"The Scarecrow's Trail of Fear!": Batman trails a criminal to a dark alley, where he interrogates him about a certain stolen loot. However, the criminal and Batman become suddenly afraid, but Batman is capabale of controling his emotions, while the criminal dies of fr
Appearing in "The Scarecrow's Trail of Fear!"
- Gotham City Police Department
- Robert Toomey (Only appearance; dies)
- Alfred Pennyworth (In a vision)
- Robin (In a vision)
- Joker (In a vision)
- Grand Globe Fun Park
Synopsis for "The Scarecrow's Trail of Fear!"
Batman trails a criminal to a dark alley, where he interrogates him about a certain stolen loot. However, the criminal and Batman become suddenly afraid, but Batman is capabale of controling his emotions, while the criminal dies of fright. Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD soon arrive at the crime scene and Batman deduces that there is only one person capable of inducing uncontrollable fear on others: The Scarecrow.
Using the only information provided by the deceased crook, Batman and the police arrive at a closed amusement park. The police get ready to break into the place and search for the stolen loot, but Batman has deduced that Scarecrow might also be on the lookout for the loot and with his fear inducing tactics, he could decimate the police force. Instead, Batman decides to go alone and Commissioner Gordon allows him one hour before he moves along with his men.
As Batman enters the amusement park, he is attacked by several of Scarecrow's henchmen, but he manages to take them all out, one at a time. Once the regular criminals are taken care of, Batman starts looking for Scarecrow, but he is unable to find him. It is then that Batman starts following a remote signal, using his own fear as compass. Where his fear is stronger, Batman challenges Scarecrow to confront him and the fearsome criminal appears, revealing a remote control fear-inducing machine, which he used earlier to kill the criminal and learn the location of the loot. Scarecrow tries to use the device to affect Batman, but the Dark Knight is impervious to the fear as his mind is stronger than the impulses created by the machine. Finally, Batman destroys the device and Scarecrow cowers away in fear of the Batman, whose mission is partially complete.
After the hour has passed, the GCPD enter the park and arrest Scarecrow and his associates. Meanwhile, Batman and Commissioner Gordon recall the last clue given by the dying criminal and they finally locate the stolen loot, closing the case for good.
Appearing in "The Round Robin Death Threats"
- Doc Hastings (First appearance)
- John Kobler (First appearance)
- Fred Tinney (sports writer) (First appearance)
Synopsis for "The Round Robin Death Threats"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #366.
Bruce Wayne receives a mysterious letter that burns spontaneously as soon as he has finished reading it and from the ashes comes a strange chemical that forces him to act strangely. He is utterly compelled to reach Commissioner Gordon's house in order to dial a frequency on the radio. On his way there, Batman takes a detour to stop a crime in progress and as soon as he is done, he rushes to Gordon's home. In the meantime, Alfred has informed Dick Grayson about the strange events and the teen wonder analyzes the remains of the burnt letter in the Batcave using special equipment that allows him to recreate the original letter. When Robin learns the content of the letter, he rushes to meet Batman at Gordon's place and stops him from tuning on the radio dial.
Robin manages to arrive in time to stop Commissioner Gordon from tuning on the radio frequency and a few seconds later, from the radio comes a dart that would have murdered Gordon. Batman finally comes out of his trance and after Robin explains the nature of the message in the letter, they undertand that Batman has been a victim of a murder plot, but after this realization, Commissioner Gordon falls into a similar trance and he starts going towards what the Dynamic Duo assume would be another murder attempt.
The heroes prevent Gordon from killing another man, and they do so with the next victim. The chain goes on until Batman and Robin are not able to follow the latest victim of the strange trance. After hours of unsuccessful search, they return home and Robin decides to go to bed, since he has to go to school early the next day. In the meantime, Batman starts writing a message for Robin in which he explains that all of the people who had been used in the murder chain were responsible for the capture of a dangerous criminal in the past and that it is most likely that they all have been marked to die by that same person. Batman has also deduced that the last target in the murder chain is none other than Bruce Wayne, and he finishes his clue for Robin, which he has written in the style of a last will.
Appearing in "Where There's a Will - - There's a Slay!"
- Doc Hastings (Final appearance)
- John Kobler (Final appearance)
- Fred Tinney (Final appearance)
Synopsis for "Where There's a Will - - There's a Slay!"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #367.
In the middle of the night, Dick Grayson and Alfred are roused out of bed when someone throws the Rajah Ruby, a gem left to Bruce Wayne by his father, through the downstairs window of Wayne Manor. Dick wonders if this is not part of the mystery of the round-robin murders that he and Bruce were investigating earlier that evening. After recounting the strange turn of events wherein Batman and Robin had prevented the murders of Commissioner Gordon, John Kobler, and Fred Tinney, they decide to investigate to see if Bruce Wayne was also on the death list. Opening up Bruce's wall-safe from a safe distance, Dick's hunch proves to be correct when the safe explodes.
Rushing down to the Batcave to check on Bruce, they find the place empty, and the will that Batman had drafted up leaving Dick only $10.76 and revealing both his and Dick's secret identities as Batman and Robin in the case that Bruce should die. Realizing that Bruce was leaving them a clue, because like the other intended victims of the would be murderer, he may not have been able to outwardly expose the plot, they deduce that the numbers 10.76 might refer to a year. They realize that it is a historically significant year, as it was when the Battle of Hastings took place. Checking Batman's records for any criminals by the name of Hastings, Dick and Alfred find the file on a Doc Hastings, a man who vowed to get revenge against Wayne, Gordon, Kobler and Tinney for preventing him from robbing the Gotham Chemical Lab some seven years ago.
Checking with Alfred to see what Bruce's schedule was for that day, they learn that Bruce was intended to speak on television on behalf of the Wayne Foundation. Rushing to the Wayne Foundation in the Bat-Copter, Robin cannot find a place to land in the parking lot, and when trying to land on the roof spots Doc Hastings through one of the windows. Smashing in after him, he attempts to stop Hastings from activating the deathtrap he has set for Bruce: a lethal electrical jolt from the microphone stand he is to speak from. Robin manages to stop Hastings from succeeding but is knocked unconscious with a stun blast. Hastings then interrupts the interview by cutting in and ordering Bruce to come up to the control room if he wishes to save Robin's life.
Finding Robin unconscious on the floor, Bruce administers first aid instead of lifting him up right away. When Robin revives, he tells Bruce that there is something stuck under him, and they carefully pull it out to reveal that it is a hand grenade that was primed to explode if Bruce had quickly picked Robin off the ground. Changing into Batman, Bruce deduces that wherever Doc Hastings is working, he would require a massive amount of electricity to carry out his experiments. He then goes to the electrical offices and checks the records of recent subscribers. Hastings' narcissism works against him when Batman picks out his alias: "Charles Steinmetz" was a reference to a brilliant electrical engineer.
Going to the address on the registry, Batman crashes in on a very surprised Doc Hastings. Although Hastings has various technological devices that he attempts to use against Batman, the Caped Crusader easily defeats him in battle and turns him over to the police. Later, back in his guise of Bruce Wayne, Batman invites Gordon, Kobler, and Tinney over to celebrate and thank Batman and Robin for saving their lives, although none of the men gathered can actually talk about it.
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- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
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- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
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