Ask yourself this, when has anything good come from a child taking a liking to a ventriloquist dummy? When has anything good come from that kid whose into ventriloquist dummies, having access to weed killer and a punch bowl at the birthday party of a girl who makes fun of her? Never. The answer to both those questions is never. That was nine years ago in young Shauna's life.
Flash forward to present day and Babs shows up in tears to her psychiatrist's office. Babs has had a rough couple of days, noted by her shrink who smells a bit of alcohol on her. Babs begins to describe the last few days (following her brother's "death" and with a lack of some batty details) which begins with Babs making some alterations to her "volunteer" uniform, removing her chest emblem, before heading out on patrol to hopefully clear her mind.
Elsewhere in Gotham, the not America's Got Talent auditions are happening, and wouldn't you know it, Shauna the Ventriloquist, looking creepier than ever, shows up with her dummy. Long story short, she gets berated by not-Simon, and gets all crazy, and ends up using her dummy Fredie to kill not-Simon, while exhibiting some TK like powers. Shauna takes blonde not-the typical "honey, you're nice I love your energy but no" judge hostage, brings her outside, throws the judge's voice to get everyone to storm into the auditions, then brings her hostage into a nearby parking lot, which is the point Babs gives chase.
Being that the parking lot is in Knightfall's building, we see her order her two associates to check in on the commotion, while we also see Ricky off in his apartment with a new fake leg, and something about his brother making a move on some open turf, or something.
Babs confronts Shauna, throwing a batarang at the ventriloquist, only to have it stop mid air, and fly back at her, hitting her int he head. Then, surprisingly enough, without Shauna's help, Fredie flies at Batgirl, having a new found morbid attraction to her. Babs even struggles to fight him off, but some rent-a-cops show up, Shauna tricks them into thinking the judge said Batgirl abducted her, which leaves Babs to deal with them, while the real kidnappers escape.
Back to the shrink office, Babs seems to confirm she's all distraught because she got in a fight on purpose, or something, then remembers some licensee plate numbers, meanwhile Shauna has the judge tied up with her dead parents, and Commissioner Gordon finds out the police can't find his son's body, and proclaims a vendetta against Batgirl. Yeah... I wanted to wrap this one up.
If there's one thing Gail Simone is good at (and there's more, to be honest) it's making creepy villains. While not to the creep level as say Junior from Secret Six, Shauna is pretty damn creepy, in the way she acts, and just visually as well. The changes to the actual Ventriloquist formula (mainly the powers, and fact that the dummy really can move on its own) has piqued my interest enough to really want to see what the deal is with the new duo.
Some of the stuff in this issue didn't quite make sense. Babs goes out on patrol, does her job by trying to save someone, and while she didn't, she comes into her shrink's office and says "yes" to the shrink coming to the conclusion that she's upset due to her purposely getting into a fight. I don't understand that logic... I at first thought she meant the rent-a-cops she beat up, but reading it again I didn't see anything that confirmed it. Seriously, that's her job as a vigilante. That whole scene just came off as a bit too melodramatic.
Babs suggests that she remembered some license plates of a car that Shauna took off to... but the art clearly shows Shauna headed up a flight of stairs with her victim.
Also, Gordon at the end. Man... Bullock and McKenna try to talk him out of his vendetta, even suggesting that his ex-wife saw everything go down, but he takes it so personally that he completely disregards her potential statements, with the "I wasn't there for my son, but I can be now." Dude... he was a psychopathic serial killer! That whole scene just left me saying "man... shut up."
The Bottom Line:
This was a pretty alright issue all around. Creepy villain with some cool twists, but a bit stained with a few scenes that just rubbed me the wrong way. So all in all, it was a good issue, but nothing I'd call great. I read it, enjoyed it for what it was, and that's about all I can say.