Barbara Gordon's in for a big change in Batgirl #50, as the comic celebrates the heroine's fiftieth anniversary in 2016.
Written by Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart with art by Babs Tarr, Batgirl changed direction late last year and gave Batgirl a new look and new location.
In this week's Batgirl #45, Barbara kicked Dick Grayson to the curb, choosing Luke Fox over the former Robin. And Batgirl's former roomy Alysia, touted by DC as a transgender character, had her much anticipated wedding, with Barbara having to wear her yellow Burnside Batgirl boots under her bridesmaid dress.
According to the Batgirl team, in "New 52" continuity Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson have never actually dated, but the Grayson hero made it clear to Babs that he'd like to start. The two spent much of Batgirl #45 flirting and sparring and chasing each other across rooftops.
But by the end of the issue, Barbara chose to instead date Luke Fox, the son of Lucius Fox who sometimes dons the Batwing suit. Newsarama talked to the creators about Barbara's choice, about the mysterious dream Barbara had at the end of this week's issue, and what's coming up next in Batgirl.
Newsarama: Brenden and Cameron, we should probably start by talking about this scene with Dick Grayson. There are a lot of fans of these two characters as a couple.
Brenden Fletcher: I think this was something that started when we had the Batman summit back in January 2015. We all got together and we were looking at the landscape of what was going to happen in the Bat-universe. We knew at that point that Dick was going to make his somewhat triumphant return to Gotham City, or at least into the lives of the Bat-clan, around October.
So we have been planning for this since January, trying to figure out the best way to play out this interaction. It's something we've all been waiting for, and something the audience has been waiting for.
Cameron Stewart: And something that Babs has been dying to draw.
Babs Tarr: It's true! I was like, we ought to do a love triangle. We ought to have someone from the past and somebody new, and pull on those heart strings. It's so fun.
Fletcher: So the love triangle — if we were going to play the return of Dick Grayson to Barbara's life that way and not have it be about a mystery or an action-adventure piece, but it was going to be about the relationship, we had to have some conflict in there.
So there had to be someone special in Barbara's life already.
And yes, this was definitely something that Babs has been pushing us for.
Tarr: In the "New 52," I think people should know, Barbara and Dick haven't actually ever been together as a couple before. This is all new territory for them.
Stewart: There might have been some romantic tension between them in the past, but they've never been officially an item.
Nrama: And that's made apparent in the flashback you guys chose. It's not a flashback to any kind of romance, but was more like a crush when they were young, that I assume grew into a sexual tension thing eventually when they'd run into each other on the job.
Nrama: In this issue, it doesn't turn out too well for Dick. You guys like Luke and Barbara together — at the expense of poor Dick. Why do you think Barbara and Luke Fox work together as a couple?
Tarr: I think they work so well together. Luke is there and he has this tech background, which Babs has as well. It's tough for a guy like Dick who has been making a lot, I'm sorry, but a lot of dick moves lately. And then Luke's always there.
I'm torn too, because I want her and Dick to be together, but Luke's like, such a solid guy. Even at the end of the issue, he's totally understanding and so great about the whole thing, how she left him to deal with Dick. I think you can kind of see the value of Luke being her partner and her man, at the current moment.
Fletcher: Dick and Babs have a lot more history, obviously. And they share a lightness to their spirit that I think was probably very attractive to one another when they were young. And even now.
But in terms of having a lot in common, if you look at who Luke Fox is and who Barbara Gordon is, there's way more in common there. If you don't look at anything else, just look at the influences of their fathers on their lives and the way that they're building toward their future — what do they both want and what are they both doing? How did they both grow up? They have a lot more in common than Dick and Barbara will ever have in common.
Now, that's not to say that that makes them the perfect couple, but it certainly gives them a solid foundation to explore a relationship.
Nrama: Yeah, and as Babs mentioned, that tech connection, which is important right now.
Fletcher: Absolutely. And that's something we'll explore moving forward as well.
Nrama: I think Luke is taking a break from being Batwing, but might we see him in this book donning that costume again, fighting crime with Batgirl?
Stewart: Anything's possible.
Tarr: I think Luke's suit is really cool. I don't think I'd mind drawing it.
Fletcher: Really, it comes down to whether or not Babs wants to draw something. If she never wants to draw the Batwing suit, then he will never be in the Batwing suit. If she asks us to draw that Batwing suit in an issue, then we will figure out a way to make sure he gets inside that suit.
So look at Babs' Twitter feed for the answers.
Tarr: I think the suit would be cool!
Nrama: And we heard it here first. But Babs, was it you who came up with the idea to have Dick Grayson's entrance be through a window, looking smoking hot?
Tarr: Oh, yeah, for sure. Brenden and Cameron cater to me so much in the script and I love it so much. But it's Dick Grayson! Come on! Just to get to draw him is like… I remember when I was first reading the script and I wasn't completely familiar with his character, and I was like, he's so obnoxious! Why does she like him? And Brenden was like, he's that guy. He's that, like, cocky guy you know that is so charmingly good-looking that you can't help but, like, smile. And then I instantly knew how to draw him. And it was fun.
Nrama: I'd love to keep talking about the love interests in Barbara's life, but I know you have time constraints. So let's talk about the current approach in Batgirl. Last year, you had short storylines, but they all linked together in a bigger story arc over several months. Is that still the case? Are we currently in the midst of something like that?
Stewart: Well, you'll notice that the last page of Batgirl #45 ends on a very mysterious dream that Barbara's having.
That will, over the next few issues, be expanded upon and you'll learn what that's about.
In our first story arc, we wanted it to feel very urgent. We wanted to cram in as many ideas as we could, and so we had to do these short stories. But now we have the time that we can take the opportunity to breathe.
Nrama: Yeah, can you describe what kind of story is coming up? This dream ending gives a bit of a clue. What's coming up in #46 and beyond?
Fletcher: This is the beginning of a longer arc that's going to take us through to Batgirl #50 next year. And it's a big deal for us. Issue #50 hits in Batgirl's fiftieth year on planet Earth. It's the fiftieth anniversary of Batgirl next year.
And this is a big story. And the ending of issue #45 is the first hint of one of the places we're taking it.
There's going to be some really dark stuff, there's going to be some huge revelations, and there's going to be a massive shift in Barbara Gordon's status quo by Batgirl #50. So get ready.