WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Batman: Curse of the White Knight #4 by Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth and AndWorld Design, on sale now.
In Batman: Curse of the White Knight, Bruce Wayne's life has begun to unravel. While the character fought tooth and nail to regain the public's trust after the events of Batman: White Knight, the superhero once again finds himself in a losing battle. It all started when the Joker created Azrael, the latest villain to torment the Dark Knight. Convinced his family lost everything to the Waynes, Azrael has declared war on Bruce. He began by destroying Wayne Manor, along with the Batcave and everything it contained. Then, he took things even further by killing Batman's most trusted friend and partner in crime-fighting: Commissioner Jim Gordon.
In just three issues, the fight against Azrael has taken a heavy toll -- but it hasn't stopped there. In Batman: Curse of the White Knight #4, the villain sets his sight on Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. And, taking a page out of hulking Batman villain Bane's playbook, Azrael breaks her.
While Curse of the White Knight has mainly followed Batman ever since its start, issue #4 of the series is much more focused on Barbara Gordon -- and with good reason. Following the death of her father at the hands of Azrael, Barbara is obviously heartbroken. However, she doesn't remain inactive for long, instead choosing to channel her sadness into rage-fueled revenge. Taking matters into her own hands, she arms herself, drives off in a Batmobile and takes the fight directly to the man who killed her father.
Of course, Batman is quick to go after her, but a battle between Azrael's goons and the police keep him away long enough for Azrael to gain the upper hand. Then, the supervillain swiftly rams his knee into Barbara's back. The "crack" sound makes it clear that Azrael has just broken Batgirl's back in a scene that echoes the one where Bane infamously broke the Batman. Azrael may not have lifted Barbara over his head like Bane did to the Dark Knight in Batman #497, but the scene in Curse of the White Knight still evokes the iconic moment.
The issue ends before we can see the extent of the damage Azrael has done, however it seems all but clear that he has broken Barbara's back. Even worse, this might be how, in Sean Murphy's White Knight universe, Barbara becomes bound to a wheelchair. In the regular DC Universe, Batgirl was left paralyzed from the waist done after the Joker shot her in the spine. Perhaps then, in the White Knight universe, it's Azrael who injures her instead.
Yet, as fans know, this terrible accident was a new beginning for Barbara, who took on the identity of the tech-oriented Oracle. If that is the case, then it means we might witness the return of Oracle in this alternate universe.