Killer Croc is the new Donna Troy. It’s true. In yet another sign of the lack of DC not having its shhhhhh… er, act together with this whole “New 52” thing, they failed to notice that there were seemingly three different Killer Crocs running around, each with a different personality and agenda. In Red Hood and the Outlaws, he appeared as Roy Harper’s rehab sponsor. Recently, in the pages of Katana, he appeared in his more traditional form and shattered the lead hero’s enchanted blade. And here in Batwoman, Medusa mutated him into an even more crocodile-like monster, with a long snout and several sets of eyes… only for him to further mutate into the enormous Hydra creature! In other words, Killer Croc is now a disjointed mess with a completely scrambled continuity, kind of like Donna Troy, post-Crisis, post-Zero Hour, post-every other crossover.
In September, as part of “Forever Evil,” writer Tim Seely will be tasked with reconciling these different takes on this single character, but hopefully this issue of Batwoman will help him out just a touch. In it, we learn that Killer Croc survived his battle with Batwoman and her allies and was saved by the Religion of Crime, who nurse him back to health. In particular he bonds with a similarly reptilian woman named Claire and she becomes his first lover. After the death of werewolf Abbott, the Religion is without a ruler and a priest named Jered, a hawk-shifter, elects Croc, but in order to prove his worthiness, Jered orders Croc to kill Batwoman for revenge.
After a somewhat humorous stakeout, Croc attacks Batwoman who has rendezvoused with her fiancee Maggie. Not suspecting that Maggie is a cop, Croc finds himself facing two lethal ladies… three once Hawkfire enters the fray. Croc’s mind, still not completely healed from the time he spent recuperating, begins to fragment, but he realizes that he’s a changed man from before. He must make a fateful decision… if he survives this battle.
Narrated from Croc’s perspective, this tale adds unexpected depth and insight into a character that is traditionally depicted as a nearly brainless thug. Clearly things really have changed for him as we experience startling nuance and eloquence.
The art, by Francesco Francavilla, will not be everyone’s cup of tea. I thought it was great, but it’s very crude and a bit harsh to look at. But that’s befitting a story starring a character like Croc, who is grotesque, in a setting like the underground catacombs belonging to the Religion of Crime. I found it to be a perfect match for the story, but I know it won’t be for everyone.
Killer Croc is a character I never gave two thoughts to. Giant crocodile man? M’kay. And most writers chose never to delve any deeper. This is strange considering how nuanced most of Batman’s enemies are, but most were willing to employ him as simply muscle. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman actually gave this character some depth and made me interested in him here. I enjoyed the story and thought the art suited it well!
Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art by Francesco Francavilla