A DC Comics fan-favorite is officially never the same, following the events of the newest Batgirl and the Birds of Prey.
Spoilers ahead for Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #19, on sale now.
The issue saw Barbara Gordon resort to unconventional means to help the team, with the help of piece of stolen technology from The Calculator. Barbara was able to basically catfish Calculator’s network of criminals, arranging meet-ups, which the Birds of Prey would then attack.
Even though she knew what she was doing is illegal, Barbara was confident that she was doing the right thing, especially in keeping it a secret from Dinah and Helena. That all changed, however, when Calculator escalated his attack, sending an android named Burnrate on the hunt to unmask Oracle.
Burnrate confronted Barbara, Dinah, and Helena while they were out in the field, but quickly decided to hunt down other people who knew Oracle’s identity. The most likely candidate (literally down to a percentage) was Gus, who impersonated Oracle earlier in the run and became the team’s de facto tech guy.
Burnrate visited Gus in his apartment, fatally injuring him just as the Birds of Prey arrived. Gus then died soon after, something that the trio did not take well.
Barbara, in particular, decided to destroy Calculator’s hard drive, while vowing that she wouldn’t let anyone else die or get hurt because of her actions as Oracle. As she put it very bluntly — “From now on, Oracle is dead.”
This certainly wouldn’t be the first time that Barbara has transitioned out of the Oracle mantle, with it previously happening as a result of the New 52 reboot. But having Barbara give it up on her own accord – especially with the narrative significance of this issue – definitely feels like something else altogether.
There’s no telling how long this change will last, or if Barbara will completely give up the Oracle mantle altogether. Considering the guilt she feels about Gus’ death, the latter of the two could certainly be likely. But considering the wide array of threats that the Birds of Prey have to go up with – the least of which includes Helena visiting her mother in prison – Barbara’s hacking skills could very well be needed again.
Fans will get to find out more when Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #20 debuts next month.