It’s that time of the month again, Batgirl fans! And I’m back with another recap of a Batgirl issue that seemed really, really short while I was reading it but seems much longer now that I’m typing up this recap. (This is how it always happens.) Sorry we’re a day behind–now that I’ve got a Real Person Job, life sometimes gets in the way of my comic book reading, but never fear. I’m still recapping Batgirl, if sometimes in a less timely manner than before.
We open on a strange scene: a guy, presumably someone who does something with computers because he has a coffee mug that says “This Cup Runs Java,” is burning the midnight oil at the office. On his way back from getting himself some coffee, he hears the elevator ding and peeks out into the hallway–and sees a giant tiger getting off the elevator. Like any normal person would do in this situation, he makes a break for it. Unfortunately, he trips (they always trip), and the tiger is upon him in seconds. Cut to…
When we last saw Babs, her old roommate Alysia had just gotten engaged. Now we see her sitting with Alysia at Alysia’s desk, surrounded by notes and photos and invitation possibilities. They seem to have accomplished a lot, and Alysia is exhausted. When Babs starts to say something about one more thing left to do, Alysia laughs and asks if there’s any way Babs can tackle it with Alysia’s fiancee, Jo, while Alysia herself hits the hay. Babs expresses surprise that Jo is home–she hasn’t seen her. Alysia explains that Jo’s taken on extra work with the organization she and Alysia work for, since Alysia’s pulled back from some of her duties in order to organize their wedding. Before they can continue their conversation, Frankie calls.
She tells Babs about the tiger attack, and Babs begs Alysia to forgive her–she has to run. Frankie offers to go check it out instead, if Babs has to stay with Alysia; the attack happened at the new FoxTek office, run by none other than Luke Fox, Lucius’s son and also the superhero Batwing. But Babs won’t hear of it–she’s not comfortable putting Frankie in harm’s way, so she knows she has to go check it out.
As she’s heading out, Jo stumbles forth from her bedroom, looking rumpled and sleepy. Babs tells her that she and Alysia created a doc of wedding planning stuff, and Jo tells her thanks. She also asks her to come back soon–Alysia misses her. We get a shot of Babs’s guilty face as she leaves.
Over at FoxTek, Batgirl has a chat with Luke Fox about what happened. He takes her to the crime scene and tells her not to get too close. While animal control took the tiger and the coroner took the body (“Or…what was left of it…”), the scene is still “pretty gnarly.” Luke also says (in a lighter, gray text that means he is speaking in an undertone) that while he appreciates Babs coming down to check things out, he can also handle things himself. Babs says that she knows that, but she was under the impression that FoxTek was supposed to be a way for Luke to get away from the Batwing lifestyle for a little while.
Batgirl plugs her phone into the security console by the elevator to find out who could have given the tiger access to the building. “A random tiger attack doesn’t just happen,” she says. (Not to mention I don’t think they happen inside of a locked building, but you know.) While she waits for her algorithm to do its thing, she asks about the victim. Luke tells her he was a new hire with a brilliant resume, just the sort of person he’d been looking for to help get FoxTek up and running. “…How could I let this happen?” he asks, more to himself. Batgirl says this isn’t his fault, but Luke contradicts her: “This is my company, my responsibility.” Batgirl promises they’ll find out who’s behind it and what’s been going on. She grabs his hand in a show of support–and we see Qadir poking his head around the corner. He quickly ducks back and eavesdrops, unseen, as Batgirl says, “You’re a good man, Luke Fox. And you’ve got a big heart. I’ve always liked that about you.”
The phone beeps–the algorithm on her phone should be able to tell them who accessed the security data to let them in. But when Batgirl looks at her phone, she exclaims in surprise, then shows Luke, who asks what’s up. Her algorithm is telling her that it was Qadir who let the tiger into the building. Qadir, startled so badly he’s forgotten he’s eavesdropping, leaps into the hall with a startled, “WHAT?!” (He is, I might add, sporting some very nicely rolled/pushed-up shirtsleeves on that hoodie of his. Go Qadir. Two thumbs way up.) Luke asks what he’s still doing there–he sent everyone home back of the attack. Qadir dodges the question and addresses Batgirl instead, saying that she has to know, at least, that he didn’t do it. (Batgirl looks on, puzzled, and asks, “…Were you listening to us?”) Luke tells Qadir that he should take the week off, and Qadir looks between Luke and Batgirl, unable to believe that he’s been suspended. When he looks to Batgirl for help, she gently tells him to stay home until they’ve gotten it all sorted.
In the parking garage, Batgirl is pulling something out of the ceiling while Qadir continues to plead his case. Batgirl points out that it doesn’t look good for him–it wasn’t a simple matter of a hacked password. The security system had to be accessed with retina scans and voice pattern recognition. She admits that it’s possible someone could have copied those things if they’d been close enough to him, but Qadir says that he’s been busy relocating from the college to FoxTek; he hasn’t had time to be in contact with anyone except Nadimah and Jeremy, with whom he had lunch, and the people he’s encountered in staff meetings. He’s also spent a bit of time with Luke while his new employer briefs him on his new duties, but Luke is the least likely suspect, here. He also awkwardly mentions that Batgirl and Luke seemed friendly and asks how they know each other.
“Just professional,” Batgirl replies, and reveals her ceiling-gotten burden to be a pop-up motorcycle. Those Foxes, I’ll tell you. I’ve got to get me one of those for a friend. She asks him again if he’s seen anyone or anything suspicious. When he says no, she tells him to lay low for a while and let her figure it out. Then she’s off into the night, to investigate some more.
We next meet up with Babs while she’s walking down the hall with Nadimah, who is assuring her that there is no way her brother would have let a tiger into FoxTek to attack another employee. Babs assures her that it has to be a mix-up–everything will get sorted out. “I hope so. Qadir wouldn’t last two days in jail,” Nadimah replies. “That boy is so weak.” She also apologizes to Babs for being behind on her research, but she’s had a lot on her mind with everything happening with her brother, and she promises to catch up once he’s cleared. While they’re walking, they literally run into Jeremy, to snaps at them and then grumbles that he has to go when he realizes it’s Babs and Nadimah. Babs tries to call after him to wait, but Nadimah tells her not to bother–apparently Jeremy’s ex-girlfriend is in town; he took her to dinner the other night and things did not go well.
They step into the lounge, where the television is tuned to the news. There is another report of a tiger attack, this one of a Vitasoft employee. The news goes on to report that all of Gotham’s zoo animals are accounted for, so there is no telling where the tigers are coming from.
Babs heads over to Vitasoft in her Batgirl gear, only to find Frankie in the lobby. When she confronts her friend about it (“You’re gonna get yourself killed.”), Frankie tells her that she’s only at Vitasoft before she was dropping off her resume in case they were–y’know–hiring? While Batgirl looks at her skeptically, Frankie continues–she may have accidentally hacked the Vitasoft systems and discovered that the breach this time also came from a former Burnside college student. Frankie says she might have an idea what the connection means, but she isn’t sure; she begins to say that she’ll follow up on it, but Batgirl vetoes the idea and tells her absolutely not. She tells Frankie that she isn’t a superhero and that she’s going to get hurt. Frankie starts to fire back with an argument of her own, but Babs notices the time and has to run–she’s late for wedding dress shopping with Alysia.
At the dress fitting, Alysia is trying on a dress she thinks might be the one when Babs gets some information on her phone about a girl who works at Baetech. She has to run off again, but she tells Alysia to text her pictures and promises to help her pick. Alysia is understanding–she says she’s happy that Babs could make it at all, since she’s been so busy lately. Babs clearly feels bad, even as she rushes off to perform her superhero duties.
Open on the Baetech office, where a girl with killer earrings and a haircut eerily similar to my best friend’s is working away late into the night. She hears a noise and looks up–only to see a tiger peeking over the wall of her cubicle. She makes a break for it, and the tiger dashes after her. But before it can get to her, Batgirl tackles it aside. She chases it around the office, and it corners the Baetech employee under a desk. Batgirl distracts the tiger so it chases after her–which may not have been the best idea in hindsight. At last, she manages to trap it in another room of the office and uses her cell phone to scan the tracking tag in its ear. The tag is active, but unregistered. Someone’s trying to keep the tiger hidden for sure.
Back at the apartment, Frankie is cleaning a scratch Babs sustained in the tiger fight. She tells Babs that she figured out how Qadir and the other former Burnside students are connected–Jeremy. He’s the only one who’s recently been in contact with all of them. Babs shoots it down, angry. She’s run the algorithm–the only thing they have in common is working for tech firms. This has nothing to do with Jeremy. Her first priority has to be tracking down where the tigers are coming from. As she stalks out, jacket in hand, Frankie decides to take matters into her own hands–someone has to follow up on the Jeremy lead, even if it is upsetting. Babs says goodnight, and Frankie eyes the cowl Babs left sitting on the kitchen table.
In the next scene, we see Frankie has donned the cowl and some pretty awesome black leather to pay Qadir a visit. She tells him that she works with Batgirl and that she was on the inside doing tech stuff during the Hooq AI incident. She tells Qadir she knows he was the one who gave Batgirl the frequency to destroy the drones. After making sure he knows she knows he isn’t responsible for what happened at FoxTek, she tells him she needs his electronics expertise. Batgirl is going up against the people responsible for letting the tigers out, but she’s going to need help–his help. Qadir is stoked, of course, and agrees.
We’re next treated to a series of panels captioned by text messages from Alysia’s fiancee, Jo. She’s texting Alysia, telling her that she’s sorry she didn’t tell her earlier, but things have gotten beyond her control. Their group–the activist group Alysia and Jo are both part of, but which Alysia has stepped back from to plan the wedding–intercepted an illegal shipment of tigers in an attempt to rescue them. They tried to place the tigers with the proper authorities, but they were completely stonewalled. They didn’t hear from anyone, and so the tigers are their problem indefinitely. (During this exchange, we see Jo pulling up to some kind of storage facility. She opens the back of a large truck and backs it right up to the door of the storage container. Then she enters, uncovers the tiger cages, and lets the tigers out. She tosses some meat on the floor so that they can eat.)
Jo now thinks, she explains, that they were being set up, being prepped to take the fall for these tiger attacks occurring around town. She can’t let that happen. And, what’s more, she can’t let the tigers keep living like this–attacking innocent people, being used as someone else’s weapon. It isn’t right, but she’s going to make it right. She stands inside the back of the truck she backed up to the door and waves some meat to get the tigers’ attention so they’ll follow her inside.
“No one deserves to live this way,” she says.
There is an answering, “Oh, no?” from behind her, and we see a pair of eyes and claws reaching for her shoulders. The final page shows a woman with flaming red hair and a dress striped like a tiger’s coat holding Jo by the throat. “Someone once said,” this mysterious woman says, “‘Better to live one day as a tiger, than a hundred as a sheep!'”
We’re left with NEXT: THE VELVET TIGER! at the bottom of the page.
Well. I don’t know about you, but I’m wondering if this doesn’t have something to do with Jeremy’s fishy ex… Hm. I guess we’ll just have to wait until next month to find out! (Also hoping we get to see which wedding dress Alysia picked! That is, provided Jo survives being semi-strangled by a woman in a tiger dress. Technicality.)