The Batfamily has been put through the proverbial wringer over the past few months of DC Comics, as the "Joker War" event has completely upended the status quo for essentially every character. That has especially been the case within the pages of Batgirl, which has shown Barbara Gordon and those in her orbit being profoundly impacted by the Joker's anarchy in Gotham City. This week's issue saw certain characters being pushed to their breaking point -- and one potentially being at a crossroads with regards to their future as a superhero. Spoilers for Batgirl #49 lurk below! Only look if you want to know!
The issue follows Barbara Gordon in an unexpected situation, after several random redheaded women show up murdered while dressed as Batgirl. The initial woman who turns up dead - named Marley Evans - sends shockwaves through Gotham City and beyond, as people begin to think that Batgirl is truly dead. Barbara, meanwhile, uses this tragic situation as an opportunity to lay low, and hopefully figure out who was behind Marley's slaying.
Eventually, Barbara's hunt to find the killer leads her to a derelect apartment, where her estranged brother James Gordon Jr. happens to be. James Jr. swears he's there to protect Barbara from potentially being targeted by the serial killer. Barbara is then led to a lighthouse in Gotham, where she realizes that James Jr. has, in fact, been committing the murders, but does not remember doing so because of his dissociative identity disorder. Barbara begins talking to the more malicious side of James, who reveals that he'd become "The Redhead Killer" in an attempt to not only save his sister, but to take away the symbol of Batgirl that had been stealing away his family's attention.
Barbara attempted to reason with James, who reassured that there was "only one way" to bring peace to the Gordon family. He declared that he loves Barbara, and proceeded to throw himself over the edge of the lighthouse, appearing to fall to his death. Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon looking at James' dead body, with Gordon vowing to arrest Batgirl for manslaughter. She then disappears in a smoke bomb, with the issue ending with her holding her mask in her hands, sobbing that she's given up.
Depending on how you interpret the issue's events, it certainly doesn't seem impossible that Barbara's "giving up" could involve her hanging up the cape and cowl as Batgirl. There's also the fact that, at the moment, the general public believes that "Batgirl" is dead, and Gordon believes she's directly responsible for James' death. Having to publicly undo both of those perceptions could open an entirely new can of worms in the process, which would give Barbara a lot to deal with in Batgirl's upcoming 50th and final issue.
What do you think of the events of Batgirl #49? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!