WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the DC Ink original graphic novel The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp, Manuel Preitano, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles, available now.
The original graphic novel The Oracle Code gives Barbara Gordon a different origin story. The comic book takes place outside of the main DC continuity and introduces a Barbara who was never active as Batgirl before getting hurt and finding herself in a wheelchair. That doesn’t mean she isn’t a brilliant and brave crime-fighter in her own right. When she is first introduced, she is out “on patrol” with her friend Ben — but the way the duo crime-fight is with their own brand of justice: Hacking.
In The Oracle Code, Barbara Gordon operates as a gifted hacker before an accident leaves her paralyzed from the waist down. After being checked into the Arkham Center for Independence, Barbara struggles both physically and mentally, but the rise of a dark conspiracy convinces her to start hacking once again. For that, she needs her very own superhero costume — it’s just not a Batgirl outfit.
At the start of The Oracle Code, Barbara proves to be an even better hacker than her best friend Ben, who appears to be talented as well (and maybe even playfully annoyed). It’s unclear what it is exactly that the two are hacking, but it looks to be in relation to the work of Barbara’s father, Gotham City police commissioner Jim Gordon. During this hacking sequence, Barbara is wearing a distinct outfit: Fingerless gloves and a GCPD hoodie that she wears with the hood up. This is a sign that she is “on” and actively hacking.
After getting injured and checked into the Arkham Center for Independence, Barbara goes through a crisis of identity. However, as she starts to put the puzzle pieces of a mystery inside the ACI’s walls together, she finds her heroic drive once again.
Barbara returns to hacking and eventually decides to investigate the case in person, by herself. To do so, she puts on — as she herself describes it — her own superhero costume. However, hers is not flashy or colorful armor, nor does it feature a cape or any type of special gadgets. All she needs are her signature fingerless gloves and a hoodie.
This is what she wears when she goes out on patrol in the ACI’s halls at night and it’s how she is able to put a stop to the facility’s evil doctors. As The Oracle Code comes to a close, Barbara finally assumes the mantle of Oracle and she does so by continuing to wear her own costume. When she has those gloves and that hood on her head, it’s on. She is Oracle.
In Marieke Nijkamp and Manuel Preitano's The Oracle Code, Barbara Gordon was never Batgirl — instead, she has a different kind of superhero costume.