In Batman’s new Fear State event, Scarecrow’s plan is pretty close to home, and it could potentially be more realistic than the Dark Knight films.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Batman #113
Batman’s new threat is potentially more realistic than Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Fear State has come to Gotham City, and Jonathan Crane’s Scarecrow has determined to use new tactics to make Batman’s city afraid. Rather than using his usual fear toxins, Crane has turned to mass manipulation and misinformation, taking control of the public narrative to push Gotham further into more fear, panic, and trauma than it’s ever experienced before. As a result, Fear State has Scarecrow taking advantage of some very real weaknesses in society that exist in real life, mirroring actual dangers that could potentially make this new event more realistic than Nolan’s films.
In recent issues of Batman from James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez, Jonathan Crane has decided to test a theory he developed on fear as a graduate student. Using a major widespread source of fear as the catalyst (in this case the Joker’s recent and devastating Joker War), Crane believes society can be made malleable if that fear is cultivated and stoked further. After this major event primes the fear, the media is used as a tool to control the narrative, continuing the panic and paranoia so that the fear can’t be diminished (something Crane has already done in the aftermath of Joker’s attack). Crane then suggests that the fear can reach a point of clarity he calls the “Fear State” where society’s fears can be confronted, making it stronger as a result (theoretically). It’s also possible that the Fear State could just destroy a society like Gotham and it could tear itself apart, a risk Batman is unwilling to take as he works with his allies to stop Crane before his test becomes irreversible regardless of the outcome.