Huge Scarecrow fan, and based on his mixture of combat skills and terror, he deserves a hero all to himself. Maybe Daredevil?
Does Scarecrow deserve to be a main bad guy to a hero?
I would say yes and no-- but also, I would ask if he is a main supervillain in the first place? Would you guys say, in the context of Batman, that he is in the same caliber as the Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face or Ra's Al Ghul? Or is he really on a lower caliber of villains like where Clayface, Man-Bat, Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, or Harley Quinn belong? I would say you can place him in between those two groups of villains, possibly along side enemies like Bane, Poison Ivy or Mr. Freeze-- who I think are of a high caliber but yet missing that edge that places others at the top. With Bane, we know he was the man who broke the Bat, but he did this with the help of all sorts of villains. He was brilliant, sure, but after his whole plot failed (when Batman returned) we didn't hear much from this guy. Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze are two enemies that use nature (Ice, plants) to their advantage. They've had great battles with Batman but i think we all know theres only so much you can do with ice and plants. These villains are one dimensional in their background as well. Poison Ivy loves nature. Mr. Freeze loves his dead wife. Then the lower class, with Killer Croc, Man-Bat and the rest are simply just enemies Batman is constantly beating easily.
So, with that said, could we place Scarcrow at the same level with people like Joker and the Penguin? Its possible but then again enemies like the Joker have disposed of Scarecrow easily in the past and almost literally with a shove to the side. Its difficult to argue that Scarecrow is at that same level. But still, there is something to be said for psychology and intelligence. What Scarecrow beats other villains at is intelligence and the understanding of human behavior. This is a character than has done his research and knows how to use the fears of others against them. As we know, fear is one of the greatest emotions of all. However, Batman doesn't have too many fears. This is a man who goes out every night to face these insane individuals all the time. Also, by now Batman has developed an antidote to Scarecrow's fear venom. Lastly, the fear venom runs out after a few hours and its effect is never as strong from that point on. Dont get me wrong, it messes up Batman, but he doesn't have trouble beating Scarecrow in the end, like he does with other villains. So i think that overall (and this is coming out of left field) Scarecrow is analogous to someone like Mysterio from Spider-Man. He is somebody that inflicts scary illusions and uses psychology against his enemies. Along those same lines, if Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus are the top villains in the universe of Spider-Man and Mysterio is a notch lower; the Joker and The Penguin are a notch above Scarecrow.
But with that said, Scarecrow is an enemy with a lot of potential. Don't underestimate fear, and the manipulation of emotions and human psychology. You can kill a man with fear.. but the thing is, we are talking about the "goddamn Batman" here, as Frank Miller would say. If Scarecrow had more than just the manipulation of fear then we could say that he is entitled to be a main bad guy in the arena of strength. So my answer is not as to Batman. Does he deserve to be a main villain to some other hero? Well, not to any major one. Maybe to Robin (who is sort of his own main hero nowadays) since he is a notch below Batman. What I do concede though is that in the arena of storytelling Scarecrow is as good as any other enemy. What I mean is that you can write as good a Scarecrow story as you can write for any villain in any comic book, with the right writer-- but yeah, Scarecrow is a bit too gimmicky to be a main villain and he only has one dimension to him; the infliction of fear and terror and scariness. He doesn't have the complexity required to have the honor of a main hero. Just like Mysterio has one dimension; illusions, tricks and projections. These kinds of villains trick you by scaring you but these gimmicks can only go so far and meanwhile the effect they have will wear off with time. Main heroes like Batman and Daredevil are extremely complex in their relationships, background, emotions and reasons for fighting crime. They have enemies like Bullseye and The Joker because these guys are on the same level in terms of complexity and potential for matching them. Scarecrow is missing something. Perhaps something in his background that would make him click to a larger audience so that he could be more than one dimensional. The Joker is funny but he is also insane and at times interesting as a person. The way he fights Batman is always different and resourceful. Scarecrow's tacnics against any hero will always be one dimensional: the infliction of terror. This makes him lack the ingredients a main hero deserves in terms of ultimate antagonism. The villain, to be ultimate must be an exact opposite to his hero in ideology, tactics, delivery and emotions.
Ehm....maybe a Green Lantern villain, if he took over the Sinestro Corp
Scarecrow himself is kind of a C-D list villain, not really "archenemy" material. Potential to be big time, but too small minded to take advantage of it. Not unless they really beefed him up, made him look scarier (think his second animated series counterpart). Thats why in almost all media, hes just being used by a bigger villain.
Crane could be a top notch big time villain if the writers gave him a chance and some real thought. Truth be told, any character can be made into a big time or bottom tier hero/villain. The Riddler, Two-Face, Hugo Strange and The Joker are some of my top favorite Bat-villains, and Scarecrow is right up there with them. When he's given a good costume, played real creepy and uses more psychology instead of just spraying fear toxin everywhere, he can be real effective.
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