naebler: (Guy Angry)
[personal profile] naebler posting in [community profile] scans_daily

So repeatedly throughout the many incarnations of this group, there has been one very important question asked over and over. It is with regards to one of our many favorite characters throughout the history of DC Comics. Yes dear readers it involves none other than former Batgirl and Oracle to the heroes, Barbara Gordon.

In the world of DC Comics there are many fantastic feats that have left us wondering why no one would go out of their way to cure her permanent disability and we as readers have speculated on many avenues with regards to messages to handy-capable people to even the fact that DC's editors hate us all and wish to make us suffer so their dark masters can feed on our tears of anguish.

However, through a rereading of JLA V3 #19, during the Julian September Arc, I found an answer as to why they don't get her a prosthetic.

It's Barbara's wish, please read this small couple of panels from the issue written by Mark Waid in 1998.

Please note this is my first time posting a scan so please let me know if I made any mistakes.

Tags: Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle , J'onn J'onnz/Martian Manhunter , Mark Waid

Date: 2011-02-03 03:49 am (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
For a bit of context; a guy named Julian September developed probability manipulating technology in order to make himself President (I think), it backfired and started royally screwing up the world. One of the side effects was Bruce Wayne's parents never getting shot, so Barbs was actively sabotaging the Leagues efforts to correct it. J'onn accused her of doing this because if Batman never existed, she'd never end up in the wheelchair. But Babs set him straight that it was about making sure Bruce had a happy ending.

Date: 2011-02-03 04:14 am (UTC)
shadowpsykie: Information (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowpsykie
that was one of my favorite moments. a reality manipulating villain messes with reality and one of the side effects is Bruce's parents live. and its not the paralysis she wants fixed, she wants Bruce to be happy.

Date: 2011-02-03 04:17 am (UTC)
perletwo: wonder woman (wonder woman silhouette)
From: [personal profile] perletwo
Oh, that's nice. It reminds me of Wondy asking for the Gods to restore Martin's son from Gorgon stonization after completing her Quest, instead of asking them to restore her eyesight, and how much that shocked Cassie.

Date: 2011-02-03 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thelazyreader
This has been addressed a couple of times in comics. Basically Barbara doesn't want a solution that isn't available to everyone else. Being a cyborg has nothing to do with it; there are plenty of more efficient ways in the DCU(Amazon Purple Ray, Lazarus Pit, psychic healing, new spine, magic). But these are only available to superheroes and so on, not to the common citizen.

Out of respect for war veterans, firemen and others who get crippled in this fashion Barbara won't take a quick fix. Only when human medicine advances enough for everyone to have such cures available will Barbara accept them.

Date: 2011-02-03 04:13 am (UTC)
dr_archeville: Doctor Arkeville (Default)
From: [personal profile] dr_archeville
Which then just begs the question "so why don't the JLA and other heroes make such advanced healing techniques available to the general public?"

(The answer, of course, is that such acts would change the setting too much.)

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Date: 2011-02-03 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like this explanation more than the one that she gives in the above panels.

My only worry is Science Marches On (WARNING TV TROPES LINK DON'T CLICK UNLESS YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY!) and that within the next few decades, we may actually see everyday tech that can repair/mechanically replace a damaged spine....

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Date: 2011-02-03 05:51 am (UTC)
kenn_el: Northstar_Hmm (Default)
From: [personal profile] kenn_el
I don't recall Barbara making that argument to Bruce when he returned from the dead recently. Perhaps it occurred off-panel?

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Date: 2011-02-03 04:22 am (UTC)
perletwo: barbara gordon (dangerous librarian)
From: [personal profile] perletwo
...This argument makes me wonder if Barbara has ever had to interact with Cyborg from the Teen Titans/Titans. Granted, Vic wasn't given a choice when heroic measures were taken to save his life by making him Cyborg, and he's had his issues with being half-robot, but he's certainly made the most of the opportunities it opened up for him since.

Date: 2011-02-03 04:33 am (UTC)
shadowpsykie: Information (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowpsykie
but in this case it IS her choice. its her personal choice.

that said, if it wasn't her choice, she would make the most of it if she was thrown into the Lazarus pit, or it was the side effect of an adventure (ala Braniac virus) if you know she didn't have a choice. but in this case, this specific case, she does.

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Date: 2011-02-03 07:01 am (UTC)
bluefall: (Wondy whut)
From: [personal profile] bluefall
I do remember at least one scene where she talks about getting a hair's breadth from giving him a call and asking him for his tech.

Then again, he wouldn't be willing to give it to her even if she did. He had a whole mini about running around working his ass off to destroy the tech that made him so no one else would ever suffer the hideous angst of being half-man, half-machine that haunts his days and nights.

Date: 2011-02-03 09:02 pm (UTC)
bruinsfan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bruinsfan
To be fair, I might not choose the Robocop option myself as an alternate to being confined to a wheelchair (and my dad has been for almost 30 years, so I have about as close a secondhand perspective on the challenges involved as is possible). But in Vic's case the alternative was pretty much being dead.

Date: 2011-02-03 04:43 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
It's cynical, but I never could buy any of the canonical-rationalizations that DC periodically pitches as answers to this everlasting question.

It's one of those things I prefer they don't lampshade.

Date: 2011-02-03 05:16 am (UTC)
bluefall: Babs, looking grumpy and unimpressed (Babs is a grump)
From: [personal profile] bluefall
Likewise. It's like"why don't they kill the Joker" has gotten at this point. The only thing you can do by bringing it up is making it worse.

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Date: 2011-02-03 05:33 am (UTC)
mullon: (Jade Curtiss)
From: [personal profile] mullon
That just always breaks my suspension of disbelief, because I can't imagine anyone in a wheelchair not taking a free pass to get out of a wheelchair.

Date: 2011-02-03 05:39 am (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives

Date: 2011-02-03 06:29 am (UTC)
geoffsebesta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] geoffsebesta
Yeah, it shatters mine as well; they're better off to just not mention it. I've never known anyone with any disability who wouldn't mind it magically gone. UNTIL EVERY ONE EVERY WHERE CAN SEE JUST FINE I REFUSE TO WEAR GLASSES BECAUSE IT WOULDN'T BE FAIR yeah right.

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Date: 2011-02-03 12:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To be fair... I understand that there are deaf people who feel squeamish about the idea of getting Cochlear implants for themselves or especially for their recently born deaf kids because they worry that it will destroy an aspect of their personality/sense of identity....

Granted its a little silly/hard to swallow to assume Babs might now consider being handicapped part of her identity when she's only been in that wheelchair for.... HELP ME SOMEONE WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE DC SLIDING TIME SCALE!

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Date: 2011-02-03 08:33 pm (UTC)
omnipotent: (Batwoman)
From: [personal profile] omnipotent
I agree. I have a friend who is in a wheelchair. He loves basketball. I know he would pay any amount of money to be able to do a slam dunk.

Date: 2011-02-03 06:30 am (UTC)
geoffsebesta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] geoffsebesta
what's with her anti-robot gut reaction there? You think she gives Cyborg that crap?

Oh wait, she never mentions this at all, she never even thinks about it, because this is total awkward lampshading.

Date: 2011-02-03 08:03 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] shadur
That one might actually have a backstory reason - I recall one series where Brainiac started taking over her body and replacing her nervous system with its own circuitry... Or something.

It was back on the old s_d, so it got lost with the wipe.

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Date: 2011-02-03 09:25 am (UTC)
christianconnor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] christianconnor
I'm not keen on this. There's the anti-robot reflex, as others have mentioned.

But then there's the last bit: "... treat what happened to me as an opportunity ... I concentrate on the good I can do now that I've been forced to exercise my mind."

She's implying that if she gets back her mobility she'll have to stop using her mind.

I understand that the event of being paralysed forced her to use her mind in a new way. But she's not dismissing the possibility of undoing that event. She's dismissing the possibility of fixing one consequence of that event, as though fixing one consequence means removing all of them.

Babs, you can keep exercising your mind as much as you like.

(Of course, it could be a rationalisation to make herself feel better about her paralysis.)

(Of course, it could be the writers' simplistic opposition of mind and body. "Sorry, love, you can one but not both." But why don't they apply that to Batman?)

Date: 2011-02-03 09:27 am (UTC)
christianconnor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] christianconnor
Actually, thinking about earlier comments about how the lampshading as pointless as explaining Power Girl's boob window...

The real problem is that they've decided the wheelchair is Oracle's costume.

Date: 2011-02-03 07:24 pm (UTC)
karunya: This reverend puts the "fun" back into "funeral" (Default)
From: [personal profile] karunya
Yes, exactly. I hadn't thought of it in this way, but it makes perfect sense.

In the TV series "Birds of Prey", they showed Barbara getting into a Batgirl suit retrofitted with mechanisms which allowed her to walk (with some pain, but ambulatory nonetheless). That was much less of a "half-machine thing", more like an orthotic/prosthetic device similar to a leg brace. I was surprised when this adaptation didn't make it back into the main continuity.

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Date: 2011-02-03 04:19 pm (UTC)
jarodrussell: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jarodrussell
I love the logic of this scene. Martian Manhunter offers her a medical breakthrough, she declines his medical breakthrough, but then says she looks forward to the medical breakthrough that'll let her walk. She wants a spontaneous cure for her paralysis, only when that spontaneous cure came about with the Brainiac virus, she ripped it out before it could fix her spine.

The reason Barbara doesn't walk is because she's a hateful Luddite who likes having herself as a guilt weapon to use against Batman. She's a vile, backwards woman and the sooner people realize that is her character, the sooner Batman will ditch her for a hacker who's capable of helping him wage war in the twenty-first century.

Date: 2011-02-03 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I don't buy the, 'I won't accept treatments that aren't available to the general public' explanation.

See, to me that would be a perfectly reasonable and even noble justification if she was the 'only' a friend or acquaintance or relative of a superhero who was being shown preferential treatment because of that link.

But she's not - she's a hero herself who frequently helps others save lives (as she also does), and I feel she owes it to those people to be in top shape if she can. How many times has she been in a situation where being more mobile could have helped her and her allies - thus meaning that by voluntarily foresaking mobility she's putting her own and the lives of others at risk?

As has been mentioned above, it's a character trait I feel that's better of not being explained.

Date: 2011-02-04 12:52 am (UTC)
frostedone: (Default)
From: [personal profile] frostedone
Babs is one of the only paraplegic superheroes. If you cure her then it will send a bad message to her fans who are in a wheelchair.

Her waiting until the technology/medical advances to fix it are a available to everyone makes sense. The DCU is supposed to be a "real world" stand in. If the DCU does get the medical advances and the real world does not then it breaks that sense.

Besides with all of the modern advances in medicine, stem cells regrowing vertebrae in mice, and so forth, I wouldn't be surprised if we find a cure for severed/broken spines in the next 50 years.


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