The current run of Batgirl is coming to a close with its 50th issue next week—but as DC Comics sets the stage for a potential sea change in Barbara Gordon’s vigilante life, it’s also marking the comics debut of a very intriguing member of the Bat-family...that we haven’t quite had the chance to get to know yet.
This week, DC Comics revealed the first look at Cecil Castellucci, Emanuela Lupacchino, Wade Von Grawbadger, Mick Gray, Scott Hanna, Jordie Bellaire, and Becca Carey’s blowout Batgirl #50, capping off an arc and run that has seen Barbara grapple with her place in the city and just how she can better help it. In addition to being Batgirl, her day job has also included dealing with her dad’s ever-growing distaste for vigilantism in the wake of Joker’s big play on Gotham by working in the office of Gotham’s congresswoman, Luciana Alejo.
In the extended preview of the issue, she gets a glimpse at some of Gotham’s wider issues—ones that just can’t be solved with the liberal application of batarangs—she meets a surprising, familiar face. Well, familiar-ish, considering we haven’t formally met her yet: Ryan Wilder, the character Javicia Leslie will play as the replacement to Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane in the CW’s Batwoman TV series.
In what little we see of Ryan in the preview, her circumstance in the comics seem similar to what we know of how we’ll eventually meet her in Batwoman’s second season—homeless, living out of her van, and bitter at how the people in power in Gotham, vigilante and federal alike, have failed to help its citizens in the direst of circumstances. But it’s an interesting move to integrate Leslie’s character into the Bat-canon before her TV debut, even if we don’t know just how Ryan’s path in the comics is going to go just yet. Batgirl herself hasn’t quite made a live-action debut in the CW’s Arrowverse as of yet, but Dina Meyer did voice Barbara Gordon/Oracle in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event.
DC’s upcoming Future State event is introducing two new Batgirls in the form of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, so it’s unlikely that, despite a debut with close connections to Barbara, Ryan will also take on that particular cowl in continuity. Her TV self might be bowing out, but could the Kate Kane of the comics find herself with a Batwoman protégé soon?
We’ll learn a little more about Ryan Wilder’s comics future when Batgirl #50 hits shelves next week on Tuesday, October 27.
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