SCARECROW CHARACTER PROFILE
The Scarecrow, also known as Dr. Jonathan Crane, is a notorious supervillain in the DC Universe and one of Batman‘s most enduring foes. Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the character first appeared in World’s Finest Comics #3 in 1941. Over the years, Scarecrow has become a prominent figure in Batman’s rogues gallery, known for his expertise in psychological manipulation and fear tactics.
|REAL NAME||Johnathan Crane|
|CREATED BY||Bill Finger (Writer)|
Bob Kane (Artist)
|FIRST APPEARANCE||World’s Finest Comics #3 (1941)|
|ABILITIES||Use of Fear Toxins|
Expertise in both psychology and biochemistry
THE BIRTH OF SCARECROW (ORIGINS)
Jonathan Crane had a troubled childhood, often tormented by bullies. Which impacted him enough to develop a new obsession with fear. Which would inevitably result in the creation of a hallucinogenic drug, known as the ‘Fear Toxin’.
Inspiration for the character creation of Scarecrow came from Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Which featured a main character known as Ichabod Crane, who had a very similar physique and surname.
Two of his school bullies that would often target him were that of Bo Griggs and Sherry Squires. As a way of getting revenge on the two Johnathan disguises himself as a scarecrow and brandishes a gun in the school parking lot. He manages to chase the bullies off and they both end up being fatal victims to a car accident.
As Johnathan got older he managed to land the role as a psychologist. Where he would become a professor and specialize in the study of phobias. Secretly he would also perform a series of fear-inducing experimental tests on his various subjects and patients.
After an incident with a firearm and an injured student, Crane loses his job. However, as way to get revenge on having been removed from the job he successfully manages to eliminate the professors that were responsible for his termination.
The character of Scarecrow was then formed and a new path to being a Gotham criminal had been revealed
Scarecrow Maquette Statue – Tweeterhead
Batman: Fear State Saga DC Comics
McFarlane Scarecrow DC Gaming Toy
THE POWER OF FEAR
As a brilliant psychologist, Scarecrow has an extensive knowledge of human fears, phobias, and anxiety disorders. He uses this knowledge to identify his victims’ mental pressure points and exploit them for his own benefit.
Scarecrow’s signature weapon is his fear toxin, a potent hallucinogenic chemical that induces terrifying hallucinations in his victims. Over the years, the fear toxin has been refined and its potency increased, to the point where it can cause near-instantaneous terror-induced heart attacks or even permanent psychosis.
BATMAN ARKHAM ASYLUM
Scarecrow makes his first appearance in the Batman Arkham series with Batman Arkham Asylum. Where he is seen working alongside the Joker. He was also part of the Clown‘s ”party list”. This was further evident when Joker managed to appear on one of the big screens over in the Medical Facility. The Clown then gives off vague hints and clues to two of his ”old friends”, both of whom were invited to ‘his party’. Stating that ”one will be absolutely terrified if you leave without saying hello”. This, of course, was referring to Johnathan Crane.
Whilst Batman continued his search to find the kidnapped Commissioner Gordon. He eventually seems to find him, dead. Unaware of what was actually happening the Dark Knight attempts to call Oracle. Who had been helping him through communications. However, the call was not able to connect.
The Dark Knight then appeared at the Morgue and to a reanimated awakening of his parents. Who had long since been dead.
When Batman finally snapped back to his senses, he then realized that he must have been under the influence of Scarecrow’s ‘Fear Toxin’. He was also relieved that the officer who, at first, seemed to be that of James Gordon, was in actuality a security officer. Meaning that Gordon was still out there somewhere.
The second encounter occurs over in the Arkham Mansion. When tasked with searching for Dr. Young and her notes. This encounter placed Bruce as a much younger version of himself, on the day of his parents murder over in Crime Alley.
The rest of the night saw other various encounters until an incident that occurred over in Killer Croc’s lair. One that saw the beast seemingly attack Crane. Mauling his face in the process.
The relationship between both Joker and Crane also ended when Johnathan deciding to try his luck on using his ‘Fear Toxin’. The Clown was not amused and beat the strawman with a chair. The toxin did not phase the Clown Prince.
BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT
After spending several years recovering from his injuries against Killer Croc. He then found himself alone. Though his hatred for the Dark Knight still lingered. During his recovery he decided to undergo facial reconstruction surgery. Which saw the iconic mask that he would wear be stitched and etched on to his face. It was now more part of him than ever before.
Scarecrow then returned and formed an alliance with the mysterious Arkham Knight, a new antagonist with a personal vendetta against Batman. Together, they orchestrate a citywide reign of terror, using the Scarecrow’s fear toxin and the Arkham Knight’s military forces to bring Gotham City to its knees.
It was here when Scarecrow decided to create his new plan known as ‘Project Cloudburst’. Which was a much more potent version of the ‘Fear Toxin’. He had originally been working on it alongside the wealthy scientist, Simon Stagg.
However, Crane caught on that Stagg had double-crossed him. That he had secretly planned to reverse-engineer the Fear Toxin to cure depression. It was his way of showing his hatred between Crane and his obsessed revenge against the Dark Knight. As punishment Crane attacked Stagg’s airships, where much of his research had been conducted. Then had the Arkham Knight lock him inside one of the experimental cells. As further punishment.
During the chaos and the imminent take over of both the criminal masterminds. The Commissioner, James Gordon, caught wind that his daughter, Barbara (alternatively known as Oracle and Batgirl), had not managed to escape the city. Though her father knew that many of the innocent citizens had managed to escape, he was hoping that she was one of them.
Instead things got worse when he also found out that the Dark Knight was secretly working alongside her and did not mention anything to him. During this incident Oracle had also managed to get herself kidnapped. Much to the already angered Detective Gordon, who then decided to track her down himself. Without the aid of the Dark Knight.
The kidnapping of Barbara Gordon was all part of Crane’s plan. One in which saw him taunting the Dark Knight over at ACE Chemicals. Before then locking him inside the chemical mixing chamber.
A MISTAKEN SUICIDE
It was even believed that Barbara Gordon may have even killed herself. When Batman found her over in Chinatown. However, the Dark Knight was still under the influence of Crane’s toxin. In actuality Oracle was safe, for now. Much to the unaware hero who remained shackled with guilt.
In fact ever since he had managed to escape ACE Chemicals the Dark Knight had remained under quite a bit of the influence from Crane’s ‘Fear Toxin’. So much so that he was having multiple hallucination episodes. Some of which featured the Joker, who had died and been cremated since the events of Arkham City. Nine months ago.
Eventually ‘Operation Cloudburst’ was triggered and the whole city was engulfed in Fear Toxin. Much of this was evident as the entire city became hidden within the fear cloud itself. Only screams could be heard from those hidden below. Lost to the toxin. The Dark Knight had to use the aid of Poison Ivy in order to free the city and save what was left of it. Though, this would inevitably lead to her ultimate sacrifice.
The Master of Fear eventually tracks down and kidnaps James Gordon, who was still searching for his missing daughter. In kidnapping they also struck a deal. One that promised the release of Barbara Gordon in exchange for bringing Batman to him.
Batman was then led to the Arkham Knight’s HQ, which would also be the location to where the Batmobile would get destroyed. However, it was also where Detective Gordon was currently being held. The Dark Knight was then able to save the detective and their brief argument back at the Clock Tower was put behind them.
The two then ride an elevator to the rooftop of a building that was currently under construction. Here Scarecrow revealed that Oracle was still alive. That the deal between both Gordon and Crane was still on-going. Though that could all end if the detective did not carry out one more favour. One in which Crane had ordered him to shoot the Bat otherwise he would push Barbara off the rooftop.
Gordon had no other choice but to shoot and fire at the Dark Knight. Though, he was obviously smart about it. He had purposely aimed towards the strongest part of the Knight’s armor. Thus knowing full well that there would be no harm caused. It was all an act to, this time, fool Crane.
Regardless of listening to the ‘bag face’s’ orders and fulfilling his demands. Crane ended up pushing Barbara off the rooftop anyway. Luckily the Bat saw it coming and came to her rescue. She would then accept to work as part of the GCPD tech side. Over at the GCPD building.
COMPLYING TO DEMANDS
The final confrontation against Johnathan Crane sees Batman as a captured vigilante. Being forced to comply to his demands. He still had Detective Gordon being held as a prisoner, now alongside Robin too. Who was, originally, being held over at the movie studios. After the Dark Knight placed him there in hopes that, in doing so, he would remain safe. He was wrong.
Batman was now face to face with Crane. Tied to a gurney. The Scarecrow had told news reporters of his plan. He wanted to unmask the Bat and reveal his true identity to the public. Screens of live news reports littered the room, along with the innocent and helpless faces of both Tim and Gordon.
At first Crane decided to continue his fun by injecting more of his ‘Fear Toxin’ into the Knight. Who would then struggle to fight it and undergo yet more visions of the Joker. Eventually though, the tortured vigilante would overcome it. He had been under the influence of the toxin all night. He was not immune to it but he had become accustomed to it. So much so, he now knew how to fight it.
Crane then ordered the Dark Knight to remove his cowl and reveal his true identity. This time he even went as far as shooting Tim and threatening to kill both of the hostages if he refused to comply. Though Robin was knocked out by the bullet, he remained among the living. Just slightly weakened. But for how long for? Batman had no other alternative. The lives of his two best friends were very much in his hands.
Though, what Crane and everyone else in Gotham did not know. Is that behind everyone’s backs. Both the Bat and his loyal butler, Alfred, were planning for something like this. They both knew that the Knight would have to give up his identity one day. So the ‘Arkham Protocol’ was formed and created.
The Arkham Protocol would trigger events where everyone would believe that Batman was dead. That he had died and so by revealing his true identity he could rewind time. As the Bruce Wayne and Batman that everyone once knew or had heard of was no longer around anymore. Though, if done successfully it would also mean that Bruce Wayne can live on as if nothing ever happened. That he could fake his own death.
TWO KNIGHTS, TWO IDENTITIES REVEALED
So he gave Crane what he wanted. He asked the reluctant Gordon to remove the cowl. The public finally got to see the real man behind the mask. As for Crane he got a dose of his own lethal ‘Fear Toxin’. To which he was left in a mess screaming in a state of utter and complete fear. The Arkham Knight, who was once an ally of Crane, had lent a hand in saving the Dark Knight. Resulting in their partnership having come to an end. Though, this was mainly related to the fact that the Bat had figured out the true identity of the Arkham Knight. Resulting in both of the Knight’s having had their true identities revealed.
A unique and different version to the origin story of Scarecrow and Johnathan Crane was created in the 2011, New 52 comics. This particular story tells that tale of Johnathan’s father, Gerald Crane. Who would perform fear-inducing test experiments on his son. The trauma would then lead Johnathan to finding a new obsession with fear.
Also covered in the 2011, New 52 comics, is how Johnathan lost his job as a psychologist. Rather than losing his job over gunfire, he, instead, decided to cover an arachnophobic student with spiders and stabbing a patient to death.
Due to prolonged exposure to his own fear toxin. Crane managed to develop an almost perfect tolerance to fear itself. Being incapable of being afraid of anything – except Batman.