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Detective Comics #73

December 23, 1942

"The Scarecrow Returns"

OK, I'm excited for this. I was never a big fan of Scarecrow as, like Penguin, he seems like a one note villain, but these early stories have been really good. In fact, I'll take a Penguin or Scarecrow story over a Joker one these days.

In addition, we have the return of Linda Page, none the worse after her love triangle issues with Catwoman.

Our story opens with Crane, the Scarecrow coming to the conclusion he can instill fear in people based on small, monosyllabic words. OK. Let's see where that goes.

Meanwhile, Bruce and Linda are hat shopping for Linda. Bruce mocks the latest trends in hats that give a nod to the war effort. The hat show is interrupted by Scarecrow and his men who want to rob the store of its collection of expensive hats of the past. Bruce tries to stop them by being a clumsy fool, but he is knocked out by Scarecrow.

When Bruce comes around, he finds that Scarecrow left his chalk slate behind with the words HAT and MAT written on it. Batman deduces that a wrestling match for raising money for war bonds is the next target. He and Robin sneak into the arena to surprise Scarecrow. And in a nice bit of Batman 66 dialogue, Robin laments there is something unpatriotic about sneaking in instead of paying for a ticket like everyone else, but stealth is needed here to stop Scarecrow.

Batman and Robin leap in when they discover the wrestlers are Scarecrow's men who pull guns and demand all the money of the crowd. Scarecrow meanwhile robs the box office. Batman and Robin are doing very well with taking out Scarecrow's men - too good. Scarecrow abandons his theft of the box office to shoot the giant lighting fixture about the ring, causing it to fall on Batman and Robin. He and his men then escape.

They are given another chalk slate with the word VAT written on it along with a business card for a cleaners. Batman and Robin head to the location to check it out. They sneak in from above, avoiding the thugs waiting outside to jump them. Inside, they take on Scarecrow's men as he runs off.

The two chase after Scarecrow and find themselves trapped in one of the cleaner's vats. Scarecrow's men tie them up and leave them in the vat filling with water. They manage to free themselves with a hook the Scarecrow somehow manages to drop into the vat.

Meanwhile, the Scarecrow robs a store in Chinatown, revealing in finding a Chinese scarecrow, a good omen. I love that the owner of the shop isn't the stereotype in terms of his speech. I must admit, as soon as the scene shifted to Chinatown, I was bracing myself for the broken English, so this was a nice surprise.

Batman and Robin arrive to stop Scarecrow and his men with Scarecrow being led off and vowing revenge.

It's a good story, but I have to question how much fear played into it. Scarecrow said people would be afraid of simple words, but it appeared more like he was just tipping off Batman and Robin to his plans which was ultimately his undoing. Still, looking forward to his next appearance which looks not to be for some time.

And what's next? We move on to World's Finest Comics. Stay tuned, Citizens!

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