DCAU #232: All Hellgrammite Breaks Loose!

IN THIS ONE... Batman and the Creeper vs. the Hellgrammite.

CREDITS: Written by Steve Vance; art by John Delaney and Ron Boyd.

REVIEW: A story that references an episode that has yet to be aired (been a while since that happened), though Jack Ryder has, of course, appeared in the Batman show pre-Creeper. But that's easy to ignore given that Adventures in the DC Universe keeps throwing new characters at us all the time before they ever get a shot at the DCAU. And besides, the issue spends very little time on the Creeper's origins, and actually gives the Hellgrammite more backstory.

I can't claim to like every Creeper appearance ever, but I can get behind this version. He's funny and witty, and acts like a vulnerable but really indestructible cartoon character, most fights ending with him sprawled in ungodly broken positions nevertheless with a smile on his face, waiting for his healing factor to kick in. This is a Creeper that has Ryder only somewhat in control, fighting against his alter ego's lunacy. Can't wait to see how he comes across in the animated series proper.

And they do integrate Ryder's professional life into the story quite well, as he struggles with dipping ratings and production requirements that make his integrity sting. Will Ryder unmask Batman to get a big scoop? Or will be be true to himself and to the trust Batman also places in him. We catch up with the weird hero very early in his career where such things aren't cemented yet, allowing for the layer of drama to play out parallel to the fun superhero action.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: Jack Ryder recalls his origin as the Creeper from an episode of the New Batman Adventures that has yet to air. We'll discuss its differences with mainstream DC canon when we get to "Beware the Creeper". Hellgrammite, an evil mutated entomologist, will have a couple of cameos on Justice League Unlimited some years hence, but this his first full DCAU-style appearance.Though he would become a minor Superman villain, his first appearance in Brave and the Bold #80 (1968) set him against Batman and the Creeper, just like in this issue. Part of the final fight occurs at Haney Chemicals, seeing as writer Bob Haney created the Hellgrammite.

REREADABILITY: Medium-High - A solid team-up taking its cue from a classic story.



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