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Batgirl is an ongoing monthly comic book series published by DC Comics beginning in September, 2011 featuring Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, a masked crimefighter operating in Gotham City. The series was initially written Gail Simone and drawn by Ardian Syaf.
Barbara Gordon was the second (but better known) bearer of the Batgirl title when the character was introduced in 1966. However, she retired from the position and was later crippled by The Joker in the 1988 Alan Moore story The Killing Joke. The title was passed on to several other women, some with Barbara's approval and some without, while she reinvented herself as the tech-savvy Oracle, who served as an information broker and hacker for the various hereos of the DCU. She was reintroduced in the Suicide Squad and eventually starred in Birds of Prey, an ongoing series created by Chuck Dixon and eventually written by Gail Simone that continued in two volumes until the New 52 relaunch of the DC line in September, 2011. After the relaunch Barbara Gordon regained the use of her legs and reclaimed the Batgirl title.
The Batgirl series opens with Barbara already re-active as Batgirl, having recovered from her paralysis, though the initial issue does not explain the circumstances of her recuperation. The timeline has been compressed so that only three years have passed since she was shot by the Joker, and she is still getting used to having full mobility again and facing villains directly. Her first supervillain foe, calling himself "Mirror," is killing people who survived fatal situations, and includes Barbara Gordon herself as a target.
Contains example of:
- Action Girl: Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, the star of the series.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing
- Apologetic Attacker: Issue #6 opens with Batgirl fighting Bruce Wayne and unsure of how exactly she should treat the situation. Each time she manages to hit him she apologizes, and explains that she did not mean to.
- The Bad Guy Wins: The crossover with The Night of Owls, which ends with the Owl Symbol being broadcast ito the Gotham sky instead of the Bat Signal, with Barbara commenting that they might have just lost the city.
- Bat Deduction: Batgirl manages to deduce Gretel's identity based on the number "338" and the fact that she only loaded her .38 revolver with three bullets. She was Lisly Bonner, a young reporter who tried to get information on the mob and was discovered and shot three times with a .38.
- Bad Dreams: Of being shot, complete with Catapult Nightmare.
- Bald Women: Gretel's true appearance, complete with a nasty scar where she was shot in the head.
- Bat Family Crossover: Told part of the Night of Owls, which ran through all Gotham-based books and told the story of the Bat-family's conflict with the Court of Owls.
- Batman Gambit: In the crossover with the Night of Owls, the Court of Owls forbids James Gordon from activating the Bat Signal in order to prove to the citizens of Gotham that there is nobody to rescue them. James, being James, refuses to cowed by their threats and activates the signal...which was what they wanted, since they knew he would never bow to their pressure and they had replaced the Bat-logo with the Owl symbol.
- Bat Signal: Barbara narrates that she hacked into her father (Police Commissioner Gordon)'s communication network in order to learn about crimes as they occur, primarily because she does not have a bat signal of her own just yet.
- Bodyguard Babes: Bruce Wayne does not have them, but he is apparently such a good boss that his non-combat-trained, non-powered, completely normal personal assistant decides to take on Batgirl when it looks like she is attacking Bruce. Babs comments that the woman, whoever she is, deserves a raise.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Gretel's victims, who kill while chanting "338" and variations thereof (Including "$3.38").
- Catapult Nightmare: When she has Bad Dreams of being shot by the Joker.
- Continuity Nod:
- The first issue of the series includes recreations of several panels from The Killing Joke, where Barbara was shot and paralyzed by The Joker.
- Issue #7 has grafitti on a sewer wall that reads DARK VENGEANCE, which was the catchphrase of the teenager superhero (and onetime, unofficial Batgirl) Misfit, who pre-reboot Barbara mentored in Birds of Prey.
- Cool Bike: Safely hidden in Barbara's not-so-cool van.
- Daddy's Girl: Barbara explains that her father is, no question, the best dad in the world. Issue #4 reveals that it was Jim who found the clinic in South Africa that helped Barbara regain her ability to walk.
- Deer in the Headlights: When Mirror points a gun at Batgirl, at the exact spot where she had been shot by the Joker, Batgirl froze in terror and could not prevent Mirror from killing a man. Word of God is that she did research on the effects of PTSD and specifically based this on a common experience of people who go through trauma that is later triggered.
- Distant Prologue: Issue #9 opens with a scene in a Japanese weapons factory in World War II, where schoolgirls are manufacturing Fire Balloons for use in attacks on the United States. It then jumps forward a few years to Haly's Circus, where the Court of Owls are recruiting a young girl, whose family was killed in one of the only lethal Fire Balloon incients. It then jumps forward again to the present for the rest of the story.
- Doting Parent: Jim Gordon, naturally.
- Downer Ending: Issue #9 ends with the logo of the Court of Owls being broadcast from the Bat Signal as a message to the people of Gotham that there is nobody, not even Batman, that can save them from the Court. Barbara's narration actually remarks that, with that symbol in the sky, they might have just lost Gotham city.
- Dynamic Entry: Detective McKenna is introduced in issue #6 pistol whipping Batgirl over the head.
- "Failure to Save" Murder: When Batgirl is unable to stop Mirror because she froze when he pointed a gun at the same spot where the Joker shot her, Detective McKenna screamed that that made Batgirl just as much a murderer as Mirror.
- Fee Fi Faux Pas: In the first issue, Barbara's new roommate sees the wheelchair lift on Barbara's van and makes a comment about her worst fear being "trapped in a chair" "like prison", but rather than get upset with her about it Barbara tells herself that her new roommate has no way of knowing that she used to need it and that being in the chair was actually the opposite for her.
- For the Evulz: The first issue opens with a gang of thrill killers who pick random names out of a phone book and then murder them in their houses for no reason.
- Handshake Substitute: Barbara and her new roommate exchange a fist-bump after they agree to live together.
- Homoerotic Subtext: As a callback to their considerable Les Yay in Birds of Prey, in issue 7 Barbara visits Black Canary in the middle of the night... to spar. As in, fight hand to hand. Lampshaded by Simone:
Just because Babs snuck into Dinah’s bed at night for some action doesn’t mean…. Wait. I might have phrased that wrong.
- Hurting Hero: Barbara Gordon, who is still haunted by the memories of being shot and crippled, even as she fights to move on with her life and do what she can to help those who need it.
- I Have a Family: A well-dressed couple that Batgirl rescues from a group of muggers thank her by explaining that they can now see their kids again.
- Intrepid Reporter: Lisly Bonner (Gretel), who dreamed not of being the next Lois Lane, but being better than Lois Lane.
- It's Fake Fur, It's Fine: When a group of thugs mug a well-dressed couple, they berate the woman for wearing a mink wrap. After Batgirl saves the couple they explain it is fake-fur, and they are actually vegan.
- Like A Daughter To Me: On her tumblr account, Gail Simone explains that Batman always viewed Barbara as like a daughter.
- Missing Mom: Barbara mentions that her mom walked out on her and her father when she was 12 years old. At the end of Batgirl #4, her mother shows up on her doorstep on Christmas Eve.
- Photographic Memory: Barbara has this, and as such her memories of being shot are that much more vivid. Also counts as Blessed with Suck for this reason.
- Redheaded Hero: Part of Barbara's iconic appearance.
- So Proud of You: In issue #6, Bruce Wayne says "You were always meant to be Batgirl, Barbara" which is a specific Call Back to Barbara's thoughts earlier in the issue where when Batman arrived at the hospital after she'd been shot, she expected him to tell her that she never should have been Batgirl, but instead just held her hand.
- Survivors Guilt: This turns out to be Mirror's motivation. Barbara also goes through a lot of it while trying to reconcile her choice to go through treatment to walk again.
- Sympathy for the Devil: The first two villains of the series, Mirror and Gretel, both have horrific tragedies in their past that mirror different parts of Barbara's paralysis and recovery. For both characters Babs sees what she might have become if things had gone different for her.
- Throwing Off the Disability: She can walk again! Her paralysis from The Killing Joke remains part of her history (And a recurring point for contemplation) but the series begins after she has managed a physical recuperation.
- Villainous Breakdown: Mirror collapses emotionally when Batgirl reflects his own tragedy back at him.
- Warrior Therapist: Barbara sneaks into Black Canary's apartment in issue #7 for an impromptu sparring session because she feels that, despite all her training and physical therapy, she is not yet back as Batgirl. During their fight, Dinah helps her come to grips with the emotions, guilt and self-doubt that are holding her back.
- What the Hell, Hero?: When Batgirl freezes in terror and does not stop Mirror from killing somebody, the cop on the floor screams that, since Batgirl could have stopped him but didn't, she is just as much a murderer as Mirror.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Gretel switches between pink, green and blue hair during her appearances, and the explanation turns out to be a completely mundane one, as she's wearing wigs.