Doctor Jonathan Crane, once a successful psychiatrist, now dons the costume of the supervillain Scarecrow. Scarecrow is known for being one of Batman’s most dangerous foes and is a villain known for inducing fears in his opponents, both heroes and villains alike. Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin has – throughout the years – become his major weapon and the villain has perfected it over the years, managing to create new types each time. In today’s article, we are going to examine the effects of Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin on a very unlikely target – the Joker! Does the toxin even affect the Clown Prince of Crime? Keep reading to find out!
Due to the level of Joker’s insanity, Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin doesn’t even work on him. Namely, when Joker went mad, he lost absolutely all inhibitions and while he did have phobias before his transformation, that “one bad day” completely destroyed his psyche and eliminated all fears from his psyche.
DC Comics, for those of you that are not familiar with the story behind the comics, is a major American comic book publisher founded back in 1934. Along with Marcel Comics, it is the most popular comic book publisher in the United States. DC Comics is a major player in the comic book business and is the “home” of many famous comic book characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and many others.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
What is Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin and what is it made of?
Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin or Fear Gas (depending on the iteration), is Scarecrow’s signature weapon and the weapon that best embodies his villainous persona. The Toxin is a chemical compound – usually in gaseous form (although it was known to be in liquid form likewise) – that causes a neurochemical reaction in the victim’s brain that induces their biggest fears and causes trauma; sometimes, the effects can be so strong that the victims go completely insane.
Interestingly enough, Scarecrow didn’t use his Toxin from the start; he used a gun in his initial appearances. The Fear Toxin debuted in Batman #189 (1967), in the story “Fright of the Scarecrow!”, written by Gardner Fox. Since then, it has become one of Scarecrow’s signature elements.
The exact structure of the Fear Toxin is now known, i.e., it was never revealed in the comics, but it does in involve advanced knowledge in both chemistry and neurology. We assume that it includes hallucinogenic compounds, as well as neurotoxins and hormones. What makes it difficult to completely identify its structure is the fact that Scarecrow keeps changing (i.e., perfecting) his formula, creating different variations. Some of these are:
- Fear Toxin/Venom Combination: This strain of the Toxin was created when Bane employed Scarecrow to combine his Venom formula with Crane’s Toxin. The resulting combination gave the user enormous strength and complete fearlessness, but the subject would bleed out his eyes and being in great pain after it wore off. This was fixed after many tests on the inmates of Arkham Asylum and when Bane took the formula himself.
- Super Toxin 451-A: 451-A was a specific strain of the Toxin created by Crane’s father, using the sweat of children under the effects of lesser fear toxin to make it more potent, enough that even Scarecrow himself does not have the antibodies. This version of Fear Toxin can take months to overcome its symptoms, and is far harder to synthesize an antidote for.
- “Cassandra” Strain: This is a strain of the toxin synthesised by Scarecrow following the rise and fall of the Crime Syndicate. The toxin has a correlation to the mechanism that causes people to wake up when they die in their dreams, and is supposed by Bruce Wayne to be based upon an inversion of that neurochemistry. Even days after being exposed to the strain, he continued to have “daymares” of various death sequences involving various villains.
- Trauma Toxin: Synthesised and used during Mother’s assault on the Batfamily, this toxin scars the brain in a manner similar to the effects of a traumatic event, replicating the chemical reaction a body would have to something horrific enough to tear a mind apart, leaving the victim little but a husk of what they were, unable to feel anything but what a controller wanted them to feel. This strain is so powerful that even Scarecrow himself cannot stomach it, as rendering subjects so pliable would negate any effects he could have with his work on fear.
- Essence de Trauma: This is the original version of the Trauma Toxin. Scarecrow used it to cause his victims to recreate their most traumatic experience.
Is the Joker immune to Fear Toxin?
Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin is a really dangerous weapon that can either seriously damage or completely destroy the psyche of the individual victim. People usually don’t have immunity to Scarecrow’s Toxin, but the comic books have shown that some characters are – in fact – immune to his Toxin; ironically, Scarecrow himself wasn’t always among them.
But, since we are talking about the Joker, we need to answer whether he is immune to the Toxin or not. In most iterations, the Joker is known for being “immune” to Crane’s Toxin, but if we define immunity as being able to fight of the effects of the Toxin, we are not exactly sure if Joker’s immune. He certainly has no fears and the Toxin wouldn’t really have any effect, but we’re still unsure what happens in Joker’s body.
If he were immune, the Toxin wouldn’t do anything to his body, to his neurochemistry and would just dissolve inside his body like any other harmless substance. But, the lack of any visible effect of the Toxin might also be due to the fact that Joker is so specific that he has no fears, meaning that the Toxin doesn’t really have anything to trigger, despite having the same effects on the body. Until someone dissects the Joker, we’ll probably never know.
What would happen if Joker was exposed to Fear Toxin?
We could speculate as to what would happen to Joker if he were to be exposed to Crane’s Fear Toxin, but luckily we have this panel from Detective Comics #664, which shows us exactly what happens:
And as you can see, what happens is – absolutely nothing! Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin doesn’t have any visible effect on the Joker, it’s just like an air freshener to him. Whether that is because he is immune or because the Toxin doesn’t have any fears to trigger remains a mystery, but we know for sure that the Toxin does absolutely nothing.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!