September 28, 2023

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Noteworthy Issues: Batman: Reptilian #5 (November, 2021)

Batman knows what he's up against now, so how does he stop it?

Issue #4 of this mini-series was basically there to explain what was going on.  Now, with two issues to go, Batman has to deal with this giant thing that may want to eat half the people of Gotham.

That might be the easy part.

Issue:  Batman: Reptilian #5, November 2021

Writer:  Garth Ennis

Artist:  Liam Sharp

The Plot:  Killer Croc’s unwanted offspring revealed itself to Batman.  Now it won’t quite go away.

Commentary:  After a long fourth issue was mostly there for Batman to explain to Killer Croc what exactly Croc was–a human being mutated by alien DNA and other factors into a half-human, half reptile being–and that the mystery monster running around and taking a bite out of all the bad guys in Gotham City except for Croc is, in fact, Croc’s offspring (Croc is the mother), now it just means Batman has to stop it.

This is where Liam Sharp’s moody artwork really hits hard.  The thing in question looks to be at least three times Croc’s size.  It has a long snout full of teeth, leathery wings (that work!), and a lot of long, sharp claws.  The various attacks were really the nameless monster looking for Croc, and the thing is, Croc is unable to give the thing one of the things it wants, and barring that, unwilling to give it the other.  Batman deduces first that the thing wants to nurse off whatever milk Croc can produce.  He can’t make any, so that’s out.  Since that is out, the thing wants to procreate with Croc as the father, and having a giant flying lizard monster present itself to Croc (and by extension Batman) doesn’t do much for the guy.

That just means Batman needs to stop the monster.  If it does try to spawn without Croc, since Croc spawned on his own, the resulting pheromones would make the city into a bloodbath and the monsters that came from it would be running around and taking a bite out of anyone that smelled right.

Oh, and Croc is basically useless and Batman has to save him.  But this is a Garth Ennis Batman, so that just means Batman will complain about it the whole time by telling Croc how useless Croc is.

Likewise, this is a Batman who realizes that one henchman who so far hasn’t been attacked does smell right to drive the monster temporarily away, and since this is still a Garth Ennis story, there will be a random bunch of birdwatchers looking to see the emergence of a nocturnal puffin, and no, these people will not take Batman’s warnings seriously and depart.  Even Croc thinks that’s ridiculous.

Basically, after three issues of moody artwork and mystery followed by one issue of infodump, the mini-series has now gone completely in the direction of the blatantly ridiculous that is one cornerstone of a Garth Ennis comic while keeping its dark (and sometimes juvenile) sense of humor.  Sharp’s artwork helps a bit there, and while the conclusion to this issue suggests Batman may not have to work too much harder to defeat that thing, there is still one issue left after this one’s potentially unexpected cliffhanger.

Grade:  B+