Marvel’s Batgirl Rehabilitates Criminals as a Ravencroft Psychiatrist

Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 presents a rare example of a superhero who doubles as a crime-fighter and a psychiatrist helping rehabilitate criminals.

Minor spoilers for Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1!

Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 explores an alternate version of Gwen Stacy, who serves her city not only as the vigilante Nightbird but also as something much rarer in superhero comics: a psychiatrist who genuinely wants to help rehabilitate her criminal patients. Arguably the most compassionate vigilante ever, this version of Dr. Gwendolyn Stacy has plenty of potential. The one-shot is i.

The universe of Heroes Reborn is a world in which the Avengers never formed, making way for a new superhero team, the Squadron Supreme. Outside of the main event book Heroes Reborn, numerous one-shots and other mini-series are releasing that explore characters in the world of Marvel that are different from their mainstream counterparts. In Gwen Stacy’s case, she is a leading psychiatrist in the Ravencroft Asylum who also works nights as the vigilante Nightbird. She has worked alongside Nighthawk, the two feeling like a dynamic duo akin to Batgirl and Nightwing.

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The Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 by Vita Ayala and Farid Karam, Dr. Gwendolyn Stacy talks to Misty Knight about her ideology. Specifically, she talks about how she wants to help people, even the ones at Ravencroft who have committed horrible crimes. She reasons that these criminals, at their core, are still human beings, and most of them have experienced suffering themselves.

There are a large number of superheroes and villains who have a mental illness, which some stories explore better than others. There are not a lot of comic books that present superheroes who double as psychiatrists. The more well-known psychiatrists are typically the ones who have less than savory ideologies, such as Dr. Hugo Strange. Though Marvel has had a few super shrinks, such as Doc Sampson, who has served as Hulk’s therapist. It’s certainly more of a struggle to come up with the names of heroic therapists than it is the names of villains with mental illnesses, meaning there are plenty of patients to go around that could use a good psychiatrist’s help.

Hopefully, we can see more of Dr. Stacy’s adventures beyond this 40-page one-shot, as well as the rest of the Heroes Reborn reality. There is so much potential here for Night-Gwen alone to be a thoughtful look into both the psyches of heroes and villains and go beyond just being another vigilante book. Also, since it’s an alternate universe, there’s a better chance that iconic villains like Bullseye could actually have rehabilitations that stick. While we wait to see if this reality will survive in other stories, readers can check out Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 when it hits comic book stores on June 9, 2021.

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