Scarecrow (DC Animated)

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The Scarecrow, alias Professor Jonathan Crane, is a foe of the Batman. Professor Crane was a very thin, frail-looking man who once taught at Gotham University and was a foremost expert in psychology, especially fear and phobias. Ever since he was a child, he had an obsession with fear and loved to frighten his schoolmates so that he could observe their reactions. As an adult, Crane conducted more involved studies at the university, testing his experimental fear toxins on various subjects, both willing and unwilling, almost nonstop. Eventually the university's governing board, headed by Dr. Long, decided that Crane's experiments were going to far, and cancelled his funding. Crane was disgraced and fired.

Some time later, Crane adopted the terrifying persona of the Scarecrow, plotting his revenge against the university. With the help of his two hired hands Nigel and Anthony, he made an attempt to financially ruin the university by burning down the bank where all their money was kept. They were stopped by Batman, but not before the Scarecrow managed to give Batman a healthy dose of his fear toxin, which caused the Dark Knight to suffer a variety of hallucinations revolving around his worst fears, allowing the Scarecrow and his henchmen to escape capture.

The Scarecrow's next move was to abduct Dr. Long himself, a task he accomplished by turning his fear toxin on everyone at a charity ball being hosted by Long. With all the partygoers running around in a wild panic and he and his henchmen in gas masks, there was nothing to stop the Scarecrow from kidnapping Long and then making a swift getaway aboard his blimp. Except for Batman, that is. Despite suffering from the longlasting effects of the fear toxin, Batman managed to board the blimp, defeat both Nigel and Anthony, and rescue Dr. Long.

Escaping in a small, nonpowered light aircraft, the Scarecrow returned to his hideout on the outskirts of Gotham City. Thinking he'd successfully eluded the Batman, he made the mistake of removing his mask. Batman, who'd deduced where the Scarecrow's home was, snuck in and released s large amount of the fear toxin from the tanks where it was stored. Without his mask on, the Scarecrow quickly got a taste of his own medicine and it was child's play for the Batman to defeat him when the evil genius was terrified out of his wits because he envisioned his attacker as a giant, demonic bat monster. After passing out from the terror, the Scarecrow was dropped off by Batman in Gordon, James's office, where Gordon and Bullock, Harvey found him hanging from the ceiling fan by his shirt collar.

Professor Crane was deemed clinically insane and admitted to Arkham Asylum. Of course, Gotham City had not yet seen the last of the Scarecrow. He soon escaped thanks to the help of an orderly who he'd apparently bribed, and was back in business and sporting a new, more terrifying scarecrow mask. The orderly, meanwhile, kept up appearances by putting a dummy of the Scarecrow in his cell to make it look like he was still there, and discarding his meals whenever the nurse brought them up.

Using the alias "Mr. Lucky," Scarecrow fixed sports games by covertly giving star athletes an adrenalin-based variation of his fear toxin in a powdered form, usually coated on a telegram he delivered to them incognito. He would then go down to Leon the Bookie's gambling house and bet against the athletes, who, as the Scarecrow had predicted, lost their respective games when the fear toxin's effects finally manifested in them. His scheme was briefly inconvenienced when Leon, wanting to know exactly how the mysterious Mr. Lucky was so lucky, sent his toughest thug to beat the information out of him. Of course, the thug soon got a dose of the fear toxin and the Scarecrow had but to reveal his horrifying mask to scare him silly.

In the meantime, Batman and Robin were on the case after Dick Grayson's roommate Brian Rogers became the latest athletic victim of the Scarecrow's fear toxin. Robin also had gotten a dose because he, too, handled the contaminated telegram which the Scarecrow had sent to Brian, and thus had to fight against the mind-numbing terror every step of the way. Together, they managed to stop the Scarecrow from poisoning his latest victim, a football player, by switching the player's helmet (inside which the Scarecrow had hidden a dose of the powdered toxin). Watching the game from the rafters above the football stadium, the Scarecrow was most perterbed when the quarterback played the best game of his life with no signs of fear whatsoever.

But he had an escape plan. When Batman appeared, the Scarecrow threatened to drop a test tube of the fear toxin into the crowd of football fans below, which would cause a chaotic panic, unless Batman let him go. He dropped the vial anyway, but Robin, overcoming his fear, managed to swing out on a rope and grab the container as it fell.

The Scarecrow was returned to Arkham Asylum, but once again he escaped. Rather than straying too far from the asylum, he set up shop in the mostly water-filled caverns which existed beneath Arkham, having his new gang of hired men install a gigantic water purification pump which he planned to use to contaminate Gotham City's water supply with the fear toxin. With the entire city in the grip of terror, he reasoned, the opportunities to study the nature of fear would be unparalled. Of course, there was Batman to deal with, and in order to get him out of the way, he spread rumors about a break-in at a health spa, and had his hired thug Torchy install a miniature version of the water purification pump to contaminate the spa's water.

This served the dual purpose of seeing whether or not the pump would actually function, and also of once again infecting Batman with the dreaded fear toxin when Torchy accidentally unleashed a huge cloud of it during his struggle with Batman. Unfortunately for the Scarecrow, Batman knew he was the only one who could be behind such a thing, and Crane's faith in his fear toxin was sorely misplaced. Having dealt with the toxin previously, Batman was more or less ready for the horrific hallucinations that came with it, but was thought to be insane when he turned up at Arkham looking for the Scarecrow, and was admitted to the asylum by Dr. Bartholomew.

Batman eventually escaped his cell and found his way down to the caverns and overcame the hallucinations, which involved imaginary attacks by Joker, Penguin, Two-Face and Poison Ivy and imaginary betrayels by Robin and Alfred, not to mention envisioning the Scarecrow's thugs as monsters. He once again was able to thwart the Scarecrow's evil plans, this time by rupturing the pipes which fed the fear toxin to the water purification pump. Getting a dose of his own toxin for a second time (apparently, the new mask did not protect him from it like the original did), the Scarecrow degenerated into a babbling, terrified maniac and was promptly stuck right back in his cell.

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