We start with Stephanie hallucinating various people abandoning, excoriating, and shooting her, only to wake up in an ambulance, realizing she’s been shot.
Fortunately, it’s the kind of shot that ‘grazes the temple’, according to the EMTs. And since everyone knows having a bullet knock against the thinest part of your skull is like being gently massaged by someone wearing mink gloves, Stephanie is just fine. She won’t tell the EMT’s her name, instead using Fay Wray (hah. Classic shout-out.), which apparently activates some alarm in the Oracle Cave. Oracle sees the situation and decides the best way to get Stephanie out . . .
Is to crash the ambulance.
Are we sure Oracle hasn’t gone evil? Because she crashed an ambulance. That can’t be right.
Meanwhile, The Commissioner and Sergeant Nick are on a rooftop waiting for Batman. He arrives, freezing out Nick to talk to Gordon. Dick, don’t live up to your name. Come on. They decide that Francisco’s dad (Stefano) is being targeted by someone, but don’t know by whom.
Stephanie, meanwhile, reads lips from a nearby rooftop, providing her own satirical commentary. Steph, I don’t want to join the massive throng of your naysayers, but no one can do it better than Spike did in that episode of Angel. That’s just a fact.
Damian creeps up on her and begins the mandatory Sidekick Fight. They trade blows and insults until Dick breaks them up and boots them both off the case. Later they pout and keep sniping at each other. Damian keeps waving around his League of Assassins training until Stephanie comes back with, “Bruce trusted me enough to let me operate on my own. How much did he trust you, Robin?”
OH BURN! She immediately apologizes, but come on. She’s been catching crap from almost every single character in the DCU for the past fifteen years. It’s about time she fought back with some meanness. She makes it up by suggesting they investigate the case on their own. Damian, for the first time possibly ever, looks approving.
Meanwhile, Babs and Dick trade friendly jabs and eventually make up over their communicators. Some people have police scanners. Some people have hamm radios. Some people watch Twitter feeds or compulsively check their Facebook status. But I think the Gold Standard of eavesdropping would be listening in on the Batcoms. It would be like Cops, Days of Our Lives, and House, all rolled into one. I think they could stop crime in Gotham by making it public. The criminals would be too interested to have time to plan crimes, and the supervillains would realize that they don’t have to destroy the Batfamily’s lives, since they’ve destroyed their own lives already.
Dick notices some strange radioactive footprints in the van that abducted Francisco, but I’m here for the soap, so lets move on.
Stephanie and Damian go to interrogate Jordanna, Francisco’s friend. Stephanie tries to lurk in the shadows. Damian casually turns on the light, revealing that Steph is crouched on an arm chair. Heh. That would lose anyone cool points, but now I’m interested in knowing how many times Batman did exactly that. Stephanie makes up the points anyway, with the line: “Me? I’m a punch first, ask questions later kinda gal. Him? He’s a stabber.” It’s funny because it’s true! They find out that Gracia Stefano was a gambler, and all the money he put into the various housing projects was dirty.
Shift scene to Dick. Who appears to be in daylight, even though Steph and Damian are questioning Jordana at night. Hmm. He’s in the new, flying Batmobile (that kind of looked like it was on the cover of Birds of Prey and I hope that Babs steals it), and talking to Babs. Roxy Rockett comes by and drops what looks like Francisco. Nope. It turns out to be Riot. I don’t know him, but he has a creepy doll face and seems to be able to make copies of himself. Ruh-roh!
As the Batmobile crashes in the background, in the foreground Francisco and Gracia Stefano talk about what Gracia did to square his debts. Looks like it was setting Batman up. Francisco yells and screams and walks out on his dad in what I’m sure would be a moving manner if he weren’t my least favorite character. Next page!
It’s Roulette! She’s set up a virtual gambling den, and is taking bets on who can kill Batman. Contenders are Riot, Roxy Rocket, and Doctor Phosphorous.
Barbara orders Stephanie and Damian to help get Dick back to the cave alive, and it’s going to be a challenge, given that he’s crawling away from the crashed batmobile leaving a trail of blood.
Although not too much of it. Yes, Dick Grayson’s deadability has been kind of a running gag in the DCU, but come on. Dick Grayson isn’t getting offed in a Batgirl book by fifth-string villains. And I’m happy about that. With absolutely no threat of death I am free to enjoy the rest of this arc, looking at whether the panels entertain me, not just picking the book up because it might have a character die in it.
Interesting Irrelevant Detail: Damian first leaps at Stephanie from off of what looks like a water tower. I have seen those towers on top of roofs in every single comic, and they play an integral part in many comics. I have never, ever seen one in a city. Who just stores a bunch of water on top of their roof? Isn’t that what we have faucets for?
Suckiness Advisory Warning: Again, and always, Francisco. Okay, he’s not as bad as his father. That doesn’t make him good. I know we live in The Age of Edward Cullen, but it would be nice to see a teen love interest who was . . . nice.
Overall Awesomeness Level: Always rising. People who get along are being nice to each other. People who don’t get along are being amusing about it, and I love the Steph and Damian team-up far more than I thought I could.