Batgirl’s new connection to the Court of Owls Gives Her the Nemesis She Deserves

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Spoiler Alert for Joker #15

Barbara Gordon, the real Batgirl, has just discovered a personal connection to the Court of Owls that gives her a frightening new enemy. The Court of Owls has been trying to infiltrate the bat family for years and destroy it, up to the point of trying to recruit Dick Grayson, but now the last Claw has an undeniable connection with one of Batman’s main allies. The latest issue of The Joker officially revealed that Barbara’s brother, James Gordon Jr., is the last Claw of the Court.

James Gordon Jr. debuted in the character-defining story “Batman: Year One” by Frank Miller and Dave Mazzucelli, but he became known as the main Batman villain in “Batman: Black Mirror” by Scott Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francavilla. Since the New 52 era and because of his personal connection to Barbara and Jim Gordon, Gordon Jr. has mostly figured as an enemy of Batgirl. Most recently, Gordon Jr. was presumed dead after the events of the Joker War. However, in recent issues of The Joker, after Barbara checked DNA samples of the stalking Talon-a deadly killer created and used by the Court of Owls-it was hinted that her brother’s “death” could actually lead to his involvement in the Court as their last living weapon.

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These hints, woven into the first 14 issues, are officially confirmed in The Joker #15 by James Tynion IV, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Lorenzo Ruggiero, Cam Smith and Arif Prianto. Cassandra Kane as Batgirl fights and holds back the Claw that ambushed her, Barbara and their allies. But it is Barbara Gordon, in the role of herself, who speaks to the Claw and exposes it, showing the decaying face of her brother James Gordon Jr. “I’m sorry they did this to you,” Barbara tells him. “I will try to fix everything. I will try to bring you back for real.” Later, Jim Gordon confirms that he and his daughter are going to work together to “give him back his future.”

Gordon Jr. has been portrayed as a villain with psychopathic tendencies for more than a decade. His turn as the last Ticket is a departure from his usual psychological horror, which makes Gordon Jr. the latest in a long line of murderers associated with Gotham. Despite this, his personal connection to Barbara Gordon—and his appearances in her Batgirl titles over the years—set him apart from ordinary killers, even those who were Claws. With these latest comments from the Gordons and with their unwavering love for Gordon Jr. as his family, it seems that he is on the road to redemption, especially if Jim and Barbara can find a way to break the terms of the Trial.

Batgirl has had a major enemy in her brother James Gordon Jr. for the past decade, but his new connection to the Court of Owls makes him more dangerous than ever. Barbara Gordon has never given up hope for her brother’s recovery and well—being — even after his apparent death – but his new condition may create new problems for the development of their relationship. These are new challenges for Batgirl and the entire Gordon family, but they will surely face them face to face.