|"A Splinter Where My Heart Should Be"|
|First Published:||May 15, 2013|
|Previous Issue:||Batgirl #19|
|Next Issue:||Batgirl #21|
"A Splinter Where My Heart Should Be"Edit
Nine years ago, Shauna Belzer had attended the birthday party of another girl from school, but her family's lack of money and popularity earned her the nickname Shabby Shauna, and she was dejected. When the party's entertainment - a ventriloquist - urged her to turn her frown upside-down, Shauna strengthened her resolve and set about doing that. After spotting some weed-killer nearby, she added it to the punchbowl. She returned home that day with the blood-stained ventriloquist's dummy under her arm.
This morning, Dr. Andrea Latemendi is surprised to have Barbara Gordon appear at her office without an appointment; apparently in crisis. She is in tears, and seems to have been drinking, though she doesn't drink. Through her tears, Barbara apologizes for the unscheduled visit, and at Dr. Latemendi's urging, she explains how she came to this state, as much as she can without revealing certain details.
Barbara Gordon was Batgirl, but after her actions led to the likely death of her own brother James, Jr. she knew she didn't deserve to be that anymore. She tore the bat-emblem from her chest, and went on patrol, looking for trouble. She stumbled upon the audition line for the reality program "Gotham's Got a Star," where Shauna Belzer was demonstrating her ventriloquism, which turned out to be riddled with blue comedy. She was rejected, and when one of the judges commented that he could see her lips moving, it sent her over the edge. Using the guise of a hug, to show there were no hard feelings, she brought the dummy close to him. Then, drills sprouted from the dummy's hands, ripping into the man's body, and killing him.
She dragged another of the judges out the front doors of the theatre as a hostage, with the dummy's hands around her neck. Mimicking the judge's voice, Shauna called all of the other auditions inside, but they sensed the danger and ran. From the rooftops, Barbara watched Shauna drag the judge into a parking garage - the same parking garage where she met Ricky; where he lost his leg.
Elsewhere in Cherry Hill that night, Ricky was attempting to tie his shoe, now that he had a new prosthetic leg made of titanium. His brother Rolo gave him a hand with his shoe, marvelling at how he could afford a titanium prosthesis. Ricky explained that the Wayne Foundation paid for it, and suggested that Batgirl might have been involved with that. Concerned, Rolo warned Ricky against spending time with the Batman's allies, when he was about to make a move on some open territory in Gotham. It wouldn't do him any good to have his brother associating with the Bat.
Meanwhile, Charise Carnes, uncharged murderer at large and owner of the Three Towers building complex, ordered her security to put a stop to the celebrity kidnapping in progress in her parking garage.
Batgirl confronted Shauna in the garage, but the dummy decided it wanted a redhead instead of the blonde celebrity they had captured - which meant the blonde was expendable. As it prepared to kill her, Barbara debated using her Batarang, given that the last time she had used one, she caused the death of her brother. Unable to waste any more time thinking about it, she tossed the weapon, only to watch it stop in mid-air inexplicably, before reversing direction, and hitting her in the head.
Barely comprehending what was happening, Batgirl watched as the dummy leapt up without any aid from Shauna, and attempted to run its drills through her eyes. With a surprising amount of necessary effort, Batgirl kicked the dummy aside, just as Carnes' security arrived. Unfortunately, Shauna threw her voice to make it sound as if the kidnapped judge was fingering Batgirl as her captor, and as the security guards attacked Barbara, Shauna and the dummy dragged their hostage away.
Dr. Latemendi stops Barbara's story, noting that her patient is being very vague about the details, and worrying about the number of times that Barbara has refused to open up to her. The mention of the word "number" sparks a realization in Barbara. Thanks to her eidetic memory, she can remember every license plate that she saw in the parking garage. If the kidnapper was headed for a car, she can find it, with a little help from the DMV records, courtesy of her father. Against the doctor's warnings, Barbara strides out of her office confidently.
Having already murdered her own parents, and left them sitting across from her at the table, sitting next to the kidnapped Ms. Xavia, Shauna and Ferdie - her dummy - determine that their act is dated. They will have to become a little more sensational. To that end, Shauna decides that they will kill Batgirl, despite Ferdie's affinity for her excellent rack.
Meanwhile, at the Gotham Aquarium, Commissioner Gordon heads the search for his son's body in bay below the catwalk he fell from. Uncomfortably, McKenna reports that the body is nowhere to be found, and suggests that he turn his attention elsewhere. As far as Jim is concerned, though, he already knows who is responsible for James' death: Batgirl. And she is going to pay.
"A Splinter Where My Heart Should Be"Edit
- The Ventriloquist (Shauna Belzer) (First Appearance)(Flashback and Main Story)
- Rainbow Rodney (In Flashback Only)
- Ferdie (Flashback and Main Story)
- Andrea Latemendi
- James Gordon, Jr. (In Flashback Only)
- Xavia (First Appearance)
- Mr. Quentin (Only appearance; dies)
- Ricky Gutierrez (Flashback and Main Story)
- Rolo Gutierrez
- Bleak Michael
- Charise Carnes
- James Gordon
- Harvey Bullock
- Melody McKenna
- Gotham City
- Gotham Suburbs (Flashback and Main Story)
- Cherry Hill
- Three Towers
- Gotham Aquarium
- Batarang (Flashback and Main Story)