Detective Comics #503 “The Six Days of the Scarecrow” (1981)
This one’s a fun twist on the usual Scarecrow formula — rather than scaring folks himself, Scarecrow causes everyone to be afraid of Batman. But Batman likes being scary, right? Well, not to his friends and allies or the people he’s helping. It’s all a little melodramatic, but it underscores the often forgotten fact that Batman is more than just an agent of fear.
Detective Comics #571 “Fear for Sale” (1987)
This is pretty much the definitive Scarecrow story, which is ironic, since Scarecrow’s plot in this one involves taking away people’s fear. Basically, Scarecrow sells pro-athletes a drug that eliminates their fear, but when they discover a lack of fear makes them reckless and prone to injury, Scarecrow charges them even more for the cure. I love not only the reversal of Scarecrow’s usual modus operandi, but just the fact that he even has a plot here. Far too many Scarecrow stories take the lazy “He’s just spreading fear because he looooves fear!” approach. The Scarecrow isn’t a poor-man’s Joker who’s just out to watch the world burn, he’s a smart, calculating schemer.
The book, drawn by Alan Davis, is also absolutely gorgeous. This is basically the first story where the effects of Scarecrow’s fear gas are shown in all their trippy glory, something that would be a cornerstone of ever increasingly formulaic Scarecrow story to come. Also, as far as I know, this was pretty much the first Batman comic where they started teasing pretty heavily that Jason Todd was going to bite the bullet (or rather crowbar) pretty soon.
I want more like this!
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