Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Barbara Gordon's Secret Origin

Secret Origins #10 came out today, featuring the "secret origin" of Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl... duh. Now, there have been Bat characters featured in this series before, and I've read the stories, but never felt a need to comment on them because they were all pretty standard stuff, not providing anything new to the current events of the character... But Batgirl's story in this issue changes that, and it's definitely worth talking about.

There's been a lot of incorrect information about this issue floating about as well, along with some unnecessary outrage, because the internet... So with those things in mind, I'm not doing a full on spoiler post or anything, but I'm still going to talk about how this story relates to the current arc as there's some pretty important stuff (that may be covered in #40 regardless) to be had.

Okay, first off... I've seen people get mad about how the new hipster Batgirl team is retconning everything and just gave Barbara some implant that allowed her to walk again, and blah blah blah, new things ruin everything, the old stuff was better blah blah.

Yeah, okay.

Batgirl #5, in yo face.


The next thing that needs to be addressed first is the notion that the Burnside Batgirl isn't the real Barbara Gordon, and the real Barbara Gordon is stuck in the matrix, she's also the pre-New 52 Barbara Gordon, and Convergence is going to change everything, and the real Barbara Gordon and the fake Bar--NO.


None of that.

Babs is Babs is Babs is Babs. The Barbara Gordon you read in issue #1 of Batgirl is the same as the Barbara Gordon you read in issue #39. That's all that really needs to be said there.

So, what's so important about the Secret Origins issue if it isn't some big retcon continuity duplicate nonsense? Well, it has to do with the program Barbara created from the brain scan, which she had been using for her thesis project at Burnside College. Given the ending of issue #39, it's clear that the program has gone a bit Skynet on Babs, and has gained sentience, believing that it is the real Barbara Gordon. Okay cool, but we knew that in issue #39... What we find out, is just what Barbara originally developed the program for.

The algorithm was meant to read social patters and be able to predict criminal activity, with that information, an "information broker" would send "operatives" to deal with the situations.

Sound familiar?

Don't be surprised if by the end of issue #40, Barbara has regained control of her rogue computer program and puts it to use as it was originally intended for it to work... Maybe she'll even give it a catchy name that starts with an "O."

So that's that. Like I said, unlike many of these Secret Origins stories, this one actually provides some new information, but I believe the writers have said it's not entirely necessary to pick up, meaning we'll probably get a recap of it next month in issue #40. We also get introduced to Barbara's roommate Frankie in this issue, developing their friendship a bit more.

On a final note, if you want to read some crazy in-depth analysis of the whole Batgirl of Burnside arc and how Babs' computer program ties into it all, might I point you towards this Multiversity Comics piece. Picked up on stuff I never would have in a million years.


  1. I didn't see it in the Multiversity Comics article or in yours, but I have been speculating (basically while ranting to a friend about how dumb the Bleeding Cool article was) that (a) the algorithm will need a human to interface with it and (b) Frankie will be that human (who certainly has the technical chops for it). That will bring back Oracle. That will have Oracle be a strong woman who happens to have a disability (one of the critiques of healing BG was removing a major character with a disability). That will allow us to all stop asking the question "How does BG's hyper-intelligent roommate not know that Barbara is a vigilante?"

    1. ... and surely this new solution will silence all of the reactionary critics on the internet. ;)

    2. I hate that I can run the playbook on this but . . .

      "We're having another minority character shoved down our throat"

      "She's Oracle in Name Only (ONO)" (and then they'll call her Yoko)

      "Barbara doesn't need an Oracle character - her logistics skills and intelligence don't need to be duplicated"

      "Why can't Oracle be a guy? What's wrong with that?"

      I need to take a shower . . .

  2. That algorithm program sounds like the sibyl system from Psycho Pass lol