Jonathan Crane was a corrupt psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who becomes involved in activity orchestrated by both the League of Shadows and the mafia in Gotham City, taking up the persona of The Scarecrow, a gass-proof burlap-masked external tormentor portraying himself as a "master of fear", who uses his patients as human guinea pigs for experiments on his trademark fear toxin deprived from an organic compound found found in a blue flower that grows in the League's Himalayan monastery. Notably serving as the secondary antagonist of Batman Begins, the Scarecrow has went on as a supporting antagonist and recurring enemy of Batman throughout the rest of the The Dark Knight Trilogy.
Early Life Edit
Jonathan Crane was born in 1973 in Arlen, Georgia, to Gerald Crane, a construction worker, and Karen Keeny, the youngest daughter of a local gentry family. Because his parents weren't married, the senior Crane abandoned the family before Jonathan was even born, forcing his wife to leave their child in the care her mother Marion, a religious fanatic with less than pure intentions for the boy. As a child, Jonathan was exposed to severe emotional and physical torment and torture from his grandmother. The worst of such was brought upon him at age 9, when she locked the boy up in the family's atrium dressed in a suit contaminated with a homemade chemical designed to enrage the crows nesting nearby and force them to attack the source. Because of this, he developed a tall thin frame, a crippling fear of crows and above it all, a bent mystique woven into his intelligence. While at school, Crane became the victim of taunts and jeers due to his appearance. The other boys in the neighborhood would throw rocks at him and call him cruel names such, one of such was being called "Ichabod" by the school bully, Billy Dee Walker. His only friends at the time were the girls, and his best friend among them was Louise Carter, who Crane shared many similarities with and dated throughout high school. One day, however, Carter was forced to become involved in a harmless prank on her best friend/boyfriend set up by Walker, and Crane, believing that she just found it much more fun to make fun of him rather than be his friend, thus broke her up with her on bad terms.
Following his high school graduation, the stillness of Crane's rural life in Georgia didn't hold enough charm to entice him to stay, so to ensure that his grandmother to no longer inflict his cruelty on him, he decided to run away with a tuition check from the mail and thus traveled to Gotham City by bus. There he enrolled in Gotham University to study the emotional functions of humanity, but to him, the rules there didn't have their place and were only those of limited intellect needed then. Crane didn't bother to require these rules since he thought his intellect was anything but limited and hampered him in any way to disserve the rest of mankind. Because of this, he spent his college life trying to use fossils that were too dense to comprehend the benefits that conferred to humanity. Most doubted his brilliance, but at age 21, Crane was surprisingly given his doctorate in psychology by the university's president, Dr. Titus V. Blaney, after submitting a thesis on the etiology of the fear reflex in primary mammals, including humans. Later hired as the psychology professor at the same college, the now Dr. Crane ensconced in the psychology department and developed a habit of annoying his colleagues and generally describing his students as "dumber than pond scum". These bad manners eventually enhanced his mystique as he secretly began experimenting fear etiology on his students by feeding them a hallucinogenic drug meant to induce panic. Rumors about this illicit action started to spread on the campus, later becoming facts when Crane formed the drug into a liquid which he called a "party potion" and presented it at a Christmas Eve party at the school. One of the students who drank it simply tasted the full effect that she was seen a hour later running through the glass window of a department store at the city's local mall and trying to wreck apart a Santa Claus mannequin once inside. When questioning on the incident later revealed her connection to Crane, the situation got worse for him when a colleague also among the university staff quietly investigated the doctor's phobia thesis and discovered the faked activity behind it. Crane was thus called before a university staff meeting, where he explained his conclusions as valid because his insight was so much deeper than that of others and chose not to waste it doing dreary and horrible chores to constitute proof. Blaney tried to overrule the staff's decision to dismiss Crane from the college due to how much he praised the young wizard for his "achievements", but soon came to realize that he may have staked his reputation on his student too much and saw him as a "fraudulent egotistical braggart".
After he was angrily fired from the psychology professor post at the end of the semester, Gotham's public relations office were told at a press release that Crane was reluctantly leaving the school to pursue other opportunities such as research in the private sector. However, academic community members who knew the real story gleefully spread it around the city, and by the time the news reached the nearby Arkham Asylum, the doctors there didn't get the bad news about the talented doctor in question, who was invited to the asylum itself by its warden, Quincy Sharp, and hired as its Chief Administrator. Given license to experiment on the asylum inmates, Crane discovered that putting on a mask to frighten his worst fears and those of the his patients furthered his experiments and was inspired by his childhood fear of crows to gradually develop the "external tormentor" alter ego of "the Scarecrow" with a burlap gas mask to make himself immune to his own drug. By then, some fellow psychiatrists indicated Crane himself was insane, and he was willing to admit such possibility by clinical standards (which he wasn't ready to show were irrelevant to him than they were relevant to most humans), unbalanced to the point of insanity. But as he remained as Arkham's resident genius, Crane prepared himself to make a grand theory to prove that fear was the basis of all of humanity's errors and "cure" it by ushering mankind into a true Garden of Eden where all of its worst fears came true and be conquered, with him as its benevolent ruler. He got the opportunity to do so when the rumors about him reached the mysterious eco-terrorist Ra's al Ghul, who was inspired on how well Crane practiced his experiments on his patients and offered the doctor help test the drug on a cross-section of the human species; Gotham's entire population, for which Crane would be rewarded by anything beyond what money could provide. Crane agreed, only because he believed that the frightening man's plan with fear was to hold Gotham to ransom. While in Ra's service, Crane managed to develop a substance that caused the subject great fear of everything around them, which he dubbed "fear toxin", for him and his League of Shadows using a rare blue flower that grew on the slopes of the Himalayas near to the League's headquarters, and experimented it on the inmates of Arkham. Using Carmine Falcone, the head of Gotham's organized crime, to smuggle the substance into the city, the doctor in return set up his psychiatric credentials into declare any of Falcone's thugs insane once they were tried in court. He transferred them to his secure wing at the asylum, where they enjoyed more luxurious conditions than in prison.
Batman Begins Edit
While testifying that Victor Zsasz, one of Falcone's men, was insane, Crane was approached by the assistant District Attorney Rachel Dawes, who commented on the high number of Falcone's associates that he had at Arkham and implied that he was corrupt in his assessments. Crane responded by telling Carl Finch, Rachel's boss, to make sure that she knew what accusations the DA office has authorised her to make. He then met with Carmine Falcone to discuss the latest shipment of drugs, and explained that the packets hidden inside toy bears went to the drug dealers, and those hidden inside toy rabbits went to the Crane's apartment in The Narrows. Crane also explained that the less Falcone knew, the better. When Falcone was apprehended, Crane visited him after the gangster cut his wrists hoping for an insanity plea. Falcone threatened him with his unexpected knowledge of Ra's plan and asked to be a part of it. Knowing that Ra's would never trust a criminal like Falcone, Crane donned the Scarecrow's mask and unleashed his toxin through a briefcase, driving the mob boss to an extremely terrified and mentally-incapacitated state of mind.
Anticipating that Gotham's brand-new vigilante hero Batman would find the stash of fear toxin laced into the stuffed animals, the Scarecrow went to his apartment with two of his henchmen with the intention to burn the evidence, though both of his men ended up knocked out by the vigilante before they could actually do anything beyond spraying gasoline all over. Donning his mask again, he sprayed Batman with his fear toxin and set him on fire, though Batman narrowly escaped with his life and mind intact. The next night, Rachel became furious yet concerned about Crane's actions on transferring Falcone to Arkham on suicide watch, and Crane showed her that he had been pouring his fear-inducing drug into Gotham's water supply. He dosed Rachel with it, but Batman rescued her by overpowering the Scarecrow's henchmen and spraying the doctor with with a dose of his own medicine, destroying what was left of his sanity and divulging his real superior as Ra's. But Batman found the identity of the Scarecrow's employer impossible since he was trained by the League of Shadows in the martial arts and killed Ra's by burning his headquarters down on him when he found out his actual scheme was to destroy (though he claimed that Ra's was dead because he was oblivious that the "Ra's al Ghul" he killed was a decoy).
The Scarecrow was subsequently arrested by Detectives James Gordon and Arnold Flass, but later escaped in the mass release of Arkham inmates prompted by the League as part of their urbicidal plot. As Ra's the Scarecrow's fear gas on the Narrows, the Scarecrow himself pursued Rachel and a boy through an alley on a horse, dragging a dead mounted police officer from its stirrups. To the boy, who was affected with the gas, the Scarecrow appeared as a fiery eyed, deep-voiced monster riding a fire-breathing horse. While stating "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself - I'm here to help," the Scarecrow was eluded when Rachel shocked him in the face with a taser, causing him to aimlessly ride off into the night, screaming in pain. In the aftermath of Batman foiling the League's scheme to spread the gas on the entire city via the monorail train, Gordon informed him that the Scarecrow remained at large.
The Dark Knight Edit
In the coarse of nine months following his escape, the Scarecrow continued going into business with the new heads of Gotham's organized crime, such as the Chechen, supplying them the drugs to his fear toxin in an active route on the drug trade since Falcone's shipments stopped due to Batman and the new District Attorney Harvey Dent arresting or scaring away most reliable suppliers. However, the mob boss was enraged to learn the true nature of the drugs when he tested it on one of his customers and confronted the Scarecrow in an empty parking lot to discuss their negative effects, bringing along one as an example and with his henchmen and Rottweilers at his side. The meeting was interrupted when a group of Batman impersonators wearing hockey gear as armor and wielding firearms as gadgets attacked, only to be pounced upon by the dogs. As the Chechen fled the scene, the Scarecrow easily held his toxin against one of the Batmen until the real Batman arrived. Scrambling into his van, he made a getaway whilst Batman dealt with the impostors and gangsters. However, Scarecrow's plans went awry when Batman crashed into his vehicle mid-transit. Unmasking him as a strangely happy Crane (possibly due to the fear he felt when Batman arrived), Batman tied the Scarecrow up and left him for the police with the Batmen and Chechen gangsters.
The Dark Knight Rises Edit
After eight years of imprisonment under the Dent Act in Blackgate Prison with no chance of parole, Crane was one of the thousands of prisoners freed freed by Bane. Once liberated, he presided over a "kangaroo court" in which the rich aristocracy of Gotham were persecuted and given a choice between death and exile. Crane forced Phillip Stryver to go to exile, where he had to walk across the ice-frozen river that connected Gotham to the other shore, away from the city. Stryver, along with presumably everybody else who tried the exile option, fell under the ice and froze to death. In addition, Bane also granted Crane full control of the courts to the extent that even Bane himself would not affect his ruling decision in the courts. the now-Commissioner Gordon chose death, but Crane made him have death by exile. However, Gordon was saved by Batman while he began the walk. Thus, Crane was presumably apprehended by the GCPD after Bane and Talia al Ghul were killed.