By Will Barber – Taylor
In order to track The Key, a thief who has stolen a dangerous piece of code-breaking software, Batman has himself arrested and thrown into Blackgate Prison. However, the prison’s “king”, Killer Croc, is also interested in obtaining the Key, and organizes a prison riot to obtain him and get rid of Batman.
We finally reach The Dark Knight’s darkest hour in this episode as we see the culmination of Batman pushing himself too hard without Alfred there to restrain him.
This episode is essentially a base under siege type story. The idea of a base under siege story is that you have somewhere like a prison, hospital, or in sci- fi, a space base under attack. In the case of sci- fi this is usually means a group of aliens attack said base. In less fantastical fiction (if you can call comic books “less fantastical” than sci- fi) it is normally along the lines of prisoners escaping and attacking the guards and the authorities coming to try and restore order. This is the case of Animal. Most of the episode is set in the prison with Batman going from being locked in a cell to being locked in battle with Killer Croc.
The point of this episode isn’t exactly clear. Yes, Batman is trying to get The Key to somewhere safer and more secure but we don’t exactly find out why. Without his Key device which he wears on his hand, he isn’t that much of a threat. Really Batman should be going after Anarky who is not only a bigger threat but also still on the loose. In reality, this episode only exists to show the eventual lowest point Batman can sink to.
The lowest point is when Batman fights Killer Croc in the prison. Resembling the scene from The Dark Knight Returns in which Batman fights the Mutant Leader it features many similar features. For instance, Batman repeats a line from The Dark Knight Returns “I’ll enjoy hurting you” showing that he is getting darker and losing his normal control. Also, we see Batman fighting Croc using a basic type of boxing mixed in with some kicks, such as in The Dark Knight Returns. Finally, Batman eventually breaks Croc only for Katana to step in and stop him from possibly killing the reptilian criminal.
The voice of Killer Croc, Wade Williams does an excellent job of creating a menacing reptilian sound to the voice of the character, something that is harder than it looks. He also manages to add a southern drawl to the voice conjuring up images of Killer Croc slithering out of the swaps of the Deep South. It brings the character alive and is probably the best interpretation of the character on screen to date.
Animal shows off Batman at his most uncontrolled but now with Alfred back will things be different? Can The Dark Knight get himself back onto the whole point of his mission or has he strayed too far?
Find out in the next episode of Beware The Batman.