While it’s known that DC will be kicking off a new Batgirl series in July to fully round out the Batman family of titles (the new series will join Batman, Detective Comics - starring Batwoman, Batman & Robin, Red Robin, Gotham City Sirens and Batman: Streets of Gotham for a total of seven Batman-related books), that’s not known is who will be wearing the costume and assuming the role of a young, female counterpart to Batman.
So who are the possibilities? There are a few. Let’s run them down:
1) Cassandra Cain: The latest to wear the cowl (well, full mask), Cassie led a difficult life as Batgirl, at least in the eyes of the fans, if nothing else. Daughter of assassin David Cain, Cassandra who’s had her ups and downs while wearing the Bat-ears, having begun as a hero, changed to a villain following Infinite Crisis, but has since returned to her heroine ways. Say the name “Batgirl” in the DC Universe right now, and Cassie is who will come running.
2) Barbara Gordon: The most popular of the women who’ve worn the Batgirl costume, Barbara has been paralyzed for years following being shot in the spine by the Joker in the classic Batman: The Killing Joke. No longer able to serve as Batgirl, Gordon took the identity of Oracle, becoming the cornerstone for the group of heroines known as the Birds of Prey. While DC Comics has often pointed to Barbara-as-Oracle with pride as she is the publisher’s only high profile handicapped character, rumors and possibilities of her regaining the use of her legs have picked up steam in recent years. Currently, Gordon is starring in the three issue miniseries Oracle: The Cure that wraps up in May – perhaps just in time for moving to something new in July? But if she was, why would the difference between “Batwoman” and “Batgirl” be again?
3) Stephanie Brown: Probably the most controversial character of the Bat-mythos lately, Brown began her run as the Spoiler, the daughter of the Cluemaster, a low-level Batman villain. After a disagreement between Tim Drake (Robin) and Batman, Brown was promoted to a female version of Robin, got fired, accidentally started the Gang War storyline, and was killed – but not really. She’s returned to Robin’s life and the Bat-titles, and perhaps is first in line for a promotion. Besides, what better time to do it? Bruce Wayne was always kind of gruff with her, so what better time for her to become Batgirl then when he’s not around?
4) Bette Kane: She (well, “Betty” Kane) was the original Batgirl back in the Golden Age, serving alongside then Batwoman Kathy Kane. A version of Kathy has returned as Batwoman, and Bette does currently exist in the present-day DC Universe, albeit as the hero known as Flamebird. Writer Greg Rucka has done a solid job of re-introducing Kathy, so why not bring back Bette as Batgirl?
5) The Longshot: There’s also Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe, also known as “Misfit” from the cancelled Birds of Prey - when she first appeared, she did so wearing a Batgirl costume, something that caused Oracle to raise an eyebrow or two. There are a few young super heroines who could take up the role if needed, as well.
6) The Unknown: Just to keep readers on their toes, and to further expand the Batman Family, DC just may bring in a new face to be Batgirl – who are the possibilities? Well, after all, Damien, the possible “son” of Bruce Wayne and Talia al-Ghul is the odds-on leader to be Robin following Battle for the Cowl, and Batman has been shown to be rather…randy with the ladies. Is there a daughter out there? Could there be a daughter?