Since her debut in 1967, Batgirl has become an integral part of the Batman mythos. While most fans associate the mantle with Barbara Gordon, there have been other Batgirls over the years as well, including Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. It’s rare for character concepts as young as Batgirl to forge such an enduring legacy. Regardless of who was wearing the costume, though, Batgirl has been one of Gotham’s most stalwart protectors, helping the Bat Family combat the evils that bedevil the city.
As with any character (or in this case characters) that has been around as long as Batgirl, there are some things about the character that don’t make a lot of sense and this list is going to look at some of them.
10 Cassandra’s Mask
Cassandra Cain became Batgirl during the “No Man’s Land” story arc and she was much different from Barbara Gordon. A mute, she could read the body language of people she fought, allowing her to anticipate their moves. This made her a very formidable fighter and she was a great Batgirl.
However, her mask, while looking cool, doesn’t make a lot of sense for someone who is doing a lot of physical stuff. The mouth and nose are completely covered, meaning it would be very hard for her to breathe and the amount of heat it would trap would make things even worse on her.
9 Losing Her Edge
Cassandra Cain’s ability to read people, as well as her muteness, came from the way she raised by her father. He tried to make her into the ultimate killing machine and kept her from any outside stimuli, never speaking to her and only teaching her through actions. However, during her time as Batgirl, Barbara Gordon and Alfred would work with her and she would learn to speak and read.
For some reason, when she learned about words, she lost her ability to read people. This is extremely nonsensical. It’s like if a chess prodigy learned how to play basketball and forgot how to play chess.
8 Why Cassandra Quit
Cassandra would stay Batgirl for years, until the “death” of Bruce Wayne during Final Crisis. One night, she and Stephanie Brown were fighting some criminals and at the end of the fight, Cassandra removed the costume and said that with Batman gone, she saw no reason to continue.
This makes no sense whatsoever. In fact, with Batman gone, it seems like one should fight even harder to make up for him being gone. This led to Stephanie Brown becoming Batgirl. There won’t be any entries about her time because the only thing that doesn’t make sense about her as Batgirl is how badly DC treated her.
7 That The Killing Joke Became Canon
Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke is considered one of the greatest Batman stories of all time. In it, a retired Barbara Gordon is shot and paralyzed by the Joker. This change would go on to become Barbara’s new status quo, but that in itself was quite weird, because the story was never meant to be canon to the DC Universe.
Moore and Bolland’s tale was always meant to be an imaginary tale, like the ones they grew up with in the Silver Age but darker, and the story was only canonized because of the critical reception and sales.
6 That It Took So Long For Her To Walk Again
So, Barbara was paralyzed after an attack from the Joker and became Oracle, using her skills to get information for superheroes. It was pretty cool, but fans still missed Babs as Batgirl. One of the weirdest things about this whole time was that it took so long for her to walk again.
Barbara Gordon lives in a universe full of magic and advanced technology and no one could fix her spine and allow her to walk again? Wonder Woman couldn’t use the Purple Ray on her or something? Over in the Marvel Universe, Professor Xavier gets paralyzed and un-paralyzed every couple of months. Why did it take almost three decades for Babs to walk again?
5 She Was The Head Of A Library… While Also Staying Up All Night Fighting Crime
Being a costumed vigilante is hard work, especially if you have a day job. Batman and the various Robins don’t have to worry about it too much because they’re funded by Bruce Wayne’s billions- they can sleep all day if they need to and it’s all good. Barbara Gordon, though, had a PhD in library science and became the head of the Gotham Library.
When did she find time to sleep? Did no one notice that she was all beat up sometimes when she came to work? There are so many things about this that make no sense.
4 She Was Able To Take Down Killer Moth On Her First Night
Barbara Gordon’s first time as Batgirl was different to say the least, she was on her way to costume party as a female Batman (inventing genderbent cosplay in the 1967, Babs was a pioneer) and stopped a kidnapping attempt on Bruce Wayne by Killer Moth.
Taking down a costumed villain, one who fights Batman on a regular basis, is a big deal and Babs was able to do it on her first night out. How? Narrative convenience.
3 She Was A Member Of The House Of Representatives
Pre-Crisis DC in the 70s was a wild and wooly place, as the publisher did all kinds of things to modernize their characters and follow Marvel’s example. One of these things would be to have Barbara Gordon retire as Batgirl and become a member of the House Of Representatives.
Barbara Gordon was and is a very smart person, but she doesn’t seem like she’s politician material. First off, she’s honest. Secondly, she cares about the little guy. This was just one of many weird DC digressions at the time. She also went on a blind date with Clark Kent at the time.
2 That Jim Gordon Never Figured Out Her Secret Identity
This one changes a bit- sometimes Jim knows, other times he doesn’t but it’s just strange when he doesn’t. Barbara lived under his roof in the beginning phases of her career as Batgirl and somehow, Jim Gordon never figured out that she was leaving every night to go and fight crime.
He never figured out that she Batgirl, even though he worked with her and heard her voice and stuff. Even when it’s established that he figured it out, it still takes him much longer than it should have.
1 The Shifting Relationship Between Her And Jim
So, in her initial appearances, Barbara Gordon was Jim Gordon’s daughter. Later, after some retconning, she was his niece and then he adopted her at some point. Sometimes, retcons make a lot of sense and help a character, but this one really didn’t.
Changing how they’re related brought nothing new to either character and didn’t really make either one better. This is one of those mystifying retcons that no one knows why they did it and it doesn’t add anything.
The mantle of Batgirl has been held by multiple women, but the character doesn't always make sense. Here are some things that leave fans wondering.