Waylon Jones is given the opportunity to share his origin story in Batman and Robin #23.4. We see what was once a young man concerned with his physical differences become Killer Croc the Emperor of his own Kingdom.
Once again this is another title that does not tie in with the Forever Evil story, instead we are given the opportunity to get into the mind of the predator known as Killer Croc. This origin shows a young Waylon being looked after by his abusive aunt who suggests that he scrub his skin till his deformities are gone. We are given a sympathetic story of a boy that was encouraged to hide his true self from the outside world, a child that was ridiculed and considered an outcast because of his looks. Nobody took the time to get to know him. Everyone seemed to want to use Waylon for their own personal gains.
We get to see his days as a performer, then as a petty criminal and now as the king of his own underground kingdom. It is almost as if the writer wants us to excuse the brutality and horror that Killer Croc is exacting out on to his victims. The tone is one of horror. You have policeman in the sewers looking for an exit, meanwhile an apex predator is hunting them down, picking them off slowly but surely. But here is the twist; although it is presents as though Croc is killing for his own sadistic pleasures, there is actual a method to his madness. These cops are not innocent. They are looking for a key from a body that they tossed off the docks. Killer Croc has that key and he wants them to try and find it.
Is it a battle for territory or is Killer Croc becoming an agent of justice? His motives are revealed in the conclusion of the book. What Tim Seeley did not forget is that Killer Croc is still a monster, even if these cops are not innocent you end up feeling sorry for them as a trip to the crocodile’s lair proves to be one sinister experience. But this new Killer Croc is intelligent, too intelligent considering he was a circus performer and spent most of his life committing crime. His monologues create a Killer Croc that seems to have been reading the dictionary and studying in his spare time. Let’s not forget why he is called Killer Croc. He is a beast of the bayou, not a horror from Harvard!
Portela does a great job of illustrating this issue. Batman and Robin #23.4 looks great. Accompanied by excellent colouring, you can picture the environment of the sewers and see the terror that Killer Croc presents. The detail on the character is amazing. Each scale just jumps off the page. Killer Croc is humungous as he has evolved from his flashbacks to the present. In earlier flashbacks he looks like a scaly version of Batman The Animated Series’ Killer Croc, but here in this issue he looks like the Killer Croc that frightened gamers in Arkham Asylum. The expressions drawn in this issue also help you feel the horrors of being in the same vicinity as Jones. The terror seems so real.
Killer Croc is a decent issue plagued by too many time shifts. It still makes for a great read but with so many other Croc origins released in the past year this title seems kind of unnecessary. A Talia or Leviathan story could have been a great edition instead. Although the story is not that strong, the artwork truly makes this an entertaining and worthwhile read.