My favourite Batman villain has changed over time. When I was first introduced to Batman through the Adam West TV show it was Egghead of all people, and then I went onto the Tim Burton movies and was more drawn to the Joker, finally arriving at the animated series and the comics, settling on Scarecrow as one of the most intriguing and frightening characters.
My problem is that Scarecrow has routinely been portrayed as something of a 'jobber to the stars' as it were, in that he is often casually flung aside, never seen as a real threat by Batman, and rarely changes up his gimmick. The Scarebeast idea was poorly conceived and I write it off as something to be forgotten. I think what makes Crane an interesting character is that he was a horrendously bullied geek of a sort, who turned the table on the bullies and became a sadistic bully himself. His focus on phobias and fear aside, his is kind of a story where he becomes the thing he loathes without acknowledging it.
Anyhow, my question is whether the Scarecrow has had his run and can no longer be a source of originality and fear. I recall a comic (I forget which issue and would love to have a reminder) where he starts acting up the part of a serial killer in order to instil fear via another method, but this was a flash in the pan as he primarily always goes back to the fear toxin. The Sinestro Corps ring was all too brief and he didn't really capitalise on its use. His Arkham Asylum (video game) portrayal was excellent, but he is rarely portrayed with that much savvy or even malevolence in the comics.
I would be incredibly interested to hear your thoughts on how Scarecrow could be made into an A-List threat like he maybe once was. How could a character such as Crane instil fear into the hearts of Gothamites and the assorted heroes and villains of the DC universe?