19 April 2008

Batman #522 (DC, 1995)

This is my all time favourite story featuring Waylon Jones better known as "Killer Croc". It appeared during the run of one of my favourite creative partnerships in comics ever: Doug Moench and Kelley Jones. How do you pronounce "Moench" anyway? Is the "O" silent? Is it a soft "c" or a hard one, making it sound like a "k"? And Kelley Jones is a guy (I wasn't quite sure back then. I know better now). Anyway, if you see Doug Moench's name in the credit box you can bet Kelley Jones handles the pencil work. These two are just perfect with each other like Stan and Jack, David Michelinie and Bob Layton, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, John Byrne and himself.

In this issue, the concluding part of a two-part story, Moench and Jones attempt to give Killer Croc a somewhat happy ending. In the previous issue, Croc escapes from his cell in New Arkham and tries to find the "wet dark" which he believes will be his home. In #522, Killer Croc eventually ends up in the Louisiana swamp (the "wet dark") and he's happy. Until Batman arrives. Natch. Croc's an escaped convict so he must be brought back to Arkham, so goes Batman's reasoning. Unknown to both of them, Killer Croc is in the swamp because he was summoned by none other than the Swamp Thing himself.

Kelly Jones draws a cool Swamp Thing.

Swamp Thing sees in Killer Croc a kindred spirit and wants the best for him. He summoned Croc into the swamp so that he could live his life peacefully, away from humans. Batman doesn't agree because he's Batman but with Swamp Thing in full control of every sentient life in the swamp ready to kick Batman's butt if they have to, Batman doesn't have a choice but to give in and let Killer Croc go.

And that should have been the last time we see Killer Croc. It is such a nice ending for that character and DC should have made it a rule, "Killer Croc stays in the swamp from now on." But noooo! They kept bringing him back, his latest appearance being in the Salvation Run mini-series. Pity.

Some people don't like Jones style claiming it "not real enough" or "too cartoony" but I like it. It has shades of Jack Davis in the facial expressions of the characters and I also like Jones version of Batman, with the 3 feet long Bat-ears and the massive overflowing cape this side of Todd McFarlane. Doug Moench's and Kelly Jones' run on Batman should be collected in a deluxe hardcover or something because it really was one of the great collaborations in comics in the 1990s (and nothing much of quality came out of mainstream comics in the 1990s). Please, DC?

1 comment:

chris said...

I've always liked Kelley Jones's artwork. He worked on an excellent Deadman series years ago, worth seeking out.