Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow)

scarecrowfilmLast trailer from Injustice: Gods Among Us shows us yet another character who has a cameo in the infamous Arkham AsylumDr. Jonathan Crane, better known as the Scarecrow, master of fear. The Scarecrow was supposed to appear as the main villain in Batman Triumphant, the fifth film of the original mobir franchise which was never realized thanks to Batman & Robin‘s awfulnes. Dr. Crane’s first, and at present only, live action appearance arrived with Christopher Nolan‘s trilogy: the Scarecrow, portrayed in each one of the three films by Cillian Murphy, appears as an ally to Ra’s al Ghul, working for him to destroy Gotham City; when his master is killed, he becomes an independent crimelord, and later a minion of Bane. Let’s see who Scarecrow is in the comics.

Jonathan Crane’s childhood isn’t what we can call a happy one. He was born from Karen Crane, a girl who had the bad idea of sleeping with the first one who promised her a future of love and happiness and who flew away the moment she told him she was pregnant. With no love or care for her son, Karen left him to the gentle care of her grandmother, Marion, a religious fanatic. Whenever young Jonathan did something that disappointed his grand-grandmother, she locked him in an abandoned church, wearing a special suit covered in some chemicals that made all the crows in the building attack the boy, scarecrowcomics1attracted by his smell. Surely this kind of punishment traumatized the boy, who grew obsessed with the very idea of fear…and, sure, vengeance. Even at school, his life wasn’t better: his peers bullied him because of his skinny appearance, and mocked him calling him Ichabod (after the popular character from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) or Scarecrow, a moniker which would have become the synonimous of terror in Gotham City. After spying his grand-grandmother preparing the suit for him, and later studying the chemistry books she hid in her room, Crane learnt how to prepare the chemicals to attract crows, and used them to take vengeance against a bully, who lost an eye. Some years later, he decided he wouldn’t have lived in fear anymore, and took up the courage to ask Sharry Squires, a beautiful cheerleader from his class, for a date. To Jonathan’s surprise, she agreed, but she was actually planning a prank with her true boyfriend, Bo Griggs. When Jonathan arrived at the date, Griggs appeared, disguised as the Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow, and scared Crane to death. Enraged and humiliated, Crane finally reacted, and, during prom night, wearing a scarecrow costume, he shot against Bo’s car, causing a bad car accident which took away Bo’s legs and Sharry’s life. Back home, Jonathan finally killed his grandmother, tasting the flavour of fear and revenge.

Without any proof leading him to Squires’ death, Crane continued his studies, going up to Gotham University and asserting himself as one of the most brilliant student of psychology. He became the favorite pupil of Avram Bramowitz, a living legend in the field, who became his mentor and his model. Despite deeply desiring to become Bramowitz’ colleague, Crane despised his mentor’s lack of interest towards fear, which was becoming more and more an obsession for him. Trying to become a professor himself to prove Bramowitz wrong, Jonathan couldn’t accomplish his goal, since there was no place for other teachers. Using his advanced knowledge in scarecrowcomics2chemistry, Crane then created a psychotropic gas which made whoever inhaled it live his greatest fear. He tested it on Bramowitz, who suffered from a fatal heart attack as a result; with his mentor dead, Crane was assumed as the new psychology professor. He was fired soon after when, trying to explain his class the body’s reaction to fear, he shot a flower pot, and one of the students was injured by a flying shard; enraged, Crane killed everyone involved with his layoff, and, again with no proof leading to him (even this time every death seemed to be accidental), he was hired in Arkham Asylum, where he started to make some experiments on the inmates to understand the true nature of fear. If police couldn’t connect his colleagues’ death to him due to the far too labile evidence, the tracks leading to the Scarecrow were more than enough for the city’s new vigilante, Batman, to follow. Batman found evidence that incriminated Crane for the death of Gotham University’s dean and regents, and, after a brief fight, he was incarcerated in the same Arkham Asylum he worked in. Crane’s phobia of birds, developed as a child, was projected on Batman, but this only made Crane desire a confrontation with him the most: obsessed by fear, he couldn’t just let a personal experience of it fade away, and he became obsessed with defeating Batman, something that, in his case, meant defeating fear itself. Allied with Two-Face in his Injustice Gang, the Scarecrow evaded from Arkham for the first, but surely not last, time, becoming one of Batman’s most dangerous and dedicated enemies.

Jonathan Crane is an incredibly brilliant man, with a wide knowledge of chemistry, physics and psychology. While his mind is so sharp, his emotional world has been deeply wounded by his childhood abuses, and Crane has become obsessed with fear and enbittered against the whole world, which he considers responsible for his life as an outcast. As the Scarecrow, Crane is a good hand-to-hand fighter, who developed a personal style of kung fu, similar to the crane style, which he calls violent dancing. However, his most formidable weapon is his mind, and he uses his fear toxin in battle, making his enemies see their most dark and obscure fears come to life before their very eyes. An unpredictable and deranged genius, the Scarecrow is one of Gotham City’s most dangerous citizens, a master of fear who can make also the toughest men cry like babies.

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7 Comments

  1. […] her child’s “death” (the baby, Jonathan, had actually been taken by Marion and raised by her through her usual, monstrous pedagogy), Karen […]

  2. […] to kill them and to collect their glans, thus starting an experiment that will involve his poor son Jonathan… Well, in the comics Gerald Crane is actually Jonathan’s father, but he appears very […]

  3. […] City, Flass nearly kills some civillians because of the allucinations caused by Scarecrow‘s gas, but he’s stopped by Rachel Dawes with a taser. We learn from the viral site […]

  4. […] had him internalised in Arkham Asylum for anger management, under the lovely supervision of Dr. Jonathan Crane. Crane saw the boy had sociopath tendencies, but didn’t treat him, considering him […]

  5. […] the city, Falcone was “fired” by Ra’s al Ghul‘s forces, driven mad by the Scarecrow, and locked in Arkham Asylum for good. Waiting to see this new version, let’s see who the […]

  6. […] who weren’t on gangster Sal Maroni‘s paybill; when to Maroni some supervillains like Scarecrow, Joker or Clayface threatened the GCPD, also detective Crispus Allen and detective Renee […]

  7. […] in following. He joined the Secret Six, but after a mission in which he helped rescuing the Scarecrow, he made the mistake of calling Scandal Savage a “moronic slut”, thus being thrown out […]


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