|"The Undead Past"|
|Series:||The Dark Knight|
|First Published:||October 24, 2012|
|Previous Issue:||The Dark Knight #12|
|Next Issue:||The Dark Knight #14|
"The Undead Past"Edit
Once again, Scarecrow collects the fearful tears and sweat of the girl he kidnapped, and adds it to his formula. As yet, there is still one cubic centimetre of the fluid required for its completion. He is troubled though, as despite the torture he puts her through, this girl shows him compassion, and seems to care about his well-being. While she pleads to be let go, he crumples on the floor, filled with memories of his own confinement at the hands of his father. As part of his father's research, young Jonathan Crane was routinely locked in a room under the floor, surrounded by instruments of fear.
Elsewhere, Batman wakes, chained to a table in Scarecrow's lab. Looking over at the desk nearby, he spots his Batsuit, and orders his wrist armour to activate its laser, cutting through the chains holding him there. He dons the suit and sneaks down the hall. Suddenly, though, the Scarecrow appears, and slices open his chest with a scythe. Mockingly, Scarecrow points out that despite all his desire to escape, Batman never actually left the table. It was all an illusion caused by fear toxin.
On that subject, Scarecrow has finally finished preparing a very special super-toxin, so powerful that even he does not have antibodies against it, requiring the wearing of a special mask to keep himself safe.
Bruce is given visions of a man named Braxton Winthrop, who leads a life similar to that of Bruce Wayne. He is rich, he is nearly the same age, they are about the same height. The difference, though, is that Braxton Winthrop has a family, happiness, a life. He devotes himself to the light.
Their pasts are similar too. Braxton had a loving family, but a helicopter accident had taken the lives of his parents. Braxton was given a new life, and a new family, and he made the most of it. He inherited the Winthrop Rifles fortune, and sold the family business in favour of starting charities, orphanages, and scholarships. He found a woman he loved and married her.
When Bruce lost his parents, however, he chose the darkness. He put his head down and went along with the pain, burying it deep underneath the weight of assumed responsibility. It didn't have to be that way, though. Bruce could have had a different life, if he had only chosen light. Even still, he remains distant from his girlfriend Natalya. He took a ward, and never adopted him. He took in his own son, but doesn't publicly acknowledge the son he didn't know he had, because he had to be tricked into becoming a father.
It is not the darkness and the evil of the world that scares Bruce - it's human contact. Being Batman is a crutch that prevents him from having to get close to anyone - because if he did, they might leave. What is most troubling to Bruce is that he knows that Scarecrow isn't seeing any of what he's seeing. Which means it is something that he knows himself. Resigned, Batman whispers a question: what happened to the Scarecrow to make him like this?
Scarecrow recalls how he was thrown into the little dark room, while his father conducted tests on him. One day, though, his father experienced a heart attack while Jonathan was still trapped in the room, and he died. Jonathan banged hard against the trap door, calling out, but no one was there to hear. Dr. Crane's employers at the University became concerned about his prolonged absence, and eventually, police came, and broke into the house. When they spotted the trap door, they opened it, and were horrified to find young Jonathan alone down there, after days of starving and being afraid.
Coldly, Scarecrow turns away and decides that it is time to get his scythe. Alone, Batman looks over to the desk and commands his armor to activate the wrist laser again - this time, no luck. Bruce looks into himself, and thinks on his fears. He must take those fears and swallow them whole, make them his own, stare that fear in the eye until it becomes afraid, and backs down.
By the time Scarecrow returns with his scythe, Batman has broken free of his chains by sheer force of will, and put his suit back on.
"The Undead Past"Edit
- Braxton Winthrop
- Natalya Trusevich
- Damian Wayne
- Jonathan Crane's father (Dies in flashback)