Batman: Arkham Unhinged #8 review

Well that’s probably the best story this comic has had since issue #2. Sure, it doesn’t flow very well, but the artwork is good and seeing a Killer Croc origin story is a refreshing change of pace and a good glimpse into the inner workings of the Arkhamverse, which is what this series promised in the first place but has so rarely delivered on.

This is to be the origin of the Arkhamverse’s Killer Croc. I opened it up, thought the art looked good and started reading the green boxes filled with Croc’s narration. My brain instantly recalled the voice used in the video games but that voice and these words didn’t jive. They didn’t complement one another. So I switched it out with the tried and true voice from Batman: The Animated Series, the grey, Cajun Killer Croc– that one was always my favorite. Nope. Didn’t work either. Lines like “He’s a creature. Like me. All anger and fury. Relying on pure animal instinct.” just didn’t ring true. Killer Croc’s voice never felt right. Not once. Fridolfs failed to capture the way Waylon Jones speaks either in the video games or in his better comic book appearances.

The story’s narrative is also rather…funky. It’s Croc’s inner thoughts on a typical night in the Arkham City sewers as he’s about to eat some wandering Joker thugs. That’s fine, but then the Joker thugs start talking and we cut away to a story of their own about Rat Catcher and then another tale about how one of their friends was killed by the Joker. Those bits really didn’t have much of a place here. A cut-away was unnecessary. Then Killer Croc’s starts thinking about his life and we see his entire story unfold. That’s where the real meat of the story is. A retelling of Croc’s origin is long overdue so it was good to see it handled here, however it wasn’t handled that well. We never get it explained to us why Waylon is Crocodile-like in the first place and that feels like a pretty big piece of the puzzle to leave out. Personally, I like the idea of him just having a weird skin/bone condition and he files his teeth but this version looked like a Fallout 3 Mutant since birth and bullets bounce off of his skin so I don’t know what the story is exactly. Fridolfs combines stuff from the comics as well as Batman: The Animated Series and for the most part it works but it’s all very rushed and tightly squeezed together on every page. If he hadn’t gone into the Joker story or the Rat Catcher story there would’ve been enough pages to really elaborate on Croc’s journey.

I don’t like the cannibal depiction of Croc that well, but that’s what the Arkhamverse Croc is all about, I just wish that that tendency to eat people had been covered more. Here he just takes a bite out of his aunt and likes it so much that he just keeps biting and kept on eating people long after the last bit of aunt was digested. So that makes him a monster. Another thing that wasn’t quite as well explained is the blind girl that’s in the circus with Croc, the one who takes sympathy on him. What was her gimmick? Just being blind? I’m being nitpicky here, but I really wanted to know.

The real highlight of the book is the art. It’s the best looking Arkham Unhinged comic I’ve seen in months.  Artist Darick Robertson put some real effort into this and it shows. There are some really detailed panels here and most importantly it looks 100% like the Arkham games. This is something many of the artists fail to capture, but not Robertson. The look is spot-on and the Joker in particular looked fantastic.

Would I recommend you buy this one? Well…more than I would any of the other Arkham books since #2. It’s definitely got some fine artwork in it and it’s also the best Killer Croc story I’ve seen in a very, very long while, but that’s not really saying much.

SCORE: 6/10