The Oracle Code is a wonderful graphic novel from DC Comics that explores themes where asking for help, learning to overcome adversities, and believing in who you are exceedingly important for anyone to see. Writer Marieke Nijkamp crafts a story centered around Barbara Gordon and her new life after being paralyzed from a gunshot. Nijkamp not only excels at clearly identifying Barbara’s frame of mind after the attack, but helps readers understand that life changes do not mean they have any less value than before. Seeing all of the changes our kids have experienced over the past few years makes this an excellent option for older kids to read, let alone every adult.
I can only imagine the physical and/or mental trauma associated with being shot or paralyzed from the waist down, but the realities revolving around this character in The Oracle Code help to better understand the uncertainties that might happen to someone when faced with a similar situation. Barbara is scared about many things: being in a new place instead of her home, trying to handle her new life alone, or going back to who she was before the attack, as a hacker or detective.
Kids Need to See Kids Trying to Succeed
There are times when I wonder if my kids are getting challenged enough, whether it be as their homeschool teacher, playing games, or pushing themselves when they’re doing any kind of physical activity. How hard to I push? How hard should they push themselves? I want my kids to know their limitations, while also wanting them to feel comfortable enough to try new things. Barbara Gordon has to adapt to life in a wheelchair, while also understanding she has to change her approach to certain things.
Working out to improve her upper body strength. Practicing maneuvering around stairs and physical objects. Reaching out to friends who want to help, while understanding friendships have to accept you for who you are. Physical changes do not change who Barbara is as a person, but everyone, including herself, has a level of fear associated with that horrible night. Is she going to be okay? Will Barbara get hurt again?
Such a traumatic change impacts her daily life in a way where life itself seems like a blank slate, when all she wants is to be back home in a place that makes her feel like she hasn’t changed, despite the injury. The Oracle Code allows readers to see the thoughts that go through Barbara’s mind, which include her own doubts and fears. Admitting those thoughts out loud or talking to someone about those doubts or fears is an encouraging thing to see within this story, because it doesn’t seem like a topic often addressed in storytelling. Kids need to see other kids trying, even if they fail, because the outcome cannot be to simply give up; this is especially important with regard to talking about their feelings, to ensure they have an outlet and realize they don’t have to do things alone.
The Oracle Code Delivers a Heartwarming Story About Facing Fears
Nijkamp does a phenomenal job at letting readers into this hacker’s world. Barbara wants to shut everyone out, and the story clearly establishes who she is as a person through wonderful thought bubbles and ever-present new friends who truly understand what she’s going through. You’ll find yourself attached to the main character, and as she gets closer to realizing it’s okay to be who she is and accept help from her friends, the closer you’ll feel to those people surrounding her, as well.
The Oracle Code is important for everyone to read. There’s validity in this character, because her injury doesn’t change the type of person she is. She might have to use a wheelchair now, but the core of who she is lives on – and that’s a resoundingly impactful thing to see. Her determination, her attention to details, and her intuition are still there. There’s no quitting in Barbara Gordon and The Oracle Code.
There are many days where life is full of doubts, fears, and mental stresses that weigh on each and every one of us. This story delivers a promise to each reader that it’s okay to feel that way. It’s okay to have those moments, but it’s also valuable to work your way through it; discover that you are still you, despite all of those things. Even if Barbara is unable to physically walk, it does not make her have any less worth than before. She and all of her friends are perfect as they are, even if it takes time for them (or others) to see it that way.
Parental Recommendation for The Oracle Code
As with any title, I always recommend parents to look through a book to the best of their ability to determine if your kids are mature enough for the material. This story does not have any overwhelming violent scenes or disturbing imagery. My kids are ages 7 and 9, so there might be some scenes that could be a little spooky for them. For example: One of Barbara’s friends tells stories at night, so there are ghosts and creepy dolls that might unnerve them to a degree.
The artwork by Manuel Preitano and Jordie Bellaire fits the story perfectly. Along with letters by Clayton Cowles, every step along the way meshes exceedingly well; overlapping panels, pops of color during the day or night, character expressions, and providing a different colored thought bubble for Barbara helps to better understand and connect with the main character.
It’s a homerun for me. The Oracle Code presents a main character with a difficult task of learning how to live with a disability, while amplifying the message that they are just as important and valuable now as they were before. It’s powerful for people to see, and I’m 100% okay with having my kids learn that from this story.
Have you read The Oracle Code? Share your thoughts in the comments below! If you want to see more coverage like this, don’t forget to like this article and share with all of your geeky friends over on Facebook and Twitter. You can also explore my thoughts on previous DC Comics like Primer, Flash Facts, and Shadow of the Batgirl.
Until next time, friends, happy parenting and happy geeking.