WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Infinite Frontier #0 by James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey and ALW’s Troy Peteri and Man-Bat #2 by Dave Wielgosz, Sumit Kumar, Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
The Scarecrow seems to be a rather busy villain, both before the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal and after. As always, he seems to be causing problems for the bats of Gotham City. But this time around, his machinations have also affected the life of Man-Bat. While his scheming is slowly ruining the lives of Batman and Man-Bat respectively, his efforts to hurt Batman are intentional, while his plans to hunt down Man-Bat were more a consequence of bad luck. And of course, the major thing separating these two plots (aside from their victims) is the sheer ambition behind them.
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In Infinite Frontier #2, it was revealed that Scarecrow has been counseling Simon Saint on the current state of Gotham City. He had been asked by the mysterious businessman to gauge how afraid Gotham was to determine if the city was ready to accept his proposed Magistrate Program, revealing that Scarecrow had a hand in the beginning of Gotham’s transition into a police state. And as Future State revealed, Scarecrow would continue to work for the Magistrate, but under his real name, Jonathan Crane.
But it is more surprising to see his direct hand in the creation of the Magistrate, considering the Magistrate’s policy against anyone in a mask. But whether Scarecrow is in charge of the Magistrate program or simply acting as an enforcer for Simon Saint will remains to be seen. What is certain is that he is determined to increase Gotham’s state of fear to push them in Simon’s Saint’s waiting arms. The only thing that might stand in the way of this is Batman, who has no idea what is being planned for his city at the moment. And judging from his capture at the Scarecrow’s hands in Batman #106 by James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Jorge Jimenez, Gleb Melnikov and Tomeu Morey, it would seem that Scarecrow intends to use the Dark Knight as the tool to make the Magistrate a reality.
But there were earlier schemes in motion, though on a much smaller scale. Man-Bat had previously attempted to stop the Blackout Gang from stealing a sonic cannon, but this resulted in a tragic car chase that detonated the weapon and ended up deafening the people in the blast radius. The Blackout Gang got away, but their employer wasn’t revealed until Man-Bat #2. They returned to the Scarecrow, who punished them for their failure before improvising a new plan to move forward.
For reasons unknown, Scarecrow had hired the Blackout Gang to steal the sonic cannon. Most likely it was for some fear-related scheme, but his true endgame has yet to be revealed. What is interesting is that Man-Bat’s interference was completely unexpected, but at the same time, fortuitous. His attack destroyed the cannon, but also reminded Scarecrow that there were two people who could repair it: Kirk and Francine Langstrom. All he had to do was send the Blackout Gang after the monster that ruined his plans in the first place. And so, largely by accident, Scarecrow ended up targeting another unsuspecting bat as a pawn in his plans.
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