The Batman Adventures #7
Writer: Kelley Puckett
Penciler: Mike Parobeck
Inker: Rick Burchett
Colorist: Rick Taylor
Letterer: Tim Harkins
By Erin Bentley
10 September 2009 — This issue of The Batman Adventures sees the departure of artist Brad Rader — as he returned to working on Batman: The Animated Series — and the introduction of Mike Parobeck. The first issue he is assigned is a tale of wrestling. I feel a headache coming on already.
Beginning with the cover, it features Killer Croc holding Batman in a headlock, with Batman trying to escape. It's quite a boring cover in my honest opinion; the coloring is bland, and the limited amount of shadowing is very poor. It makes Batman look like the Adam West Batman, which this writer has mixed feeling about.
Getting to the story itself, it begins with Batman demanding answers from a smartass named Antoine. Batman slips past Antoine's goons, quickly dispatching them. Antoine wisely decides to cooperate. This directs Batman to a guy named Tommy Two-Bits.
I have one word for this beginning: oy! Okay, so where to begin? I guess the logical place would be with the art, since there's a new guy. His style here is cartoony, and unfortunately that's not the most flattering description for any incarnation of Batman. Like the cover, the color palette is very flat and unappealing. I truly hope that this is not the start of a new, horrible trend.
The story continues with Tommy Two-Bits entering an underground fighting event where he receives five-star treatment, and at underground fighting events "five-star treatment" is having a doorman dust off a reserved folding chair. Tonight's fight features Pretty Boy Tibbitts (who is praying for his life), and Killer Croc, the returning champion (with 75 excessively brutal wins). As the referee goes over the rules — which include no eye-gouging, hair-pulling, and headbutting — Croc disposes of his opponent.
Finally something positive to say: having Killer Croc beat his opponent to a pulp as the rules are being read is very good characterization. It seems like something Croc would do, and I was most pleased. What I was not pleased about was the continued cartooniness of this particular issue. It was as if I was watching an episode of Looney Tunes, specifically the cartoon entitled "Bunny Hugged," in which Bugs fights Crusher in a wrestling match. Along those lines, Pretty Boy Tibbitts is modeled on Ravishing Ronald from said episode; from his character design and name to his pleading for someone to save him from a fate worse than death, he is a carbon copy.
In the following scene, Croc is showering in the locker room when his coach comes in and tells him that some new big shot is in town with his own fighter, known as The Masked Marauder. He's a hulking beast dressed in a blood-red costume with a hangman's noose around his neck. On the night of the Croc / Marauder fight, Croc is being honored as the longstanding champion, and it's wondered if he can be beat. Well, Croc gets his butt kicked, and leaves the ring in disgrace.
Meanwhile, across town, a man called Mandrake is approached by his underling, Tommy Two-Bits. Two-Bits reports all is well with the wrestling racket, but Batman is breathing down his neck looking for Mandrake. Mandrake tells him to take out Batman. Mandrake orders his goons, Frankie and Johnny, to say hello to Batman — Chicago style.
Two-Bits, Johnny, and Frankie lay a trap for Batman. Naturally Batman shows up and has a gun planted squarely at the back of his head. Clearly poor Frankie and Johnny have never been to Gotham before, because there is one very handy piece of advice they would have been aware of: do not try to kill Batman. (That is, unless you're a member of his famous rogues gallery. In which case this advice is null and void, as it would not make for an interesting story. Which this story is not.) Batman quickly dispatches the goons, and proceeds to have a little chat with Two-Bits.
Croc and his coach prep for the rematch against the Marauder. The night of the fight is interrupted by Batman. After the Marauder is done wiping the floor with Killer Croc, he proceeds to take it to Batman on his boss Mandrake's orders. Croc manages to get up after a quick pep talk from his coach; he judo-throws the Marauder, thus saving Batman from being choked to death. Croc defeats the Marauder, and Batman lets Croc go, since Croc did not commit a crime. Croc and his coach make their exit via the sewers.
Without a doubt, this is the worst issue of The Batman Adventures to date. The story was not worthwhile in the least. It was all about Croc's wrestling career. There was no need for Batman to be in this at all. There was no need for this story to be written at all. This was a migraine-inducing comic. If you're going to read this awful comic, have a bottle of aspirin nearby. The art was horrible. The characters had no definition whatsoever. The color palette is substandard and bland. And I have nothing more to say about it.
Overall Score: 0