Batgirl's New Court of Owls Connection Gives Her the Nemesis She Deserves

Spoiler warning for The Joker #15

Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, just discovered a personal Court of Owls connection that gives her a frightening new foe. The Court of Owls has been trying to infiltrate and upend the Bat-Family for years—going as far as trying to recruit Dick Grayson—but now the latest Talon has an undeniable link to one of Batman's core allies. The final issue of The Joker has officially revealed Barbara's brother, James Gordon, Jr., to be the Court's most recent Talon.

James Gordon, Jr. debuted in the character-defining Batman: Year One story by Frank Miller and Dave Mazzucchelli, but he came to prominence as a major Batman villain in Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder, Jock, and Francesco Francavilla. Since the New 52 era, and because of his personal connection with Barbara and Jim Gordon, Gordon, Jr. has primarily featured as a Batgirl foe. Most recently, Gordon, Jr. was believed to be dead after the events of the Joker War. In recent issues of The Joker, however, after Barbara tested DNA samples from the pursuing Talon—a lethal assassin created and used by the Court of Owls—it was hinted that her brother's "death" may have in fact led to his involvement with the Court as their latest living weapon.


Related: Batgirl's 1970s Job Is the Perfect Fit for a 2022 Revamp

These hints, woven throughout 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 Cain as Batgirl fights and restrains the Talon, who has ambushed her, Barbara, and their allies. But it's Barbara Gordon as herself who speaks to the Talon—and unmasks him, revealing the decaying face of her brother, James Gordon, Jr. "I'm sorry they did this to you," Barbara says to him. "I'm going to try and fix it. Try to bring you back for real." Later, Jim Gordon confirms that he and his daughter are going to work together to "give him his future back."

James Gordon Jr Talon

Gordon, Jr. has been depicted as a villain with psychopathic tendencies for well over a decade. His turn as the latest Talon is a departure from his usual psychological brand of horror, making Gordon, Jr. the latest in a long line of assassins with connections to Gotham. Despite this, his personal connection to Barbara Gordon—and his appearances in her Batgirl titles over the years—makes him stand apart from the usual assassin, even those who have been Talons. With these final comments from the Gordons, and with their unwavering love for Gordon, Jr. as their family, it appears as though he is on the path to redemption, especially if Jim and Barbara can find a way to break the Court's conditioning.

Batgirl has had a major nemesis in her brother, James Gordon, Jr., for the last decade, but his new connection with the Court of Owls makes him more threatening 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 conditioning might pose new problems for their relationship moving forward. These are new challenges for Batgirl and the whole Gordon family, but challenges they will surely face head-on.