Faking or not, Babs is still getting her butt kicked, and contemplates using a concussion batarang on Bruce. Before she does, she remembers their history, all the way up to the night she was shot by the Joker. When Bruce came to see her as Batman, she expected him to scold her, saying he trained her better, but instead, remained silent and held her hand in the hospital room.
Respecting Bruce too much, she decides to put away the batarang and remind Bruce who he is in order to "break the control" that Gretel has over him. She does this by reminding Bruce where they are, blocks from Crime Alley, and what it means to him. The trick works, and Bruce all the sudden comes to. He embraces Batgirl thanking her, putting on an act for his nearby assistant. Babs whispers if he was faking, to which Bruce responds...
"Mostly. I have something to tell you... you were always meant to be Batgirl."Speechless, Babs swings off to go find Gretel, who had once again made her escape.
Now we get Gretel's origin. Lisly Bonner, a fresh journalism grad, who got in too deep, trying to expose the Whittaker family, the same family we saw last issue. This ended up with two bullets in her gut, and one to the head. But she didn't die, she was found by some kids on the bank of the river, and when she awoke in the hospital bed, she was alone. No one came to see her, no cards, no flowers. But what did happen, is the bullet to the brain ended up giving her powers, the one she has over men.
Babs returns home to find Alysia informing her that her mother is over, and won't stop baking. Babs sees this as another ill-fated attempt for her mother to get back into her life, but more or less ignores it. In her room, she does some researching to find out the meaning of "338" based on what Gretel said. She had 3 bullets for her .38 revolver. Google the Whittakers, and it doesn't take long for Babs to figure out it's Lisly Bonner. She calls Bruce, telling him she's figured it out, but Bruce has some bad news as well, telling her that Whittaker was shot to death in his hospital bed not too long ago. Babs then comes up with a plan, that involves Bruce as bait.
The next night, as Bruce attempts to give a speech about his urban renewal, Babs figures Gretel is bound to show up eventually, as it's clear that someone has a hit on Bruce, which she is attempting to fulfill. Sure enough, Gretel shows up, and takes control of the police, who open fire on Bruce. Batgirl saves Bruce, and notices Gretel onto of a nearby crane. She's about to go after her, but Officer Buzzkill Melody McKenna shows up trying to arrest her, but then so does Bruce as Batman and the two basically tell her to f off momentarily while they deal with Gretel.
On the way up to the crane, Babs tells Bruce to go easy on Gretel, as she's "had it rough." When they corner the killer, Babs tries to reason with Gretel, but that doesn't go well, as Gretel attempts to attack Bruce. Fearing Bruce will hurt her, Babs is happy to see that Bruce is holding back, and actually listened to her, allowing her to grab Gretel. As the two dangle off the crane, Gretel pleads with Babs to let her go, and let her die, but Babs is a bat after all, and brings her back down, turning her over to McKenna, who lets Batgirl slide since she captured the baddy.
As McKenna hauls Gretel away, Babs feels bad for her, seeing a bit of herself in the victim turned psycho. Where she had people like her family and Batman to help her after the Joker shot her, Gretel didn't, and that's what turned her into who she is today.
Well... I've got to say that these last two issues have been a bit better. Simone is still attempting to introduce rouges into Babs' gallery that mirror her, much like Batman's. Both Mirror and Gretel share these similarities, but I didn't find Gretel to be nearly has heavy handed as Mirror was. I can see Gretel coming back, being explored more, Mirror not so much.
On the issue itself, I was expecting a stern talking to from Batman, I think a lot were. So I was pleasantly surprised when he offered up comforting words. The only problem was that I thought it was too short of a scene. I was expecting Bruce's thoughts on Babs returning to Batgirl to be touched upon again on the last page or something... but still, it was nice, and I enjoyed their interaction through out the issue.
So yeah, the book is getting better, which is a welcome change for me. Next issue seems to be dealing with some Joker stuff, given the end title tease, but should also introduce another rouge named Grotesque.