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Review: Joker's Asylum II: Killer Croc

This could be one very well told, very morbid joke.

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After escaping from Arkham Asylum, Killer Croc becomes the muscle for a low-level gangster and his wife.

The Good

The simplistic nature of this one-shot's plot is something of a double-edged sword. Or maybe even tripled-edged, if that's possible. It's an enjoyable "told-in-one" that pleasantly reminds me of a good episode of the old Batman: The Animated Series or even a short from Tales from the Crypt (especially considering given the Cryptkeeper vibe the Joker assumes here.) The other positive "edge" is that it's so too-the-point, it's actually quite funny. You'd have to be a special kind of stupid to think you could actually get away with making Croc do your dirty work, offer him nothing in return and even try to double-cross him and then walk away with your skin. So when the gangster and his wife get their comeuppance at his claws, it's this darkly humorous "Well, what did you expect?" moment. I'll say that Yardin and Richards' art was sharp, as well, and Croc's gruesome escape means of escape was quite memorable.

The Bad

The negative "edge" I mentioned is that this story's so simplistic that I really wasn't buying Croc's pangs of regret in his cell at the end, nor the "Beauty and the Beast" theme this issue's title was evoking. You never see him really warming up to the gangster's wife before she betrays him, nor does she really work her feminine wiles. She just tells him how displeased she is and then shoots him, coming across as none-too-bright housewife clumsily attempting to be a femme fatale. If that was intentional, then it fits in with the positive; but if it wasn't, if you're supposed to feel that Croc's heart's been broken, then it doesn't really succeed.

The Verdict - 3/5

One of the most memorable scenes in Batman: The Animated Series had all of Batman's rogues comparing their elaborate schemes to kill the caped crusader. When it came to Croc, he just says, "I threw a rock at him." So part of Croc's charm, for lack of a better word, is his blunt, simplistic MO. If this issue was intended to capture that, then the part where Croc gets revenge on these dimwitted criminals would be a great punchline to a 22 page set-up.