WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman Beyond #23 by Dan Jurgens, Will Conrad, Travis Lanham and David Baron.
Batman Beyond has had fun with bringing in classic villains from the Dark Knight's rogues' gallery ever since the animated series appeared on the scene in 1999. Now, another classic foe has joined the lineup of Terry McGinnis' enemies.
Each of the featured villains has had some kind of cyberpunk twist added that makes them deadlier in the future -- the Hush of Neo-Gotham is a clone of Dick Grayson, Joker uploaded his consciousness and memories into Tim Drake and so on. It's allowed for them to maintain the spirit of who they are while becoming a problem that only Terry can really face. And now a new Scarecrow is on the scene, scaring up Gotham in a novel way that fits with the somewhat-distant futuristic setting.
The "Target: Batman" arc has slowly been peeling back the curtain on a new Scarecrow that's managed to make everyone fearful of Batman without the use of the Fear Toxin we usually associate with the character. New Scarecrow is instead relying on sound to turn the citizens of Gotham into victims, and it proves to be an effective one that makes everyone think that their watchful protector is a ghoulish demon. Terry and Bruce (plus Terry's little brother Matt, who recently became Robin) are all stumped for a solution when the typical Scarecrow tactic of "don't breathe in the gas" won't cut it.
It's actually a pretty clever spin on the Batman baddie we've come to know and fear over the decades. When taking into consideration how much of Batman's whole ordeal is based on sound -- so much so that the Arkham games have an entire stealth mechanic built around it -- her choice to use this method makes her an even deadlier enemy than usual.
Though the book hasn't explicitly confirmed it yet, the new Scarecrow pretty much has to be Adalyn, a friend of Jack Ryder (the former Batman villain known as the Creeper), who witnessed her father getting beaten to a pulp by Bruce when he was still Batman. As Jack points out, it's probably very traumatizing to watch a parent get beaten down when you're just a helpless kid, and now she has the power to make everyone feel the fear for Batman that she's had for years.
Adalyn's position at News 52 as a journalist gives her a whole new reach that being a psychologist never could. She makes that explicitly clear when she hijacks the many giant ad screens that litter the center of Gotham. By the time Terry and Matt arrive on the scene, it's too late: The city is struck with fear of Batman again, and Barbara Gordon's one of the victims, helpfully destroying the Batmobile so the new Dynamic Duo are at the public's mercy. Or rather, just Terry, since Matt is susceptible and, in his fear-stricken state, disables Terry's jetpack as the two are above a crowd of citizens who have gone into a frenzy.
No doubt Batman and Robin will save the day, as they're wont to do, but the new Scarecrow has instantly left an impression. As far as the descendants of classic Batman villains go, she's definitely the most memorable of them all so far, and possibly even scarier than the New Joker when he makes his arrival in October. Maybe.