There are many iconic villains that Batman faces regularly. Some are more famous than others. And some are underrated as compared to others. Scarecrow belongs to the second category of Batman villains. But in reality, Scarecrow is one of the deadliest Batman’s adversaries. We got to see this scary side of this underrated villain in the Arkham Asylum games. Where threatens to spread his toxins in Gotham. He was also responsible for distributing these said toxins in Gotham City in the Batman Begins film.
He can be silly or just downright nightmarish for Batman. Because whenever he attacks, he attacks big. And tries to spread his toxins throughout the city as opposed o other villains who might target a specific group or even a person whenever they seek vengeance against Batman. And it makes things a lot harder for Batman when all the lives of Gotham are at stake due to the fear toxin of Scarecrow.
We will discuss his origin story and personality in this article and explain why he is amongst terrifying Batman villains.
Scarecrow made his debut in the 1940s. But it wasn’t until the silver age, or the 60’s that he became a recurring villain in the Batman comics. Till this time, the only thing we know about him is that his actual name is Jonathan Crane. And he is a professor of psychology at Gotham University. He turns to crime after being fired from his position after he had fired a gun in a classroom full of students to illustrate a point. The only thing revealed about his early life is that, as a child, he had liked to frighten birds.
And it wasn’t until the 1989 graphic novel Batman/Scarecrow #1 that we got to see an in-depth look into his origin story. In the novel, it is revealed that he becomes obsessed with fear and revenge after being bullied for his entire childhood and teenage. And he dons his scarecrow costume to take revenge on his bully as well as the girl who rejected him for prom. Unfortunately, the revenge plot ultimately leads to the girl’s death at the bully’s hands due to a car accident that paralyzes the bully himself for the rest of his life.
The New 52
After the New 52 reboot, the origin story of Scarecrow was also altered. And according to this new timeline, Jonathan was used as a test subject for his father’s experiment. His father was studying the effects of fear and thus subjected Jonathan to various fear-inducing experiments damaging him little by little with each experiment. And as a part of one of his experiments, he locked Jonathan in a small dark room, but before he could free the young child from his captivity, he suffered heart failure. He was causing Jonathan to remain trapped in the room for days before he was rescued.
But this captivity in darkness damaged him for good, and this severe trauma caused him to get obsessed with fear as well. So he became a psychologist specializing in phobias and joined Arkham Asylum. And to do his research regarding phobias and other worries, Crane began using patients as test subjects for his fear toxin.
In this origin story, he becomes a villain after stabbing a patient to death and losing his post at the university after covering a girl with arachnophobia with spiders.
Crane is obsessed with fear and enjoys frightening his victims, often literally to death. He uses his fear toxin to scare his victims. Prolonged exposure to his toxin has damaged Crane’s brain. And because of this, he is incapable of being afraid of anything. His motivation for crime is not money or any other material object. Instead, he does everything out of his obsession with fear and his urge to research more about it.
Furthermore, he is a master strategist and manipulator. Whose genius makes Scarecrow one of the most ruthless and fearsome criminals Batman has ever faced.
Why is Scarecrow Underrated
Despite being an expert of chemistry and synthesizing his fear toxin in large quantities, and being able to attack all of Gotham with this toxin. Scarecrow is still considered underrated. This is because he has never been used properly. Even after his debut the writers never used him for about 20 years or so and it wasn’t until the 60’s that he was revived and started appearing more frequently in Batman comics.
Most of his appearances are overshadowed by other villains and he is made to look silly in order to boost the personality of some other villain. Take Batman Begins, for example, where Dr. Jonathan Crane AKA Scarecrow was introduced with Ra’s al Ghul and ultimately became over-shadowed by him.
What Makes Scarecrow So Terrifying?
He is an expert in chemical and psychological warfare and uses his fear toxin on several occasions to wreak havoc all across Gotham. He is also among the most intelligent villains. His body count is a testament as to why he is to be feared. As he never attacks small and tries to attack all of Gotham presenting quite a challenge to Gotham’s protector.
His fear toxin formula only gets stronger with time and due to this reason, he does not need a gang to attack Gotham. All he needs is to spread his toxin in Gotham and he is ready to study the results of his toxin on a mass scale. But perhaps the deadliest part of Scarecrow is that no one is immune to his attacks. Doesn’t it matter who you are? If the fear toxin hits you, it will have a deadly effect on you.
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