Arkham Knight's Trying To Hype Up One Of Batman's Worst Villains

Arkham Knight's Trying To Hype Up One Of Batman's Worst Villains

The folks making the next Batman game swear that the Joker won't be in Arkham Knight. So they clearly need a new big bad to center this game's plot around. But Scarecrow? Come on. That guy is wack.

Spoilers follow for this week's Arkham Knight comic and some events from previous Batman video games.

The new teaser for this year's Bat-game is trying to convince viewers that fucked-up college professor Jonathan Crane is the mastermind behind the plot to kill Batman once and for all. Yeah, right.

The scenario put forth in the promo clip has strong echoes of the Knightfall storyline, which saw Batman face a legion of his enemies co-ordinated by one mastermind's plan. In the comics, the head schemer was Bane, who's been a bit overexposed in the Arkham games. He's presented as a Hulk-like strongman and not as a strategic genius. Who's another genius-level Bat-villain? The skinny guy who like to cook up a nasty fear toxin.

However, the Scarecrow isn't the greatest nemesis to anchor a big-deal video game on. He's basically a walking plot device, a reason for Batman or other characters to face their inner demons and come out stronger on the other side. He's always been presented as too obsessed with making people afraid or ruling through fear to command other villains who don't intimidate easily. And while the upcoming game could diverge from the character's comic-book iterations, he's never been really compelling on his own to command any truly memorable story arcs or continuity events like, say, Hugo Strange did. Before he got featured in the Arkham games, Strange was the focus of at least two plotlines where he presented a significant threat. Scarecrow? He was in an animated episode that gave us a great line of Bat-dialogue but he's never been a villain that people get excited over. Batman generally beats Crane by simply believing in himself.

And, yes, the Scarecrow sequences in previous Batman Arkham games have been amongst the best parts of those titles. But those were just small moments in the spotlight. Really, Crane's prominence in the hype so far highlights the Joker Problem that cross-media Bat-adaptations face. The white-skinned clown is so seductive for creators because he's well-known to people who don't read the comics regularly. He's an easy hook, especially with the symbolism of Batman's order vs. his chaos. But he's dead in the Arkham-verse, isn't he? The new comic tying into those games casts some doubt on that.

Out this week, Batman: Arkham Knight #1 picks up right after Arkham City and does the due diligence of showing the Clown Prince of Crime's body multiple times. But, of course, all isn't what it seems.

Arkham Knight's Trying To Hype Up One Of Batman's Worst Villains
Arkham Knight's Trying To Hype Up One Of Batman's Worst Villains

It's probably really unlikely that the comic will be contradicting what Rocksteady game director Sefton Hill has previously said about the Joker's presence in Arkham Knight. Odds are good that this Joker subplot is something that will resolve in the comic. But, keep in mind, Rocksteady has a history of misdirection when it comes to the Joker, so this might be a wait-and-see moment.

The digital comic does a quick sequence spot lighting the Arkham Knight and advances the idea that this new character is someone who Batman won't be able to scare, someone who knows the Dark Knight really well.

Arkham Knight's Trying To Hype Up One Of Batman's Worst Villains

Who could it be? Well, the Red Hood — this version looks to be Jason Todd, a one-time Robin who uses lethal force — will be a pre-order exclusive playable character in this game. The Knight's propensity for guns might be be a hint that he's yet another identity that Todd adopts. Or it might be a red herring and it's really Hush/Tommy Elliot under that armoured headpiece. Of course, he could be a toatlly all-new character created solely for the game. Whoever it is, it's a fair bet that they're not taking orders from Scarecrow. Because he's just a wimp without that gas of his.


    I really like Scarecrow

      Same, what the hell is this article based off.

        Clearly not eternal where he is freaking awesome.

        Last edited 26/02/15 10:43 am

        Too much ill informed opinion and not much fact it seems...

      Scarecrow was a great character. These guys are whack.

    Actual news, a new trailer in fact, for one of the biggest games of the year turned into an unnecessary opinion piece. Classic @kotakuinternational Evan

    Last edited 26/02/15 9:29 am

    I don't mind scarecrow either. Glad the joker won't be in it. Getting over his schtick.

    Scarecrow in the first Arkham game freaked me the frig out. So good.

    Who’s another genius-level Bat-villain? The skinny guy who like to cook up a nasty fear toxin.

    What about the genius-level guy that actually antagonises Batman about being smarter than him, and keeps testing Batman to prove his genius superiority? You know, the Riddler.

      Except the I always feel like master detective is just a card you play to reason why you can beat the riddler, because otherwise batman says stupid ass things xD

      Could also be Hush; after his appearance in Arkham City, it felt like he'd pop up again in the future.

    I like scarecrow and considering him one of the best batman villains, i'm bored of the joker. Glad they are changing things up

    Last edited 26/02/15 9:53 am

    Really? Worst villains? I suggest reading a few of the comics. He's actually a very interesting a threatening character. I like this direction.

    Yeah because nobody considered the Scarecrow bits some of the most amazing parts of Arkham Asylum...

    I'm not a comic book reader, but I've loved Scarecrow in everything I've seen him in.

    I'm assuming it's because I'm a massive horror fan, and I especially love me a good killer scarecrow movie. He just has a look/vibe that reminds me of them, I suppose.

    When I read this headline I was expecting to see Kite Man in the trailer? But Scarecrow? "One of Batman's Worst Villains"? Did the author of this article play Arkham Asylum?

    I loved the Scarecrow bits in Asylum, and having him as the main villain means that they can have an appearance of the Joker without having to resurrect him because he can just be a fear-toxin hallucination.

    Plus Arkham City basically had 3 main villains (Joker, Strange, Ra's) so I wouldn't be surprised if Knight has someone else pulling Scarecrow's strings.

    Pfft, it's obviously Killer Moth.

    In all seriousness, I'm really hoping to see some more of Gotham's lesser known villains turn up. Like where the hell is Captain Boomerang? Screw it, just give me a Suicide Squad game. Assault on Arkham made me realise how great such a game would be if you could switch between characters with different powers and try to tackle the game different ways.

      That's actually a pretty good idea.

    100% of these comments are about how good Scarecrow is. Evan is off his head.

      Or he knew exactly what he was doing posting an article like this...

    Worst villain? Haha you have the worst opinion.

    Arkham Knight could be Wrath or Scorn from the New 52 comics, just reskinned.
    Would be awesome if it was Jason Todd though.

    I got really excited when I saw the date at the end of the trailer, then my brains kicked in. Stupid American dates...

    Arkham Knight is a new character created by rocksready and batman writer paul dini just for this game. He will be the ultimate "big bad" of this game. While scarecrow has his agenda (dont get why he is "wack", just another bat-villain like the rest. No better or worse.) other villains will probably also have theirs, just like previous arkham games. Arkham Knight will pop up often through the game to cause trouble until the final showdown. No surprises really, still looking forward to playing it tho

    Between the Arkham games and Gotham, Scarecrow has become relevant again. But noooo Kotaku fanboy Evan doesn't like this, so he writes an assassination piece. Scarecrow is the perfect guy to carry this game. He's got the brains and ambition to pull off a plan of this magnitude.

    As a character I think Scarecrow is pretty good and has a lot of potential as a villain.

    However the bits where you had to fight against him in Arkham Asylum were easily the worst parts of that game. Fixed camera, trial-and-error frustration-fest. Never again.

    As everyone else has said, Scarecrow is awesome.

    OT: Trailer looks awesome, can't wait. I still think Arkham Knight is Hush (might be wishful thinking) or very possibly Azrael - I think it's a bit of a long shot but he did say in Arkham City that he'd be returning.

    Just posting to join the throng of disapproval. Scarecrow is an awesome character.

    i think this is like saying aquaman is crap bandwagon. i really liked scarecrow and the levels in the previous games were a good change of pace. just another hater trying to be cool but missing the mark. way to go kotaku

    Scarecrow is an amazing villian choice. He uses fear as Batman does (in a manner of speaking). To take one of Batman's greatest weapons and render it useless, and even use it against him (which is definitely bound to happen in AK) is potential for a great story. Scarecrow needs to be more widely recognized as an extremely dangerous criminal.

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