Scarecrow & 9 More Comic Book Villains Whose Powers Are Based Around Fear – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Scarecrow has plagued Gotham City with his fear toxins for years, but he isn’t the only comic book villain to make use of the awesome power of fear.
There are quite a few different power sets used by comic book villains that are capable of striking terror into an enemy’s heart. though none are quite as dangerous as the power of fear itself which is wielded by terrifying characters like DC’s Scarecrow who recently brought Gotham City under his control in the Fear State event.
RELATED: Batman: 10 Scariest Scarecrow Stories In The Comics
The ability to control and manipulate the fears of someone else can bring even the strongest superheroes to their knees, which is what makes some of these comic book villains so powerful. Some of them even feed on the fear of others to further increase their own strength, which can be just as effective (if not more so) than purely physical attacks.
Fans are likely more aware of Batman’s enemy Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow, whose dark obsession with fear led him to develop his own fear toxins that he used first to experiment on others before he weaponized it as one of Gotham City’s most dangerous costumed villains. However, Marvel has its own character known as the Scarecrow as well.
Ebenezer Laughton was an incredibly flexible criminal who used a trained flock of crows to become the costumed criminal Scarecrow. However, he was eventually experimented on and gained a mutated gland of pheromones that cause anyone in his vicinity to break out into fear and panic attacks.
After the Fantastic Four discovered the Microverse, they encountered one of the warlords known as Psycho-Man, a mad scientist who used his advanced technology to create a device called the Control-Box that was able to manipulate emotions like hate, fear, and doubt.
With his Control-Box he conducted immoral experiments on beings with emotions, which led him to Earth where he attempted to create a larger global version of his machine. His Control-Box is so powerful it can induce fear-based hallucinations that can cause fatal heart attacks in his victims.
The McDougal family attempted to gain power using a mystical ritual that instead cursed them with a connection to the Silver Banshee across the centuries. The modern version of the character possessed Siobhan McDougal and became one of Superman’s deadliest enemies, showcasing her extreme power levels.
RELATED: 10 Most Powerful Comic Book Villains With Demonic Origins
Silver Banshee also spent years without a host, which caused her to hunger for the fear and nightmares of others when she returned. She was also able to tap into her victim’s inner fears to leave them catatonic so she could feed on them at her leisure.
The Green Lantern Corps chose the powerful emerald energy of will as their source of power, though when Sinestro created his own Corps he partnered with the deadly entity that had previously taken control of Hal Jordan, known as Parallax.
Parallax is the living embodiment of fear and the source of the yellow energy that powers Sinestro’s own ring, as well as the rings of the Sinestro Corps that he built around himself. This allows them to create terrifying and powerful constructs like the GLC, while Parallax is able to project fear into his enemies which can only be fought by the ringbearers who can overcome fear.
The identity of the costumed villain known as Mister Fear was originally created by the chemist Zoltan Drago after he accidentally created a compound that caused intense fear when it was inhaled. He quickly weaponized it into a fear gun and used it to take control of other villains that he initially named the Fellowship of Fear.
Drago was eventually killed and his identity and gear have been taken and used by a few other characters over the years. One of Daredevil‘s old classmates from law school named Larry Cranston finally took over the identity and created an additional drug to make himself fearless while also making others worship him out of fear due to his new pheromones.
Angela Hawkins III was a royal aristocrat whose naturally developing telepathic abilities allowed her to access the fear centers of the brain, which she used to become the criminal known as Phobia as well as a member of groups like the Brotherhood of Evil and the Secret Society of Super-Villains.
Phobia is not only able to access the inner fears of her enemies, but she also can cast powerful illusions to make those fears seem real. Phobia suffers from her own fear of being alone which further driver her to join villainous groups and hide her own insecurities by playing with the fears of others.
The former king of Asgard and father of Thor was Odin Borson, one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. His family grew with the return of his older brother Cul Borson, who was better known as the Serpent due to his title as the God of Fear. Cul was the original king of Asgard, though he was dethroned after he spread his fear across the nine realms.
RELATED: 10 Comic Book Villains Suffering From Mental Illnesses (& Their Most Important Stories)
Cul Borson spreads and manipulates fear in others that he then feeds on to make himself stronger, which caused him to seed Earth with enchanted hammers during the Fear Itself event in order to empower himself so he could rule over the nine realms once again.
Scarecrow isn’t the only fear-obsessed character in Gotham City, as Batman has also had a few run-ins with the psychic cannibal known as Cornelius Stirk. Stirk is a longtime patient of Arkham Asylum with a medical disorder who used his time behind bars to train his psychic ability so he could alter his appearance in the minds of others.
He used this to both get in close to his victims as well as to cause heightened fear using hallucinations. He did this in order to terrify them so the body would pump different neurotransmitters into their hearts before he removed and cannibalized them.
The Marvel universe is filled with demonic threats known as the Fear Lords of Hell, all of whom have their own abilities that are derived from the fear of their followers. However, one of the deadliest is the demon known as Nightmare, who rules in his own dimension that is able to access the sleeping dreams of his victims.
Nightmare is able to control and manipulate the nightmares of those he brings to his realm to torture and terrify his victims, with the goal of eventually bringing the entire world into his dream realm to further empower himself.
Roger Hayden was the second man to use the name Psycho-Pirate, as he took on the legacy of the first who based his crimes on different emotions. However, Hayden was the first to use the power of the Medusa Mask, which was able to project whatever emotion Hayden chose to inflict on his enemies, including fear.
He soon became addicted to absorbing other people’s emotions through the Medusa Mask, which was later revealed to be amplifying his own psionic abilities and turning him into an emotional vampire. While he could create whatever emotion he needed others’ to feel, he often also intensified their own feelings of fear or worry to incapacitate his enemies.
NEXT: 10 Comic Book Villains Who Headlined Their Own Series
Entertainment reporter, writer, and all-around geek, Scoot Allan has written for print and online media sources like Geek Magazine, GeekExchange, GrizzlyBomb, WhatCulture, and the Urban 30 before joining CBR, ScreenRant, GameRant and The Gamer as a staff writer. He enjoys salad but prefers french fries.


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