Batman: Urban Legends encounters a villain who prefers reptiles to humans, but rather than Killer Croc, it’s a dangerous fan of his.
A rich socialite’s estate is the scene of a massacred Komodo dragon in Brandon Easten’s “Leather Bound,” illustrated by Will Robson. In communicating with Killer Croc, Batman learns that Croc is also looking for the killer, and is not happy that scaly friends are being murdered.
In his investigation, Batman meets Lars Zankowski, the assistant to the head reptile scientist at the Gotham Zoo. Undercover as Bruce Wayne, Batman infiltrates a dockside warehouse to sell exotic animals and uncovers that Lars knows more about the killings than he admits. Wearing a horrific crocodile suit, Lars repeatedly shoots Bruce while proclaiming Killer Croc “a messiah in leather.”
In his confession, Lars reveals that he committed his crimes so that Croc would notice him. Batman speculates that Lars religiously worshipped Croc after their brawl where they both battled their common foe.
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Batman realizes over the course of the story that he feels pity for Killer Croc, who has lived a life of exile and abuse. Originally appearing in Detective Comics #523 in 1983, Croc had a disfiguring skin condition similar to epidermolytic hyperkeratosis. In reality, he has inherited traits of ancient species of the human race, such as reptiles. As a result of the presence of a metagene, this condition is exacerbated. This results in him having several extraordinary physical abilities such as endurance, speed, and strength, which allow him to lift up to two tons. Hardened skin makes him almost impervious to ordinary forms of abrasion, including high-caliber weapons fired from a distance. Additionally, he possesses unusually strong muscles. For instance, he was able to tear a bank vault door off of its hinges with ease. Despite having lost limbs and teeth, he has demonstrated regenerative abilities that allow him to heal and restore them. Especially when he’s underwater, he possesses superhuman reflexes and speed. Using his crocodile eyelids, he is also able to see. The killer croc also has a heightened sense of smell. Using his scent, he can track a person for miles away once he becomes familiar with their scent.
During the course of his transformation into a bestial creature, the misanthropy of his character has grown exponentially. In addition to being jealous and hateful of “normal” people, he often lashes out violently without provocation on a daily basis. Often, Croc will use small, pointy objects as a means of calming himself down due to feelings of jealousy.
Most adaptations of Croc, with the exception of The Batman series, consistently portray Croc’s main weakness as being his low intelligence. Since Croc typically uses brute force to solve problems, Batman is able to defeat him in combat by using his intellect instead of brute force to solve problems.
There would later be stories in which he would take on the role of a wrestler, join the Suicide Squad, and even temporarily join Swamp Thing in Louisiana where he would finally be free from the gaze of people who were terrified of him. A recent story featuring Croc demonstrated that even though he has mostly been portrayed as a villain, he is capable of being sympathetic as well.