By Cat Wyatt
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey issue #22 brings about the conclusion to the Full Circle plot it’s been running. When we last saw our heroes, Canary had finally (and very successfully) taken out Burnrate, as well as maybe hitting her allies (side note; Catwoman and Ivy both joined this fight as well), during which time Helena had been kidnapped by Calculator and his people.
Thanks to the conclusion of the last issue, it’s really no surprise that this one starts off with Helena tied up. Remember, Huntress/Helena’s identity had been revealed by her mother, though likely not of her own volition. Calculator likely had Helena kidnapped in hopes of getting the Oracle’s true identity out of her.
Unfortunately for him, kidnapping an ex-spy has some complications. Like the fact that Helena has some programming that prevents Blackbird’s mind control from taking place (so cool). So despite Blackbird’s best efforts, she’s clearly going to fail her boss here…which I’m cool with (totally not saying that because I’d love to see Calculator’s fury aimed at her for a bit).
Meanwhile, the rest of the crew is recovering from Canary’s cry. They’re surprisingly okay with what happened, though since she saved them from Burnrate that sort of makes sense (still would expect Catwoman to kick up a fuss or something). Olly is still out…but based on the drooling and snoring it seems like he’s more asleep than unconscious, so he’s fine. As for Burnrate? She’s down for the count, and I’m not sure she can be rebuilt. Fine by me!
Once they all realize that Helena is missing, and likely been taken prisoner (for obvious reasons) the remaining two Birds of Prey rush off to rescue her. It’s worth noting that they left Catwoman, Ivy, and Green Arrow (still sleeping) behind. They said it’s because they can handle things from here, but I can’t help but wonder if they were trying to protect their secrets. I mean, it’s a given that Helena’s mother will be there waiting, and Helena may or may not be okay with her secret being outted to even more people… Or it could just be that they’re feeling stubborn about dealing with Calculator themselves (and with Burnrate out of the picture things are looking a bit safer for them).
Meanwhile Calculator is going to extreme lengths to get the information stored inside Helena’s head. We now know for a fact that Helena’s mother gave up the information she did unwillingly; it’s clear from her eyes that she’s under Blackbird’s control. Granted, considering the situation I don’t blame Helena for being less convinced of this (it’s harder to see things clearly when you’re the one involved and are very much emotionally compromised).
Anyway, Calculator has this crazy plan that involves potentially burning Helena’s mind to release the hypnosis stopping Blackbird from gaining control. I guess he figures/assumes that Blackbird can get the information regardless of what state of mind Helena is in? I’m not entirely sure I agree with his logic…
Thankfully we won’t have to find out how sound his reasoning is, as the Birds of Prey have perfect superhero timing, and arrived exactly at the right moment to save Huntress (naturally, also, yay!). With Helena free it looks like this could turn out to be a pretty interesting fight: on one side we have Batgirl, Huntress, and Canary; and on the other Fenice (who’s under mind control and will probably not take any actions on her own initiative), Blackbird, and Calculator. I know who I want to have win this fight…
Of course, I forgot to anticipate Calculator’s ability to plan ahead (ironic, I know). Of course he’d have something built that would block meta powers. So there goes Canary’s ability. On the bright side, that means that Blackbird lost her powers too. Which also means that Fenice is now free of her mind control. This may not have been quite the advantage Calculator was hoping for (then again, without it we can safely assume that Canary would have screamed him into next week…so I guess his odds are better this way).
The fight ends up being pretty intense, as this plot has been unafraid to pull punches (remember what they did to poor Gus?), and honestly I’m grateful for it. All of our lovely heroes got a chance to shine during the fight, which is always a plus, and there’s a dramatic and emotional conclusion, one which I refuse to spoil for you (so there!).
This was a fantastic conclusion to the Full Circle plot; it also wrapped up a bunch of other subplots while it was at it (Helena’s mother, Canary’s cry, Gus, etc). I know this isn’t the conclusion to the series, but it very easily could have been had they wanted to. It’ll be interesting to see what the next issue has in store, since it’ll be starting off on a clean (well, cleaner) slate.
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #22