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By: Ginger De Los Rios

 

338, 338, 338­­- what are those ominous numbers? A mysterious villainess with multi-hued hair named Gretel seems to be behind it all. It’s up to Batgirl to use her skills to find out how. But first she must resort to her fighting and athletic skills as Gretel matches her punch for punch and kick for kick in the action packed opening pages. Meanwhile, a reputed Mobster makes a triple hit on his own sons while saying 338 and Batgirl is helpless to stop it.

This month’s issue jumps around in time; we are left hanging with what happened between Barbara and her long-lost mother until the middle­-4 hours before her standoff with Gretel and the mob boss on the Gotham Bridge. It was a chilly reception indeed, and apparently Mrs. Gordon merely ‘heard about’ her accident. So much for motherly love.

Barbara barely makes conversation at the coffee shop and all Mrs. Gordon offers is that she ‘had to go’ and thought of her every day. Barbara rudely dismisses her and tells her to make sure she calls before she comes back to see her, if ever. It’s all very mysterious why mom is suddenly in the picture. It also makes me wonder if she was actually the benefactor who helped Barbara to heal from her injuries. Barbara had received a neural implant surgery and that could not have been cheap. If the writers really want to be unoriginal they will say that she was on a secret CIA spy mission and couldn’t reveal herself.

Commissioner Gordon calls Detective McKenna. She is still on the hunt for Batgirl and is pumping iron as she still pours over clippings and websites for any connections. She seriously wants her revenge on Batgirl. The Commissioner wants her back to work, because Batgirl is proving to be a dangerous vigilante. That was an unexpected twist; I was so sure he knew her secret.

While at home Barbara discovers a big clue about the numbers on the news. It turns out to be an address of a 150 year old building that Wayne Enterprises wants to tear down in order to redevelop the crime ridden neighborhood. There is a public outcry against him. Bruce is hijacked in his limo and his trusted driver, Tommy, keeps saying the number 338 with murderous intent. Tommy crashes the car and orders him out. Batgirl intervenes just in time and beats Tommy down. Gretel shows up (This time with Pink hair) and on the last page Bruce Wayne is all but foaming at the mouth reciting 338, and ready to beat Batgirl with a crowbar. Now that’s a cliffhanger.

I personally don’t believe that Bruce succumbed. He is Batman, the greatest detective mind in the world and he trained himself to withstand any and all hostile mental take-overs, drugs, hallucinogens, etc. I think it’s all part of the act. But that remains to be seen.

Despite the intrigue behind these numbers, and a Bruce Wayne guest spot, this issue didn’t capture my interest as much as I thought it would. Batgirl may be back in action, but she’s like a bad penny, right up there with Jessica Fletcher on ‘Murder, she wrote.’ Wherever these ladies go, people get killed. In Batgirl’s case-multiple people. Pretty soon the whole Gotham Police force will be out to get her. I can only imagine Commissioner Gordon’s face-palm reaction when he realizes he’s after his daughter. As if the flaming red hair wasn’t enough of a clue. But that’s what I call the ‘Clark Kent’ syndrome. The world is fooled by a pair of glasses.

Overall Grade: 7/10

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