Following a nine-year run between two volumes, DC's Batgirl ongoing series came to an end in October with no announced plans for the character (or series) to return. Without a title of her own, what's next for Batgirl?
Well, just because Batgirl has lost her ongoing series, that doesn't mean Barbara Gordon has been absent from the Batman line. At the height of 'The Joker War' in Batman #100, she once again donned her glasses to become Oracle, and ever since has been a voice in Batman's ear for James Tynion IV's run on the flagship title.
With Barbara putting more hours in as Oracle than as Batgirl, does this mean she'll no longer be Batgirl? This very question was actually brought up by Barbara herself in Batman #102. Following 'The Joker War,' Gotham is still in shambles. She ponders what role would be better for the city – Oracle or Batgirl.
This plants a seed in Barbara's head that Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain could take over the mantle. Those two characters that have stepped up in a big way during 'The Joker War,' are, of course, no strangers to the role with both characters putting on the cowl and having their own ongoing series during the in the early '00s. In the one-shot anthology Batman: The Joker War Zone, Joshua Williamson wrote a short about the best friends once again finding their place in the Bat-family by officially sewing on the Bat symbol onto their costumes.
In this week's Batman #104 (opens in new tab), Stephanie Brown makes an appearance with the most concrete stance on the Batgirl role to date as Brown calls Barbara 'Batgirl Prime.' Barbara is still hesitant to make any name changes, but Steph rebuts if there can be a "billion" Robins then why can't there be three Batgirls?
Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown will be staring in a serial for DC's next line-wide event 'Future State' under the 'Batgirls' moniker. The serial will be part of The Next Batman series – the Batgirls portion will be written by Vita Ayala and drawn by Aneke. At this point, DC hasn't revealed how much these stories will impact the modern-day DC line when it resumes in March - however the announcement that Future State's Wonder Woman, Yara Flor, will be having her own series following 'Future State' as Wonder Girl does lead some credence to the idea of mantles being passed on.
With these hints, it seems like all signs point to Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain taking over the role in some capacity. Now the only question is will Barbara Gordon join them? To Stephanie's point in Batman #104, blending the roles of Oracle and Batgirl would be the perfect fit for Barbara. It allows for flexibility for other writers and titles to explore the two roles further, while also delivering stories for fans who either prefer Barbara as Batgirl or Oracle.
Will a Batgirls book starring Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Brown, and Cassandra Cain be included in DC's 2021 plans? DC's chief creative officer/publisher Jim Lee has said more DC books will be taking the digital route and then depending on popularity could be repackaged as physical books; we are already seeing that with newly announced titles like Challenge of the Super Sons. Could this be a future plan to reach a younger/wider audience with not one but three Batgirls from very different backgrounds?
The future for the Batgirl title may still be unknown, but in the meantime, you can catch Barbara Gordon and the rest of the Bat-family in James Tynion IV's current Batman run.
Read our article on how Barbara Gordon might be better suited to be Oracle than she ever was (or could be) as Batgirl.