- By the time I get done with you... you'll understand what fear is all about.
Synopsis for "Cycle of Violence"
Bruce Wayne, meanwhile, is attempting to repair his relationship with Natalya, a Ukrainian concert pianist. She apologizes for her abrasive behavior from the previous night, reminding that she had a tough upbringing that taught her to guard her emotions. Her apology is short-lived, as she is upset again when Bruce momentarily forgets about her New Year's Eve concert. She catches herself getting angry again, and tries to explain how she learned to be more open and forgiving; trying to teach him that he needs to let go of his own anger in the same way that she did. They are interrupted by yet another phone call from Alfred Pennyworth, who, despite Bruce's attempts to hold him off, warns him to turn on the television immediately. A news report shows that the Commissioner has been missing for some time now, and Bruce leaves Natalya without hesitation to seek him out.
Batman meets with Det. Bullock at Gordon's home, where the homeless man whom Jim had a custom of giving change to has been essentially frightened to death. Batman is sure that it is the doing of the Scarecrow. Bullock notes that Gordon's bathroom shows signs of a struggle, but Batman can see that they are actually signs of flight. There are traces of a toxin on the shower head, which turn out to be most similar with Fear Toxin.
Elsewhere, the Scarecrow targets a little girl in a playground. Within a matter of seconds, he has her, and he takes her back to his hideout. The girl begs and begs to call her mother as he sprays her with his toxin. He promises that one day, she will thank him for teaching her how to control her fear; to conquer it.
He remembers how when he was a boy, his own father had tried to teach him the same thing. Despite young Jonathan's begging, his father attached sensors to his body, claiming that these experiments would rival the work of Newton and Fleming. Crane's experiments were so courageous and bold in his mind that he was required to conduct them at home - and Jonathan made a perfect subject. Jonathan begged and pleaded, promising that he would make up for whatever he did wrong, but his father admitted that the boy had done nothing wrong as he tossed him down into a dark hole. While Jonathan screamed and cried in his panic, his father analyzed the sensors' data, coldly.
With the toxin's effects overcoming the young kidnapped girl, her eyes well with tears. With a vial, Crane collects them as they roll down her cheek, cooing that the worst is over - at least until the next experiment. As the toxin wears off, she notices that Crane's lips are bleeding, and asks whether he is alright. He is taken aback by her concern, but steels himself, warning that the next time will be much worse for her.
Bruce dreams of his youth, as he was flying a kite on the grounds of Wayne Manor and fell through the old wooden boards covering a deep well. He had been filled with terror when a swarm of startled bats had flown up into the sunlight above. He ran back to the manor, and his mother had comforted him, reminding that everyone is scared of something. His father, though, merely regarded him sternly.
Bruce wakes from his dream and resolves to ask Clair, the last kidnap victim, for help. Sensitively, he asks permission to speak with her. With her silence as consent, he admits that another girl was taken, and that if she can tell him anything about where she was taken, she could be a big help. She remains silent until he asks for the name of the stuffed animal she holds. She brightens a little, quietly stating that his name is Ducky. Batman wonders if perhaps Ducky could tell him anything about where she was taken. The girl admits that there was a black van with the license plate "HLLWMAN."
Batman tracks down the van to a run down abandoned house on the outskirts of the city, searching with night vision goggles from a nearby tree. With the heat signature recognition, he determines that Gordon is in the house. As he makes a leap for the door, Scarecrow kicks it open and blasts Batman with a blunderbuss full of fear toxin. As if by clockwork, Batman falls back into a hidden pit, slamming down into a mine cart, resting on the tracks of an underground tunnel. As Scarecrow leaps upon him, the cart begins rolling. With a glove tipped with syringes full of fear toxin, Scarecrow plunges the needles into Batman's chest, as he screams in pain and terror.
Appearing in "Cycle of Violence"
- Alfred Pennyworth (Phone call only)
- Thomas Wayne (Flashback only)
- Martha Wayne (Flashback only)
- Natalya Trusevich
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)