WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for "Rescue Op," Episode 6 of Young Justice: Outsiders, streaming now on DC Universe.
When fans tuned into "Princes All," the Season 3 debut of Young Justice on the DC Universe app, they got to catch up with some of their favorite superheroes like Nightwing and Batgirl. Actually, we take that back because Batgirl doesn't make an appearance in the first selection of episodes. But someone whose voice is heard offscreen is that of Batgirl's alter ego, Barbara Gordon.
Barbara is working with Nightwing behind-the-scenes as Oracle while they investigate the ongoing metahuman trafficking ring taking place in Markovia. Though she's only referred to by her new codename, longtime DC fans should have immediately recognized this wouldn't be the same Barbara Gordon from Season 2.
It may have taken a few episodes, but we finally got to see Barabara in the animated-flesh in "Rescue Op." After the opening segment, we're taken inside Barabara's apartment, where she's playing a video game while wearing a pair of Goode Goggles. That by itself isn't newsworthy, but the sight of Babs in a wheelchair all but confirms the popular DC graphic novel, Batman: The Killing Joke, is now a part of Young Justice continuity.
How The Joker Turned Batgirl Into Oracle
Debuting in 1988, Batman: The Killing Joke is by writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland, and is famously known for giving The Joker an origin story, along with the crippling of Barabara Gordon from a gunshot wound by the Clown Prince of Crime. No longer able to walk or use her legs, Babs retired as Batgirl to become Oracle, tech support and advisor to DC's superheroes.
Babs' new status quo lasted until DC rebooted its superhero universe with the New 52, which gave her back the ability to walk and placed her in the Batgirl mantle once again. Batman: The Killing Joke was also adapted into an animated feature film in 2016.
Young Justice Season 2 ended with Nightwing stepping away from the Team, leaving Aqualad and Batgirl in leadership roles. We've already seen Aqualad now has the title of Aquaman and is co-leader of the Justice League, with Miss Martian now the Team's leader. It's possible Babs stepped away from the Team after being crippled by The Joker.
Seeing Babs as Oracle in a wheelchair is another example of Young Justice remaining loyal to the comics source material. Without calling it out or making a big deal over the character change, Young Justice provided its loyal fans with an Easter egg that will surely have them wishing for more in-canon comics bridging the gap between Season 2 and Season 3.
Young Justice: Outsiders is now available to stream on DC Universe, with three new episodes debuting every Friday.