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!

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