Friday, September 09, 2016

Old Scores (Marvel)
Thunderbolts #150 When: January 2011
Why: Jeff Parker How: Kev Walker

The Story So Far...
When the villainous Norman Osborn was finally exposed as a corrupting force working within the ranks; Captain America Steve Rogers returned to accept a position as new Director of SHIELD!

At Cap's request, Luke Cage assumes the role of head of a newly reformed team of covert Thunderbolts. This new group adds several notorious criminals who might be swayed to the side of angels: Moonstone, Ghost, Juggernaut and Crossbones all accept an offer to join the team to work toward a pardon for past crimes.

When Director Rogers, Iron Man and Thor arrive to attend a field mission in assessment of the team -- techno-fiend Ghost sees an opportunity to free he and his comrades!

By interfering with Man-Thing's teleportation, Ghost succeeds in shunting himself, Crossbones and Juggernaut to the freedom of a distant, barren universe where SHIELD nanites can no longer be triggered within their bodies! Not everyone is happy about their predicament, though. Juggernaut's going his own way and it's about to get a whole lot worse when The Avengers teleport in to bring them home!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Juggernaut 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Iron Man 5 (Professor)
Speed: Draw 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Juggernaut 7 (Unstoppable)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: Thor 6 (Warrior)
Energy: Thor 5 (Explosives)

The Avengers are: Luke Cage, Iron Man & Thor.

That's a fairly heavy duty trio for a single opponent, but when the target on the run is the unstoppable Juggernaut -- even Avengers take no chances!

All three have the individual brawn to stand toe-to-toe with the Juggernaut, but super-strength is no guarantee for victory! Just ask the likes of Colossus [Uncanny X-Men #183], Captain Britain [Excalibur #3], and DC's Captain Marvel Jr [Unlimited Access #3]! They're three super heavyweights we've seen take hard falls at the magically empowered hands of the Juggernaut!

Thunder god Thor is both the strongest and most practised when it comes to fighting The Juggernaut. The two have had a handful of memorable battles in the past. Thor usually comes out on top in the end, but fluctuations in power has given each warrior victories over the other.

Thor owns previously featured wins against DC's senior Captain Marvel [Marvel versus DC #2], as well as a sneaky win against Superman [JLA/Avengers #1] -- something Juggernaut wasn't able to manage [DC versus Marvel #1]!

Luke Cage is unofficially leading the team into battle in his capacity as overseer of the post-Osborn Thunderbolts. His unbreakable skin makes him ultra durable, but in strength terms, he has the least offensive chances against Juggernaut. As a reluctant member of Cage's Thunderbolts, Juggernaut was infested with nano-bots capable of slowing him down - a tool Cage used to curb his teammate.

Juggernaut was unable to expel the nanotech due to fluctuations in his magical strength and invulnerability. Various altruistic acts and alliances had cost him the favor of the deity Cyttorak, which diminished his peak powers. He's still a nigh unstoppable force, but the door to victory is more ajar than usual.

In the years preceding this team-up, Cage and Iron Man were notably divided as patrons of the two opposing teams in Civil War. We saw them working with a temporary truce in New Avengers #36, but even when the "Mighty" and "New" groups were reunited, each was on a different team. Thor was inactive through much of this, but had his own issues with Iron Man upon return.

Juggernaut isn't particularly known for psychology or strategizing, but baggage could undermine the teamwork of the Avengers trio. We've certainly seen Thor succumb to his own hubris in the past, like the time Ghost Rider turned his own hammer against him [Avengers #214]! Likewise, Iron Man has a knack for turning friends into enemies, ie; War Machine [Iron Man #310], Sub-Mariner [Invincible Iron Man #12], and The Invaders [New Invaders #0]! They aren't the only teammates who might get under each other's feet, though.

It should be noted that Juggernaut is on the run with Ghost and Crossbones. The latter will be occupied with Captain America, but all are present when the fight kicks off. They're arguing amongst themselves - nobody too pleased with Ghost's plan to maroon them in a strange alternate dimension.

Will team dynamics be a deciding factor? Lets end the speculation and find out!

The Math: Thor Ranking: Iron Man (#3)

What Went Down...
As the runaway Thunderbolts argue amongst themselves, Ghost opts to keep data of an incoming missile to himself. The projectile is none other than Luke Cage - who makes a bullseye touchdown directly on top of Juggernaut!

Juggernaut smashes into the ground, but effortlessly swats Cage away with a swing of his unstoppable arm! It sends the Power Man flying away, as the Iron Man swoops in to continue the fight!

A barrage of repulsor rays pushes Juggernaut deeper into the ground - creating a massive crater! Still on his back, Juggernaut uses his predicament to his advantage, throwing up wave of the surrounding sediment directly at Iron Man!

The curtain of dust and dirt engulfs Iron Man, forcing him into evasive manoeuvres. No such problem for the god of thunder, who charges directly at the rising Juggernaut with hammer extended!

Lightning clings to Juggernaut's metallic shell, crackling all around him! Thor orders the giant to fall. He lets out an almighty yell, but disobeys with the upright integrity that comes with his unstoppable nature!

Luke Cage steps up with a plan, volunteering to aid Thor in his fight with the Juggernaut, while Iron Man pursues Ghost, and Captain America takes care of Crossbones! The team splits -- Cage launching himself into the fray with a dive kick!

Juggernaut absorbs the blow, skidding in the dirt. Thor follows with an all mighty swing of his hammer. It thunders against the invincible powerhouse - surrounding him in lightning once again! He stumbles. Thor leaps into the air and swings Mjolnir again -- this time rending the metal of his protective helmet!

Still the Juggernaut will not fall!

A backhanded swing sends Thor hurtling away from him for at least a moment. Juggernaut means to fight to the death to avoid being sent back to The Vault. Cage swears nobody will lose their life this day, tagging in with a big right hook that finally knocks Juggernaut off balance!

The weight of Juggernaut falling to his backside forces the cliff edge beneath them to crumble! He and Cage spill uncontrollably to the lake bank below.

Juggernaut takes the advantage, mounting Cage with the intention to rain super-powered fists down upon his face. Instead, it's the face of Cain Marko that undergoes an unexpected change!

The surrounding waters have "strange properties" according to the locals. Some say it shows the true self of anyone who sees their reflection. Marko watches as his image turns from Cyttorak, to his mortal self, to something truly inhuman. It's enough to make the Juggernaut pause for thought.

Iron Man returns with Ghost voluntarily in tow, and orders Juggernaut down.

When Juggernaut refuses to comply, the golden Avenger unleashes a "localized sonic assault" that once took down an entire regiment! The focused blast causes Cain Marko immense pain, but he doesn't fall!

Iron Man orders Thor to deliver a finishing blow, but Luke Cage calls them off! He can see the weakened Juggernaut is already defeated!

Blood pours from Cain Marko's ears and mouth as the sonic blast vibrates viciously through him. Cage clearly abhors the brutal tactic. He scowls and suggests Iron Man redirect. The armored hero relents.

The Hammer...
Juggernaut may still be standing, but it's only by the mercy of Luke Cage. The fight is clearly won by Iron Man and The Avengers!

This officially begins an unbreakable September on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths! From here forward Fidays will feature fights involving Luke Cage in the countdown to the launch of his brand new Netflix series - September 30th!

Starting the celebration with this era of the Thunderbolts provides an interesting transition from last month's spotlight on the Suicide Squad!

When they debuted in Incredible Hulk #449, The Thunderbolts were an opportunistic scheme hatched by Baron Zemo to fool the world into trusting his disguised Masters of Evil. It came amidst Heroes Reborn -- an event that led the Marvel Universe at large to believe the Avengers, Fantastic Four and Hulk had perished fighting Onslaught. This drain on the superhero ranks made for perfect conditions, creative and fictional, to try a fairly novel take on a new team book!

Of course, over the many years since that initial villainous line-up, the roster has undergone a variety of changes. After Dark Reign put bad guy Norman Osborn in charge of SHIELD [and the T-bolts]; the Luke Cage led team mirrored the basic concept of DC's Suicide Squad by employing heroes and villains with criminal records to fulfil government operations.

There was a lot to like about the basic components of the relaunch, which in no way seemed derivative. Cage maintained the high concept of characters with a criminal record, but also lent the team the starpower he'd earned as a centerpiece of the New Avengers. It was a good focal point for the blended ensemble of the "Heroic Age" relaunch.

Classic T-bolts like Songbird, Moonstone, Fixer and Mach-V offered a pleasant through line from the iconic stories of the recent past. Villainous additions Ghost, Crossbones and Juggernaut added well known combustible elements to the team. Teleport transporter Man-Thing gave it all an extra twist for flavor.

Indeed, everything about the new line-up seemed very correct and well considered. Almost clinically so. There was a certain spark that never quite set in. A stilted approach that almost seemed to presume the formula for success before the work was done. Admittedly, that's a very presumptive way of putting it, but it speaks to the tone of the Marvel Universe as it deliberately detached from several years of unifying post-Civil War editorial direction, in favor of far less successful high concept events.

Thunderbolts #150 feels like it should be a celebration of a lot of things, but it manages to feel more like a memorial. The relationships between the guest heroes and their counterparts doesn't pop the way it should. There's a sense of recent history hanging over the Avengers, but a reluctance to go too deep.

Kev Walker's artwork has a dynamic life to it in previous issues, but here its at its most stilted. Fabio D'Auria joins Frank Martin in the "Color Artist" credits. It's unclear if that encompasses digital inking in the color process, but that would be my suspicion. The palette gets very monotonous, but I'm not sure that alone could account for underwhelming action.

Layouts could be improved. Sometimes cinematic framing manages to make the action feel less alive than well cartooned comics. Walker's grasp of depth of field is technically impressive, but doesn't get the most out of the action. When Thor collides with Juggernaut, I long for the two-dimensional excess of a well done side-on panel. When Juggernaut's helmet is twisted and ripped - I want it to hold complete visceral focus to leap off the page. That it doesn't makes me wonder if there was a tight deadline in play.

Fortunately, there is a lot of good here in supply from everyone involved. When you haven't seen it in a while, you really appreciate the color pop of Luke Cage's yellow pseudo-uniform.

As much as Captain America, Iron Man and Thor are big time guest stars that threaten to pull focus, Cage really gets a great share of the action. It's a tad on-the-nose when Cap defers to Cage for tactics, but I appreciate the sense of focus for the home team. It's particularly fun when Cage is throwing himself around at the bigger, stronger Juggernaut. Two of those panels feature above.

As we revisit more moments of Luke Cage's long superhero career, and continue to map the unstoppable charge of Juggernaut over the years, this issue will be easy to enjoy in meta and macro. Whether or not it was a highlight of either's career, it's nice to be able to note the time Cage and Juggernaut did battle, and were part of the Thunderbolts. An interesting moment in both of their histories.

If you'd like to see this moment for yourself, take advantage of the collected edition available in the Amazon link provided!

You can find lots more featured fights and articles about the characters featured today by following links, labels, or hitting the Issue Index Archive!

Stay tuned this month as we explore even more battles from the past and present of "Power Man" Luke Cage!

Winners: Iron Man, Luke Cage & Thor
#3 (--) Iron Man
#12 (+2) Luke Cage
#22 (+9) Thor
#67 (-1) Juggernaut

Monday, September 05, 2016

Real Name: Slade Wilson
First Appearance: New Teen Titans #2 (December, 1980)
Fight Club Ranking: #298

Featured Fights:
- vs JUSTICE LEAGUE: Identity Crisis #3 (Oct 2004)
- vs FREEDOM FIGHTERS: Infinite Crisis #1 (Dec 2005)
- vs JUSTICE LEAGUE: Justice League of America #15 (Jan 2008)

Just like that: Ben Affleck restores a sense of excited anticipation to the DC Extended Universe with a single tweet! Of course, the real star turning heads is the character featured in the short snippet of test footage -- traditional Teen Titans nemesis, and all around bad ass mercenary: Deathstroke!

The Wrap offers context, following quickly with exclusive reports Deathstroke will feature as a "main villain" in Affleck's much discussed Batman film! No word yet on whether or not that means any kind of preliminary appearance in the slate of films booked.

"The Batman" has no definitive release date -- a rarity for superhero films, these days -- but is being nursed through the writing stage by Affleck, and escalated movie overseer, Geoff Johns. Ben Affleck will also star and direct, reprising his role as The Dark Knight for at least his fourth screen appearance by the time he faces off with Deathstroke in theatres. That will quickly make him the actor to have played Batman on screen the most! Wowsers!

Affleck's debut as a burly, Miller-esque Batman (with slightly homicidal tendencies) was one of the few lauded elements of Zack Snyder's bloated blockbuster - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He followed that picture's March madness with a couple of cameos in August's Suicide Squad, which introduced a controversial new take on The Joker, and canonized plans for the 2017 live-action film debut of the Justice League. Affleck is front-and-centre there, as well, personally greeting film press during a presentation of footage transparently designed to change the narrative surrounding Snyder's grim directorial style. A Comic-Con pseudo trailer really failed to convince, but excited some.

Excitement surrounding a big screen arrival for Deathstroke is a testament to the power of the lowest common denominator. Warner Brothers won't have an unlimited supply of resets, but the cache built up by decades of DC Comics, as well as mainstream cross-media exposure through animation, video games, and television, has cultivated a fundamental interest in IP that will keep them in the game while they search for cinematic identity. Deathstroke's credible, broad appeal could be the bridge between those who accepted or enjoyed WB's morose 2016 superhero movie slate - and those who could not.

He may've begun his career harassing kids in Teen Titans comics (and cartoons), but the last decade of print has produced memorable run-ins with Batman, Superman, The Justice League, and perhaps most effectively - Green Arrow! The latter became something of a contemporary arch-nemesis, understood by the masses thanks to appearances on TV's ridiculous, but somehow beloved, Arrow.

Deathstroke arrives from the comics with a reputation as a cold, calculating, competent killer with a complex moral code, and the skills to trouble DC's best! In terms of the villains we've seen in Batman movies before, he's somewhere between Ra's al Ghul and Bane, without the lofty philosophy that fuelled Christopher Nolans' work. Deathstroke's militant aggression could prove a refreshing change of pace for the Batman movies, introducing a new type of threat in a consistent type of manner.

With powers that revolve around being super-humanly good with guns, swords, and martial arts; Deathstroke exists within the perfectly absurd pseudo-reality that mainstream cinema has been hooked on since Nolan. TV has already repurposed the character as a slightly silly, unstoppably butch Terminator clad in two-tone orange helmet. The movies' test footage shows similar appropriation of the classic George Perez costume, outfitting the traditionally chain-mailed villain in more modern, off-the-shelf body armor. Flourishes of orange show at least an interest in establishing visual identity consistent with the comics and beyond generic thugs. We like to see that sort of thing.

While we know Deathstroke will feature in a Batman movie -- we don't know if we'll be seeing him sooner, or who will wear the helmet.

The WB/DC 2017 schedule has Wonder Woman hacking her way through World War 1 in June, before Justice League gathers the heroes in November. The latter seems the more likely film debut destination, but all rumors are focused on Steppenwulf: slightly obscure familial minion of Darkseid. With a presumed resurrection for Superman somewhere in there, and a gathering of the league -- including formal introductions for Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg -- there doesn't seem to be much room for anything else substantial. Never say never, though.

With any luck, you will be able to expect some long overdue love for Deathstroke here on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths! As you may have noticed perusing past feature fights at the top of this post, "The Terminator" has been sorely absent from our spotlight on superhero smackdown! Something I look forward to correcting! If you look forward to it too, be sure to tide yourself over by checking out past battles in the Issue Index Archive! Tell a friend!

       [Home]       Hero of the Week 08/29: Killer Croc >>

Friday, September 02, 2016

Killer's Bane (DC)
Batman #489 When: February 1993
Why: Doug Moench How: Jim Aparo

The Story So Far...
Once upon a time, Killer Croc was the new King of Gotham City's criminal underworld! Alas, much time has passed since the day he took out top boss: The Squid! N
ow the labyrinthine bowels of the city's literal underground devour him -- just another freak flushed away by The Dark Knight who protects this city.

Dazed and confused, Killer Croc is deposited on the banks of the vast urban sprawl. He escapes the torturous flood of his nightmares into a vacant stupor, feasting on rats as the autumn rain turns to winter snow.

When wayward humanity inevitably intrudes upon his solitude - the Killer awakens with a terrible vengeance! A nearby shopping mall is the recipient of his madness, spreading panic through the city's shoppers!

The public display summons Batman & Robin, but they aren't the only ones to witness Croc's strength through the eyes of live broadcast news. Bane has come to Gotham City, and in the former crime boss he sees opportunity to announce his arrival with a brutal test of strength!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Killer Croc 5 (Super-Human)
Intelligence: Bane 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Draw 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Bane 5 (Marathon)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: Bane 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy: Draw 1 (None)

Bane's true name is unknown, but his history as an inmate of notorious Peña Duro is well documented. He was imprisoned as an infant with his rebel mother, to satisfy the criminal life sentence incurred by a mercenary father: King Snake.

At age six, Bane's mother died, leaving him to endure the unforgiving trials of prison life alone. The threat of other inmates honed his survival instinct and ruthlessness, while a kindly Jesuit priest nurtured his inquisitive mind.

By maturity, Bane had accomplished a classical education through extensive reading, while also developing his fighting ability by theory and intense physical training. This attracted the attention of prison officials, who subjected him to experiments with the chemical drug Venom, which only served to enhance his already impressive strength!

Venom featured prominently in Bane's early attacks on Gotham City, regulated by a wrist-worn device that controlled the feed directly into his brain. Chemical enhancement gave him the physical edge when he broke Batman's back [Batman #497], but he would eventually purge himself of the drug, relying on his already impressive, natural physical strength.

Killer Croc could probably relate to Bane's harsh upbringing. Waylon Jones was born with a rare condition of atavism that rendered his skin tough and scaly. His mother died in childhood, and his father disowned him. As he matured, his condition made him increasingly reptilian in appearance, further ostracizing him.

A byproduct of his grotesque condition was also phenomenal natural strength! Jones honed his power wrestling alligators as a carnival attraction of his native Florida. Adopting the Killer Croc moniker earned in sideshows, he soon turned his skills to a more profit potential career in crime. This led him to Gotham City.

Croc made an impact early in his attempts to overthrow the criminal establishment, but Gotham would be as unkind as any other home. Even after he was mutated to more closely represent his namesake, Croc continued to suffer defeats against the likes of Batman [Batman #608] and Solomon Grundy [Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1]!

Our Tale of the Tape reflects later incarnations of both characters, when the Venom-less Bane could plausibly accept defeat at the hands of Judomaster's son [Checkmate #12], for example. In 1993, Bane was at the height of his juicing - which should make him more than equal to Killer Croc!

Will enhanced strength be enough to defeat Killer Croc? Let's find out!...

The Math: Bane Ranking: Bane (#343)

What Went Down...
Like the crocodile's natural predator, Bane stalks through the emptied shopping mall with the purpose of a jungle panther. When he reaches his prey, Killer Croc is already on the floor -- upended in a skirmish with The Batman and Robin!

Bane introduces himself to his target, hitting the button that sends the drug Venom flowing through his body! Killer Croc isn't impressed with the sudden bulge of muscle. He throws a scaly fist at the bulging predator -- a mistake!

Bane snatches Croc's wrist and looms. He sees similarity in the fearless eyes of his powerful opponent, and the bat-demon that haunts his nightmares. He violently twists Killer Croc's arm backwards -- snapping it! He howls in agony!

The pair tumble to the ground, allowing battered rookie Batman and The Boy Wonder to escape unnoticed. Killer Croc's focus narrows on the man who broke his arm. He lunges at him in a rage with one good arm!

Had the punch hit its mark it would've been devastating, but Bane sidesteps the wild blow -- leaving Croc to shatter an indoor tree! He's momentarily stunned.

Bane sizes his foe up: "You're too ugly to hit."

The hulking convict thrusts his boot into Killer Croc's stomach! He follows the staggering blow with a second kick -- this time sending Croc uncontrollably tumbling into the display window of a nearby toy store!

Bloodied and broken, Killer Croc slumps amongst stuffed toys. Defeated.

The Hammer...
Just like that: Bane announces his emphatic entry into Gotham City nightlife!

He leaves the battlefield the same way he came: walking with silent purpose. In five months, this path will take him from emptied shopping mall to Wayne Manor, where in Batman #497 he succeeds in breaking Batman's back!

Even the most oblivious fan will tell you Bane "broke the bat", but not everyone remembers he broke Killer Croc first! It's an interesting side detail that gives a little texture to both villains.

Their dramatic showdown would lead to a bitter rematch some months later. It provided a rare distraction for Bane, who was otherwise pre-occupied with  preparations for Knightfall's dramatic conclusion. The rivalry was notable enough to inspire a memorably succinct retelling in Batman: The Animated Series. With any luck, we'll get a chance to look at the rematch in the near future!

Bane could've taken a shot at Batman right after he'd beaten Croc as early as Batman #489, but the studied villain knows a fake when he sees one! Indeed, this issue is noteworthy for also being the first time Jean-Paul Valley assumed The Dark Knight's mantle.

Valley would later adopt his own infamously nineties armored cape and cowl, becoming a replacement Batman while Bruce Wayne's broken back healed. He would later become better known under the persona of Azrael. We haven't featured him on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths yet! We will have to at least return to this issue in the future to take a closer look!

We have featured Killer Croc several times in the past, in appearances subsequent to this one. If there's one drawback to the otherwise thrilling detail of Bane & Croc's villain-on-villain vendetta, it's that it may have popularized Killer Croc as a fall guy. After today he'll be the fifth lowest ranked character on The Comic Book Fight Club! A hard fall for a villain who once took top spot amongst Gotham City's criminal underworld!

Browsing the letters page from this issue, I noticed readers feeling Jim Aparo had fallen from grace, as well. I didn't like some of the published vitriol, but I have to admit, his Bane and Croc weren't always dynamic. It definitely wasn't quite the same artist that thrilled me just a few years earlier. I've described his Batman of the late eighties as projecting an intimidating, stern fatherly quality. That sharpness is definitely missing from some of these panels.

Of course, the legendary artist was entering his early sixties by 1993. Which kind of flips the script on criticism he would've faced amidst the Image hype of the day. I hope I can do anything as well as Aparo did by the time I'm that age! I'm reminded that Jim Aparo passed away in 2005. A sad loss.

Killer Croc is our current Hero of the Week - inspired by recent appearances in the Suicide Squad film and comics. The ensemble cast featured in Friday Night Fights throughout August, and with five weeks in September, this is an extra bonus before we move on to a solo spotlight!

Winner: Bane
#112 (+231) Bane
#837 (-8) Killer Croc

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths has been all about the past and present of the Suicide Squad! A new ensemble of villains were forced into deeds of heroism with the big screen release of Suicide Squad on August 8th. Reviews have been mixed, but for fans who loved and loathed, there are the stories that came before the movies in classic comics!

This week's Old Comics Wednesday gives you a one-stop catalogue of some of the past features that have showcased the Suicide Squad, or the characters who're starring in the film! By clicking the covers below you'll be transported to feature fights starring: Deadshot, Harley QuinnRick Flag, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, EnchantressAmanda Waller, Batman and The Joker!

If you're still craving more from The Suicide Squad, stay tuned for a bonus fifth week feature in the first Friday Night Fight of September! Check back with the Issue Index for even more comic book action from the worst heroes ever - past, present and future!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Real Name: Waylon Jones
First Appearance: Batman #357 (March, 1983)
Fight Club Ranking: #829

Featured Fights:
- vs WOLVERINE: Marvel versus DC #2 (Mar 1996)
- vs BATMAN: Batman #608 (Dec 2002)
- vs BATMAN: Batman #621 (Jan 2004)
- vs SOLOMON GRUNDY: Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1 (Mar 2009)

The Suicide Squad is officially out now in theatres and by virtue of live-action media generally providing the most interesting superhero stories of the moment: we've dedicated the entirety of this month's Heroes of the Week to characters in the movie!

There are still a lot of left over characters that could've pulled focus now that we've crossed off the big three, but could we really pass up the opportunity to follow an Aussie cliché like Captain Boomerang with an implied croc-wrestling cliché? Crikey, no!

Truth be told, Killer Croc was always on the cards for Hero of the Week. He was one of the early confirmed characters that really made me take notice of the film during production. As with many C-grade bruisers, I've got a real soft spot for the Killer Croc of the comics (and cartoons). He isn't a traditional member of the Suicide Squad, and he deviates from the general type of 'pretend-reality' comic movies usually shy away from. So his inclusion raised a lot of questions and presented a potential litmus test for what the finished movie might be like. At least in theory.

Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje was a nice enough, physical casting choice that didn't really say a lot about the movie's take on the character. Genre fans who still think of him exclusively as TV's Mr. Eko (Lost), or The Bourne Identity's ill fated Wombosi may've suspected an exotic accent, even if Agbaje is actually from London. When the make-up was finally revealed, things got a little clearer.

All things considered, I think the movie does Killer Croc pretty well.

They're still showing their inclination to shy away from the colourful extremes of comic books -- all of the characters are heavily remixed with a grungy urban aesthetic. Yet, Croc looks definitively reptilian without devolving into a CG mess. That's probably enough to warrant praise!

When you consider the characters origins often refer to 'skin condition' and birth defect - the opportunity was certainly there to go much smaller. I would've accepted it, ala; Eduardo Risso's take in 2004 that always made me think of the taped fists of Mickey Rourke [see; Batman #621], but the more Reptilian extreme is a fun visual.

I have a tough time imagining Ben Affleck's Batman running up against this version of Killer Croc any time soon, but the rules are different and being rewritten every say, so you just never know!

Leaning into over-the-top characters like Killer Croc certainly sounds like a good idea on paper. A way to exploit the extremes of the character in opposition to the stoic, pseudo-reality maintained by Christopher Nolan for at least two movies. Man-Bat holds similar appeal, in that respect. I always liked Kevin Bacon as Dr. Kirk Langstrom, but I digress...

Killer Croc's also a part of the DC Comics Rebirth line-up of the Suicide Squad, which very closely reflects the line-up seen in the movie. I think he's a natural inclusion, and I'll at least be interested to follow where he winds up next.

On Secret Wars on Infinite Earths, his next stop is a special fifth week of Suicide Squad inspired comic book fun! In this final Friday Night Fight spotlight on the ensemble cast, Killer Croc faces off against a new player in Gotham City. It's a classic battle - one you won't want to miss!