"The Blood That Moves Us"Edit
The slums of Gotham City have been struck by arson. Someone has convinced the homeless to burn down six derelict buildings in a short time. The fact that these people have been coerced into hurting their own is infuriating for Batgirl. When she catches a group of them in the act of setting fire to a building, she becomes distracted by the sound of a baby's cries and finally urges the men she was beating up to get out of the burning building so that she can save the baby. Carefully, she seeks out the woman and child who are trapped in the building, and helps them to safety. This act is witnessed by Catwoman, who is unimpressed by Batgirl's show of selflessness.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Jim Gordon makes a surprise visit to Harrowood State Penitentiary, where Sergent Reeves is a little annoyed at the short notice. Gordon has come to see a particular inmate: the Talon of the Court of Owls who had released several balloon-bombs in Gotham on the Night of the Owls. Gordon is disgusted by Reeves' remarks about the prisoner, warning that while he is not under the commissioner's employ, it would not be good to make him angry.
While the other Talons were kept in cryo-stasis at Blackgate Penitentiary, this particular one was kept lucid in the hopes that she could give more information about the Court of Owls. Reeves shows Gordon to her cell, and the commissioner calls out to her. The girl does not respond, but Gordon continues that he knows a little about her past. At a young age, she was disfigured by a bomb attached to a balloon; a subtle attack by Hirohito's Japan during World War II. Like the other Talons, she was recruited from Haly's Circus. Gordon explains that he wants to stop the Court from hurting innocent people - innocent people like her. He has brought her a box of crayons with which to draw or write any information that she can for him. Unfortunately, the girl remains silent, and sadly, Gordon decides that perhaps it would be best if she joined her companions at Blackgate in the morning.
After the Commissioner leaves, Reeves angrily chastises the girl for making him look a fool in front of Gotham's top cop, taking away her food tray for the evening as punishment. When he leaves, the girl cautiously approaches the box of crayons, and looks on them in wonder. She hears a voice from behind her, and is startled to see Catwoman standing behind her with the keys to her cell. She has been hired to free the Talon.
Later, Batgirl checks in with Ricky, the would-be car thief she saved from Knightfall, though he lost a leg in the course of events. Ricky is nervous because his brother is still involved in crime, and he wouldn't take well to seeing him hanging out with one of the Bats. Batgirl gets to business, asking for information on the arson cases, and who pressed the homeless to commit them. Aloud, Ricky claims that he doesn't have anything to tell her, but as he says so, he takes a piece of chalk, and scrawls the word "OWLS" on the side of a dumpster. Seeing that, Batgirl realizes that this case has deeper roots than she'd like to dig up.
Ricky's brother appears behind them, and reacts with outrage to the sight of his brother with Batgirl, as predicted. In the hopes of sparing Ricky any trouble, Batgirl kisses him on the lips, and behaves as though they're having an affair. Ricky's brother is impressed, and Batgirl leaves Ricky to bask in the glory of that moment.
At the prison, the former Talon refuses to leave without her crayons, but the pause affords Reeves the time to catch them before they can escape. Within seconds, the girl is upon him, tearing at his face with her finger nails. Catwoman is surprised by her speed and brutality, but she steps in when it seems like she is going to kill her prey. She drags the girl away and reminds her that the other guards will soon be on their way, and that she is the only one who can help her out of prison, to see her family again. At this, the girl drops the nightstick she had planned to bash Reeves' face in with, and Catwoman begins stealing his uniform.
Reluctantly, Batgirl returns to the slums and offers the homeless people there money in exchange for information on who pushed them to burn down the buildings. Unfortunately, they are more afraid of whoever that is than her. Angrily, one man calls out to her to leave them alone, and confides that he knows who she's looking for.
Having disguised themselves as guards, Catwoman and the former Talon sneak off to a waiting car, and ditch the uniforms. Catwoman suggests that they go find the escapee's family again, and the girl reaches into her box of crayons and writes "FamiLy Ded." Sadly, Catwoman realizes that this person is alone and friendless. Having felt that way herself, she assures the girl that they are now friends.
The man whom Batgirl was tipped off to has invested in a number of rooftop motion detectors in order to prevent unexpected drop-ins by the Bat-Family. This is a strong indicator that he is indeed a member of the Court of Owls, and scaring homeless people into committing arson for him. His name is Parsons.
Batgirl watches as Catwoman and the Talon she rescued - now garbed in her official uniform - arrive at Parsons' place, and he welcomes them. Catwoman reveals to him that she knows who he works for and that he is responsible for the arson. Intrigued by her curiosity, he indulges her by revealing that the buildings are intended to be bought up, demolished, and rebuilt for Bruce Wayne's plan to revitalize Gotham. As an enemy of the Court, they have decided to put an end to his plans by framing him for the arson cases, tying him to murders and racketeering. If the Court burns down a hundred occupied buildings, that frame-up will be easier to believe for Gothamites.
Catwoman is disgusted with the plan, and refuses to be party to it any longer. Nonchalantly, Parsons commands his Talon to kill the cat-burglar. Rather than let the fight continue, Batgirl smashes through the window and joins Catwoman, convinced of her trustworthiness by her convictions. Unfortunately, Parsons has more Talons at his command.
The fight is brutal, and the Talons are strong - stronger than Batgirl and Catwoman together. Banking on something she sensed in her first encounter with that female Talon, Batgirl calls out that she knows what happened to her and her family during the war. She explains that Parsons intends to do exactly the same thing that was done to them. Hundreds of innocents will burn like her family did.
Realizing the truth of Batgirl's words, the Talon turns on her comrades, and the three women manage to defeat the assassins together. Parsons, though, pulls a gun on the reformed Talon, warning that his bullets contain liquid nitrogen - a guaranteed end to her life. He is interrupted, however, by a phone call. He answers it, and his superiors warn that he has become a liability. Accepting that he is no longer of value to the Court, he turns the gun on himself, and blows his own brains out. At that, the remaining, loyal Talons simply get up and leave, as if he never existed.
With the police gathering outside, Batgirl and Catwoman debate what to do with their new ally - still a criminal and a killer by some standards. Catwoman insists that she will care for the girl. Batgirl warns that it couldn't possibly be as simple as taking her in. Resigned, Catwoman resolves to give her a fighting chance anyway, by facing the police alone. She makes Batgirl agree to get the Talon to safety in exchange for her sacrifice.
Catwoman steps outside to face the police, and Batgirl leads the Talon away, finally learning that her name is Mary.
"The Blood That Moves Us"Edit
- James Gordon
- Sgt. Reeves
- Talon (Mary Turner) (Flashback and Main Story)
- Rolo (First Appearance)
- Mr. Parsons (Flashback and Main Story)(Dies in this issue)