WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Flash #64 by Joshua Williamson, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Tomeu Morey and Steve Wands, on sale now.
There's something very wrong with Gotham Girl. After spending time as a superhero, the loss of her brother Gotham and the trauma suffered at the hands of Psycho Pirate left her desperate and perhaps a little deranged. This is likely what set her up to be recruited in the plan to break the bat by Bane, but could she be worse off than we realized?
Batman and the Flash's investigation of Gotham Girl turns up compelling evidence that she may have been the killer at Sanctuary. While it's very unlikely DC would allow the killer's identity to be revealed in a story outside of Heroes in Crisis, a compelling argument is laid out in The Flash #64.
Was Gotham Girl at Sanctuary?
The events that took place at Sanctuary were a tragedy, but they have also proven to be divisive within the superhero community. Bruce and Barry have not gotten along since Wally West was murdered in Batman's custody. The fact that they are now forced to work together to solve a crime has been a major focus of the crossover "The Price," and things could be going better for them.
The two detectives manage to track Gotham Girl to the remote island she has been operating out of. As they explore the area, Batman and the Flash begin to argue about how little regard the former has for those he is supposed to protect. This is where the Flash begins to suspect that Batman's negligence could have easily created someone capable of committing the killings.
Given her traumatic experiences as Gotham Girl, it is implied that Claire Clover may have been taken into Sanctuary to get help. This is something Batman is reluctant to admit, but the Flash calls him out on it because of what it means for their case. The fact that they also find Claire's bedroom covered in pictures of superheroes and a Sanctuary mask on the premises just seems to confirm what the Flash already believes.
However, Barry seems to be too blind with anger to see how obvious a setup this all must be. Batman explains that if the Sanctuary mask was here, it was likely planted by someone in order to distract them from what is really going on. And what is really going on is that Gotham Girl is part of Bane's plan to destroy Batman's life.
This is All Batman's Fault
While the Flash will likely be wrong about Claire's role in Sanctuary, he's certainly right about one thing. This is all Batman's fault. Instead of a maniacal murderer, Gotham Girl is simply a broken victim of the Dark Knight's war on crime. As Barry himself points out, it's clear that Batman has utterly failed her.
The argument the two heroes have uncovers the fact that Batman essentially spent no time trying to actually help and understand Claire. Instead, he simply decided to send her away to "get help" while taking no real responsibility for Gotham Girl's life. He also used the fact that her powers are killing her as an excuse to make decisions for her and end her superhero career.
Barry believes that this abandonment could have opened the door for her to become unhinged enough to kill, but the truth is even more tragic. Alone in the world without anyone to really look out for her, it should come as no surprise that Bane promised to bring her brother back if she just fought against Batman for him. She was so desperate that it can hardly be considered surprising that things went down this way.
Now we have another young superhero whose life has been completely destroyed by Batman. The Flash, having just lost his beloved protege, has taken this crime to heart, and it's caused him to act a little irrationally. Claire is probably not the killer at Sanctuary, but Barry is still right to put the blame on Batman for all of this.