Batman and Robin 23.4
Special “Villains Month” Title: Killer Croc 1
Tim Seeley, Francis Portela
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
The Batman and Robin tie-in to Villains Month and Forever Evil this week featured Killer Croc, one of the most underrated and underappreciated of the Bat’s rogues gallery. It also featured two creators who are not new to the industry, but I had sadly never seen their work before I picked up this issue. Writer Tim Seeley and artist Francis Portela had a difficult task given to them: Not only sell a book about a character not a whole lot of people cared about or liked, but actually make him interesting. I, for one, am glad they accepted the challenge.
The issue is tells the origin of young Waylon Jones, the boy who-would-be-Croc, with the skin deformity living in the ghettos of Gotham City. We are immediately shown that he grew up in an abusive home and was constantly ridiculed for his appearance. All save for one man, the “one-armed jester” of his would-be kingdom. We are then shown (through a series of surprisingly straight-forward back-and-forth panel sequences) Killer Croc and his gang of under-dwellers picking off crooked cops one by one in the sewers beneath the city. The violence is brutal, quick, and gory. Exactly as it should be. But the ending, after he’s killed the last of the bad cops, is the highlight of this issue. We learn that it was vengeance for them taking the life of his one and only childhood friend weeks before, as punishment for going against their own brand of justice. So Killer Croc took his dead friend’s advice and started a revolution. He’s now King Croc to the people who Gotham forgot, and he’s going to take the fight to the surface. I wonder if he’ll have a role in the upcoming Forever Evil: Arkham War miniseries? I sure hope so.
The issue is well worth the extra dollar for another awesome cover. My favorite part of the comic was the flashback where Croc is in the travelling circus. It reminded me of the old Batman: The Animated Series episode, although this issue paints him in a significantly more positive light than that one did. It was also nice to see him as a character capable of rational thought and planning ability. He’s never been smart, no, but most writers in the past have just written him off completely, or if they do choose to use him, he’s just a brainless thug or flat-out comic relief. It’s nice to think that he could possibly be as smart as he is deadly in the future. That’s one character change I would welcome.
My Rating: 4/5