"Look around, Jim. We're all slowly dying. It's just that some of us get to choose how."
—Barbara Kean to Jim Gordon[src]
Barbara "Babs" Kean is a former art gallery owner in Gotham City's Art District, the of ex-fiancée/ex-lover of Jim Gordon and the mother of Barbara Lee Gordon. Barbara is also a former Arkham Asylum inmate and a former Maniax member. After attempting to kill Jim's girlfriend, Lee Thompkins, Barbara was sent to Arkham Asylum where she was later broken out by Theo Galavan. She later kidnapped Jim and Lee and held them hostage in Gotham Cathedral. After this ordeal, she fell out of a window and was put into a coma. After waking up, she was studied by Hugo Strange and released from Arkham. She later opened The Sirens nightclub with her partner Tabitha Galavan until she was defeated and killed by the latter. League of Shadows' leader, Ra's al Ghul, used the waters of the Lazarus Pit to revive her. After having run a weapons dealership and sold weapons to the gangster of Gotham City, she reopened the Club with Tabitha and Selina Kyle.
As Ra's successor, she could emit glowing energy from her hand to summon the League of Shadows' members, making her the new Demon’s Head, but when Tabitha was about to get killed by a revived Ra’s, Barbara chose to give up her powers to save her; however, the female members of the League of Shadows, the Sisters of the League, chose to continue following her. She later killed Ra's a second time with Bruce Wayne's help, causing the male member of the League to pledge themselves to her, but she instead chose to have them killed. While villains claimed territories all around the city, she and Tabitha decided to continue running The Sirens nightclub and also decided to no longer accept men in their territory.
After Tabitha's death by Penguin's hand, Barbara made it her priority to take his life. After having a one night stand with Jim, Barbara became pregnant with his child and attempted to get into his good graces until the return of Lee Thompkins. She then discovered that Penguin and Ed found a way out of Gotham and formed a distant alliance with them, for the sake of her unborn child.
After the child's birth, Lee and Barbara became friends but, shortly after, Barbara was captured by Nyssa al Ghul, who wanted to avenge her father's death and complete his mission. However, Barbara manages to take part in defeating Nyssa and her subordinate, Bane, naming her baby daughter "Barbara Lee Gordon", dedicated to the people that her daughter can rely on and ended up being on good terms with Jim Gordon and Lee Thompkins. Ten years after the No Man's Land incident, Barbara became a legitimate businesswoman and left the life of crime she once had behind her, even having her own company building that is a competitor of Wayne Enterprises.
Growing up Barbara had a strained relationship with her parents, causing them to be estranged more or less. At an unknown point in her life she entered a romantic relationship with Renee Montoya, though it ended after a year. Several years later Barbara later got into a relationship with Jim Gordon while he was in Gotham's Police Academy. Eventually, they fell in love and he proposed to her and became his fiancée. At some point in their romantic relationship, Jim took Barbara on a date to the Gotham Clock Tower.
Jim Gordon's fiancée
Jim arrives at Barbara's penthouse, while entering the room, Barbara tells him that he looks good in his new uniform and that she lied about liking the one he had before, they then kiss. Barbara is ready to go out but Jim asks her to stay at home because he's tired, she accepts and says he owes her. Jim then shares with Barbara the details of the investigation of Bruce Wayne's parents' murder. He admits that he feels out of his depth but she says she doubts it, before kissing each other.
Barbara greets Jim.
Later, Renee Montoya pays Barbara a visit and attempts to convince her that Jim is morally corrupted, she tells her that Jim murdered an innocent man, Mario Pepper, and that he killed a gangster named Oswald Cobblepot for mobster Carmine Falcone, which is actually not true.
When Jim tells Barbara about the child snatching case and admits his frustration that he can't go to the press. Barbara grabs the phone and anonymously phones the newspaper.
When Montoya enters her home with the keys that Barbara had given her some time before while they were still together, Barbara comes out of the shower with a marijuana cigarette and confronts Montoya. Barbara takes the keys back from Montoya and tells her that she is just trying to lie to her so that she would leave Gordon and return to her, but the two kiss briefly before Montoya leaving the penthouse. Barbara is then introduced to Oswald Cobblepot under the alias of "Peter Humboldt" before he's walked out to the street by Jim. Later at her penthouse, Barbara asks Jim who is Oswald Cobblepot.
Barbara ends up confessing that she and Renee had previously been in a relationship that only lasted a year.
Barbara confronts Montoya and offers to tell her anything that she might find out in exchange for her leaving Jim alone. However, Montoya refuses because she already had a witness and a warrant for her Gordon. After Oswald Cobblepot is discovered to be alive, Barbara is held captive at the hands of Butch Gilzean. Butch begins harassing her and reveals that Jim did not kill Cobblepot as he was told. Gordon returns home and ends quickly defeats both Gilzean and his associate. Fearing for Barbara's life, Gordon takes her to the bus station where he asks her to leave for a few days until he gets to solve the situation. Finally, she reluctantly listens to him. She later returns to beg for Jim's life to Falcone, and he has Victor Zsasz watch her. Zsasz later brings her out to Gordon, and she apologizes to Jim.
Barbara, totally consumed by her fear of Zsasz, gets Jim's spare gun after drinking several glasses of wine. He then tries to calm her down, lying to her and telling her there were no monsters. Barbara later calls Jim, he tells her he was going to call her back as he was in the middle of something. She later leaves when she realizes that she couldn't bear the burden of which Jim had to carry.
Barbara Kean and Renee Montoya in bed
Barbara and Montoya.
Barbara leaves the town and leaves a note for Gordon saying she's afraid and can't be brave enough to stay. Barbara later listens to Gordon call as she sleeps in bed with Renee Montoya.
Barbara was shown to have regretted leaving Gordon as Renee tries to convince her to let her talk to Gordon. Renee then decides to leave Barbara since they used to do drugs when they were together years before and she was afraid to make that mistake again. When Barbara later calls up Gordon's penthouse, Ivy Pepper answers the phone and states that she is a friend of Gordon. Mistakenly assuming that Gordon has another woman in his life now, Barbara tells her to "Go to Hell." Barbara goes to see her parents and asks if she can stay at their house for a few days. She later comes home to find Selina Kyle and Ivy Pepper in her apartment. After Selina and Ivy give her advice on what to wear to impress Jim, Barbara goes to the GCPD to see Jim just to find him kissing Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Barbara, disappointed after having lost Jim, redirects her attention to Selina attempting to advise her on how to use her beauty as a weapon against men. Selina expresses little interest in this.
Kidnapped by The Ogre
Whilst sitting in a bar, still depressed from her breakup with Jim, a man approaches her and introduces himself as Jason Lennon, unknown to Barbara, he is, in fact, the serial killer known as The Ogre. He is about to kill her, but he then realizes that she is the one for him.
After going to "The Wayne Charity Ball" together, The Ogre kidnaps, brainwashes and makes Barbara choose her parents for him to murder. When Jim and Harvey Bullock show up, The Ogre presses a knife to Barbara's throat. Jim shoots the Ogre, whose knife slides across Barbara's throat, cutting her. Leslie patches Barbara up and she thanks Jim for rescuing her.
Barbara proves to be mentally unhinged after her encounter with the Ogre.
While chatting with Leslie, Barbara kept asking her how her relationship with Jim was going, then she starts talking about her parents in a negative light. To Leslie's horror, she revealed that she was the one who killed them. Leslie recognized that Barbara had become unstable and tries to flee, but Barbara chases her with a knife, and the two women get into a fight. Leslie manages to knock Barbara out.
Working with Galavan
Abduction from Arkham
Barbara was taken to Arkham Asylum, which was mostly populated with men. Jerome Valeska advises her to make a friend, so Barbara seduced Aaron Helzinger, and asked him to protect her. She later approached Richard Sionis and asked for a phone. Sionis says he helps his friend if they help him. Barbara got access to a phone and called Jim. She attempted to convince him that Leslie was the one, who attacked her, but Jim hung up. Barbara and the other inmates were later sprung by Theo Galavan and offered the chance to become a group that would terrorize Gotham. However, Sionis explained that he wanted to leave and take Barbara with him. Theo seemed to agree with him and began to untie him until his sister, Tabitha, jumped on him and began stabbing him until he died. Barbara later began a relationship with Tabitha and whilst Theo was talking to the male members, they whipped Mayor Aubrey James together. Barbara said she was bored and wanted to know when her time was coming. Theo said soon and asked her to tell him about Jim. Whilst working in the GCPD, Jim received a phone call from Barbara who lured him away while The Maniax attacked the GCPD. Jim cornered her in an alley and told her she was sick and needed help. Helzinger attacked Jim, and beat him up, into Barbara ordered him to stop. Barbara told Jim she wasn't sick; she was free. She teasingly told him she should get back to work, and implied something happened while he was absent.
Barbara later accompanied Jerome Valeska into holding the people at the fundraiser at the Gotham Children's Hospital hostage. The two dressed up in disguises with Barbara acting as Jerome's assistant. However, once Barbara removed a sheet from one of Jerome's tricks, her mask fell off, revealing her face to Lee who was also attending the fundraiser. Once their cover was blown, Jerome murdered the deputy mayor in front of the crowd and Barbara placed Lee on a spinning wheel. She then intimidated Lee by explaining how she and Jim will be back together within a year. However, in order to make himself look good, Theo murdered Jerome and made it look like he saved everyone. When Barbara realized it was time to make her exit she ran towards a small box and lowered the curtain. When Jim reached it he saw that she got away through a hole in the stage. After this incident, Barbara and Theo watched the report about Jerome's death and began to speak flirtatiously to each other, not realizing that Tabitha was watching them.
When Theo was talking with Oswald Cobblepot, Barbara entered his office and admitted that she and Penguin had met before. She then gave Cobblepot her drink.
When Butch Gilzean comes before Theo Galavan looking for a job after becoming sick of working for Penguin, Barbara mentioned that he had held her hostage previously. Though she and Tabitha excitedly suggested things to put on his stump.
Kidnapping Jim and Lee
After waking up from a terrible nightmare about her wedding rehearsal, Barbara opened a present that she received from Theo and when she confronted him about he explained that it was her time to kill Jim Gordon. Later, Barbara entered the GCPD, surprising everyone as she greeted Jim. She was then escorted to the interrogation room and questioned by him. With Lee watching, Jim kissed Barbara in an attempt to get her to talk and she revealed that she would show him. Once he left the room, Barbara stared through the one-sided mirror at Lee, smiling. Jim and Harvey then take her in a police car to whatever she wanted to show them until a truck hit the side of the car and they were ambushed. Tabitha managed to stick a needle in Jim's neck while Barbara watched.
Barbara attempts to coerce Jim into loving her.
He later woke up in Gotham Cathedral as Barbara walked down the aisle in her wedding dress and held a shotgun to him. After talking, Tabitha wheeled in a captive Lee which caused Jim to gain the strength to attempt to break out of his trap. Just as Barbara was about to slice into Lee's face with a knife, Jim managed to break loose and grabbed the shotgun, holding it to Barbara who encouraged him to shoot her. When the police raided the church, Tabitha escaped while Gordon followed Barbara up to the top of the church. The two got into a scuffle which ended with Barbara falling out of the church window, Gordon just being able to grab her hand before she fell. However, after telling Jim she loved him, Barbara let go and fell several stories into bushes, which broke her fall and put her into a coma.
In a coma
As a result of the fall, Barbara was placed in an induced coma and it was unknown if she would ever wake up. When asked if he would accompany her on the way to the Arkham Asylum medical wing, Jim simply replied that he wouldn't and went back to the GCPD.
Barbara was still in a coma at the time when Jim and Lee had Nora Fries held in Arkham Asylum's medical wing as part of a plan to keep Victor Fries from getting to her. When Lee saw her, she grabbed Barbara's face and simply called her a "bitch" and went back to tending to Nora.
Barbara awakes from her coma.
Awakening from her coma
News of Jim Gordon being found guilty for the murder of Carl Pinkney was heard on the radio at Arkham Asylum's medical wing. This caused Barbara to awake from her coma as a nearby nurse discovers this and arranges for Hugo Strange to be informed.
Barbara was part of a group therapy that was overseen by Hugo Strange and Ethel Peabody. She expressed remorse for her actions stating that she was manipulated by the voices in her head and that her coma got her rested from them. Hugo Strange then releases Barbara from Arkham as he tells Ethel that he plans to study her. Barbara later found Gordon at his current place of residence. Barbara told Jim she was all better now, but Jim still didn't trust her. Barbara wanted to help Jim with his investigation of the Wayne murders, but he threw her out of his apartment. Barbara later shows up at the women's club when Jim attempted to interrogate "The Lady", who ran an assassination business. Barbara earned her trust and helped her capture Jim. She talked "The Lady" into revealing what Jim wanted to know about the Wayne murders by acting like she wanted to kill him and use this last piece of information to taunt him, and then helped free him. Jim asked why Barbara wanted to help him, and Barbara said he was the first thing she thought of when she awoke from her coma. She thought if she helped him, he would look at her the way he used to. Jim says this changed nothing and leaves Barbara heartbroken. Barbara later shows up on Butch Gilzean's and Tabitha's doorstep, and Tabitha takes her in.
After being creeped out by her strange behavior, Butch kicked her out of his mansion. Barbara was invited back to the mansion when Oswald Cobblepot returned to Gotham. Oswald wanted her help in figuring out where to position a lamp, made from the decomposing head of Grace Van Dahl. She later went to the GCPD to find out from Jim where Hugo Strange was hiding. She quickly realized that it wasn't Jim when he made inappropriate comments to her, and she slapped him, revealing him as an imposter to the GCPD. Barbara phoned Oswald from the GCPD to tell him what she found out.
Barbara and Tabitha continue to be in a romantic relationship and open "The Sirens," their own high-end nightclub. On the club's first night open, Barbara was visited by Penguin, who agreed that the club looked great. He then asked if Barbara had considered his offer of extra protection but, as Tabitha entered the conversation, she told him that they can take care of themselves. Penguin then made it clear that he still despised Tabitha for killing his mother and when Butch began to get nervous around her he told him to sit down. After Tabitha got ready to begin to curse at Oswald, Barbara just told him that they would think about it. He then told them that he wanted Fish Mooney delivered to him, alive or dead. Later, before the club is opened, a group of thugs entered and told Barbara that she built on their land and that the club belonged to them. When she told them to leave, one of them hit her across the face and she began to act like a vulnerable victim but slowly transitioned into a psychopath and began laughing uncontrollably. Tabitha then came up behind them and slit the throats of two of them and let Barbara beat down the third with his own gun. After this ordeal, they called Penguin and Butch and when they arrived Barbara revealed that Butch had sent them in hope that they would call him and he could impress Tabitha. Penguin then shot the thug in the head much to the delight of Barbara, and before he left, threatened Tabitha one more time.
Looking to find Selina Kyle, Jim entered The Sirens Club with Valerie Vale and Barbara was delighted to see him. She then showed off her new club and asked how Lee was doing and seemed happy to find out that they weren't together. Valerie then butted in and Barbara assumed that she was Jim's new girlfriend and when they both quickly deny it, she laughed. When asked where Selina might be, Barbara explained that her only price was a kiss, which he ultimately refused. She then gave in and gave them a location. However, before Jim left, Barbara described a disturbing dream that she had about him and he quickly left, clearly disturbed.
At The Sirens, Barbara and Tabitha managed to get Jervis Tetch as a performer. He hypnotized many of the club's guests and when they awoke they remembered none of it, which intrigued Barbara. During his second performance when hypnotizing a man, Barbara asked if he could make him do anything at all which caused him to ask if she had something in mind and then quickly finished his act. He then spoke to Barbara and Tabitha and when he was finished and told them about himself, adding that he could only make people do what they secretly wished for. A few days later, Jervis hosted another show in the club and used Barbara as a volunteer. Once under his spell, she was told that once he counted down from ten, she would find him irresistible. He does so and she immediately began to flirt with him. However, when he began to reject her it caused her to remember the pain she felt seeing Jim and Lee and grabbed a customer's glass, smashed it and held it to Jervis' neck. He was just saved as Tabitha ran up to the stage and he counted from ten again, snapping her out of it.
When looking for a now wanted Jervis Tetch, Jim entered the club and questioned Barbara on his location. She told him that she had seen him the night before at Jervis' show but he was so rude to have not said hello. When she began to tease him he grabbed her arm and asked for a favour which caused her to believe that he was in serious need of help and confessed that she had hired some muscle for Tetch which he stated he "needed for a performance". On Jim's way out, Barbara blew him a final kiss.
Barbara attends Penguin's meeting
Barbara attends Penguin's meeting.
After the Red Hood gang decapitated the statue of Penguin's late mother, he called a meeting with all the families, which Barbara attended. After one of the attendants complained about the subject of the meeting, Penguin smashed his face into the decapitated statue head, causing Barbara to laugh abruptly. He then ordered his men to find the Red Hoods and that he was hosting a victory party at The Sirens for being elected mayor. Barbara then stood up and told everyone in the meeting that they weren't invited. Later, at The Sirens, Tabitha complained to Barbara that they shouldn't be hosting Penguin's party as they weren't his number one fans. Barbara simply told her that it was good for the club and that it will get them on his good side. The two then opened a freezer in the kitchen of the club which was revealed to be the place they were hiding their informant on the Red Hoods, the Ballistic Bomber. Tabitha explained that he bought the same smoke grenades that the Red Hoods used on Penguin and the two waited for him to talk.
After this, when Butch, who was leading the Red Hoods the whole time, was explaining their plans for the night at The Sirens, Barbara and Tabitha busted in and Tabitha took one of the thugs hostage with her whip. Barbara then walked up to Butch and pulled a grenade, stating that they should talk alone. The two took Butch back to The Sirens and Barbara insisted that they hand him over to Penguin but Tabitha, who still had feelings for him, asked why he would turn on Penguin now. He explained that it was never his intention to harm Penguin but only to set up a problem and save him, to make himself look like a hero and gain Penguin's respect again. Barbara then left the choice to turn over Butch to Tabitha and left the two to talk.