Barbara Gordon is one of my all time favorite comic book characters. She’s young at heart, she’s extremely intelligent and I admire that she’s a computer hacker. She cares immensely for Bruce and she was a great role model for disabled characters in comics. I’m enraged at how Barbara’s story is being told in multiple movies and games. I’m writing this post as a disappointed fan who knows Barbara deserves better.
I consciously thought about writing this post after I finished playing Arkham Knight on a Saturday night. As I play the game, I watch vividly as Barbara is kidnapped. I cruise through Gotham trying to find her because I’m sad she was kidnapped in the first place. After punching, kicking and running Scarecrow’s men over in the Batmobile, I find Barbara. She seemingly “kills herself” after being exposed to Scarecrow’s gas, but she ends up being alive. Too bad she is only in the game for maybe an hour. I will say though that there is a fun part where Barbara will hack certain objects to help Batman in the finale, which was really epic!!
The Killing Joke is another story that really throws Barbara’s character in the trash. I understand it’s based off the Alan Moore comic and Barbara is paralyzed and stripped nude by the joker. It wasn’t necessary however, to add more footage of Barbara and Batman having sex. Like what? Batman has always been a guardian to Barbara and it was way too weird to throw this random sex scene in. Barbara is sexualized for no reason at all.
I would love to see Barbara written still disabled, but with a back story that doesn’t involve violence by a man. Maybe Barbara has an illness, maybe it’s an injury, but eliminating that back story and still keeping her in a wheelchair is fantastic. Birds of Prey is one of my favorite volumes and gives Barbara the story she needs. I also like Bab’s Tarr’s artwork with the new Batgirl, but she isn’t in the wheel chair. Hopefully, that story is told later, because we need to see more disabled characters in comics.
The Killing Joke is an abysmal portrayal of Barbara. I will say Arkham Knight did get better with how Barbara ends up helping out the Batman. Hopefully DC comics can see the hatred they have caused in the community and are willing to give me a decent Barbara Gordon story. It will be worth every penny.