The so-called tales of life and death approach its fourth chapter of the story. In this harrowing edition, Batman finally catches up with Killer Croc as the Penguin finds Robin in his clammy clutches!
McNicholas’ Batman has mostly just faced goons, assassins, and spunky teenagers, but now he has to reason with Killer Croc. In case you forgot, Killer Croc has come into possession of the Demon’s Head scimitar wanted by spooky assassins. Batman even translates the inscription on the Demon’s Head in under a minute. Unfortunately, Croc is under the influence of a love potion that fuels his paranoid delusions. Although Batman does his best to keep Croc calm, Joker’s love potion causes Croc to perceive everything as a threat. I never noticed it before, but Croc’s partnership with the creepy doll may be a homage to the Love Is A Croc episode from Batman the Animated Series.
The book explores the quality Waylon’s life before he became Killer Croc. Curiously, it involves experimentation with Hugo Strange. Even if we assume Waylon’s aunt sent him for a cure, nothing quite explains the point of dipping Croc into a Lazarus Pit. The only hint we get is a throwaway reference to some kind of “monster serum.” We also get a peek at Croc’s first foray into crime. At some point, they reveal that the Penguin and his odd bodyguard who looks like Gru from Despicable Me save him. This explains away how he got to be allied with the Penguin at the start of the series.
Meanwhile, Penguin attempts to recruit Robin to stop the Scarecrow. Penguin does his best to interrogate the boy wonder on what he knows about Scarecrow’s plans, but ends up saying a lot of creepy stuff. At first I thought it was just me. Penguin grossly slobbers on himself while making what seemed like thinly veiled innuendos about a “partnership.” However, as he continues to insinuate further, even Robin comments on how uncomfortable it got and tried to leave. Maybe it was simply Cobblepot unnerving Grayson with intimate questions about his identity, but it really felt like it implied sexual deviancy.
The cutesy artwork felt more out of place in tone than it usually does. Perhaps the nature of this weeks story and it’s focus on trauma and violence. They serve hostages pizza and junk food, they torture Killer Croc and drop him into a Lazarus pit, and the Penguin acts like a pedo. I still think the illustrations are as heart warming as a comic strip. Croc retains a sympathetic appearance, while even his delusions of Batman end up looking less scary than cuddly. In addition, Penguin takes on a classic Burgess Meredith style look. Regrettably, it is starting to detract from a sense of true danger despite all the hollow mustache twirling. It has left me wondering how the tone would feel if this were still solely audio.
- A true fan of the Audio Adventures and have been enjoying the tie-in.
- You are a Batman fan looking comic strip style adventures.
- You are a fan of classic Robin.
I have decided that the tone is going to make or break this experience for you. Personally, I’m not sure who this story is for yet, but I am at least digging the simplicity like a kid’s cartoon. Ironically, Audio Adventures reminds me of a brighter version of Batman the Animated Series, but way less willing to go deep. I can’t complain about the series being populated by lovable caricatures, but it feels intellectually dishonest about what it wants to do with them. It may be working better or worse for other readers, so please let me know what you think about the series so far.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.