology: Barabara originally refused to call Stephanie "Batgirl" for a variety of reasons, both personal and professional, and it was when she finally did that helped Stephanie accept that she had earned the name.
  • Kid Sidekick: And sometimes, she's the Kid Sidekick to the Kid Sidekick.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Cass,probably.
  • Legacy Character: She picks up the immediate mantle from Cassandra Cain, becoming the third "real" Batgirl in current continuity, but she also struggles with the even larger burden of living up to Barbara's original legacy. This is exacerbated by the fact that Barbara serves as her mentor.
  • The Load: Often treated as such by both Cass and Tim. In one instance, Cass determined that there were too many enemies for Steph to handle, so Cass knocked Steph out to protect her from the danger.
  • Nice Girl: Among the nicest characters among the Batfamily.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Stephanie is probably a more skilled martial artist than any person in the entirety of the Real World, but considering she lives in Gotham she keeps being humbled and humiliated by Batman and people with superpowers.
  • Plucky Girl: One of Stephanie's crowning characteristics is no matter what crap is loaded on top of her, she remains cheerful and pops back up.
  • The Pollyanna: She experiences just as much dark and violent crimes as any of the other members of the bat team, but unlike them, she still manages to keep a sunny attitude.
  • Precocious Crush:
    • Stephanie has become somewhat infatuated with the detective that is shaping up to be her contact with the local police, but the age difference (And the implication that he has some serious relationship baggage) will probably preclude any sort of actual relationship.
    • Post-Flashpoint, she has one towards Dick as well. While the age difference isn't as wide as it was pre-Flashpoint, this still seems to apply, as Dick is often written as being much older than his canon age (21).
  • Retcon: She did die, and then she didn't.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Her dynamics with Tim Drake/Robin III.
  • Secret Identity: Batgirl is really Stephanie Brown, freshman at Gotham University and formerly the Spoiler and Robin.
  • Smoke Out: She is a Bat...
  • Spanner in the Works: She did start out as The Spoiler.
  • Squee!: Stephanie herself squee's relatively often, as she is a teenager who has managed to remain light-hearted and chipper despite the traumas in her own life. When the possibility of a team-up with the Birds of Prey comes up she is ecstatic.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: She's fond of this move, and has even successfully used it on Batman.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Since she first gained a larger role in comics she's had to deal with every cliché about female superheroes, including Attempted Rape as Backstory, before eventually being tortured and killed off to give Batman and Robin something to angst about for bit. When she came back, this was avoided at all costs.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Damian. Big time. In spite of his jerkishness, she does try to get through to him.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Simultaneously the Girly-Girl to Cass and the Tomboy to Kara; Steph's a fairly tomboyish girl, but Cass is far less feminine.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Referenced, but did not occur within her series. She is more self-assured, confident and competent than she ever was as either Spoiler or Robin, and is complimented on such by Bruce Wayne himself, but this dramatic change took place before the start of her tenure as Batgirl, and her improvements within the series are only incremental increases due to regular training and experience.
    • Older Than They Think: She actually first appeared at this level of competence shortly after her death, and even before hand she was always at least decent enough to fight by herself. WarGames and her time as Robin made her look far less competent, but after she returned from her death she straightened out and was closer on level with Tim, fighting wise. Of course, in between her coming back and this series, the stories with her were a little weird, so most seem to ignore them.
    • And in the New 52, she manages to pull a Batman Gambit on her father as Spoiler.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Steph and her mom eat waffles at pretty much every meal. It is apparently her mom's way of bonding. Heck, even Damian was seen eating them with Steph more than once!
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Witty Banter is a necessity in any life-or-death situation, and Stephanie always remembers to prompt somebody when it is their turn for a quip.
    Batgirl: "Little late but nice effort."