I recently heard that DC Comics is going to reboot its entire superhero universe, starting this fall. There are some rumors circulating that this rebooting is supposed to dovetail with DC making its comics available online and they hope that the combination of narrative rebooting and digital distribution will help them build a newer, larger fan base. It's not like DC hasn't done this before, starting with Crisis on Infinite Earths and then in other multi-issue, multi-title "event series", so I really have no idea how this rebooted DC universe will be in terms of quality. So far, though, one piece of good news has come out of this: Barbara Gordon will resume her role as Batgirl.
I've always liked the Barbara Gordon character, and I thought that she got a raw deal when they crippled her in The Killing Joke and then left her to remain in her wheelchair while dozens of other DC characters were either miraculously healed from the most dire of injuries or resurrected from the dead. Even when DC would trot out Babs and her post-paralysis alter ego, her computer hacker pseudonym "Oracle", as an example of how progressive-minded they are by having a handicapped character in their superhero universe, it sounded like a cheap platitude to me. This was largely for the following reasons:
- Even though DC felt fine with leaving Babs crippled, they found a way to cure Bruce Wayne of his paralysis after the supervillain Bane broke Batman's back with bare hands. In other words, DC is willing to have a handicapped character as long as it isn't one of their cash cows. (This is another reason why I usually prefer Marvel to DC, because I know that Daredevil and Professor X wouldn't take this crap.)
- One of the details that is always left out in the retellings of Bab's injury in The Killing Joke is that the Joker proceeded to sexually molest her after crippling her with a bullet to the gut. So while DC was happy to have Babs be the resident disabled person of their superhero universe, they weren't too comfortable with acknowledging that she was also their resident sex abuse survivor.
It's great to have you back as Batgirl, Babs. You deserve it.