Name: The Scarecrow
Real Name: Dr. Jonathan Crane
Occupation: Professor of psychology in Gotham City
First Appearance: World’s Finest Comics #3 (Sept. 1941)
Crated By: Bob Kane & Bill Finger
Current Continuity Appearances
Scarecrow. Such an under utilized character for so long, is now a central villain in the Batman family of books. In his first appearance in current continuity (Batman: The Dark Knight #4 – February 2012) the Scarecrow kidnapped Poison Ivy, and works with Bane to create and distribute to various Arkham inmates, a new form of Venom infused with the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. With the help of Superman and The Flash, Batman defeats the villains. The Scarecrow surfaces again in Batman: The Dark Knight #10, the Scarecrow kidnaps yet another victim, Commissioner Gordon, and various children, and eventually releases his fear toxin into Gotham. Scarecrow is also used as a pawn by the Joker, for his “Death of the Family” plot; he is referred to as Batman’s Physician. It is later revealed that Crane’s own father was obssessed with fear and used to perform experiments on young Jonathan Crane with his own fear inducing toxins. Locking him in a dark room scared out of his mind for hours, days. His father believed that he could cure fear in this way.
Scarecrow appears in Swamp Thing #19 (June 2013), clipping flowers for his toxins at the Metropolis Botanical Garden. Swamp Thing attempts to save Scarecrow from cutting a poisonous flower, not realizing who the villain is. Scarecrow attempts to use his fear toxin on Swamp Thing. The toxin causes Swamp Thing to lose control of his powers, until Superman intervenes.
In Detective Comics vol. 2, #23.3 (Sept. 2013) Scarecrow goes to see Killer Croc, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Riddler and informs them of a war at Blackgate Penitentiary is coming and learns where each of the alliances live. Through his conversations with each, Scarecrow learns that Bane may be the cause of the Blackgate uprising and will be their leader in the impending war. It was also stated that that Talons from the Court of Owls were stored at Blackgate on ice. Later, looking over the divided city, Scarecrow claims that once the war is over and the last obstacle has fallen, Gotham City would be his. Scarecrow approaches Professor Pyg at Gotham Memorial Hospital to see if he will give his supplies and Doll-O-Trons to Scarecrow’s followers. Scarecrow goes to Penguin next, who has already planned for the impending war, by blowing up the bridges giving access to Gotham City. Scarecrow and Man-Bat attempt to steal the frozen Talons from Blackgate while Penguin is having a meeting with Bane. Killer Croc rescues Scarecrow and Man-Bat from Blackgate and brings Scarecrow to Wayne Tower, where he gives Killer Croc Wayne Tower as it no longer suits him. Scarecrow begins waking the Talons in his possession, having doused them with his fear gas and using Mad Hatter’s mind-control technology in their helmets to control them. At Arkham Asylum, Scarecrow senses that he has lost the Talons after Bane freed them from Mad Hatter’s mind-control technology. Scarecrow then turns to his next plan, giving the other inmates a small dose of Bane’s Venom to temporarily transform them. Upon Bane declaring that Gotham City is finally his, he has Scarecrow hanged between two buildings. But this was not the end.
In Batman and Robin Eternal, flashbacks reveal that Scarecrow was the first villain faced by Dick Grayson as Robin in the New 52 universe, when his and Batman’s investigations into Scarecrow’s activities led Batman to Mother, a woman who believes that tragedy and trauma serve as ‘positive’ influences to help the victims become stronger. To this end, Mother has Scarecrow develop a new style of fear toxin that would make the brain suffer the same experience as witnessing a massive trauma, but Scarecrow turns against Mother as the victims of this plan would become incapable of feeling anything. Recognizing that he will be killed once he has outlived his usefulness, Scarecrow attempts to turn himself over to Batman, but Batman uses this opportunity to have Crane deliver a fake psychological profile of him to Mother, claiming that Batman is a scared child terrified of fear and losing others to make Mother think she understands him. In the present day, as Mother unleashes a new hypnotic signal to take control of the world’s children, the Bat-Family abduct Scarecrow to brew up a new batch of his trauma toxin after determining that it nullifies the controlling influence of Mother’s signal until they can shut down her main base.
In DC Rebirth, Scarecrow later has a cameo appearance as one of the many trials that Batman’s apprentice Duke Thomas has faced in his training. He later emerges using a Sinestro Corps power ring to induce fear and rage against Batman in random citizens throughout Gotham, to the point where he provokes Alfred Pennyworth into threatening to shoot Simon Baz as part of his final assault.
Powers and Abilities
Jonathan Crane is a brilliant psychologist in the specialization of fear and phobias. With this knowledge, he knows how to use words to affect a person’s actions. He is also an accomplished biochemist for his invention of the deadly fear-gas that causes his victims to experience nightmarish hallucinations. He wears his Scarecrow mask to enhance the effect of the hallucinogen. The mask contains filters to protect him from his own gas. Prolonged exposure to his own gas has damaged Crane’s brain despite measures that have been made to protect himself from it, rendering him nearly incapable to feel fear for anything except Batman’s presence. This is problematic for him, as he has an addiction to fear and compulsively seeks out confrontations with Batman to satiate it. Though he doesn’t do so often, Scarecrow is skilled in hand-to-hand combat. He is a master of Crane style Kung-Fu, which he uses as part of a self-created style of combat known as “violent dancing” which also incorporates drunken boxing and makes use of his long arms and legs. The Scarecrow at times wields a scythe which he uses in addition to his “violent dancing”. Scarecrow also uses a hand-held fear gas sprayer in the shape of a human skull, straws which he leaves as a calling card, special straws which can be snapped in half to release a fear poison and stuffed scarecrows which scare his victims.
Thank you for reading my character profile on Scarecrow. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. Please check back with us soon as we post regularly. Or, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or WordPress for regular updates on all of our posts.
Sources include Wiki & DC Comics
By Michael Nunneley