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Quote1 Fear is primal. Raw. Blood pressure increases. Veins in your skin contract. Your immune system shuts down. Even if you attempt to steel against fear, ... it is undeniable. Fear makes us human. That was the conclusion of Charles Darwin. Who am I to argue? I'm a man of science, too. A psychologist. But few know my academic achievements. If you know me at all, you know me as ... the Scarecrow! Quote2
-- The Scarecrow src

Jonathan Crane is the Scarecrow, a criminal in Gotham City who takes pride in spreading fear using his specially-designed fear toxin. This makes him an enemy of the city's protector Batman.

Origin

When Jonathan Crane was a child, his father was a scientist who researched the emotion of fear. Unable to use proper test subjects, Dr. Crane used his own son Jonathan as his guinea pig.

As part of the experiments, Jonathan was locked inside a little dark room while his father examined the effects on his son. One day however, during one of the experiments, Dr. Crane experienced a heart attack and died, leaving young Jonathan still trapped in the pitch black test chamber. Dr. Crane's employers at the University became concerned about his prolonged absence, and eventually, police were called to investigate. When they arrived at the Crane's household, the cops spotted the test chamber and were horrified to find Jonathan alone down inside, having survived days of starving and being completely terrified. [1]

As a result of this event, he was traumatized most of his childhood until, eventually, Jonathan decided that if he could control fear, he would never have to live in it again. He soon developed an obsession with his goal and became a psychologist with a concentration in phobias. Not waiting long to put his degree to use, Crane began using patients as test subjects to develop a project that he would later call "Fear Toxin". The gas, when inhaled, would cause his victims to hallucinate about their worst fears.

Crane, adopting the alias "the Scarecrow", soon became a threat to Gotham City, as he took criminal measures to perfect his fear gas.

Early Crimes

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Scarecrow began his first reign of terror not long after Dick Grayson became the first Robin during Batman's second year. Scarecrow was the first 'super villain' Robin fought, following the training he received directly from Batman after his parents' deaths.

Crane began his criminal career by first pretending to help the GCPD solve the cases of the newly emerging Fear Toxin outbreaks, only to be figured out by Batman and Robin soon after. Having evaded their clutches in their first encounter, the duo pursued Crane on an extended mission to bring him to justice. [2][3] In the process, he was forced to work with the Orphan and Mother after the two threatened to kill him if he didn't comply.[4]

Returning to Gotham, Scarecrow participated in the War of Jokes and Riddles between the Joker and the Riddler. Crane joined the Riddler's army and, for weeks, both sides fought each other in the streets of Gotham with Batman unable to contain the violence. When the Riddler made his final push on Joker's location, Scarecrow and the rest of the army were all simultaneously captured by Batman. [5]

Years later, after Bruce Wayne was seemingly killed by Darkseid and Dick Grayson took on the mantle of Batman, the dead were risen from the grave as members of the Black Lantern Corps in what would be called "Blackest Night". With every color of the emotional spectrum coming together to fight the Black Lanterns, Scarecrow was awarded a Yellow Power Ring, powered by fear, and used it to fight. After the Lanterns were defeated, Scarecrow's ring was taken back, leaving a void for power that he craved to wield again. [6]

Cycle of Violence

Scarecrow develops a new "super toxin"

Scarecrow develops a new "super toxin"

Years later, Scarecrow, having broken out of prison, kidnapped Commissioner Gordon and used him as bait for Batman to find. When the trap was a success, Crane collected some of the Bat's hormones and, mixing them with those of other victims, perfected a super fear toxin that even he wasn't immune to. [1] After what seemed like days captured and restrained by the Scarecrow, Batman broke free from his chains inside Scarecrow's hideout and fought his captor until a broken gas pipe caused the shack to explode. Scarecrow, showing his humane side, actually saved one of his test subjects from the explosion and encouraged her to escape. He, too, made his getaway in the confusion. [7]

Losing a lot of blood from his fight with the Bat, the madman made one last play in order to bring Gotham to its knees. Infecting thousands of people with his new super toxin during the Christmas parade, Scarecrow tended his injury and waited in one of his safe houses until his poison had finished. However, his plan failed since Batman, having been affected by the toxin for so long in Scarecrow's old hideout, developed an antidote from his own blood and distributed it to all the infected using the Batplane. With the GCPD, the dark knight discovered Scarecrow and returned him to Arkham Asylum. [8]

Gothtopia

Main article: Batman: Gothtopia

Freed from prison, Scarecrow made a brief appearance in Metropolis but was quickly returned to Gotham by Swamp Thing and Superman, who powered through his Fear Toxin. [9]

Back in Gotham, Scarecrow enacted a new plot to terrorize Batman: instead of using fear, he would make Batman see Gotham as a utopia. Tricking the dark knight and his allies into wearing toxin-laced Scarecrow masks, the heroes of the city forgot their pasts and were stuck in a peaceful hallucination. Batman was the first one to see through the ruse and deduced that the "Gothtopia" that he was protecting was all a lie. [10] Working with Poison Ivy to create an antidote for the "contentment toxin", Batman once again defeated the Scarecrow and forced him to be affected by his own toxin, making Crane hallucinate that he successfully beat Batman. [11]

Arkham War

Bane and Scarecrow, opposing forces for control of Gotham

Bane and Scarecrow, opposing forces for control of Gotham

When the Crime Syndicate arrived on Earth and seemingly killed the Justice League, all major villains around the world were broken out of their cells and allowed to roam free. Scarecrow, loving the idea of a group of united villains, became a liaison of sorts for the Secret Society. [12]

Crane and his fellow Arkham Asylum inmates, realizing it was pointless to fight among themselves, agreed to share Gotham. While Mayor Penguin mapped out districts for each villain to control, Bane prepared to break the peace by recruiting the prisoners of Blackgate Penitentiary to join him in taking Gotham for themselves, initiating what would be called the "Arkham War". [13]

Gotham City became a war zone between the prisons, with Scarecrow acting as the leader of the Arkham army. After advances on both sides, the war eventually came to a head, and Bane emerged the victor. [14] To honor his win, Bane hung Crane on a telephone wire like an actual scarecrow, announcing to Gotham that they were under new management. However, before long, Batman returned to the city, not dead like the Crime Syndicate had claimed. Using a batarang to slice Scarecrow down, the Bat left Crane in front of the GCPD Headquarters for the police to return to Arkham. [15]

Eternal and Endgame

Scarecrow's stay at the Asylum this time was cut short by a mysterious benefactor trying to exhaust and kill Batman. Mister Bygone and Joker's Daughter were left in charge of organizing a magic ritual to resurrect Deacon Blackfire right underneath Arkham. Scarecrow, still in his cell, was abducted against his will to be used as the energy source for the ritual. [16] [17] Batwing and Jim Corrigan arrived in time to stop the summoning from finishing but, despite their efforts, Arkham Asylum was destroyed in the process. Scarecrow, recovering from being used as a human circuit breaker, escaped undetected in the madness.

Scarecrow, invited to assemble with some of Gotham's worst by the same benefactor from before, was given advanced weapons to use to exhaust Batman. [18] [19] Scarecrow, enthused, claimed several assault drones for himself but, even with his enhanced weaponry, was still defeated by Batman and Batwing [20] and returned to Arkham Manor. [21]

Again, Scarecrow's detention at Arkham wasn't a long one. When the Joker returned to the city after a year long hiatus with an endgame for Batman in mind, every prisoner in Arkham Manor was released and infected with Joker Venom; only certain criminals who had prolonged chemical exposure prior to the infection such as Scarecrow were immune to it. The surviving group of Arkhamites banded together, knowing that the Joker had gone off the deep end this time around, and escaped into the city, [22] eventually meeting up with Batman to help take the Joker down. [23]

Batman and Robin Eternal

After the deaths of Batman and the Joker during the last fight between the two, Scarecrow was recruited as a member of the Sinestro Corps once again, having previously been deputized during the Blackest Night, to help fight Mongul and the Paling. After the Corps' mission was a success, Scarecrow was decommissioned from the Corps but secretly held onto his ring to study. [24]

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Rebirth

Having studied his Yellow Power Ring for months, Scarecrow created a machine that could synthesize the ring's power without needing permission to wear it. He used this machine to secretly hypnotize people into feeling immense fear through viral videos. Batman, believing the case would be Sinestro Corps related, called in the Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz to help take down Crane and return him to Arkham. [25]

Batwoman

Some time later, he had joined The Many Arms of Death as "the Needle," using their funding to keep his research going. Capturing Batwoman in the Sahara Desert, he experimented on her and others, including Colony Prime.[26]

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Powers

Abilities

  • Psychology: Jonathan Crane is an expert in the field of psychology, specifically the study of anxiety disorders. He is a walking textbook on the study of fear, and can recite the name and description of nearly every known phobia.
  • Intimidation
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat (Basic)

Equipment

  • Scarecrow's Fear Toxin
  • Venom: Scarecrow has experimented extensively with Bane's signature drug both with his permission [27] and without. Scarecrow has shown that combining the drug with his own toxin makes the user lose their mind and become completely fearless. [28] Scarecrow has also proven that taking trace amounts of Venom can be used to temporarily allow great muscle growth.
  • Scythe

Weapons

  • Scarecrow was Dick Grayson's first 'super villain' while acting as Robin. [2]

Related


Footnotes


Batman Villains 0003
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Batman Villain(s)
This character, team or organization, is or was primarily an enemy of the Batman, or the Batman Family as a whole. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Batman Villains."
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Secret Society of Super-Villains member
This character is or was a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, a cadre of super-villains who band together to accomplish feats no one super-villain can do alone, in any of its various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Secret Society of Super-Villains members" category.

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Sinestro Corps member
This character is or was a member of the Sinestro Corps, chosen by Sinestro to counteract the Green Lantern Corps and spread terror throughout their sector with a Power Ring.

This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Sinestro Corps members category."