The first appearance of Scarecrow in the Silver Age! How will Batman survive his greatest fears?
The Scarecrow's origin is retold. Psychology Professor Jonathan Crane, motivated by the derision of his peers, takes inspiration from fear based protection rackets and crafts a masked identity for himself, the Scarecrow. Using scare tactics, Crane will garner the money he needs to command respect from his critics. On a playground in Gotham Park, Dick Grayson is instructing local youths in proper exercise. Spying a miniature submarine cruising up Gotham River, Grayson tells the boys to take a lunch break. Grayson trails the submarine, taking cover when it surfaces. To Grayson's astonishment, the Scarecrow disembarks the vessel. At that moment, Bruce Wayne, and his faithful manservant Alfred, arrive, bringing ice cream treats for Grayson's charges. Grayson brings Wayne up to speed, then they both don their costumes. The Caper Crusaders catch up with the Scarecrow, and his men, further inland, where the Strawman Scoundrel is busy recovering hidden loot from a previous robbery. Batman punches the Scarecrow into the ground. Robin then pushes Batman down, too, to avoid a hail of gunfire. While the Dynamic Duo battle against the Scarecrow's gunsels, the Scarecrow recovers, and activates a chemical sprayer onboard the submarine. Batman and Robin are bathed in hallucinogenic chemicals, which instills an irrational fear of falling in them both. With the Caped Crusaders desperately clinging to a tree, the Scarecrow collects his loot and departs, leaving his calling card, a handful of straw, to mark his presence. Once the hallucinogen wears off, the Dynamic Duo release their death grip on the tree, and discover the Scarecrow's clue to his crimes, The words "Park", "Ark" and "Mark" written in the sand.
Retiring to the Batcave, Batman and Robin feed the words into the bat computer, in the hopes of determining the Scarecrow's next crime. A replica of Noah's Ark, used in a silent film, and owned by one Raymond Archer, a merchant whose testimony helped convict the Scarecrow, comes up as the next likely crime scene. Taking the Batboat out to Archer's arc, the Dynamic Duo discover that the Scarecrow is, indeed, onboard. They've also walked right into the Scarecrow's trap. Instantly, the Caped Crusaders are struck blind, affected by the vibrations of the Scarecrow's black light weapon, that has altered the sensory perceptions of their very brains. Tossing a handful of straw to the deck, the Scarecrow departs, closing the door behind him. Stumbling blindly about, Robin fumbles for the door knob. Finding it, he opens the door, letting in a panther and a jaguar. Fighting blind, the Caped Crusaders battle against the big cats. Groping about, Robin gathers the Scarecrow's straw from the deck, and lights it on fire, with a laser torch from his utility belt. With the flames keeping the animals at bay, Robin again fumbles for and locates the door, ushering himself and Batman to safety. The effects of the Scarecrow's black light projector slowly wear off. With their vision returned, the Caped Crusaders depart in the Batboat, all the while attempting to determine the Scarecrow's next move. Very quickly, Batman and Robin figure out that "Mark" ultimately refers to millionaire philanthropist Jeremy T. Hall. Rushing to Hall's residence, the Caped Crusaders catches the Scarecrow, and his men, red-handed, in the midst of a robbery. While Robin takes out the Scarecrow's hoods, Batman beats the Strawman Scoundrel into unconsciousness. In short order, the Scarecrow is handed over to the proper authorities.