BATMAN #564 - DC COMICS (1999)


As Scarecrow observes the fear in the people at the Ark Project Refugee Center, Huntress brings a near-dead Mikey to Father Chris, hoping he can do something. Although Father Chris can only pray for him, Huntress knows he won't live to the morning and leaves to get help. Scarecrow, who hoped that the attack on Mikey would cause a riot, fears that the people have been brought closer together instead. He tries to incite a riot, claiming that prayer is not helping and that instead the people are now in hell and cannot be saved. Huntress finds Batman on a rooftop and asks him to help Mikey. Although he tells her about the MASH sector hospital that was set-up, she says she can't afford to leave the area unprotected. Begging him to help, he agrees and carries Mikey himself. On the way, Mikey confesses that he is happy that he has been able to help people, since his mother would be proud of him. The MASH sector is busy, as the only real doctor there is Dr. Leslie Thompkins, former partner of Thomas Wane. Batman surprises her in her tent with Mikey, asking for her help. She helps him, but he falls asleep in critical condition. Dr. Thompkins and Batman talk as friends and equals, her calling him Bruce. They ask each other why they stayed. Leslie confesses that she stayed because of Bruce's father, while Batman confesses that he stayed partly just for her. In the center, Scarecrow is still trying to incite a riot, telling the people that Mikey is dead. Despite Huntress' concerns, Father Chris claims that Scarecrow is not dangerous without his chemicals. Father Chris, though, leaves for a meeting with Commissioner Gordon, who is adamant that the center comes under the Blue Boys protection. During the meeting, Gordon implies that he knows that the center is hiding Penguin's arsenal for him, and that he is not afraid of raiding the center for the guns. During their meeting, Batman confronts Penguin to find where he hid his arsenal. Penguin refuses to say, so Batman places a small electronic device on the room's gas-powered generator, telling Penguin it is a miniature EMP "bomb" that will destroy every other generator in Penguin's hoard in less than two minutes. Penguin confesses, and Batman, aghast to learn the weapons are inside the refugee center, rushes out. Penguin grabs the "bomb", only to find it is actually a travel alarm clock. Crushing it with his bare hands in fury, he tells his henchmen to get the gang together to take back his arsenal. Scarecrow sets his plans in motion by sending a note to Huntress to tell her about the arsenal and then finding the False Facer gang and letting them know about the arsenal. While Father Chris is worried about what Gordon told him, Huntress receives her note. She rushes to the fallout shelter and brings back a box of weapons. As Chris tries to explain to Father Papaleo about his deal, the False Facers show up outside, ready to attack for the weapons. Although Scarecrow convinces the people to pick up the guns and fight for their center, Father Chris realizes it is all his fault, and goes outside by himself to confront the gang.