Some of DC Comics' most prolific characters have stemmed from none other than the Bat-Family. The people who have worked alongside Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, are too numerous to count, from the many iterations of his sidekick Robin to his butler Alfred, genius Lucius Fox and, one of his strongest allies over the years, Batgirl.
While Barbara Gordon, daughter of Commissioner Gordon, is the most notable person to take the cowl as Batgirl, there have been several others who have donned the costume as well. Here are the five best and five worst to do so.
10 Goldstar (Worst)
The first person who once wore the Batgirl costume and didn’t exactly live up to the mantle was Michelle Carter, twin sister of futuristic hero Booster Gold. Also going by the mantle of Goldstar, Michelle used futuristic tech from the 25th century to fight crime in the 21st century.
Michelle donned the costume during a time travel adventure with her brother Michael, but it was short-lived and she returned to her Goldstar costume. She was thought to have fallen in battle during her adventures, but was later discovered to have been saved at the last second by Rip Hunter.
9 The Batgirls (Best)
The first of the best Batgirls in DC Comics has to go to the recently introduced group of teen heroes known as The Batgirls. Introduced during the alternate reality comic book series Bombshells that takes place during WWII, the series reintroduced the female heroes of the DC Universe during this era.
One of those heroes was Kate Kane, aka Batwoman. After Gotham’s hero went overseas to fight in the war, she left her legacy behind, and a group of teen girls took up the mantle to protect the streets and fight corruption, all while wearing her symbol as The Batgirls.
8 Misfit (Worst)
The next woman to wear the Batgirl cowl and shortly after give it up was none other than Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe. A young woman born in the slums of Metropolis, Charlotte discovered she had the ability to teleport and was extremely sensitive to magic. Using this to survive in the slums throughout her childhood, she eventually made it to Gotham City.
With Batgirl as her idol, she threw together a makeshift costume using a stolen cowl and batarangs, along with a t-shirt and jeans, to make herself into Batgirl. Eventually she left this behind to become Misfit, another hero.
7 Batgirl Beyond (Best)
An interesting newcomer to the Batgirl title comes in the form of Batman Beyond Unlimited #18, when the Batgirl of Neo-Gotham was revealed as 15 year old Nissa. Dubbed Batgirl Beyond, the futuristic version of the character is actually a past meets the future story, as she teams up with none other than Barbara Gordon in the future.
Barbara, now the Commissioner of Gotham, uses her detective skills to balance Batgirl Beyond’s lack of detective skills to take on a street gang in Neo-Gotham. Instead Nissa uses the cowl to fight crime only, making for an unusual partnership.
6 Vampire Batgirl Bombshells (Worst)
One of the more unusual takes on Batgirl and Barbara Gordon had to be during DC Bombshells, the WWII era alternate reality version of the character. Instead of being a police officers daughter who used her skills to become her own hero, she was renamed Barbara Gourdon, a French WWI Pilot.
After losing the love of her life, Barbara in this reality traveled to Louisiana and found a way to become a vampire, renaming herself the Belle of the Bog. Throughout the comics, she often teamed with that version of the Suicide Squad during WWII and used her vampiric nature.
5 Stephanie Brown (Best)
The rise, fall and rise again career of this next character makes for one of the more interesting iterations of Batgirl. Stephanie Brown began her crimefighting career as the Spoiler, who used her knowledge of the criminal underworld to disrupt her criminal father’s schemes, (her father was the super villain Cluemaster).
Later becoming Robin in the comics, her stint as this character was short lived after an apparent loss of life during the crossover event War Games. However, it was later revealed this was faked, and she was soon resurrected as Batgirl, albeit a fun, lighter-toned version of Batgirl.
4 Huntress (Worst)
One of the more recognizable vigilantes to don the Batgirl cowl has to be Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress. The daughter of a mobster who’s family was lost in a gang war, Helena donned the Batgirl persona during the very popular crossover event, No Man’s Land.
The events happened at a time when Barbara Gordon was wheelchair bound and operating as the tech-genius and operator Oracle. With no one using the Batgirl persona, Helena borrowed the cowl and used it for her own means. Yet her more brutal tactics didn’t sit right with Batman, and so she adopted the Huntress.
3 Cassandra Cain (Best)
One of the most fascinating characters to don the Batgirl persona was none other than Cassandra Cain. Another hero introduced during the No Man’s Land storyline, Cassandra is the daughter of two assassins: David Cain and Lady Shiva. Lady Shiva of course is one of DC’s most recognizable assassins, being both a villain and ally off and on with Batman.
Cassandra was raised to be ruthless like her parents, but when she saved the life of Commissioner Gordon, Batman gave her his blessing to don the Batgirl cowl for herself. She earned the first Batgirl solo series in DC Comics.
2 Harley Quinn (Worst)
By far the shortest lived and worst person to wear the Batgirl costume has to be Harleen Quinzel, aka Harley Quinn. The former girlfriend and sidekick to the Joker turned vigilante hero and fan favorite antihero, Harley Quinn has always pushed the limits of the DC Universe. That includes donning the persona of Batgirl briefly.
During the events of Harley Quinn #10, the vigilante had a troublesome run-in with Killer Croc, another Batman villain, and started to question her life. She decides to become Batgirl and part of the Bat-family, but in the end she returned to herself.
1 Barbara Gordon (Best)
There is no arguing that the best person to ever become Batgirl has to be Barbara Gordon, daughter of Commissioner Gordon and one of Batman’s most trusted allies in the war on crime in Gotham City. A tech genius and skilled martial artist, Barbara has undergone a lot of trials and tribulations throughout her career.
From becoming Batgirl to losing her mobility during an attack by the Joker to becoming Oracle, leading the vigilante team Birds of Prey and finally returning to the Batgirl persona. She later becomes Commissioner of Neo-Gotham in the future and a true Batgirl legacy.