Who Is Oracle? The Bat-Family’s Master Hacker Explained


Barbara Gordon’s alter ego of Batgirl’s got nothing on her master hacker persona of Oracle, who became a critical member of the Bat Family.

In the group of Gotham-based crime fighters known as the Bat Family, the need for the most well trained and coordinated members is a must. Second only to the Dark Knight himself, these recruits put it on the line every night to stop criminals in their tracks and bring justice to a city that sees very little of it. But it’s Barbara Gordon’s non-Batgirl title of Oracle, master hacker and all around tech whiz, that brings more to the table than any other associate of the Bat could possibly dream of.

But who is this alternate ego of Barbara’s? And why is Oracle arguably more important to the Bat Family than Batgirl ever was? Simply put, with Oracle behind the computer screen, it’s not always the shadows that the bad guys should be afraid of when night falls in Gotham City.

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Related: Barbara Gordon Finds Her New Normal In Trailer For The Oracle Code

Writer John Ostrander first introduced Oracle after Barbara Gordon suffers a horrible and career-ending injury at the hands of The Joker in Alan Moore’s controversial graphic novel The Killing Joke. Now paralyzed from the waist down, Barbara had a choice to either give up her role as a crime fighter entirely – the obvious solution to many at the time – or find a way to push through her cruel twist of fate and become something else. Luckily, she went with the latter.

Barbara Gordon as Oracle

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Unable to rely on her physical prowess that had helped her during her tenure as Batgirl, Barbara embraced her higher-than-average intellect, photographic memory and excellent skills in the field of technology and computer science to bring a new face to the war against crime. Dubbing herself Oracle after a dream that saw her as an “all-knowing woman,” Barbara set up shop in Gotham’s Clocktower and plugged into the systems of nearly every computer on the planet (no exaggeration) to act as an information broker, superhero coordinator, computer hacker, and all around go-to techie that could not only see and access things that no other hero could, but also establish a consistent and reliable throughline for not just Batman, but the entirety of the DC Universe. This immediately makes her one of the most important characters to ever grace a comic panel.

Oracle championed the disabled as people that aren’t to be looked upon, but held up as capable and strong. She made sure that she was prepared for every situation by keeping her physical crime fighting roots alive and storing a pair of escrima sticks in her wheelchair, akin to those used by her on-again-off-again lover Nightwing. Additionally, Oracle also led one of the more popular iterations of the Birds of Prey to great success and even after the New 52 initiative returned her to the role of Batgirl, Oracle was always waiting in the wings, ready to make an appearance when needed.

Now, with Barbara’s return to the role that made her one of the most capable crime fighters both on and off the streets, Oracle can become something bigger than ever before in a Bat Family that has finally become whole once again. And although her Batgirl persona may never fully be retired, Oracle’s skills and smarts behind the computer screen are invaluable and integral to the continued safety of Gotham, its citizens and the DC Universe at large.

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Updated: November 10, 2020 — 10:49 pm

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