WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Batgirl & The Birds Of Prey #22
In order to honor a fallen friend, current Batgirl Barbara Gordon has returned to her role as the white-hat hacker Oracle. This won't slow her efforts at physically protecting the streets of the Burnside borough of Gotham City, however, or prevent her from taking to the field as one of The Birds of Prey.
Barbara Gordon first took the codename Oracle in the pages of Suicide Squad, using her computer skills to back the team remotely. This allowed Barbara to continue to fight crime, despite having been paralyzed by The Joker following the events of The Killing Joke. When the history of DC Comics was rewritten following the Flashpoint event in 2011, Barbara had her mobility restored by an experimental surgery and resumed her activities as Batgirl. Her New 52 series confirmed that she had still been Oracle for a few years in the revised timeline, but was surprisingly sparse on the details.
The DC Rebirth Batgirl and The Birds of Prey series fleshed out the backstory somewhat, confirming that Black Canary and Oracle once had a partnership similar to the one they had enjoyed in the original Birds of Prey comics from the 1990s and 2000s. As the series opened, Barbara Gordon and Dinah Lance were on the outs with one another, with Black Canary holding a grudge about Batgirl accidentally burning down the dojo that was the only home Dinah had known after years living on the streets.
The two heroines reluctantly joined forces once more when they discovered that someone was using Barbara's Oracle identity to send information to the Gotham City mob. This led to the two joining forces with The Huntress, whose mission to bring down the Five Families of the Gotham Mafia gave her a different reason for finding the new Oracle.
The trail eventually led them to Gus - a well-meaning hacker and superheroine fanboy, who had taken up the Oracle name for himself and was using it to set a trap for all of the organized crime families in Gotham. The three costumed crime-fighters elected to continue working together, with Gus being allowed to continue as Oracle.
Full Circle - the final story arc ofthis incarnation of Batgirl and The Birds of Prey - saw Gus give his life to protect his friends when an all-star team of The Birds of Prey's enemies started seeking out Oracle under the direction of the hacker called The Calculator. Once the villains were defeated, Barbara elected to honor Gus' sacrifice by becoming Oracle once again. The issue concludes as the Birds of Prey discover that Gus had one final gift to give them - a museum of sorts, made of various mementos of their past.
It's unclear what adventures lie ahead for Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, but it's unlikely any of them will be vanishing into comic book limbo with a pair of Birds of Prey-themed movies in the works. Batgirl also still has a solo comic of her own. The Huntress is currently doing a guest spot in Hellblazer. And it seems more than likely that Black Canary will continue to show up in Green Arrow when Julie and Shawna Benson - authors on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey - take over Oliver Queen's comic book in two months.
Batgirl & The Birds Of Prey #22 is now available from DC Comics.
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