This gang's getting a little tired of funerals. And that's what you'll be, Steph. Just a bunch of dead flowers and a costume in a display case. -Oracle, Joker: Last Laugh #3
Oracle: I pledge to you, Stephanie Brown-- my guidance. Support. For as long as you want it. When you go out at night, you won't be alone.
Stephanie: I've got your back too. Neither of us is alone in this.
-Batgirl (third series) #3
Relationship: friend, mentor
Name: Barbara Gordon
Aliases: Oracle, Batgirl I
Barbara Gordon was the original Batgirl, but after being shot in the spine, became the cyber-hero, team leader and mentor known as Oracle.
Babs mentored Steph and accepted her into the Birds of Prey briefly. She was always a little short with Stephanie, likely because she saw a lot of herself in Steph. Stephanie was eventually fired from the Birds of Prey, and Oracle dissaproved when Steph became Robin, but assisted in her training, making her do push ups. She was the one who spotted Stephanie on the rooftops, near death, during War Games. She alerted Batman, getting Stephanie to the hospital. She was affected by Steph's apparent death, as she once showed a young wanna-be Batgirl called Charlotte Gage Radcliffe Stephanie's autopsy photos in order to discourage her from heroing.
Shortly after Stephanie returned, Bruce Wayne died. Grief stricken, Cassandra Cain handed over the Batgirl mantle to Stephanie without consulting the original Batgirl, Babs, who was already angry and depressed after dissolving the Birds of Prey. Dick Grayson tipped Barbara off that there was a new Batgirl in town. Barbara, either by herself or with Dick's help, figured out this new Batgirl was Stephanie. She broke into Stephanie's house shortly after Stephanie's second mission as Batgirl. Sitting at Steph's breakfast table, she offered her some waffles and told her they needed to talk, looking sinister enough to make Steph wish she'd done homework instead of put on the Batgirl cowl.
Barbara made it very clear that she disapproved of Stephanie taking up the mantle, citing her past failures and warning her that wearing the Bat will make her the target of bigger villains. She even spitefully told Stephanie about how she used her autopsy photos to discourage Charlie. Stephanie was not cowed and continued crime-fighting.
When Stephanie fought some gangsters peddling an aggression-enhancing drug, Oracle, who was also working on the case, took an interest and contacted her via Cassandra's cowl. Wanting to get her out of danger, she invited Steph back to her new headquarters in the Batcave. After comparing notes, Oracle lashed out at Stephanie again. Though she admitted to herself that there might be some jealousy mixed in with her concern, she threatened to tell Steph's mother if she continued being Batgirl. Stephanie decided to persevere anyway, no matter what Barbara thought of her.
Barbara decided that if she couldn't stop Stephanie, she would work with her. She initially remained passive-agressive towards Steph, but when Stephanie confronted the Scarecrow and found that despite her innoculation she was vulnerable to his fear gas, Barbara began to show concern. As Stephanie was on the verge of being beaten to death by the Scarecrow, tortured by hallucinations that reinforced her own self doubt, Barbara yelled "Batgirl, wake up!" This small sign of acceptance at least partly motivated Stephanie to fight off the drug and defeat Scarecrow, making a speech about how you can't run away from your problems and you stay where you are for a second chance. Barbara was very moved by the speech and Stephanie's bravery, and finally accepted her as Batgirl. She was also motivated to try to get over her own anger and self doubt, and reconnect with the world by seeing Steph face down her fears.
Barbara got a position at Stephanie's university as an assistant professor in Computer Science. She took Stephanie back to the Batcave and made an oath to her to give Stephanie her support and guidance. Stephanie replied that she also had Barbara's back and that neither of them were in it alone. Barbara also provided Stephanie with her new Batgirl costume, saying that she'd earned it.
Oracle met Steph in the Batcave for her first night out, telling her that the new costume would monitor her vitals on the fly. Babs made several witty remarks during Steph's first mission prompting Steph to complain that SHE should get the chance to say thing like that, to which Oracle responded, "Sorry, old habits".
Babs had to leave to talk to Dr. Leslie Thompkins for the rest of Steph's first mission, but Steph was helped by her anyway- the insulation Barbara had added to the Batgirl suit saved Steph from getting shocked. Barbara met Stephanie after the mission to give her coffee and offer her a ride home. They enjoyed a quiet moment together watching the sun rise.
The women continued their partnership when Stephanie tracked down The Web on Barbara's orders. Together they convinced the reckless Web to be more responsible about his superheroic organization and to work with the Justice League. Stephanie even helped the Web install Oracle's software that allowed him to track down a murderer...and also allowed Oracle to keep an eye on him through spyware.
Stephanie went on to fight the villian Diesel when he was burning down a Global Housing buiding. She enjoyed both Oracle's rapport and ice disks to use against the villian. When Batman and Robin showed up, Dick was less than impressed by how Steph used those ice disks to accidentally freeze Damian.
Dick was angered with Stephanie's "recklessness" and argued with Barbara over what she was thinking, throwing someone like that out into the field. Barbara defended herself and Stephanie, saying that Steph had put out the fire and that at least Barbara wasn't training a murderous twit. Dick yelled at Barbara saying that Bruce would have never let her get away with sending Steph into the field alone, especially now that Black Mask was apparently back. Babs ended up snapping that Bruce wasn't there anymore, and in grief stricken rage, Dick yelled at Babs to rein Stephanie in and move out of the cave, and then he stormed off with Damian. Barbara naturally didn't listen and in fact, spent the next few days wanting to punch Dick in the face.
Babs also lent Stephanie the only things that could fit her from her closet- a slip and a trenchcoat- when Steph needed to quickly change out of her Batgirl costume to intercept Francisco Gracia.
Stephanie was grazed by a bullet while attempting to protect Francisco from kidnapping, and when Babs heard about the shots fired, she admitted, "there's a knot in my stomach. She's got me worried." But her fear quickly turned to pride when she found Stephanie had remembered to give out the alias "Fay Wray" as a codeword to alert Oracle she was "blonde, compromised and under duress". Oracle safely crashed the ambulance so that Steph could get out so she could pursue Francisco without having to face her mother in the ER.
After Dick intervened in a spat between Steph and Damian, Babs reminded him that they didn't always see eye to eye on things as Batgirl and Robin either. But Dick responded that given the current players the comparison turned his stomach. Babs then teased him about how he'd completely failed to make good on his threat to shut them down.
But Babs lost contact with Dick when he went into Devil's Square to rescue Francisco. The whole thing had been a trap to lure Batman in to be attacked by villians under Roulette's supervision. Babs ordered Steph and Damian to "Bring. Him. Home."
When Damian ditched Stephanie, Barbara told Stephanie to go to the private garage under the building and get something she'd been saving for a "special occasion". It turned out to be a batpod (called "the Ricochet") and after Oracle warned "don't scratch the paint", Steph tore after Damian in it. She successfully rescued Batman. Later in the cave, Dick told Barbara that Stephanie reminded him of her "before...everything." Babs responded, "that's why I'm helping her." Dick said, "I know", and apologized for what he said earlier. Babs told him to "just let me do this with Stephanie. She needs this. And so do I."
Babs introduced Stephanie to Kara Zor-El when she sent Supergirl to rescue her operative from a trap set by Toyman. When Stephanie and Kara got in over their heads and were attacked by a giant Superman/Batman robot, Stephanie called in a code black, which meant threat of the highest priority. Babs called in Dick, who called in Superman.
When Stephanie discovered that Ra's Al Ghul was after Red Robin's loved ones and had shut down all communication in Gotham, she went to help Tim rescue Leslie Thompkins from Ra's Assassins. But she sent Barbara a note in the cave via the Richochet informing her of the situation. Babs was pleased that Steph had "figured out how to use autopilot" and remarked "that's my girl" when Steph's note said she was on it. Babs called in Kara to knock out Ra's satellite, and put Kara on line so Steph could talk to her after the ordeal was over.
One a regular night in Gotham, Steph went to dispatch a bomber holding a train hostage. Babs informed Steph that dispatching the bomb was her call, and that she trusted Steph, causing Steph to react with pride, though she warns Babs "lets not get ahead of ourselves."
The same day, Barbara continued work with Wendy Harris who was still upset about the death of her brother and her supervillianous dad The Calculator. It was Oracle who apprehended The Calculator when he murdered people in an attempt to cure Wendy. Just as Wendy rebuffed Barbara's argument that she can move on and find happiness like Babs herself did by telling Babs she doesn't want to be an assistant professor in a third rate university in the murder capital of the world, Steph came in.
Steph and Babs left to set up a new headquarters under Babs' apartment. Steph got bored listening to Babs talk geek and set up computers for six hours. They discussed Wendy, and Babs informed Steph she's stubborn like "someone we know" to which Steph shot back "meaning you?" Babs laughed and said Steph would like Wendy. Steph was called away but she and Babs shared some banter as she dressed. Steph quipped that Babs would rather have her fighting scum than in her hair, to which Babs replied "depends on the day" Then Steph asked if she should bring anything back and Babs says "besides you in one piece?" and Steph quipped back "Again, lets not get ahead of ourselves". Babs decided to sarcastically ask for an air fern. Steph replied with a deadpan "I'll see what I can do."
After failing to save a man clearly brainwashed by a tech virus, a greif stricken Steph apologized to Oracle for the mans death, saying she wasn't strong enough. Oracle told her the only variable she can control is herself, thinking that Steph could grieve later, but she needed to stay focused now. Then Oracle recognizes the technology in the blood as being the same Apokolips tech Calculator stole. She figured out Calculator was behind the brainwashing tech virus and demanded Steph get back to the Batcave. The Calculator is determined to get revenge on Oracle and get his daughter back.
Oracke cut off contact with Stephanie to protect her and shut down the cave so the Calculator couldn't hack into it. This did little good though, as Calculator brodcasted an brainwashing signal while Babs was teaching class. Barbara defended herself and Stephanie arrived to help. Barbara explained that the signal must be Calculators, and all the students affected were texting or on computers, and now they're targeting her.
Steph tried to help Babs get to her car, but they wereoverwhelmed by a swarm of techno-zombies. Both women fought, but Babs is pulled out of her chair. She yelleds at Steph to get out of there, but Steph refused to leave her. The zombies (which include James Gordon!) pin Babs down and soon she is consumed by nanited that freeze her in a cold shell. Steph thought that she can't let them take Babs, but just then, a zombified Huntress, Catwoman and Man-Bat leapt from the rooftops to attack.
The nanite infection caused Babs to hallucinate a dream world where she has an idyllic family with Dick Grayson. However, when Stephanie called out to her, she breifly woke up and saw her protege fighting to get to her while being attacked by the zombies. That is enough to snap her out of it, but then the Calculator arrives in her hallucination dressed like The Joker before he shot her. It turns out Calculator has decided to hack into her brain to find out all her secrets before killing her. Oracle ended up battling Calculator in her mind.
Steph fought off the zombies and then teamed up with Wendy to resuce Babs.Vowing to fufill her promise to always have Oracle's back, Steph sky dived off the plane down to Calculator's base.
At Calculator's base, Oracle is seen entering a memory from his childhood. In the sequence, a child-Calculator is in a cage, and it becomes apparent that his mother locked him in there and wouldn’t let him out until he solved a choice rubix cube several times. Oracle felt deep pity for the young Calculator until the grown version of him attacked her in the present. Then both he and Oracle are transported to another memory of his; this time of his children’s birth, and the death of his wife. He became a distraught wreck, and Oracle is able to escape. She goes looking on one of his many computers for a way to disconnect their minds when she turned around and another one of his past memories is there. This time it is a scene of Calculator beating Kid Eternity, trying to get him to turn into his deceased son Marvin. The present Calculator decided to cancel the entire operation, thus leading to both his and Barbara’s deaths.
Steph arrived and rescued Babs just in time. Oracle is pleased that Steph came to her rescue (“I knew I could count on you to not listen to me, Batgirl…you did great.”) and becomes more confident in Stephanie.
Oracle mentored Steph again when Steph attempted to stop a mysterious intruder at Waynetech and they exchange choice banter as she fights him. Unbeknownst to them, the intruder is Bruce Wayne in a powersuit, testing Stephanie. He managed to escape Steph with superspeed
The next day, Babs and Steph discusaed the mysterious intruder “Casper” and Babs considers getting the Birds of Prey involved. This excited Steph greatly as she assumes this means a team-up (“Well it’s about time! ‘The Birds and Batgirl,’ ‘Batgirl and the Birds’!”) but Barbara dismisses this idea and made Steph promise she would stay out of this mess for the time being.
Later, when Steph was afraid Bruce was going to go after Steph for being Batgirl,she defended Oracle and told Bruce him not to blame her at all.
Steph worked as an agent for Oracle during Bruce's return as well. When Babs was remininscing,Steph snapped her back to reality asking for orders along with Birds of Prey members Dove and Hawk. Barbara apologized to Steph for being a bit "lost in the head for a moment" and tells her and the BoP present that they need to keep Vicki Vale alive and go after the Seven Men of Death.
Steph successfully completed her mission, and, lett Babs know the job was done.
While Steph was fighting the Order of the Scythe, Oracle chimed in for the first time in a long while. Stephanie understood Barbara’s absence from the other side of the line what with Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham and a crisis with the Birds of Prey, but has felt lonely without her. When a strange man in costume calling himself the “Grey Ghost” showed up, Oracle did a voiceprint on him and discovers that it is Johnny C or Clancy Johnson, the same guy Steph stopped from bombing a train. Unfortunately, thanks to C's accidental interference, the Order of the Scythe escaped and murdered Newton Flitwik.
The next morning Barbara decided to give Nick Gage a bit of a hint by letting him know that there were “guys in robes” involved. Gage decided to investigate further just as his crew finds a blood-covered batarang. Hmm.
When Steph was going after the Bat signal Oracle suddenly demanded that Steph returns to home base but Steph is confused as to why, until the Gotham City Police Department corners her on a rooftop, telling her she is under arrest for the murder of Newton Flitwik.
Important moments with Steph and Babs:
Babs accepts Steph into the Birds of Prey: Birds of Prey (39)
Steph meets Babs Birds of Prey (40)
Steph hangs around with Babs and Cassandra in the Clocktower. Babs gets angry with her for being too nonchalant about crimefighting, but is forced to send her and Cassandra to save Harley Quinn. Joker: Last Laugh (3)
Stephanie informs Robin she hangs around Barbara and Dinah a lot as a member of the Birds of Prey: Robin (100)
Barbara keeps Spoiler and Batgirl with her while the Joker is on a rampage: Batgirl (21)
Barbara and Steph talk about Cass's fight with Lady Shiva, and Stephanie goes off to fight a martial arts master who wants to kill Batgirl, despite Oracle's protests : Batgirl (26)
Barbara, busy with the Bruce Wayne Case, is short with Stephanie when she complains that Cass has broken her jaw ("If your jaw was broken you wouldn't be able to talk...and my life would be so much easier...): Batgirl (27)
Babs makes Stephanie do pushups as Robin: Robin (127)
In order to discourage a new teenage heroine, Misfit, from hurting herself trying to fight crime, Barbara shows her doctored pictures from Stephanie Brown's "autopsy" (Birds of Prey #99)
Barbara learns that Stephanie is the new Batgirl and confronts her (Batgirl (third series) (1))
Barbara accepts Stephanie as Batgirl, vows to mentor her and gives her a new Batgirl costume. Batgirl (third series) (3)
Steph rescues Babs from the Calculartor Batgirl (third series) (12)
Learn more about Barbara Gordon here