Reviews for Modes of Distress
Guest1337 chapter 15 . 11/27/2015
You are very good at writing. Can't wait for more o.O
thats-a-moray chapter 3 . 10/20/2015
I found it interesting and sad how, even in the library where he should be safe, Jon resorts to hiding in corners. It was good to see him rebelling against Crazy Keeny.

The bit where Bo introduces Sherry to Jon was confusing. Why would he go through the trouble of introducing Sherry to Jon if he was going to react that way? Did he do that just so he would have an excuse to threaten Jon for looking at her?

After you described the room Jon hadn’t been into, the next paragraph made it sound like he was going into the forbidden room instead of his bedroom.

I liked hearing about the stuff Jon dug up from his grandmother’s old room. It’s interesting that he was smart enough to put together a phonograph when he was just nine (all that reading must have paid off). The part about the teddy bear was cute. Since the room belongs to Jon now though, I think it might make more sense for him to find this stuff in the attic or something.

Having Jon come up with a plan to steal Sherry was a good way to end this chapter, although I would have liked to have a hint about what that plan is, exactly. I like how he sees Sherry as a possession more than a person, as that seems like a fitting attitude for someone in his position and a future Batman villain.

thats-a-moray chapter 2 . 10/19/2015
I enjoyed the quote at the start of the chapter. I'm guessing it's referencing Mary and Jon.

Some really great descriptions in this chapter. I liked the way you talked about the mushy streets and your descriptions of the Keeney scarecrow and the old house were especially good. A better description of Bo would be nice, though.

I'm not sure what to make of Bo and his gang. Part of my confusion comes from not knowing what you mean by 'gang.' When you first described it I assumed they were a bunch of young kids whose parents basically let them roam free during the day, so they got up to mischief, but some of their antics seem a little too innocent. Bo gets close to beating Jon up but never actually does. I would take him more seriously as an antagonist if he actually hit him. I imagine coming home with a black eye would probably get Jon in just as much trouble as playing tag, if not more. Instead of breaking the chapter into two parts, Bo's first meeting with Jon and the game of tag, you could have the entire chapter be a chase and still hit all the same plot points ("Scarecrow", Jon gets in trouble).

I like that Bo's also afraid of Granny Keeney because it gives him something in common with Jon. I'm curious to see how their relationship will develop, whether they'll stay enemies or become friends.
thats-a-moray chapter 1 . 10/12/2015
Overall I think this chapter is a great start to your story, but I have a few suggestions. I really like the way you get right into Mary's character and how most of this chapter is focused on her, as you seem to be setting her up as a kind of villain. Although, I think she comes off as too one-dimensional. I could see Marion wanting to kill the child, since she's not as pious as Mary. At most she might pray for the baby's early death.

I'm a little confused about how Mary feels about her family's reputation. In the beginning she seems very concerned about it, but by the end she's quite happy to have a bad reputation for herself. As the family matriarch her reputation would have a large impact on how the rest of the family is seen by the community. Again, this seems like a situation where Mary and Marion should have opposing views. Marion, as the socialite, seems more likely to care about her family name. Mary seems more the kind of person who would only be concerned with the fate of their eternal souls. That would also make Mary more interesting as a villain, if her motivation for being so cruel was to save her daughter and granddaughter from hell.

There don't seem to be any sympathetic characters in this chapter. I sort of feel for Karen, but she acts so passive around her mother and grandmother it's hard to feel any genuine sympathy. A little bit of spite or resistance would make her more sympathetic. Her terror is important too, however, and you should definitely keep that, even if she tries to put up a strong front at first.

I don't know how much of this is canon, but if possible, you might consider changing Marion's name to something less close to Mary. Sometimes I get the two confused.

I really liked how, even in the womb, Jon is already being assaulted by fear. I also liked the details we got about Jon's father and it makes me wonder if we'll see him again. (PS - Sorry for taking so long. I'm going to try to do a review a day from now on!)
Dem0nLight chapter 15 . 8/19/2015
Review 100! I must say, I may have only been reading this story for less than a week, and I. Am. Impressed. This is all so psychologically intriguing and I've found myself quite hooked to be honest. I'm glad you've decided to continue it.

I think the thing I've appreciated most about this story as a whole is that none of Jonathan's tormentors are shown as inherently evil, that they have their own feelings and motivations. Bo and Sherry's perspectives of him are clear and logical, and I was pleasantly surprised at how they were not sadistic towards Jonathan in their minds and that their cruelty was just a manifest of their general disdain. I also really enjoyed seeing some of Scarecrow's characteristics emerge in Jonathan's behavior in High School such as the air of superiority and the creepy little smile.

I know this is a long review, but in short, I love what you've done here and I'll be waiting for more. :)
Guest chapter 1 . 7/1/2015
This has become my favourite Scarecrow fanfiction. Good job.
Lady Eleanor Boleyn chapter 1 . 1/7/2015
Carrying on with your Crane backstories because I can sort of pick something up here, which is always useful, as I am completely fandom-blind, never mind canon...

I like the opening of this ‘If Mary Keeny cared about one thing, it was her family name’. It’s such a brief sentence, but such a powerful one, one that gives us such a picture of the woman. It makes it so clear what her principles are and what motives will be behind whatever actions she takes as the story progresses. A true old-fashioned society matriarch – a portrayal that only strengthens as we see what she thinks of her own daughter and grand-daughter; how she sees them as weak and self-indulgent. She reminds me a little of the grandmother in the Flowers in the Attic series, if that means anything to you.

I have to admit though, I admire her view of Gerald Crane, and by extension, the rest of the Cranes. He is ‘a stinking coward’, she’s got that right – any man who knocks a girl up and then runs away, refusing to face the consequences, is one, and the dry comment about how the Cranes had tried to fix him made me smirk... she has quite the turn of phrase sometimes, doesn’t she?

Marion... I don’t approve of her selfish, flyaway, socialite persona and her likening the baby to ‘ spare puppies we couldn’t afford to keep’ was spine-chilling, yet, I suppose, maybe I should sympathise with her a little bit here – growing up with Mary as a mother cannot have been easy...she doesn’t exactly seem the maternal type, as shown when she’s talking so coolly about her son who died of measles as a newborn and when she holds baby Jonathon and feels some ‘sense of control over the brat’...

So no, I don’t like your characters, although I sympathise with Karen, who seems to be a naive good-time sort of girl who’s got herself into a bit more trouble than she bargained for, and love the way you’ve drawn the others. Nonetheless, you’ve intrigued me with this and I can’t wait to read more )
DjinniFires chapter 1 . 12/12/2014
Like just about everybody, I'm well-acquainted with the Batman universe from canon. I only know Jonathan Crane from fan fiction, but I can see he's an inspiring character for an origins story.

This pre-birth chapter is an anti-fortuitous start to Jonathan Crane's life. You imagined possible precursors to his cold, calculating methods for exploiting others' fears. Wow, what a great-grandmother: [Mary leaned into the frightened girl's face. She did well to be scared, and Mary had it in mind to terrify her. Fear was the best way to make sure that mistakes weren't made twice.] And what a grandmother: ["When I was a girl," she told Karen while looking on with disgust, "we had a dog. Whenever we found it with a litter of spare puppies that we couldn't afford to keep, fathered by some filthy mutt off the street, we simply put them in a sack, took them to the riverside, and threw them in." Her voice was hard and cold, and her hands twisted together, as if she wished she had the infant's neck in her grip.] I'm already anticipating his involvement in his great-grandmother's and possibly grandmother's death in some future chapter. His mother clearly retains some humanity but isn't forceful enough to stand up for him; that's good motivation for his lack of sympathy for the weak.

The fact that the grandmother and great-grandmother already wish the child dead is tragic: [Her religion made her refuse abortion as a possibility outright and reluctant to have the baby killed once born, but nature's hand would do the ugly work just as well, and no one could blame them if it happened. Mumps, measles, diphtheria - she knew that there were many ways a baby could die before the end of its first year. "God willing. Given our fortunes as of late, however, it will live."] [The Keeny name had too much honor behind it to be wasted on something that would most likely be buried in the family plot given a month's time.]

These hints of a horrible childhood to come are chilling: [The cane was a start.] [Despite her lack of maternal feelings toward him, Mary felt a sense of control over the brat. Oh, she would take care of him. She would see to it that, unlike Karen and Marion, Jonathan Crane would grow up with the fear of God.]

The backstory of the backstory makes sense: the once proud Southern family that's slowly but inexorably been losing wealth, influence and social standing. Nicely written from [She walked away with a measured gait, still carrying the Bible under one arm while Marion followed her into the family living room. It was vast, but empty, a sign of the Keenys' lost wealth] right through to [The house was alive yet, but in the way a dying animal is alive, waiting for the birds of the air to come and pick the bones white.]

Some small things raise questions for me:
Scene 1, paragraph 1: Do 63-year-olds typically need walking sticks (nowadays gyms are filled with 60ish people working out)? My grandmother didn't until her very late 80's.
Paragraph 2: Mary thinks about her daughter Marion: [But she kept to the faith and endured, bringing her own daughter Karen up to follow in her footsteps.] And yet, quite soon (the next paragraph in fact) and throughout the rest of the chapter, Mary is thinking of Marion as not as good as her upbringing should have made her: [Somewhere along the way she had acquired silly dreams of leaving Arlen, shedding the shadow of her mother, and becoming a society lady, preening in front of the bathroom mirror and eyeing pretty things in department stores] Perhaps read through for consistency in portraying Marion as not quite living up to her mother's Keeny standards and, in turn, allowing her daughter Karen to stray even further so no telling how far Karen's child would stray if Mary doesn't step in.
Paragraph 5: [She (Marion) took Karen's pregnancy even more harshly than Mary did.] This statement made me think Mary has some measure of mercy, which I don't think serves your purpose or is borne out in the rest of the chapter. Isn't Marion just more miffed, worried about how she'll look to her social circle while Mary is concerned about deeper things, the blot on the venerable family name?
Paragraph 9: the reaction is really great. Could you place it before Karen confesses the father is Gerald crane? When it comes between the confession and Mary's reaction to confession, it makes it seem like Mary doesn't at first realize who Crane is and is doing a double take. Throughout, the level of knowledge Mary has of the Cranes (and, in fact, where exactly they live) doesn't seem consistent.
As far as Mary's thoughts on infanticide, I'd think a woman this rigid would either have one consistent view throughout, yet in paragraph 23 she's thinking about discussing murder later with her daughter. What seems most logical is her being against abortion, against direct infanticide but dearly hoping God will send a sickness to take the shame away. If she'd even entertain the thought of murder, a reason it's different from abortion for her should be noted, i.e., the baby will be baptized, etc.
Paragraph 32: should be [Mary, who was old enough to {{have seen}} the good times...]
Paragraph 36: [She hated the manor as much as Karen did. If she wasn't afraid of Mary's displeasure, not only would the baby be dead but Marion would abandon her worthless daughter and witch of a mother and leave Arlen for good.] Pretty much we've been in Mary's POV. This seems like an author's note from Marion's POV.
Scene 2, paragraph 3: a stray period between "with Karen" and "four months after."
Paragraph 8: [...Karen gritted her teeth and fought to stay awake.] Actually, in the middle of labor with no epidural she'd have no problem staying awake at all. ;D
Wonderlander chapter 13 . 9/20/2014
Wonderful, absolutely delightful. It's hard to find good stories about Scarecrow, much less his past and his upbringing. Great writing and I can't wait for the next update
Son of Whitebeard chapter 13 . 9/13/2014
Crane certainly had a dark childhood
Tina chapter 13 . 9/13/2014
Yay! A new chapter :D
This is interesting to seeing everyone's reaction to Sherry's death.
I am very curious to see what happens next :)
I wonder what will happen?
G THE NEPHILIM chapter 12 . 6/9/2014
Holy crap that was awesome I actually felt a shiver go up my spine this was absolute perfection bravo dude just bravo G THE NEPHILIM.
Jael.Rice.1 chapter 5 . 6/10/2014
Although I started reviewing for the 'Review Lounge Tag Game', I really wanted to finish reading this story and reviewing without having to wait for the chance to.

With each chapter, Sherry becomes more and more unlikable. Even though this is more on the line of “guilt by association”, the line “there must have been a degree of real affection in their relationship” really sets in stone the fact that Sherry is staunchly on Team Bo. It feels like they are similar to each other, turning Sherry into a bit of a female Bo. It wouldn't surprise me if Jonathan grows to hate Sherry and plan his revenge against her alongside the Chickenhawks team.

Sadly, Jonathan's lie about where the burns came from is a sad fact that echoes in real life. There are schools that treat sports teams like royalty, while shushing the voices of those the elite abuses.

Charlene and Brad's relationship reads like an abusive one to me. I'm sorry if I am acting overzealous,
The part where Jonathan is reading Lord of the Flies makes me think he isn't as literary minded as he lets on. When he says that “children did not need to be stranded on a deserted island”, it sounds like those kids were dumped on the island on purpose. In actuality, it was not supposed to happen. They're on the island because of a plane crash. The ensuing chaos is a commentary on how kids will go wild when they don't have to abide by any rules or authority figures.

Jonathan's comments about how Mary will never let him do anything after the Ulysses incident feels repetitive by the end of the first section because we already know she is a battleax who is determined to control every aspect of his life and make him utterly miserable. You've already hammered that point in. Now let's see Jonathan rebel.

I was about to point out that Mary Keeny was acting out of character when she gives Jonathan the costume, but I love how you subvert her actions. It's like you have Jonathan a chance to be happy, and then jerked it out from under him. I love how you have her do this one act of charity, but it's on the condition that she does it to humiliate him. The idea that she knows about the bullying really amplifies how cruel she is. It entails that she doesn't want Jonathan to ever ask to go out on Halloween, and is determined to ruin his self-esteem to achieve her ends. It reminds me of Claude Frollo in the Disney version of Hunchback of Notre-Dame. He doesn't want Quasimodo to go to the Feast of Fools, but when Quasimodo disobeys him, he just lets the city throw tomatoes and bully him back to the cathedral where he “belongs”.

The payoff at the end of the chapter feels totally worth it. After years of abuse, we finally see Jonathan defying Mary without any real fear of punishment. The part where he says “she didn't deserve a single piece. It was mine. All mine” is the most emotionally satisfying line in the story so far. Although he is turning into a psychopath with a love of manipulation, it's so good to see him finally have a happy moment after all that has happened to him. It's a small act of rebellion that I hope grows into something bigger and will make him stand up to that nasty old hag.

Overall, this has been my favorite chapter so far. After sowing the seeds of his rebellion for the last few chapters, we finally get to see them sprout. It's emotionally satisfying as a reader to finally see the pace pick up and having Jonathan grow into himself as a character while standing up to the people who have abused him.
Theodore Hawkwood chapter 1 . 5/21/2014
First off this was a great start for a well written tale, one that in future installations can certainly be grounds taking a stance in the ages old debate of nature versus nurture arguments of villains.

Mary, honestly is nothing of a sympathetic character in my eyes at least what I can see in this story. What I found especially disturbing was that last line of having 'some measure of control over the brat'. I just hope, as completely messed up as it sounds, that she is Jonathan's first victim because of how horrible she is. She most certainly would deserve it for having made a monster.

The Mary/Marion conflict is equally compelling as the Mary/Jonathan dynamic promises to be. The juxtaposition between religious and society/materialistic type is well written in this particular case.

The Keeny family home's air, the lost possessions and the likening to a dying animal were very potent images and thoughts of a family in more than a state of turmoil and conflict and just overall decay. Quite macabre in some sense.

Good job with this writing and I have added this to my list of favorites to read on further.
Jael.Rice.1 chapter 4 . 5/19/2014
Let me just say that I finished reading Scarecrow: Year One, and I am really looking forward to the part where Jonathan finally gets his revenge. Mary is long overdue for some payback. She is downright despicable in this chapter.

Oh, Jonathan. What were you thinking, asking your Halloween-hating grandmother to go out on that night? If this is a case of his mind being affected by the dehydration, overwork, and the heat, then this is a great example of showing, not telling, that he wasn't thinking straight. I realize that maybe this wasn't what you were going for, but the implication that the heat was affecting his cognitive abilities is a believable one.

Aww, he even offered to share some of his candy. I really like this show of his naivety here. He probably knows that she won't let him out, but the fact that he thinks that he might have a chance to go is both adorable and sad at the same time.

Bo and his gang grow more and more despicable with each chapter. The way they exploit school pride in the name of beating up other kids who might now show it demonstrates their entitlement. It feels believable since I knew of cheerleaders at the high school I attended who were so gun-ho about representing their school, they literally made you feel bad if you didn't want to go to any of the school events. This chapter feels like the start of the moral event horizon. Not only do they try to burn a book, they end up burning Jonathan, which reveals a darker side to their character. If they don't have any problems with burning him, who knows what other sadistic tortures they wouldn't mind doling out on their human punching bag.

The way you describe the aviary is just astounding. I love how you personify it as “dying”. It feels like it has another dimension to its character. I also like how you go on to describe how it looks now that its past its prime. I can definitely picture the ivy and the broken, stained glass windows. Mary's hatred for her dad's preference for his bird definitely shows through the lack of upkeep. It really shows the extent of her anger at her family members. To her, it's a symbol of the weaknesses of her family; her dad's obsession, her mother's inability to move on after he died, and now a place to punish Jonathan.

Really good use of dialogue when Jonathan is trying to postpone his punishment. The short sentences punctuated with the exclamation points really convey the desperation in his voice as she takes him to the aviary.

The part where he is attacked by the crows reminds me of the scene in Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne ends up in the cavern below Wayne Manor for the first time. Him being freaked out by all the bats sort of served as his baptism into becoming the Batman. I was wondering if you were going for the same thing with Jonathan's attack by crows. This chapter feels like the turning point in Jonathan Crane's life. With the amplification of his abuse in this chapter, it's only a matter of time before he snaps.
104 | Page 1 2 3 4 .. Last Next »