This is 500 words about a Batman episode. This is the BATMAN 500.
“But what about Killer Croc?” is a question that we should all be asking. We read a lot of psychological profiles about Joker and Riddler and Harley Quinn, but what about Killer Croc? Doesn’t he deserve a longwinded essay about how he, too, is a reflection of Batman? No, not really, because those essays are often painful and dull to read unless they’re done almost exactly right. But really, what about Killer Croc? Well, the most obvious thing is that Croc is Croc, regardless of where he goes. Even with Joker, there’s always a slight voice in the back that says “There was once a human there.” But Croc can’t put on a costume, or take one off and be a different person. There is no comforting alter ego that Croc can shift to when stuff gets rough in one half of his life. There’s just Croc – brutish, angry Croc.
Someone is kidnapping criminals, and Bullock has been framed for it. Bullock is a loud, uncouth guy, but he’s not the “bring guys to an underwater lair to probably eat later” kind of loud and uncouth. As it turns out, a few criminals testified in a case that helped Bullock put Croc behind bars for a while, and Croc is back to get even. An interesting part about this episode is that even though it’s his first appearance on the show, Croc’s been a known criminal before. He just hadn’t reached Batman’s radar yet. That’s got to kind of feel good, right? You strive for years on the minor circuit, having to deal with Bullock and Gordon and Montoya, and then you get an email one day that tells you that you’ve saved up enough Gotham Criminal Rewards Points to enter the Recognized As A Threat To Batman level. Hard work pays off.
“Vendetta” also delves more into the Bullock/Batman relationship that we saw a bit of in “P.O.V.” While Gordon has mostly accepted Batman as an unofficial member of the department, Bullock has dropped in intensity from “We gotta nab this Bat freak!” to “I don’t like this Bat freak!” And by the end of “Vendetta,” he drops again from “I don’t like this Bat freak!” to “Working with this Bat freak is decent, but not optimal!”
There is one scene in this episode that kind of detracts from it, and it’s a scene where a clueless Bruce Wayne goes to an aquarium to learn about crocodiles. There, surrounded by children, Bruce hears from some instructional audio that crocodiles live in underwater caves, and that’s when he has his eureka moment. Come on, Bruce. You have the best computer on earth. Couldn’t you just look that shit up? Though, it’s better to imagine that Bruce Wayne found out that some elementary school class was taking a trip to the aquarium and decided to tag along. “They’re going to the aquarium? CROCODILES WILL BE AT THE AQUARIUM. Alfred, sign this permission slip. I am truly the world’s greatest detective.”