Elsewhere, Bruce sits in his new (er, latest) girlfriend's apartment, as they discuss their last meeting, that didn't turn out so well. Natalya tries to sympathize with Bruce, believing he has an "armor" to himself, built up by his past. She brings up her own, growing up poor in Russia, but before she can continue, Bruce gets a call from Alfred, telling him to turn on the news to the report of Gordon's disappearance. To Natalya's dismay, sure enough, Bruce has to take his leave.
Bruce meets with Bullock at Gordon's house, outside is the dead hobo, as Bullock points out that forensics found that the guy was literally scared to death. Bruce has a pretty good idea what that means, but goes into Gordon's house to find remains of a new fear gas toxin, confirming that he is indeed dealing with Scarecrow.
Speaking of Scarecrow, he straight up snatches another girl from a nearby park, and starts dosing her with his toxin. While he's doing this, the story flashes back to his father experimenting on him, as a child. Despite his pleading not to, claiming he'll be good, Crane's father attaches the young would be maniac with diodes, and shoves him into a deep, dark pit, while observing his reactions and emotions. Back in the present, Scarecrow continues his own experiments, finishing them up by collecting the girl's tears. When the fear toxin wears off, the girl, being as young as she is, begins to innocently ask questions, noticing Scarecrow's bleeding lips, asking if he's alright, something that doesn't make him all too happy, promising an even more intense round two of fear.
That night, Bruce wakes up after a dream of him falling into the cave... you know, the Batman Begins scene. Knowing he has to find Gordon, he figures he'll try the girl who he found last issue again. Calmly, Bruce enters her room, and asks her a few questions, mainly if she remembers any detail, no matter how slight. Not getting a response, he asks the girl what her stuffed animal's name is. "Ducky," she replies. Bruce then asks if Ducky remembers anything, leading the girl to "answer" for her stuffed Duck, revealing that she remembers a license plate on a car.
Bruce then goes to stake out the house, where the car is supposed to reside. Using a pair of high tech goggles, he finds Gordon inside, and goes straight for the door, but Scarecrow is waiting. The door flies open, as Bruce gets a face full of toxin, and thrown into a pit in the yard, that had been covered secretly. Bruce lands in a mine car, followed by Scarecrow who injects him with multiple needles, as the car speeds down the track...
So, this seemed like more of another set up issue, and the real fun will probably begin in the next, but what was here was rather enjoyable. Great art, and some new perspective on Jonathan Crane, who had quite the past of his own, well... a new version of it, I guess. The one thing I had in the back of my mind is, for as many times as Hurwitz said he was going to do with Scarecrow what he did with Penguin, I'm thinking it may be too close to what he did in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice, where he may begin to repeat himself. But, who knows, that could be a good thing, we'll have to wait and see. It isn't something that I'm too worried about now, it's just something that I'll have to keep in the back of my mind. Other than that, I again really loved the scenes between Bruce and the little girl. It offers up a different side of Bruce we don't get to see too often, the one that can immediately sympathize with a scared child, and drop the cold as ice act. Finally... again, I have issue with the coloring in spots. Oback is a fantastic colorist, I've said this... but something seems to be getting lost in translation from script to colors. Take for instance the final scene... it's night time just prior, and in that scene Bruce is using night vision goggles (which he mentions by name)... yet it's bright as day out. I'm reading it just thinking "No... that's clearly wrong."
Whatever, regardless, I'm liking where Hurwitz is going on this book, major improvement so far.