In the third Interlude of Batwoman, Kate Kane herself takes the back seat and one of her foes gets his time to shine. Killer Croc takes the wheel of Batwoman #21, and hopefully gives us a taste of what to expect from the upcoming Villains Month.
Interlude III takes a departure from the rest of the story just as the two Interludes before it did and in many ways this issue feels like a sneak peek into the upcoming Villains Month. We’ve seen Waylon Jones, a.k.a. Killer Croc, before, but through the lense of Batwoman or Batman. This time we get to see things from his side; what he’s thinking, how he’s feeling, and why he acts the way he does.
The issue starts off shortly after Medusa’s defeat in Batwoman #17, with Killer Croc reverting back to himself after a spell as the legendary Hydra. He’s taken down into the sewers by a cult of creatures who are now leaderless after Kyle Abbot’s death. We’re treated to a walk in Crocs shoes (figuratively speaking—he doesn’t wear shoes) and get a new perspective on an old character. I’d never been overly sympathetic Croc before since I’d mostly seen him as a bit of a brute, more monster than man, but this issue really digs deep down into him and page after page makes me feel for him.
“I got no say over what I become. It just sorta… happens to me.” Waylon says this at one point and it’s obvious he’s resigned himself to what he’s become. He doesn’t believe it’s for a reason, that it was just bad luck, and that he isn’t meant to be any more than what he is. But Waylon Jones is more, or at least that’s what Claire and her motley crew of creatures think, and they look to him as their new leader. As such, he’s tasked with avenging Abbot’s death by killing Batwoman.
Croc’s fight with Batwoman also reveals more about himself. I don’t want to go too into detail here because I really do think this issue is a real treat to anyone who reads it. There’s so much more to the character of Killer Croc than we have ever seen before. He’s not a monster or a mindless beast at his core, he’s a scared 10-year-old who’s been backed into a corner due to the crappy hand life has dealt him.
I really must applaud Williams III and Blackman’s writing here. This was a refreshing take on Waylon Jones and it really made him someone that you can connect with. I found myself towards the end of the issue hoping that Croc would one day find a place in the world where he belongs and be able to settle down, live a less than exciting life, and finally be happy.
We also had Francesco Francavilla as the fill in artist for this issue, and overall I’m a bit pleased by his work. There were some issues which I’ll talk about down below, but I think much of the art fit with the story they were telling. I’m not sure I’d have been as pleased if he were taking over a main issue, but being an Interlude I think he was a great fit for the story.
Francavilla’s art seemed very rushed. I’m not sure what the story is behind this departure from Francavilla’s usual fare, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had to draw this issue under the gun.
I was completely drawn into this issue from start to finish. Batwoman #21 had me completely captivated and made me feel for Waylon Jones. I don’t know what more you can ask for in a comic issue. Though it’s not a perfect issue I certainly loved it, enough to overlook the flaws and give it a 5.