|"Cross to Bear"|
|Series:||The Dark Knight|
|First Published:||January 2, 2013|
|Previous Issue:||The Dark Knight #14|
|Next Issue:||The Dark Knight #16|
"Cross to Bear"Edit
Despite not having fully recovered from his last encounter with the Scarecrow, Batman insists on acting when he discovers that the man obsessed with fear has used the floats in the Gotham City Christmas Parade to release fear toxin on the crowds in Gotham Square.
Unfortunately, he is but one man, and no matter what he or the Gotham City Police Department does, they will not be able to contain the pandemonium without some kind of antidote. Taking the toxin's chemical composition with him, Alfred Pennyworth asks Lucius Fox to help them develop the antidote. Some time later, Lucius and Alfred determine that without antibodies, it will take months to develop the synthetic ones needed to create the antidote. Gotham may not last more than a few more minutes. When Batman takes a hit in the face, his gas mask is knocked off, and he realizes that he can breathe freely without ill effects. He realizes then, that the reason he is not affected is because he fought off the virus already. The antibodies they need are in his blood.
To save time, Batman crashes the Batplane straight into the lab at Wayne Tower and orders Robin to go to Commissioner Gordon and have the kidnapped girl Luz go with him to the places she saw marked on Scarecrow's map to see if she recognizes anything. While they had thought the marked locations were targets, they now know that Gotham Square was the target - the marked locations were safe houses. Despite Lucius Fox having left instructions for how to convert the antibodies to a viable antidote, it would still take days to do so. Desperate to save his city, Batman volunteers to transfuse his blood directly into the Batplane's aerosol diffuser - a decision which, in his current condition, would see him die from the blood loss.
From the Batcave, Alfred and Robin monitor Bruce's vitals, essentially watching him die, but he insists on completing his mission. Weakly, he orders Robin to take control of the plane, making him promise not to bring the plane home until the job is done - even if that means his death. As the city begins to come to its senses, Batman's vitals flatline. After getting him back to the cave, Alfred works with desperation to bring his charge back to life. With each shock from the defibrillator, Damian winces, but - finally - they get a pulse back.
At dinner, Bruce comments that Alfred should have known he'd come back, prompting Alfred to dump Bruce's coffee in his lap.
After driving around Gotham for hours with Luz, Gordon and the GCPD finally found a safe house that the girl recognized. The police were reluctant to go in, so Batman agreed to kick open the door. Through the window, Scarecrow spots Luz sitting in the back of a cruiser, and ultimately decides to give up, having already lost much blood from the wound Batman gave to his jaw earlier.
On New Year's Eve, Natalya's solo piano performance goes well enough, until she makes one mistake that throws off her entire performance. After the audience leaves, Bruce appears nearby and compliments her work, encouraging her to try the run she botched over again. She plays it perfectly. Taking her hand, he invites her to go back home to watch a movie and eat takeout - the best New Year's Eve that she could ask for.
At Arkham Asylum, Scarecrow is being taken to his cell - but he has a secret vial of toxin ready for his escape plan. Unfortunately, the guards throw him into his cell rather violently, and the vial ruptures, filling the glass cell with the toxic gas. Scarecrow is trapped in his cell with memories of the room his father used to lock him in haunting him.