The brave and the bold tales of Batman and Robin continue in this latest installment of The Audio Adventures. After revealing the importance of the scimitar, Batman tracks the Demon Head to the sewers. However, Batman shockingly discovers it has landed in the clutches of a manic Killer Croc!
The intricate narrative tapestry is starting to come together in it’s own way like the House That Jack Built. What simply started with the Joker’s love potion hitting the sewers, has turned into a full on hunt for a sword wielding Killer Croc. What strikes me as interesting, is how sympathetic Batman is toward Croc’s predicament. Even though he is leaving bloody devastation in his wake, Batman is quick to stand up to a few misguided teenagers in his defense. It gives Dennis McNicholas to draw more attention to the man behind the monster in flashbacks. Although Croc picks up the Demon’s Head incidentally, we don’t actually see him using it at all in the issue. Who’s to say Croc hasn’t dropped it by now?
Additionally, Robin’s side story has matured into a direct conflict with Scarecrow and Penguin. After Scarecrow suspiciously takes Penguin’s wooly mammoth, Robin tracks it to a warehouse laboratory. Scarecrow’s primary interest in the beast concerns the retrieval of perfectly preserved “magic mushrooms” in its stomach. Consequently, we can assume that Scarecrow wants to use them for some kind of experiment. Although we never get an explanation for how Scarecrow knew they existed in the first place. Either way, Scarecrow’s generic “biker” muscle chases Robin out of the factory into the clutches of the Penguin.
The whimsical artwork still retains a wholesome tone. Hilariously, I still can’t tell if Batman is loosely tucking his shirt or his belt is too tight. The action is light and makes for a swift and comfortable read. Each drawing is neat and consistent too. Even in moments of darkness, the tone never takes itself too seriously and prioritizes wonder over everything. One of my favorite panels involves Batman hanging on smoking sewer pipes in low green light and shadow before he descends into the bowels. A few of the character designs like Penguin remind me of the Andy Capp’s Hot Fries guy, but the worst design might be the heavy handed younger Killer Croc. I never thought I’d ever see a child version of Croc with an oblong head and bookish attire. It’s cute but needlessly innocent to get the point across.
The focus on the teenagers was a nice touch. After the Burma Shave Boys encounter Killer Croc, they decide to set their traps in the sewer. Moreover, one of them starts cross-dressing as a strange gimmick. I especially like comparing them to the children harass who Croc as a kid. Their behavior totally reminds me of Codename: Kids Next Door and to be honest they look right out of the series themselves. Waylon dealing with bullying and abuse as a child certainly justifies his mean streak as an adult, but eating people is new for him too. Though it is strange how a love potion could get an inanimate doll to convince Croc to kill people.
- Still keeping up with The Audio Adventures.
- You need to see Batman and Robin embark on a classic adventure.
- You never thought you needed to see a bunch of tweens reciting poetry at Batman.
Overall, it is an uncomplicated series with its storytelling in the right place. Bottling Batman in a lighter setting unburdened by cynicism is a breath of fresh air. The artwork and overall cartoonish experience remains a high point, but nonetheless a niche that not everyone will buy into. For those still finding this series appealing, it continues to provide genuine entertainment without relying on twists and darker turns.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a free copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.