sins of the father

In the middle of the Gotham night, a young boy is being hotly pursued by an elderly police officer who demands the lad returns his donuts. Over fences and through the dingy alleys they go, until finally they reach a dead end. With a keen mind and a display of acrobatics, the youth vaults himself onto a fire escape; however, the window to the apartment is firmly sealed, to the officer's glee. Yet, the little one has one more trick up his sleeve: a Baterang! He wields it with a marksmanship that displays it isn't the first time he's thrown one of them before, and manages to get the cop all wrapped up in somebody's clothes line, allowing him to make his getaway. SSomewhere across town, thugs Manny and Mo are banging on an apartment door demanding 'Drake' to come out and go talk to 'the boss'. When no one answers, they pull out their guns and kick down the door. The place is an absolute mess, and to their surprise – and disbelief – there is a small collection of Batman stories and pictures affixed to the wall in a sort of collage. Just then, the window opens and in creeps the same boy who was being chased by the police. One of the thugs grabs him by the scruff of his neck and inquires where his father is. The resourceful and feisty boy makes his escape using the donuts and some ingenuity with a banister and a floor mat. The guys open fire, unloading no fewer than ten rounds, but all without so much as nicking the boy. Just when it appears that he'll be home free yet again, he runs right into the perpetually coin-flipping Two-Face.
They take the kid to the docks in order to get some privacy for their interrogation. After a few moments, it becomes clear that they won't get any direct answers from the child, so Two-Face orders a search of his possessions. One of the thugs finds a letter to 'Timmy' saying that he has to leave town. Enclosed with the letter is a key. Two-Face must recognize it because he immediately puts it in his jacket pocket and walks away. As he's departing, one of his men asks what they should do with Tim, to which – naturally – he flips his coin: kill him! Before that can happen, a pair of Baterangs whiz through the air knocking the guns from their hands. Enter Batman. A fight ensues! The quick-thinking Tim manages to free himself from his bondage, but not in time to help Batman, who gets bashed with a crane's massive hook, sent his way by Two-Face. He ends up crashing into a stack of barrels filled with ominous red liquid; it's at that moment the two men recover their guns and open fire, resulting in first a fire, and then a series of explosions. Batman, obviously hurting with one arm cradling his abdomen, uses his other arm to scoop up Tim and lunge into the water below, just before an even bigger explosion. Down below in the water, Tim assists the caped crusader, who seems teetering on the edge of consciousness. Two-Face and his men hover above with flashlights in one hand and guns in the other, trying to put an end to the pair once and for all. Thankfully for their sake, Batman is conscious enough to remove a remote control from his utility belt and summon the Batboat. Tim wastes no time helping the wounded hero into the craft, but finds it impossible to understand the controls, resorting to desperately pushing everything he can get his hands on. Compounding his anxiety are the three men above shooting endlessly at the conspicuous boat below them. With the last bit of strength he can muster, Batman voice-activates the autopilot, set to 'home'. After a short, high-speed journey home, the two are welcomed by a shocked Alfred, who never expected to see a boy in the drivers seat. He immediately sees to Bruce's injuries, all the while Tim is having a look around the Batcave. Unable to concentrate on two things at once, Alfred loses track of the lad who has made his way up the stairs, through the clock, and into Bruce's study. The secret is out: Bruce Wayne is the Bat-Man! Just then, out of the shadows springs Batgirl to take him back downstairs. Despite having just attempted to pilfer some cash and a watch, Tim insists he's trustworthy. Batman, however, doesn't seem to care one way or the other, and is merely interested in why Two-Face is after Tim. He divulges that his father used to work for him, but that he's now skipped town, provoking sympathy from Batgirl. With great adolescent spirit, Tim declares that he can take care of himself, and proves it by pulling out his Baterang and using it to slice off a few stalactites. They're impressed. They get back on track discussing the connection between Two-Face and his manhunt for Tim's father, and Tim can only show them the letter that was with the key. From being wrapped up together for quite some time, the paper has developed an imprint of the key, which Batman immediately recognizes – as Two-Face had – as being from Gotham airport. It's there that Batman and Batgirl ambush Two-Face and his cronies, yet, Two-Face manages a getaway with the satchel Drake had hidden in the airport locker. There's only one thing for Batman to do: give chase. Alas! in the end, the mobster gives him the shake.

It's back to square one and time to turn to some basic detective work. 'Shifty' Drake's file is brought up on the Batcave's computer and – unfortunately for Tim – matches a John Doe found floating in the Metropolis River. Unbeknownst to the two bats, Tim was behind them listening to every word. He guesses his father is dead and will never come back for him, and while Batgirl begins to offer him hope and comfort him, Batman coldly confirms that he is never going to return. At that moment, Alfred interrupts, saying there is something that should be seen on television. Indeed, it's Two-Face with his own brand of a public service announcement: if he doesn't get 200 million dollars by two in the morning, he's going to release a deadly gas in Gotham. As Batman openly despairs that they have to find him before he wreaks havoc, Tim says that he thinks he may know where 'Puke-Face' is hiding out: the old Janus Theater. They waste no time; Batman and girl hop in the Batmobile and are just about to leave when it appears that Tim wants in on the bust, but Batman tells him quite plainly and authoritatively, 'No!' After they leave he vents his frustration and Alfred, seeing this, tells him that this is the way things are and always have been. At the Janus Theater, it's two minutes to two and Two-Face orders the masks brought in, obviously eluding to setting of the deadly gas. Just then, outside the room, somebody's cry of pain can be heard, and Two-Face instantly knows what it is and declares, "He's here." Just after one of his goons asks where, the Dark Knight leaps out from behind some crates and decks him! The three remaining cronies try to shoot him, but vaults those same crates their way and they have to scramble out of there. As one is trying to get away, Batgirl swings into action (literally), laying one out. While the fighting continues inside, Tim is just arriving outside the Janus Theater (via the roof of a passing bus), but he looks quite different: he's wearing the Robin costume! Inside, Two-Face's thugs keep the Dark Knights at bay long enough to set off the three-minute countdown to destruction. Just then, he picks up a tommy gun and fires it in their direction, ensuring they can't even get close to disturbing his scheme. All hope seems to be lost . . . Enter, 'Robin'. He does his best to stop Two-Face, but is simply inexperienced enough to watch his back, and ends up in the clutches of 'Puke-Face' after all. Tim wastes no time pulling out his Baterang and using it to cut the ropes holding a large grate above them, in a similar fashion he had earlier cut the stalactites. Two-Face is too quick to be caught (his henchman is not as lucky), but he has nowhere to run but into the path of one angry Bat. Saving the day is left up to Batgirl, who – at the two second count and out of options – rips out the wires from the side of the contraption. Now all she wants is to go home. Tim enthusiastically chimes in in agreement, but gets a stern stare by Batman in return.

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce is ostensibly training Tim as they batter each other with pugel sticks. He also tells the youngster how it's going to be: Tim always gives him 110%, and Bruce makes the rules. At that moment, from out of the shadows steps Dick. Everyone is ecstatic to see his return.

Girl's Night Out

A prison truck from Metropolis is entering Gotham City. The prisoner is Livewire, on her way to experimental treatments at GothCorp that may succeed in returning her to normal. However, the truck drives past a recent road accident, where a power cable has fallen to the ground. The truck passes close enough to let Livewire absorb its power, and escape. Batgirl is driving the Batmobile, searching the city for Livewire. Over the radio, Batman tells her he'll be back in Gotham in two days, and will try to get her some backup in the meantime. Batgirl isn't worried, assuming Livewire is already heading back to Metropolis... until she spots Livewire skimming along some power cables. Livewire spots Batgirl and immediately lands on the Batmobile's hood, sending current through the body that shocks Batgirl. In Metropolis, Kara is house-sitting for Clark Kent while he's out of town. On the phone with her foster mother, she reports that, much to her disappointment, crime in Metropolis is slow that week. Then Batman telephones the apartment, asking for Clark Kent. Without giving his name, Batman advises Clark that Livewire is loose in Gotham, and if Kent wants to "get on top of the story," he should head there, immediately. With Superman gone, Kara immediately assumes her Supergirl outfit and flies to Gotham. Batgirl manages to escape the Batmobile by ejecting, landing safely in Gotham Park. Livewire lands in the park and begins tossing electric blasts, but all Batgirl can do is dodge acrobatically. Livewire finally nails her with one and is about to shock her to death when Supergirl appears, grabs Batgirl and flies off. But another blast from Livewire drops them both out of the sky. Livewire is about to kill both of them, but then her power runs down. She disappears. "Welcome to Gotham," Batgirl says, by way of greeting.

As the GPD mobilizes to capture Livewire, Harvey Bullock reproaches the girls for letting her get away. He is in the unusual position of asking for Batman's whereabouts, and telling the two "amateurs" to stay out of their way.

Supergirl fumes, but Batgirl encourages her that together they are more than a match for Livewire. In a defunct zoo garden, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are sharing hideout. Harley is itching to get out and have some fun, but Ivy says they can't draw Batman's attention until they have "an edge." Then Livewire appears out of their toaster and proclaims, "Ladies, meet your edge!"

The new villainess team goes to a closed shopping mall, to loot the cash machines and raid the stores. Batgirl and Supergirl arrive and catch Livewire alone, managing to incapacitate her with a coating of electric-resistant silicate dust. However, Harley and Ivy join in. Harley knocks Batgirl into an open elevator, while Ivy tosses plant spores that sprout vines powerful enough to give even Supergirl pause. While Harley helps Livewire to their getaway car, Supergirl finally frees herself of the vines. Ivy tosses another set at Batgirl, but Supergirl incinerates them with her heat vision – inadvertently releasing a poisonous cloud of pollen that forces Supergirl to grab Batgirl and fly her to safety, while the villainesses escape.

To celebrate, Harley drags Ivy and Livewire to the Iceberg Lounge, but Livewire can't be near so much water. As they argue, Penguin appears and orders them to leave. Smiling, the girls suddenly fuse into a close-knit team and start wreaking havoc. Later, Batgirl and Supergirl approach a frazzled Penguin at the empty Lounge, and Penguin mentions hearing rumors about where Ivy and Harley's hideout is...

They enter the zoo, Batgirl carrying a tank of silicate to incapacitate Livewire. But Ivy's plant-based warning system tips off the villainesses, and Ivy quickly relieves Batgirl of the tank. Comically, Harley knocks herself out by firing her spring-loaded boxing glove at Supergirl from behind – where it bounces harmlessly off Kara's head, shoots back and hits Harley. Ivy wrestles Supergirl to the ground with her plants, while Livewire attacks Batgirl. Batgirl shields herself from the electric blasts with a garbage pail lid. Vexed, Livewire fires a souped-up blast, which ends up setting Ivy's plants on fire. Desperate to save her "babies," Ivy releases Supergirl and climbs to a water tower, releasing a stream of water that puts out the fire, but shocks Livewire unconscious. The tower then collapses, knocking Ivy out. Later, at Barbara's apartment, the two super-heroines have treated themselves to a makeover and a pint of ice cream each, as they watch coverage of their success on the news. When interviewed, Bullock grudgingly admits that the two heroines have "some potential." Considering the source, Barbara and Kara recognize high praise, and share a resounding high-five.

Scout's Dis-Honor

As Harley Quinn laments drifting through life, not contributing anything, a knock comes at the door. She answers it, and finds a Mandy Scout selling cookies. After she grabs the box and begins eating the cookies, Poison Ivy is surprised to learn that Harley used to be a Scout herself, although she claims that the cookies were the only good part. Ivy decides that someone should teach those girls some "valuable" life skills, and Harley agrees.

It's not long before Harley has formed a group of "Harley Scouts," all of whom dress like her and follow her twisted moral outlook. Batgirl interrupts the meeting, and when Harley points out that she daren't hit a little girl, she reveals that she brought some "help": the Mandy Scouts. As the girls battle around them, using their badge-begotten skills to considerable (if comical) effect, Harley Quinn fights with Batgirl and successfully subdues her. That being accomplished, she begins to sneak off with the money and cookies - but is caught in the act by both the Harley and Mandy Scouts, who descend upon her...

With Harley Quinn tied to a chair, Batgirl provides Law-And-Order merit badges for everyone in the shape of black-and-yellow Bat-crests.

Holiday Knights (part 2)

December 22 In Mayfields Department Store, Barbara is just purchasing a new tie for her father when all of a sudden an ear-piercing wail cuts through the air. The shop attendant comments on how they've been crying all day, at which point we see why: Harvey Bullock is playing Santa. With his partner, Montoya, he's on a stakeout. Bullock, showing rare sensitivity, comforts a young girl who's father he put in prison, and winds up giving her cash to soothe her Christmastime woes.
Barbara, walking through the store, happens to spot a child shoplifting, but when she tries to apprehend him, his clothes and hand seem to dissolve into nothing. Then, Montoya gets a call through her earpiece that detectives are in pursuit of four child bandits in the store. Just when the children seem to be trapped, they meld! Moments later the truth is revealed: Clayface! He begins tearing up the place and no one can stop him, that is, until Barbara gets changed into her Batgirl outfit and delivers a blow to the head the sends him crashing out the window and into the skating rink below. Montoya and Bullock arrive on the scene and with a little guidance from Barbara, succeed in halting the giant shapeshifter by way of electrocution.


A mysterious woman covers the headlines: the mysterious criminal Lady-X, who has systematically earned the ire of Harley Quinn (using a pie as a gimmick while taking the mayor's wife hostage), Catwoman (stealing the Cat's Paw Opal) and Poison Ivy (setting fire to the Cloyster Woods as a distraction). All concerned agree that she has to be stopped. Catwoman tracks her to the Tower Top Gym, Poison Ivy uses a set of seeds to grow a vine and bring them to the top floor, and Batgirl follows all three of them.

All five meet in a steam bath, where Lady-X briefly gives them a slip. They engage in a confused chase through the upper levels of the gym, until they finally corner their target in a weight room. A brief battle ensues, but working together, the four Gotham Girls manage defeat her, and the story of her capture appears on the front page of the Gotham Times.