After a tense mother/daughter conversation and a run-in with an ex-millionaire and his sons, Babs get a huge Batfamily surprise.
Having stepped out of the loop for a time, I’m back in the thick of things with Batgirl and man, have things ever gotten weird. As if issue four didn’t throw us for a loop with the reappearance of Barbara’s estranged mother, issue #5 chucks another wrench into the works. This one opened up with a wonderful analogy about ghosts, referencing issue 4 and mommy dearest and then Batgirl is faced with a former Falcone family ally and his three sons. They appear on a side street carjacking some innocents and waving automatic weapons about. Their dialogue is clearly altered; they seem obsessed with the number 338. In an odd twist of events, the father ends up shooting his sons and hurling himself off a bridge, though Babs catches him at the last second. To make matters worse, a woman who declares herself as Gretel (which is in reference to the title of the issue and candy?) engages Batgirl and she is strong; almost inhumanly so. It would appear she had an ulterior motive and then, as suddenly as Mr. Whittaker went nutso, Gretel became dazed – as if programmed – and sauntered off, leaving Babs totally confused.
Flash back four hours and Barbara’s meeting with her mother, which I found nothing short of suspicious. There was brief chit-chat about the past; her mother heard about her accident but never came to see her. The seething anger and sense of abandonment is palatable between them. In a moment of weakness her mother, on the verge of tears, admits that she had to leave Gotham all those years ago but she cannot tell her the reason, which is our cue to suspect she’s up to no good.
The climax of this issue lies in the urban renewal project that Wayne’s got going on downtown. When Barbara sees the news and things start coming together – the address on the building being torn down is 338! – she hurries to the scene. Assuming that Bruce is in danger, she follows his car, only to be waylaid by not only Gretel again but Bruce’s driver, who is also repeating 338 and turning on Wayne. In a crazy twist, it would appear they’re all in on it – by either brainwashing or some kind of of microchip programming? (I don’t know; we’ve seen it before.) Either way, we’re in for some serious heaviness in issue 6 and I cannot wait.
I really appreciated the storytelling in this issue and Simone continues to impress me with not only her grasp on the characters but their depth. I have to admit: I was confused by a lot of the twists and turns this issue took. And you know what? I love that. Don’t make it so transparent; leave me wondering. Leave me guessing so that next month, I can’t wait to get my hot little hands on this book.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Complex story and characters||Seriously, none. Though Bruce looked… different.|
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