Robin #42 (June, 1997)
“Crock Around the Clock”
Writer – Chuck Dixon
Pencils – Jason Armstrong
Inks – Robert Campanella
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Letters – Tim Harkins
Associate Edits – Jordan B. Gorfinkel
Edits – Denny O’Neil
Cover Price: $1.95
Howsabout a little “old school” Chris is on Infinite Earths today? Just going to snag a random ol’ issue off the stack, and give it a go!
Was planning on continuing the To Catch The Predator series… but, I accidentally threw out the “key” to my longboxes. That is to say, my code-key, where I can tell which box holds what. The only labeling I do to my longbox library is numbering them, since series’ often outgrow their home-boxes, I’m hesitant to just write what titles are in each one, know what I mean?
Anyhoo, can’t remember where all my Green Lantern books are… and I dug through for a good twenty-minutes without any luck. We’ll get there… just not today!
For today… we’ve got a weird li’l issue of Robin!
Our story opens with a supermarket being held up… by a giant crocodile? Not just any crocodile, mind you… this is the cleverly-named Crocky Crocodile. This is a Barney-esque character who performs on PBS in the DC Universe. News of this crime spree spreads, and it’s not long before Tim Drake is hearing all about it. He’s beside himself with grief that someone would commit a slew of robberies wearing Crocky’s costume! Alfred looks on, and… gotta say, he’s really bringing the “droll” this issue.
Like, really… Alfred’s being kind of a jerk here. He’s acting very cheeky here the whole time. Robin even gives him a look like “What the hell, man?”.
Tim hops in the Redbird and gets to scootin’. Alfred remains in the Batcave and watches some more of the coverage. At that moment, on the Cassie Josie talk show (think Sally Jessy Raphael), Mr. Bingo is being interviewed. Now Bingo was the “big show” on PBS until Crocky came on the scene. Anybody else’s Spidey-Sense start tingling just now?
Meanwhile, at… I dunno, a halfway house (?) a disheveled fella is watching the same program… he begins cracking up and has to excuse himself to his room so he can hug on his Crocky. And, no… that’s not a euphemism, shame on you for thinking it was!
Now, this Crocky-spree has done a lot to hurt the reputation of, ya know, the actual Crocky. Parents don’t want their kids watching the show anymore… there are demonstrations in the streets. You’d almost think there was nothing else of note going on in Gotham City at the time! I mean, doesn’t the Joker still hang out here?
At the Station, the toughest cop around Shotgun Smith is getting an earful about the evil-alligator… er, crocodile. He decides he’s going to take care of this himself… which is kind of adorable. Outside the Precinct, he runs into Robin who offers to help out with the case. It doesn’t take much in the way of convincing for Smith to hand over all they’ve got on the Crocky-crimes.
Over at Gotham PBS, a bunch of suits are in a conference room trying to figure out how they might spin this situation. Licensing season is about to kick off and they don’t need their top cash-cow (cash-crock?) in such a state. The geeks put their heads together and decide it best to figure out who’s actually committing these crimes… turns out, they already have a pretty good idea!
Back at the Batcave, Robin is checking out some evidence… and looking through a magnifying glass for extra-detectiveness. Alfred is still lurking about acting like there’s something up his butt… makes me wonder why he’s not just leaving Tim to his analysis. We learn that the Person of Interest in this case is Dexter Crabtree… the original Crocky Crocodile, who was kicked to the curb after a contract dispute over money.
Before we know it, Shotgun Smith is kicking in Dexter’s door… he ain’t home though. All’s we see is a Crocky doll… so, we might assume Dexter’s the dude who was going crackers for Crocky earlier?
Back at the Cave, Robin’s doing some audio-analysis… and comes to some sort of conclusion that he doesn’t really explain to we poor readers.
We hop to the Crocky set, where Shotgun is questioning one of the Executives. He (and we) learns that there were two Crocky suits stolen from wardrobe… so, mayhaps there’re a pair of Crock-Crooks? Wouldn’tcha know it, just a few moments later… a pair of Crocky’s enter the scene!
One heads to the set to perform… the other walks over to that Executive, Ellen Anders to chat with her. She judo-throws him down, and digs her knee into his throat while calling for Shotgun and Company to arrest this reptile!
And so, they do! Check this out though… it turns out, it wasn’t the Bad Crocky! It was the other one who was makin’ with the crimes! Heavens to Murgatroyd!
Robin swoops into the scene and delivers a flying kick to the crook… and after, woof, like four pages of fighting… it’s revealed that – bad Crocky was: *gasp* Mr. Bingo! Why in the hell did it take Robin four-pages to beat up an old man?
Anyhoo, that’s a wrap… Bingo’s arrested, Dexter’s back in the suit… and Robin heads back to the Batcave, where he reveals that the audio analysis tipped him off to who was the real “bad Crocky”… annnnnd, he’s once again mocked by Alfred. Really, Alfred… what is up your ass today?!
Well. This wasn’t all’at great, was it?
Definite “filler” feeling here… what with the low-stakes story and the guest artist. Pretty underwhelming all around, with an ending I think we could all see coming from a mile away. The Dexter subplot reeked of “red herring” from the get-go… and, I never had any doubt that Mr. Bingo was the true baddie. Wow, I’m forty years old, and I just wrote that sentence. What am I doing with my life?
The art… for a fill-in, wasn’t half bad. I enjoyed the sorta half-in half-out “manga influence” that started hitting western comics in the mid-late 90’s. I definitely like the way Robin is depicted inside the book more than the “smelling something bad” face he has on the cover.
One thing that really stands out to me here is… Why is Alfred being such a prick? Like, did Tim do something to tick him off or something? There was really no call for such drollness and snark. I mean, if you don’t wanna hang out with Robin… just don’t hang out with Robin. This felt weird and out-of-character for Alfred… though, maybe there’s some obvious context that I’m neglecting?
Overall… you really don’t need to break your back nor bank seeking this one out. Unless Crocky’s revealed as the Joker’s next girlfriend in an upcoming “super-rare eBayable misprint” issue, there’s not much to worry about here! It is available digitally… for about a buck fifty more than I’d recommend paying!