- Mary... I'll never ask you to do something you can't do, but Freeze will kill Starling if we don't get there in time. We can't abandon one of our own. Give me an address or draw me a map. you don't have to come with us.
- — Batgirl
Synopsis for "A Cold Day in Hell"
The Birds of Prey have just been attacked by Mister Freeze, but he escaped, leaving behind a message warning them to hand over the Talon Strix at the place she was born, or he will kill Starling. Batgirl explains that it was Freeze who gave the Court of Owls the formula to revive the Talons, but he believes they ripped him off, and now he has a vendetta against them. Strix, however, is a renegade in the Court's eyes, so what use she is to him is questionable.
Black Canary orders Condor to be their backup on this mission, staying within radio contact. At this, he responds that they don't trust him. Why else would they force him onto the side-lines? Canary and Batgirl then point out that they know plenty about him already. Firstly, his high-tech armour and weaponry suggest someone with significant funding. Secondly, despite the fact that he speaks Russian very well, it is not his first language. Though he attempts an American "Tough Guy" accent, Batgirl hears, at the base of his accent, the cadence of a Native American. Taken aback by their accuracy, he neither confirms nor denies, but points out, nonchalantly, that while they were analyzing him, Strix left without them.
While Condor searches for her from the air, Batgirl checks the rooftops. Canary, meanwhile, gathers gear for the mission to rescue Starling. Dinah wonders if perhaps she was being too hard on Condor, remembering how she had not got on well with her late husband Kurt when she and Amanda Waller first joined Team 7. When she had beaten him while sparring for the first time, her knee-jerk response to his surprise was to be offended that he had not expected to be beaten by a woman. In fact, he clarified, he had been impressed by her moves, in as much as he hadn't seen anyone fight like that in a while. Amanda had pressed her to apologize, and that had lead to the beginning of their relationship.
Elsewhere, Condor tracks down Batgirl to explain that he has found Strix hiding. He claims that she is scared, which seems highly uncharacteristic to Batgirl. Even so, Condor urges her to see for herself, and to go alone, as this would be best handled by just her.
Batgirl finds Strix hiding in an alley, and reminds that they don't have much time before Freeze makes good on his threat against Starling. Strix scratches words into the pavement at their feet, explaining that it is a bad place, and that she doesn't want to go back. Sympathetically, Barbara admits that she wouldn't ask Strix to do it if she can't do it, but reminds that Starling will die if they don't act. As a team, they cannot abandon one of their own. So, she asks that Strix at least show her where to go, even if she won't come with them. Reluctantly, Strix agrees.
With Strix in the lead, they break into the Owls' facility, but there appears to be no sign of Freeze. All they find is a lab, where two members of the Court are working on a woman's body, hidden under a sheet. The Owls seem to have no knowledge of Freeze or Starling, and when Dinah pulls back the sheet, she discovers that the body is not Starling's at all. The Owls explain that this is just a corpse - a suicide they fished out of the Gotham River. Turning on Strix, they warn her that she should be dead, after failing the Court. Quickly, the Birds realize that they've been sent on a wild goose chase. In fact, they may have been leading someone.
This is confirmed when Freeze appears, explaining that he had been looking for this lab for months, and finally Strix had led him to it. He assures them that Starling is alive and well, and will remain so, so long as they remain calm. Without warning, Strix leaps at him, only to be caught in a freeze-blast. When the others come to her defence, they are surprised to find that Starling is working with Mister Freeze, and always has been.
Appearing in "A Cold Day in Hell"
- Birds of Prey Recommended Reading