The Joker and Scarecrow are still in play, and they still have the mayor as their hostage.

Batman #496

Written by Doug Moench
Pencils by Jim Aparo
Inks by Josef Rubenstein
Colors by Adrienne Roy
Lettering by Richard Starkings
Edited by Jordan B. Gorfinkel & Denny O’Neil

Batman is dead on his feet – and The Joker and Scarecrow know it, though at their hide out tensions are running high on whether they want to keep running the GCPD ragged or if they want to move on The Bat.

Ultimately, they decide to move on Batman, using some tunnels The Joker picked out for an earlier plan.

Meanwhile, at the Mayor’s mansion, Bullock and the police have arrived, and Bullock is through waiting for the Bomb squad, goes to charge in – only to set off a booby trap. He only escapes certain death through a timely intervention by Batman.

Considering the tone of this story, I find this really hilarious.

Joker and Scarecrow, with Krol, drive to the Gotham tunnel and blow both sides using a rocket launcher, and head to the access tunnels.

I’m assuming the rocket launcher was among the hardware dumped by Bane and company at Arkham.

Bane and crew watch the carnage on the news. Bane is impressed by Joker and Scarecrow – but he is confident that Batman will take them down, and once he’s done so, they’ll make their move.

Batman moves in, and faces The Scarecrow first, who hits him with Fear Gas.

Aw, Sugar. You just gone and done the dumbest thing in your whole life.

This backfires spectacularly, as Batman’s got Jason Todd on the mind, and particularly since he’s going up against The Joker. Batman very quickly takes down Scarecrow, before proceeding to The Joker and beating the shit out of him.

In retrospect, mistakes were made.

The only thing saving Batman from crossing the same line with The Joker that he almost did with Zsasz is Scarecrow launching a missile into the roof, causing the tunnel to flood, forcing Batman to choose between saving Krol or finishing The Joker – and he chooses to save Krol, as the tunnel continues to flood.

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