"A View From Below"
Batgirl sneaks into the apartment of Dinah Lance and wakes her old friend, demanding to spar - immediately. They head to Black Canary's secret dojo in Gotham City, where Dinah is unimpressed with Barbara's fighting skills. Though she has the moves, Dinah feels like Barbara is holding back. Barbara knows it, too. Over the last few weeks, she has been on the receiving end of more beatdowns than she ought to have been.
Barbara tries to step up her game, and Dinah decides to take the fight more seriously, too. She flips Barbara onto her back, and from her place on the floor looking up, Barbara remembers how she had be lain on the floor after being shot through the spine by the Joker. While her body may have healed, her mind has not. The two women decide to stop sparring for some tea, and Barbara explains that some of her agitation has been caused by the fact that her mother, Barbara Eileen has come back to Gotham, and her father doesn't know yet. She wonders what will happen, as it seems like Jim Gordon never stopped loving his wife, even though she left.
Meanwhile, at Gotham City Police Headquarters, Jim Gordon is interrupted by Det. Mel McKenna with a visitor. Jim is surprised to see his estranged wife, whom he has not seen in nine years. After McKenna excuses herself, Jim explains that he had Barbara Eileen traced, since she left with nothing but a note. He demands to know how she could do it - abandon her children and her husband. She claims that she had to leave for their son, James, Jr.'s sake.
Barbara further explains to Dinah that there's more than just her family issues holding her back. She doesn't feel like herself. Dinah reassures her that she has regained almost all of her strength, and her photographic memory has kept her moves firm in her mind. It's just her muscle memory that's gone, and six months of training isn't enough to bring it back. Barbara admits that her friend is right, but can't help but feel guilty for her recovery. Firmly, Dinah slaps Barbara across the face, reminding her that not everyone - herself included - gets a chance to reunite and reconcile with their mothers. Meanwhile, it is foolish to complain that she can walk again. The Barbara Gordon that Dinah used to know - as Oracle - would never have lapsed into maudlin self-hatred.
Dinah offers a lead for the real Batgirl to look into. A creep called Grotesque will be making a move at Gotham's prestigious Cartier's One Club. Batgirl gathers herself and follows the lead. She determines that the fact that the guards are armed with Uzis is reason enough to assume that something's going down at the birthday celebration for billionaire Theodore Aiklin.
Inside, Grotesque and his men have Aiklin at gunpoint, and the criminal is demanding the 1846 Château Latisse - a very valuable wine, worth nearly half a million dollars - of which Aiklin was planning to take just one glass in celebration of his 60th birthday. When Aiklin refuses to give up the wine, Grotesque abruptly kills him. Too late to stop anyone from being hurt, Batgirl leaps into action.
Fortunately, Grotesque's men are not as well trained as Black Canary, and Batgirl has little trouble in making them flee. Unexpectedly, though, Grotesque seems to have some kind of ability that allows him to absorb the energy from electronics around him, and he uses it to escape into the sewers before Barbara can catch him.
After trudging through the filthy water, Batgirl catches up to Grotesque, but he is stronger than she expected, and begins attempting to drown her. His grip is like iron, and as a last-ditch effort, she fires her grapple into his face, knocking his mask off. Somehow, as she recovers from her submersion, the unmasked Grotesque manages to disappear. She chases his voice through the underground tunnels, but eventually her condition catches up with her, and she has to stop and vomit.
Retracing her steps, Barbara finds the bodies of Grotesque's lackeys, and unmasks them, hoping to see if she can recognize either of them from the mug shots that she's memorized. The first one is a no-go, but the second - it's someone from her past. The second thug was there when the Joker shot her.
"A View From Below"
- Black Canary
- James Gordon
- Barbara Eileen Gordon
- Grotesque (First Appearance)
- Danny Weaver
- The Joker (Flashback Only)
- Melody McKenna
- Theodore Aiklin