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Batgirl and Nightwing have gotten an odd message text summoning them up on a specific rooftop at night. When both heroes get to the rooftop, they are ambushed by a pair of costumed villains. Both heroes are winning easily, but the pa

Quote1 You think she's behind this? No way. It can't be. But... I never told anyone else about that summer. Did you? Quote2
Batgirl src

Summer of Lies is a 2017 Batgirl storyline, published in Batgirl (Volume 5). It was written by Hope Larson with art by Chris Wildgoose.


Batgirl and Nightwing have gotten an odd message text summoning them up on a specific rooftop at night. When both heroes get to the rooftop, they are ambushed by a pair of costumed villains. Both heroes are winning easily, but the pair of girls declare "her" blood is on their hands and they will be punished before leaping off the roof.

As an ambulance is taking the bodies away, Babs and Dick note those girls were suspiciously familiar. They looked like Barbara's old friend Ainsley. But Barbara doesn't believe Ainsley is behind that incident. Barbara and Dick suspect Mad Hatter is still holding a grudge.

Several years ago, Barbara was a newcomer in both Gotham and Gotham County High School and befriended a substitute teacher and computer geek. Later Barbara created her "Batgirl" identity, but she was still the school pariah and didn't get along well with Robin.

Batgirl and Nightwing search for Mad Hatter. Breaking into one of his hideouts and cheking his files they find photos of both girls. Batgirl blames Mad Hatter for their deaths, but Nightwing reminds her that being teenagers doesn't mean they were innocent. Kids do bad things, too. They did something bad back then, even though he and Barbara were trying to do the right thing. Further checking reveals Mad Hatter is in the hospital. Batgirl and Nightwing head out.

Barbara took a summer job as a waitress in "The Olive Garden". It was by coincidence her ex-substitute teacher, Ainsley, was already working there. Ainsley befriended Barbara, and Barbara agreed to help her out with her software project.

Later Barbara got in an argument with her father and got grounded. Nonetheless, she quickly put on her Batgirl costume and sneaked out. She was found by Robin, and after a bit of heart-to-heart talk, he mentioned he was going to a stakeout. He got a lead on a case involving drugs and her school's cheerleaders, and Barbara was happy to go with him.

In Gotham General Hospital, Batgirl and Nightwing discover Mad Hatter has been beaten within an inch of his life by someone called "the Red Queen" who is after them, too.

A riot suddenly breaking out draws their attention. A red-dressed nurse named Carly has gone mad and is beating her co-workers as calling herself "Red Knight". Batgirl quickly gleans she is being mind-controlled by the Red Queen. Babs and Dick shove her in a closet but can't stop her from hurting herself. Dick suggests that a MRI machine might sedate her.

Batgirl and Robin shared their secret identities and snooped around a private party. Nobody seemed to be doing drugs until a strange song started sounding. Suddenly, all high-schoolers got high. One of them freaked out and dasheed off. Batgirl and Robin took him to Gotham Hospital General. Mysteriously, no drugs were found in his body.

Both heroes tie Carly up and drag her to a MRI machine. Dick suspects Carly is being controlled by nanobots because the Red Queen wants to remind them what happened between them and the Mad Hatter in the past. Batgirl and Robin lay Carly down on the machine and a nurse starts it up. However, something goes wrong: the machine gets out of control and won't let them turn it off until Carly is vaporized.

Later Barbara has analyzed the "residue" left behind. Carly's body composition was 50 to 70 percent nanobots. Dick blames himself but Barbara argues it's fault of whoever set them up. Batgirl forces herself to focus on the details of the case: Red Knight must be connected to Ainsley. The duo discovers Carly's maiden name was Philbert, a name familiar to Barbara.

Barbara came over Ainsley's place where the older girl was working on nano-robotics. Her client used nanotechnology to produce the ability to see sounds as colors, but some kind of software bug caused hallucinations. Ainsley's cell rang all of sudden and she talked with Dr. Philbert, who told she needed a prescription refilled. Barbara offered to cover her shift as Ainsley went to the doctor.

Later three suspicious-looking men walked into Barbara's workplace. Ainsley ran off in order to not be seen by them. Barbara became suspicious and found out their company's address. Later Batgirl and Robin staked the place out and interrogated them the group of hackers. They discovered Ainsley got involved with the Mad Hatter, who was selling a techno-drug called EMJ. Batgirl deduced Ainsley was helping Mad Hatter develop it.

Batgirl and Robin followed Ainsley and found out she was going to an addiction support group. Her sister found out she was doing drugs and told their parents. Her parents threatened to stop paying her tuition unless she went to a rehab. Ainsley went to "Seaboard Recovery" for a month, but then she dropped out, planning to have a job to save money... but then she started working for a drug dealer who paid her in drugs. However she was going to a psychiatrist and was determined to get clean for real this time.

Barbara felt conflicted. They had to stop Mad Hatter, but their intervention might ruin her friend's recovery.

Barbara and Dick head to "Seaboard Recovery", reasoning the Red Queen has targeted them, the Mad Hatter and Ainsley's psychiatrist so far, so Seaboard may be her next target. Both heroes walk into the place and find the staff going on a rampage. Batgirl and Nightwing manage to subdue them and lock them up and then go over the rehab's files. They find out Ainsley is dead. She overdosed on the street after living homeless for months. Her remains and belonging -which include her diary- were picked up by her sister Edith Wells.

Edith has to be the Red Queen. Upon seeing a picture of hers, they realize she was one of the staff members they have just fought. Dick and Babs hurry back to the main hall, but she's already escaped. Barbara blames herself. They keep intending to do things right and they keep failing.

Batgirl and Robin stormed Mad Hatter's lair. As fighting Mad Hatter's minions, Batgirl told Ainsley to get out of there fast. Batgirl noticed Mad Hatter trying to escape through a dark corridor and chased after him. As fighting, Mad Hatter hurt Batgirl and mocked her attempts to save Ainsley from herself. Batgirl lost her temper and pummelled him to the ground until Robin stopped her. Robin reminded her they are not supposed to give in their inner darkness, and feeling mortified for nearly killing Mad Hatter, Batgirl promised she will not mess up again and they'll be partners from now on.

Batgirl and Nightwing ride their way to an insolated warehouse where Ainsley Wells' book enterprise stores their stock. Aware it is a trap, they walk inside and meet the Red Queen across a floor resembling a chessboard. Both heroes try to talk her down, but Red Queen refuses to believe they couldn't help her sister. Red Queen sends a herd of nanobots after them.

Red Queen's nanobots infect Nightwing, and the villain gets him attack Batgirl, but Batgirl manages to short out the nanobots in his system thanks to her electromagnetic gloves and her own neural implant. In retaliation, Red Queen's nanobots create a powered armor for her. Red Queen attacks both heroes, but they knock her down by working together.

Batgirl didn't turn Ainsley over, but she was unable to help her overcome her addiction. Shortly later Barbara decided to check out on her and found her lying on her apartment, nearly dead from an overdose. Barbara called an ambulance, and that was the last time she saw Ainsley. Later Dick came over to try to cheer her up. Robin said she was his best friend, and Batgirl asked him to stick around. Robin replied he would be always there for her.

After turning Red Queen over, Batgirl and Nightwing swing away.


Recommended Reading

Links and References

Batgirl Year One TP
Batgirl Storyline
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Batman Blind Justice TP
Batman Family Storyline
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