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Batgirl (Volume 4) Issue 22

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"A Day in the Life of Endless Velocity"
Batgirl Vol 4-22 Cover-1
General Information
Series: Batgirl
Issue Number: 22
First Published: July 10, 2013
Previous Issue: Batgirl #21
Next Issue: Batgirl #23


SynopsisEdit

"A Day in the Life of Endless Velocity"Edit

Having just realized that she forgot about a date she set up with Ricky - on a night when she had decided to do some perilous baking - Barbara Gordon does her best to prevent him from seeing her in her comfortable clothes, covered in flower and sugar. All of this is hugely amusing to her roommate Alysia, who helpfully selects something appropriate for Barbara to wear instead.

Despite his brief stint as a car thief - a choice that cost him his leg - Ricky has planned an evening of culture for them; seeing an opera at a community college and reservations at a French restaurant later. Barbara wonders what he would normally do on a date, and he admits that what he would love to be doing is dancing - if only he still could. Taking him aside, Barbara promises that he will dance again, someday. She knows from experience that recovery is possible.

Suddenly, Barbara finds herself with a knife to her throat, held by a thug named Tyrell, who seems to know Ricky by the name "Killa Anon". Barbara recognizes these thugs. They are part of a gang called the Sixty-Eight Kings, who push most of the hard drugs in Cherry Hill. Apparently, Tyrell is hoping to send a message to Ricky's brother Rolo, to keep him from trying to expand his territory into theirs, and that message involves cutting out one of Barbara's eyes. Knowing he's serious, Barbara knows she has to act. Surprisingly, though, Ricky makes the first move, headbutting the man holding him captive. She takes the opportunity to get Tyrell out of Ricky's line of sight, and give him a beating. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the other thugs pull a gun on Ricky and Barbara has to come to his rescue. The sight of a firearm actually pleases her, because she feels it gives her license to be less gentle with them. She breaks the gunman's leg, and his wrist, and then disarms him, warning he and his friends to leave. After all, she is on a date.

Barbara claims that her throw-down capabilities are a symptom of having grown up a cop's daughter, but Ricky is still impressed. Smirking, she wonders if he really wants to go to the opera, and he admits that he would rather do something else.

That something happens to be going home to meet Ricky's family. Barbara is glad to see how much Rolo seems to love his brother, but that worries her all the same, given the criminal activities he's got himself involved in. In fact, Barbara feels ashamed that she feels jealous of Ricky's loving family, for just a moment, knowing that she will never have that kind of family again. After a delicious meal prepared by Ricky's mother, he takes her out to a dance club, and Barbara feels anxious, because all of her dance training was in ballet. Even so, after two hours at the club, she begins to realize that his is the most fun she's had in years. Finally, they return to Barbara's apartment, and on her doorstep, Barbara reminds Ricky that her father is the Police Commissioner, and adds that they can't be together if he is involved in the same kind of thing that Rolo is. Ricky promises that he is not, and Barbara plants a kiss on his lips. Naturally, as soon as Barbara walks through the door, Alysia wants to know everything.

Barbara hardly gets any sleep before her father calls to ask her to lunch. Upon seeing him, she can tell that recent events have been hard on him. His appearance is somewhat dishevelled, and Barbara cringes, knowing that it was her actions that led to his state. Uncharacteristically, Jim suggests that they try out the pistol range - for fun. Since she was shot, Jim had always been sensitive about letting Barbara see his side-arm.

In the privacy of the pistol range, Barbara announces that she has decided to do some crisis counselling for kids, putting her degree to work. Jim seems less excited than she would expect, given that she has been out of work for a year, and urges her to put on her safety gear and putting a gun in her hands. As he instructs her how to properly aim, Barbara suspects that he has some ulterior motive for doing this, but intends to see it through, for his sake. Even so, she begins to panic, reeling at the thought of using the weapon that had crippled her - even in the safety of a practice range. Preying on that, Jim suggests that she envision that the paper target is someone awful; someone who wants to hurt her. With pressure mounting, Barbara squeezes off three rounds, and all of them are headshots.

Uncomfortable, Barbara begs not to continue with the activity, and Jim responds that Gotham City has taken everything he loves. His wife and his son are gone, and he nearly lost her once already. After having spent the morning going over funeral arrangements for James, Jr., he needed to know that she could protect herself, because she is all he has left. Tears welling in her eyes, Barbara wraps her arms around him, promising that he will never lose her. Inwardly, he is relieved that he doesn't suspect her in James' death, but she knows he blames Batgirl. If he sees her again, it will remind him of what he lost, and Barbara realizes that she can't keep putting him through that. Batgirl must die.

That night, Jim puts on the Bat-Signal. Batman offers his condolences for James, Jr., but Jim doubts his sincerity. After all, James was a murderer. Batman responds that the grief of losing a son can break a man. Fathers are not meant to out-live their sons. Jim pushes aside the philosophical discussion, explaining that he called Batman there to ask him for help in bringing down Batgirl. Batman is reluctant, and Jim becomes angry, having suspected that his old friend would protect his own. So, instead, he asks that Batman stay out of his way, because he will find Batgirl.

Before letting Batman leave, Jim suddenly turns and punches him across the jaw, claiming it was punishment for allowing a bright young girl to waste her potential on vigilantism. Her life and freedom will be wasted because Batman didn't tell her no. Before leaving, Batman warns Jim that he is walking a fine line between justice and revenge, and he should be careful not to let one overpower the other - for everyone's sake. Sighing, Jim shuts off the Bat-Signal.

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