The name Oracle has a lot of history in the DCU, being the moniker worn by Batgirl for decades as she served as the key communicator for superheroes and a butt-kicking wheelchair-bound hero.
Although the name and/or function of Oracle has been utilized by other characters (including a recent Batgirl fanboy and the "New 52"character Frankie Charles, who has disabilties), the recent hints from DC about a new, villainous version came to fruition in the latest issue of Batgirl.
Who Is the New Oracle?
In Batgirl #37, by Cecil Castellucci and Carmine DiGiandomenico, readers learned what October’s DC solicitations hinted at — the newest version of Oracle not only wears a familiar face, but she is a humanoid robot that was created by Barbara Gordon herself.
The face worn by this robot is the logo used by Barbara Gordon when she was Oracle, the information resource to DC’s superhero community. The implication is that when Barbara was Oracle (in the “Rebirth” continuity, while she was previously paralyzed), she built and programmed this android, giving it the familiar Oracle face.
Batgirl #3 7revealed that robot Oracle was apparently shuttered away in a locked vault in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It appears to be a digital storage facility where hundreds of unused computers are housed (although we’re told that some are brand new models).
At the beginning of Batgirl #37, the female-bodied Oracle robot was in the midst of a computer slumber, hanging from electrical wires and plugged into some sort of digital outlet.
What’s the Password?
But the robot was woken up from her slumber by a few of Batgirl’s bumbling villains called the Terrible Trio. These invaders went into the cave looking for equipment to loot, but they had no idea a robot was there.
Once she opened her eyes, the robot began asking for the “password.” She disconnected herself from the wires and began walking toward the villains, continuing to ask for her password and becoming increasingly threatening each time.
While the villains who found her didn’t know this secret password, a drone from Lex Luthor appeared by the end of the issue and fulfilled her request.
Lex Luthor knew her password. It was the robot’s name: “Oracle.”
At the beginning of Batgirl #37, Killer Moth referenced Lex Luthor’s “offer” (the Year of the Villain tie-in seen in many DC titles this summer). But in this case, Killer Moth didn’t get the offer — he just desperately wanted it.
In fact, Killer Moth upgraded his armor himself, hoping to get the attention of Luthor. It was such a significant upgrade that Killer Moth was able to defeat Barbara Gordon even without Luthor’s help.
At the end of their battle, Barbara wasn’t doing so well.
But over in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lex Luthor was actually giving his offer to the robot Oracle, who’s been billed in future solicitations as Batgirl’s newest nemesis.
Gift of Life
When Lex appeared — as a hologram, as he has in other titles — he seemed able to access a “secondary protocol” in the mountain facility.
Before he gave the robot the password, Lex hinted that his offer would be some type of sentience — or “life” — for the robot.
“Hello, you magnificent thing,” Lex said to the robot. “I am Lex Luthor. I’m here to give you life. To give you a gift.”
It looks like Oracle is getting a major upgrade that will apparently give her “life,” meaning Barbara Gordon’s Oracle program may soon be a walking, sentient being.
And future solicitations indicate she’s not happy with her creator.
Why isn’t she happy? Is she one of the digital programs from past Batgirl stories that went bad, returned to continuity? Is she a new program that “Rebirth” continuity will explain was discarded by Barbara Gordon? Is her revenge related to being shut down by her creator? Or has she been compromised by her interaction with Lex Luthor, who shared her secret password in front of the Terrible Trio?
The story continues in this Batgirl #38, which is due out August 28.