"A Courtship of Razors"Edit
Barbara Gordon's mother was attacked by three men while they were on the phone together, and now she doesn't know what to do. Calming herself a bit, she decides to call her father, Jim, knowing that he can have the police there faster than she could get there. Her mother has only just come back into her life, and now she could lose her again. If she has anything to say about it, Barbara won't let that happen.
The phone rings, and Barbara hopes that it will be her mother on the other end, but the voice she hears is distorted. The voice explains that the three men who attacked her mother were very bad, and reminds Barbara of how she had answered the door to three bad men years ago; how she had been shot by the Joker. Barbara is sure that the voice on the other end must be the Joker. He tells her to alert no one, and then, to make a sandwich for herself - or he will kill her mother. Obediently, Barbara makes the sandwich and a glass of milk, all to calm herself, apparently. He then gives her permission to put on her work clothes, because the same men are coming for her too. She barely has time to register the fact that the Joker knows her identity, before the men break down her door.
In an instant, Barbara is sent back to that feeling of helplessly writhing on the floor in pain, of the surgery and then the long recovery. However, that is not the case now. Barbara has recovered; bounced back, even. With cat-like speed and precision, Barbara leaps up and savagely beats the three thugs down, avoiding their gunshots and clumsy swipes at her. She realizes that the life she thought she was going to lead has come to an end, and she is surprised at how good it feels to be relentless and merciless in beating men who would choose to work for the Joker. She takes one of their guns and puts it to his head, demanding to know where her mother has been taken. He knows nothing, but he is sure that Barbara will pull the trigger, and when her phone rings, he remains cowering in the corner.
The voice on the phone congratulates her, and welcomes any attempt to come and find him, calling her Batgirl outright, and confirming what she had worried before. Barbara is surprised by a second voice in her home, and turns with the gun raised, only to find her room mate Alysia horrified by the gun and the three thugs who are lying unconscious on the floor. Sadly, Barbara hugs her friend, and apologizes for keeping secrets, warning Alysia to go to the police precinct, and to take nothing but the cat. They will not see each other again. As Barbara leaves, Alysia calls out through her tears that she should let her help.
As Batgirl, Barbara follow's the voice's directions by phone to the Cherry Hill Skate Rink. Inside, the Joker taunts Barabara, Sr., warning her to be a little more cheerful, as she's putting a damper on his evening. Barbara sees the guards out front, and when she asks why her mother was taken, the voice responds that she would never understand the answer. She swings down, and takes out the guards quickly.
When she enters the rink, the Joker greets her happily, stating that he hoped that he could get her to show up, if he did enough canvassing in her area. He begins explaining how it was the Romans who began the custom of the ring-finger. According to them, there was a vein going from that particular finger straight to the heart; the vena amoris. As Barbara looks into his eyes, she knows she could kill him. She warns him not to use words he doesn't understand, like "love," and he claims that it was because of love that he hoped she would come.
At this, Barbara is confused. If he had only hoped she would come, then why had he given her directions by phone? Amused, the Joker suggests that someone has deceived her. He hasn't used a phone in months. The voice on the phone explains that he couldn't very well allow the Joker to harm their mother. Barbara realizes with horror that her own brother set her up to face the Joker alone.
Grinning, the Joker warns that there is a five-pound nail bomb under the chair to which he has tied Mrs. Gordon - and it appears that he does not know that she is Barbara's mother. Batgirl knows he would set that bomb off if provoked, and coldly asks what he wants. He responds that people like her weigh the Batman down. By drowning him with empathy and compassion, he fails to be the best he can be.
He has a plan to remedy, this, however. And it is a plan that is loving and tender - like her. He produces a rag from his tool-belt, and gets down on one knee. Unfolding the rag, he reveals Barbara's mother's severed finger, with the gleaming engagement ring encircling it, and asks Batgirl to marry him.
"A Courtship of Razors"Edit
- Gotham City
- Cherry Hill Skate Rink