"The Truth And Nothing But": Despite what everyone else in Gotham City seems to think, they are living a lie; The Scarecrow's lie. Though Batman has been fortunate enough to see through the facade, his allies have fallen victim to one
- This is not Gotham. Gotham is not a happy place. Not a place of sunny skies, clean sidewalks, safe streets and friendly citizens. This Gotham is a lie. Scarecrow's lie.
- -- Batman
Appearing in "The Truth And Nothing But"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
Synopsis for "The Truth And Nothing But"
Despite what everyone else in Gotham City seems to think, they are living a lie; The Scarecrow's lie. Though Batman has been fortunate enough to see through the facade, his allies have fallen victim to one of the Scarecrows serums, and now work for him. After escaping Arkham Asylum with Poison Ivy's help, though, Batman was faced with the dilemma of cooperating, or watching his brainwashed companions die. With no real choice, Batman allowed himself to succumb to Crane's Fear Toxin, which seemingly gave the Scarecrow control over him as well. Of course, Crane's allies are not keen on working with one of their greatest enemies, and so Scarecrow gives them permission to kill him if they even suspect that he is hesitating to do as they command.
Having only recently taken an antidote for the Fear Toxin, though, Batman is not under Crane's control - but he must seem to be until he discovers how Crane is releasing his toxin into Gotham. That, however, could mean edging dangerously close to lines he doesn't want to cross. Scarecrow sends Batman out with Professor Pyg and Merry-Maker to perform experiments in fear. These experiments entail giving Gothamites the illusion of happiness during the day, and terrorizing them by night. The theory is that the contrast makes the fear more pure. The psychological repercussions, though, are severe, and could leave permanent scarring. On their first outing, Batman ensures that he administers a significant amount of the toxin by his own hand, to prove himself.
Within hours, Batman understands what Scarecrow is doing. Exposure to the fear gas while under the prolonged effects of the contentment toxin produces a specific change in the brain's chemistry, which fundamentally alters its production of noradrenaline, which - when extracted - is then used to create further toxins. Taking the lead, Batman had chosen twelve career criminals he'd never been able to keep behind bars as his subjects. Now, these men will be plagued for the rest of their lives by nightmares of him. Now that Scarecrow has had his fill of Gotham, he intends to spread his toxin to the entire state. Unseen by him, Batman slipped a counter-agent in among the extractions, and it may only be a short time before it reverses the toxin's impact after being mixed in.
Later, as the counter-agent mixes in with the blimps full of toxin, each reaction causes an explosion. The results are near-immediate, as Batman's own allies realize who they really are, and where they really are. Soon, they turn on their captors, and Batman expects they will come out of this with okay - if somewhat damaged. However, as Scarecrow is loaded into a van to go back to Arkham, he bursts out in a cloud of fear-gas, and mocks Batman's attempts to stop him, stabbing his claws into Batman's chest. As Jonathan Crane gleefully declares Gotham his, Batman watches from behind the glass of the man's padded cell, remarking that the contentment serum will go a long way to ensuring that inmates like Crane subdued - but it probably won't last, in Crane's case, anyway.
Some days later, Batman's patrol is interrupted by Catwoman, who begs to talk about their relationship. She explains that from the fragments she remembers of Crane's utopia, they were partners - and more. They were happy. Uncomfortably, Batman steels himself, responding that the Gotham they were in wasn't real - it altered her mind, and showed her what she wanted to see. Skeptically, she points out that he saw the same thing. Though it isn't true, Batman states firmly that the only thing he saw was a safe Gotham, and nothing else - and that's all he has time for. Despite her doubts, Batman moves on, leaving her alone on the rooftop.
- This book was first published on March 5, 2014.
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