CREDITS: Written by Michael Reaves; directed by Frank Paur.
REVIEW: There isn't as much psychological depth or interest to a character like Killer Croc as there is to most of Batman's other villains. He's a physical threat, and certainly taps into the "urban legend" aspect Batman does, but especially as he's played today (and in this episode), he's little more than a super-strong goon. And whose design doesn't necessarily get my approbation. Pasty gray is just such a dull color, though I understand how it might make more sense for a human being with an unusual skin condition to have hardened skin that shade. He's just a giant callus! But visually, meh.
Bullock being framed, and Batman having to admit that, like the audience, he wrongly thought him to be a crooked cop, is well done, but really, Killer Croc need not have been in it. And that's Vendetta's weakness. In fact, we have time to spend with the city's current kingpin Rupert Thorne. Not that I mind that, but it shows how Croc is just there to provide cool action for the Bat.
But an ordinary story and villain are elevated by some of the best animation we've yet seen! Vendetta has terrific atmosphere, taking its cue from Croc and making everything wet. It's not just dramatic thunder and lightning, but constant rain, droplets on window panes, underwater lairs, boat chases flooding sewer drains. Batman's submarine is really cool. And when it comes to the action, check out the car crash, the manhole cover throw, and the sewer cave-in. A most outstanding sequence of action beats. Maybe it doesn't matter if the plot is a little slim.
IN THE COMICS: Killer Croc is a latter-day member of Batman's rogues' gallery, not appearing until Batman #357 (1983), created by Gerry Conway and Don Newton. Conway is infamous as the Spider-Man writer who killed Gwen Stacy, and so we have a snitch called Spider Conway in this story. (Oh all right, a friend wants me to tell you Conway also created Firestorm, but that's neither here nor there.) When Batman looks through files, we also see one for "Barr, J.", an obvious reference to the Mike Barr/Jim Aparo team who did a lot of Batman and co-created the Outsiders. But back to Croc... In the comics, he's more green than gray, and was responsible for killing Jason Todd's parents. He was initially smarter than what we see here, looking to become Gotham's biggest mob boss, but as time progressed, so did more bestial elements both in mind and body, becoming a more extreme monster than the one depicted here. And so a skin disorder became positively mutagenic. The Batsub should be mentioned as well. This piece of equipment made its first appearance way back in 1949's Detective Comics #147, and though more rarely seen than the boat or plane, still became of staple of Batman's arsenal.
SOUNDS LIKE: Aron Kincaid plays Killer Croc. Though he had some film and TV roles in the 60s, he spent the later part of his life doing voice work, the most notable of which was probably Sky Lynx in Transformers.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - The plot is just okay, a Medium, but Vendetta raises the bar in terms of action animation for the series.