First hero from casualgamer‘s DC list, a character we already know, but seen under a different vest: Oracle, the new identity of the original Batgirl. So far, Oracle has only appeared in the short-lived tv series Birds of Prey, portrayed by Dina Meyer: in the show, she used to be Batgirl as well, until The Joker crippled her in revenge of the role she had in aiding Batman take down his organization. After Batman leaves town, Batgirl reinvents herself as Oracle and acts as a mentor to the young heroines of New Gotham, aiding them in their quest with both her experience on the field and her informatic skills, guiding them from her Clock Tower. In the comics, the transition between Batgirl and Oracle is quite similar, but she never acts as some sort of replacement for Batman, nor she mentors his daughter: let’s see together.
Many years had passed from the day Barbara Gordon decided to don the costume of Batgirl and to aid Batman and Robin in their crusade against crime; with time, however, Barbara had grown more and more disillusioned regarding the effective possibilities of normal people like her to change something in the world, especially in a world already protected by god-like beings like Superman and Wonder Woman. Eventually, following these reflections, Batgirl decided to “retire”, leaving the protection of Gotham City to her mentor, and resumed her civilian life, living with her uncle Jim Gordon. Even if she abandoned Gotham’s criminality, however, the latter didn’t abandon her at all: one night, somebody came knocking at Gordon’s door, and Barbara went to open. It was The Joker, who shot her point blank in the abdomen. The bullet broke Barbara’s spine, and she found herself unable to move as Joker undressed her and tortured her (possibly even raping her), all the while taking picture of her to be shown to Gordon later, in a plan devised to bring the commissioner to madness. Against all odds, Barbara survived the experience, but the damage to her spine was irreversible, and she found herself bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She understandably fell into a deep depression, which manifested itself in several ways, last but not least in an obsession with The Joker: she wanted to exact revenge on the Clown Prince of Crime, and she even tried to convince her friend Nightwing to break for once their golden rule and to kill the madman. The hero obviously refused, and tried his best to penetrate the wall of sadness, melancholy and rage that Barbara had built around herself…but it was a wall only she could destroy, and she did, just a month after her “incident”. Suddenly, Barbara realised that she could still use many of her talents despite her limited mobility, and that she could truly make a difference this time. Using her intelligence and her eidetic memory, she studied computer science, and she became one of the best hackers and programmers on the planet in a matter of months. She even created a personal computer system, among the most complex ever created. Finally, when her work was complete, Oracle was ready to make her debut.
Thanks to a memory that allowed her to remember everything she read even just once, and to a network that put her in contact with the databases of CIA, FBI, Interpol, NSA and a number of other organizations, as Oracle Barbara could assist heroes remotely, providing them with vital informations or even by guiding them step by step in missions that required an intelligence backup. At first, she only helped the Bat-Family and seldomly the Suicide Squad, but eventually her services proved to be vital for a number of other heroes, and just an extremely low number of them knew who was truly behind the green face of Oracle’s avatar. Thanks to Oracle’s work, Batman was able to expose and defeat the Order of St. Dumas, while the Justice League was able to foil an extremely complicated plan by Lex Luthor. Thanks to the most modern science and to her natural skills only, Barbara was finally making a difference. Understanding far too well the risks she was taking despite her total anonymity, Oracle also hired the world-famous martial artist Richard Dragon to help her create a fighting style fit for her new condition, and she became able to defend herself even if unable to move from her wheelchair. While working with virtually any hero on the planet, Oracle developed a special relationship with two in particular, whom she knew from the times she was Batgirl: Black Canary and Huntress, two female heroes who operated in Gotham as well. With the two heroines and Power Girl as her first “agents”, Oracle founded a new super-team, the Birds of Prey, an all-female squad bent on protecting the weak and the defenseless, uniting the unique talents of all its members. Power Girl left soon after the foundation of the team, due to a strong incomprehension with Oracle, but she was replaced by Lady Blackhawk, and over the years many other heroines (such as Big Barda, Hawkgirl, Dove, Vixen, Catwoman, Manhunter and many others) joined and left the Birds’ ranks. After a battle with Black Mask destroyed her base, the Clock Tower, Oracle left Gotham City and moved to Metropolis, where she used the city’s superior technology to furtherly improve her network. She even found and mentored Cassandra Cain, a young martial artist who she trained to become the new Batgirl. After all, she didn’t need any costume or mask to be the heroine she had always wanted to be.
Barbara Gordon is an extremely smart and determined woman, a broken heroine who managed to reinvent herself and to value her many gifts with her force of will only. As Oracle, she uses her incredible memory and intellect to aid the heroes in need, providing them with access to her limitless sources of data and informations; she’s an excellent hacker, able to penetrate virtually any computer system, and she’s one of the best programmers in the world; she’s also a skilled martial artist, and her unique style compensates for her being bound to her wheelchair (she usually wields a couple of twin batons in battle, but she still has some gadgets from her Batgirl days, like Batarangs). An extremely versatile genius, Oracle is now a vital aid to any superhero on the planet, an infallible source of informations and the best guardian angel around even for nearly-invulnerable heroes.