- "Back in Florida, I was a sideshow freak-- I wrestled alligators to entertain the marks! I broke their backs with my bare hands! Then I got smart, I had the strength, I had the hate-- why shouldn't I use it to get what I wanted? "Killer Croc"--That's what they called me. But some day, some day, I knew they'd call me King!"
- ―Killer Croc[src]
Waylon Jones, also known as Killer Croc, is a alligator-wrestler and sideshow-freak turned Gotham City mobster, sewer-dwelling super-criminal and enemy of Batman. He is motivated due to having been born with a rare mutation that caused him to have reptile-like skin, leading to a lifetime of abuse and prejudice which drove him to madness.
Waylon Jones was born with an extreme form of the medical condition Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, which caused his appearance to develop progressively into that of a crocodile, hence his name. His mother died in childbirth, and his father abandoned him. Waylon was raised by his abusive aunt; her persistent alcoholism prevented him from growing up in a suitable environment. As a teenager, Waylon had no friends, and was the object of ridicule of those who knew him. Jones was a regular visitor to the juvenile detention center and was finally tried and convicted as an adult when he was sixteen. He murdered a fellow prisoner who mocked his appearance but nonetheless was out on parole "after eighteen years behind bars. Out of prison, he found a job in a carnival sideshow ... wrestling alligators". "I broke their backs with my bare hands," Jones later recalled. "Then I got smart. I had the strength, I had the hate -- why shouldn't I USE it to get what I wanted? 'Killer Croc' -- that's what they called me. But some day, SOME DAY, I knew they'd call me KING!" It was at this point that Waylon began referring to himself as Killer Croc. Even then, his strength level was greatly beyond that of a normal human. Croc realized that there was more money to be made in crime, so he set out to become Gotham's most powerful underground figure. Croc had established powerful mob ties in Tampa that he was anxious to put to use elsewhere. He'd discreetly established a foothold in Gotham and assembled a gang before returning to Florida to take care of "some personal loose ends." After snapping the neck of the deputy who had brutally beat him when he was ten, he returned to discover that his followers had affiliated themselves with the simple-minded Solomon Grundy. Croc kept his temper in check but left the gang to its fate. Within hours, the entire crew was killed when Grundy flew into a rage. Croc soon shifted his allegiance to the Squid, a mobster who was poised to fill the power vacuum in Gotham's underworld left by the downfall of Rupert Thorne and Tony Falco. Initially, Croc was content to work a protection racket at the visiting Sloan Circus but he soon wanted more. After he witnessed Batman's escape from a deathtrap, Croc sauntered away, informing the Squid that "this outfit smells of loser." Croc later shot his former boss from a rooftop and left him for dead. While Batman began tracing the gun that killed the Squid, Croc approached the members of Gotham's Tobacconist Club and announced his intention to take over the city's mobs. The president of club's inner circle proposed a test and directed Jones towards a state-of-the-art Air Force Computer at S.T.A.R. Labs.
"Mister, I was born a freak -- I've had to prove myself to creeps like you all my life. I could break you in half. But that wouldn't get me what I WANT ... so I'll STEAL your crummy computer. And then I'll shove it down your fat throat."
The robbery was a success and, after a cursory "we'll be in touch" from the movers and shakers, Croc returned to his apartment. Seated in an easy chair, The Batman was waiting. Jones went ballistic, lunging at the Dark Knight and screaming, "this was MY place, my SPECIAL place! Built this place -- my HOME -- nobody could call me a freak HERE! But you've SPOILED it -- YOU RUINED IT!" Firing his gun into a space heater, Croc watched the room go up in flames and plunged into the river. A natural swimmer, Jones easily began to escape, only to find himself pursued by Batman. The killer toyed with Batman in the water, striking and choking him and leaving only when he thought the Dark Knight had drowned. "I thought you were tough," he sneered. "Someone I could respect. But you're nothing but a loser, like all the rest." Croc issued a summons to the chiefs of Gotham's mobs for a meeting at the Gotham Zoo's reptile house two nights later. Attendance was NOT optional. Jones walked amongst the alligators and addressed the crowd as King Croc. His claims to have killed The Batman were ridiculed, however, and the mobsters continued to pledge allegiance to the jailed Tony Falco. Determined to make the mobs his own, Croc broke into prison and brutally slashed Falco to pieces. Batman traded blows with Croc for a third time without success.
Elsewhere, Joe and Trina Todd, a pair of acrobats from the Sloan Circus, were doing some investigating of their own. They'd agreed to help Robin break the protection racket that the circus had been threatened by and took off in pursuit of one of the mob enforcers. Untrained in the art of surveillance, the Todds were spotted immediately by their subject and a warm welcome awaited the husband and wife when they crept into the reptile house. The lights flashed on and Joe and Trina found themselves on a stage before an audience of mobsters—a stage they shared with an approaching Croc. Robin arrived at the reptile house alongside Batgirl and was greeted by a gray Commissioner Gordon. When the Teen Wonder inquired about the Todds' welfare, Gordon was horrified that he'd involved civilians in the case. Directing him to their corpses, lying amongst the crocodiles, Gordon said, "We can only hope they were already dead when he threw them to his friends below. YOU brought them into this, Robin. It's on YOUR HEAD." In a state of hysteria, Robin plunged into the pit, beating the reptiles aside with the handle of a policeman's gun, cradling Trina Todd's corpse in his arms and unleashing an agonized, grief-stricken scream.
Meanwhile, the Joker was attempting to cement his status in the Gotham mob's new hierarchy. On one hand, he'd mobilized a team of the long-established super-villains of the city (consisting of the Riddler, Captain Stingaree, The Cavalier, the Penguin, Two-Face, Killer Moth, Catman, Tweedledee, Tweedledum, the Mad Hatter, the Scarecrow, Signalman, Black Spider, Mr. Freeze, The Spook, Gentleman Ghost, Clayface, and The Getaway Genius) to kill Batman before the upstart Croc could do so. On the other, he revealed the plot to Croc (minus his own role), gambling that the opposing forces would take each other out and leave the field clear for him.
For their own reasons, Talia al Ghul and Catwoman had alerted the Dark Knight to the looming attacks on his life and the trio wound up in the abandoned Adams Brewery. They ended up being captured anyway, all three chained to a faulty brewing vat that was likely to erupt when it got hot enough. Croc stepped past a gloating Joker and demanded that Batman be released so that they could fight out their differences "man to man." As for Talia and Catwoman, Croc answered, "You win, they live. You lose, they DIE. Simple as that."
This time, Batman came out on top, freeing himself from Croc and sending the thug reeling with a steel barrel thrown into his torso. "NO!" the reptile man shrieked. "Nobody ever broke my grip -- NOBODY!"
"That was your mistake, Croc -- my name isn't 'nobody!'"
Forgotten in all this was Joe and Trina Todd's acrobatic young son, Jason, who'd stumbled onto the Batcave after Dick Grayson left him at Wayne Manor. Concerned for his parents' safety and an unapologetic thrill-seeker, Jason put together a variation of Robin's costume and headed in the direction of the Adams Brewery. He arrived just behind Robin and Batgirl, who revealed the horrifying news of the Todds' demise to Batman.
Leaping from a rafter, Jason knocked a ten-foot pipe from Croc's hand, allowing Batman to get in a final punch to the killer's chin. In a state of rage, Jason struck blow after blow on the reptile man before Batgirl and Robin pulled him away.
The tragic deaths of his parents would inspire Jason Todd to take up the costumed role of the second Robin. As for Waylon, he was sent to Arkham Asylum. There, he suffered from intense electroshock therapy, which resulted in intense recurring nightmares.
Some time later, Ra's al Ghul engineered a massive breakout of Arkham Asylum, freeing all of the patients, including Killer Croc. In exchange for their freedom, the inmates agreed to help Ra's with a scheme to confound the Batman. Croc, delighted at the prospect of snapping the Dark Knight's spine, was told his role in the plan was to break into Wayne Manor and abduct Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth. Croc had no idea what connection Pennyworth had to Batman, but he executed the deed without question, and brought Alfred back to Poison Ivy's Exotica Emporium where four other hostages were being held by the Riddler and the Scarecrow. Batman soon arrived to rescue the hostages and fought with Croc once again. As time was of the essence, Batman wasted little of it fighting Croc, and quickly subdued him with a gas pellet from his utility belt. Afterwards, Killer Croc was returned to Arkham Asylum.
Croc returned, however, in Swamp Thing #66, and he and Batman fought once again, smashing into the office of Arkham Asylum administrator Robert Huntoon. "Doctor," Batman reported, "This thing goes by the name of Killer Croc. He just murdered thirty innocent people with an incendiary device in midtown. Lock him up."
Croc was far from defeated, rising to hammer the Dark Knight with a series of crushing blows. Grim and desperate, Batman sprayed Croc with nerve gas and informed Huntoon that "this man shouldn't give you any more problems ... unless it's from a wheelchair."
Supposedly paralyzed for life thanks to his exposure to the nerve gas, Croc awoke with a start from a nap and realized that he could move his neck. Stunned by his good fortune, he decided to keep the discovery to himself. "Yes. I'm healing. Just like a good reptile. LET them think I'm a basket case. Soon I'll jump up, murder a few for good measure, and walk out of here ..."
By 1989, however, the truth had been discovered and Croc was placed in solitary confinement, exercising regularly to maintain his wrestler's physique. He even managed to engage in Batman once more while the Joker had temporary taken control of Arkham. Croc suffered a nasty spear wound in the course of the conflict.
Temporarily back in a wheelchair, Croc was now restrained with steel clamps on his wrists and ankles. Tired of faking madness, he snapped at a doctor who referred to him as Killer. "That's MISTER Croc to you, chump. An' I'll tell ya somethin' ELSE -- I shouldn't even BE here. I ain't CRAZY!" The events in Arkham during The Demon #11 gave Croc the opportunity he was looking for to escape.
A brief alliance with the Riddler ended with capture by Superman and Croc was returned to Arkham. Once again subjected to numerous sessions of electroshock therapy, Croc finally tore loose of his restraints, screaming that "I'm a Killer croc This brain ain't for fryin'!"
Croc escaped from Arkham and began running criminal operations again. After robbing a shopping store, Croc discovered a secret stairwell that led into an old unfinished subterranean highway. The tunnel had since become a shelter for many of Gotham's homeless. Croc became friends with the homeless people and attempted to make a new life for himself. For the first time in his life, Waylon Jones had found people who accepted him as he was, including a surrogate mother he called Aunt Marcy who gently patted his head as the tormented man rested in her arms. Croc's newfound lifestyle was short-lived however. Batman investigated the store robbery, and the trail led him right to Killer Croc's shelter. The two began fighting one another, but at midnight, the match between the two was abruptly curtailed when the Dark Knight revealed that new water tunnels were being opened that night. As the flood began roaring towards them, Croc and Batman put their backs into holding up the deteriorating walls until the rest of the family could seek higher ground. Aunt Marcy slipped and Croc insisted that Batman rescue her. As water began pouring past him, the green man defiantly shouted that "I'm Killer Croc! I can do ANYTHIN'! This is MY home! Ain't NOBODY takin' it away from me!" It was not enough. As the flood swept him away, Croc's shell-shocked, weeping family, led by Aunt Marcy, began to sing the lullaby that had soothed their friend: "Hush little baby, don't say a word -- Mommy's gonna buy you a mockingbird ...", believing that he had died in the flood. Croc survived however, and six months later had taken to living out of the Gotham City alleyways. Croc had been existing for weeks without human companionship. When a group of derelicts stumbled onto him and ran in terror from the "monster," all of the taunts from Waylon's youth flooded back into his fogged brain. In a state of delirium, Croc staggered onto the street, imagining that everyone from the people on the streets to the mannequins in storefronts were his childhood tormenters.He was driven over the edge by the visions of his past, calling to mind hurtful incidents where his peers would routinely comment about his physical features. In combination with his natural, instinctive rage, Croc's emotional state erupted into a wave of violence and he began going berserk throughout the city. News crews captured his latest rampage, as he began terrorizing the district known as Eden Park. An aspiring foreign crime lord known as Bane witnessed Croc's rampage, and determined that defeating him would be a stepping stone on his personal path towards destroying Batman. Before Bane could catch up with him though, Croc found himself facing neophyte vigilante Jean Paul Valley (who was masquerading in a Batman costume at the time), as well Batman's young sidekick Robin. After nearly crushing "Batman's" rib-cage, Croc turned his attention to Bane, who wished to test the marauder's mettle. Powered by Venom, Bane effortlessly broke both of his opponent's arms and left as quietly as he'd come.
Within days, Bane had freed the inmates of Arkham and Croc, his arms wrapped in fresh casts, was among the escapees in Batman #491. Thirsting for revenge, Croc used his enhanced senses to zoom in on Bane's scent and interrupted the Santa Prisca villain's interrogation of Robin. Without an infusion of Venom in his system, Bane suffered a few rough blows before recovering and smashing Croc's right arm again. Locked in combat, they fell into the rushing waters of the sewer and Croc vanished underwater once more.
Killer Croc was lurking near the Gotham River, his broken limbs healing rapidly during the weeks since his beating by Bane. Croc returned to Gotham in an effort to re-establish himself in the criminal underworld. He went on a brutal murder spree that claimed the lives of several members of the Paretti crime family operating out of Gotham's waterfront district. The succession of deaths near the river led Robin to conclude that the culprit was the missing villain and he and the latest temporary Batman (Dick Grayson) took off to investigate. Going toe-to-toe with Croc for the first time near a warehouse, Dick acquitted himself nicely, breaking free of the ex-wrestler's back-breaking hold by clapping his hand around the green man's ears. Surviving members of the Paretti gang were present and opened fire on Croc severely wounding him. Croc survived once again however and evaded capture.
As he recovered from multiple gunshot wounds sustained in that last adventure, Croc found himself dreaming of a more serene existence in the swamps ( and, his mental faculties now truly reduced to Grundy-level proportions), was summoned by some strange paranormal force to break out of Arkham Asylum and make his way to the Louisiana swamps. Batman was close behind, following the trail of wreckage . As the Dark Knight prepared to capture his foe, both men were stopped by the Swamp Thing, who revealed that he had summoned Croc to the bayou. The Swamp Thing offered Croc a place in the swampland where he could finally give in to his animal side and live free from human persecution. There he stayed, and Batman returned to Gotham City.
In his current state of mind, Croc was regarded as "a primordial being" whose "madness and torment ... his fierce yearning for a place of peace ... his piteous rage ... has created a profound disturbance in the Green." Swamp Thing called Waylon Jones to his home and "changed him. He will kill now ... only for food ... only to exist as part of this swamp ...where it could take a man YEARS to find him ... yet I will know where he is ... I will ALWAYS know ... through the consciousness of the Green. And if ever again ... he becomes a threat to the world of man ... I will make you aware of it."
The swamp environment proved less than ideal. The Swamp Thing, distracted by his ascension through a series of elemental parliaments, had little patience for his new guest, physically strking Croc to teach him "his place ... in the pecking order of the swamp" . It was one more bully in a life that had seen too many and Waylon Jones left the Swamp Thing to catch the next train out of Houma, enjoying a prize bull for a meal en route to Gotham (Batman Chronicles #3).
A more mellowed Croc took up residence in Gotham's underground, his solitary existence interrupted by a wounded Man-Bat, whom he offered food and sympathy. As his house guest flew off, Waylon cautioned him to "watch yourself out there this time, okay? It's a rough world, pal."
Inevitably, Croc was recaptured by Wolverine in Marvel Versus DC #2. He escaped one prison for another when Lock-Up and the Fabulous Ernie Chubb made Waylon Jones one of the feature attractions in a murderous pay-per-view series of wrestling matches. Thanks to weeks of torturous, abusive treatment, Killer Croc once again lived up to his name.
Once Batman had arrested him in after a botched robbery in Resurrection Man #7, Croc settled into a comfortable routine at Arkham, his mental stability actually helped by the regular interaction with other people for the first time in years. He enjoyed "Seinfeld" with other inmates who favored the show (Hitman #3), formed a close friendship with environmentalist and kindred spirit Poison Ivy (Batman: Poison Ivy), played cards with the Ventriloquist and the Mad Hatter (Batman 80-Page Giant #2) and joined in the regular inmate uprisings (Batman: Arkham Asylum - Tales of Madness #1; The Creeper #7 and #8; Batman Villains Secret Files #1).
Part of Croc's docile behavior was due to the regular supply of sedatives prescribed to him at Arkham. With the asylum in disarray following the Gotham earthquake, the Joker quietly slipped into the computerized records files and began changing the prescriptions. Suddenly, Croc was receiving amphetamines six times a day . The geared-up Croc eventually killed fellow inmate Pinhead during a grudge match and escaped with the other criminals just as Gotham was declared a "No Man's Land" .
As various parties began to seize different sections of their own, Croc became "a nomad, fighting whomever he finds". He also put together his own gang (glimpsed in Batman: Shadow Of The Bat #86 and Detective Comics #737) and, for the first time in years, began entertaining thoughts of calling himself KING Croc again. He was not pleased, to say the least, at news that a good samaritan providing services to the disenfranchised of Gotham was being referred to as the King. Croc tracked down the so-called King—a reformed crook named Stanley Demchaszky—and threatened to kill him. For the second time during the No Man's Land (the first being in Batman Chronicles #17), Batman traded punches with Croc. He ended up sending the green man on a four-story tumble from a building with debris raining down on him. "He's survived worse," the Dark Knight thought. "It'll just put another dent in his ego".
Croc had characteristically formed close bonds with the men in his gang and was outraged when one of them was critically injured by serial killer Victor Zsasz. Though desperate to kill Zsasz, himself a patient of Doctor Leslie Thompkins, Croc agreed to abide by the cease-fire that she had declared in the makeshift hospital. All bets were off when Zsasz escaped. Batman separated the two killers as they wrapped their hands around each other's throats, restraining Zsasz while Croc escaped (Batman Chronicles #18).
As the chaos during No Man's Land was winding down, Croc was preparing to return to the persona of gang lord that he'd once craved. Now wearing an expensive designer suit, he proclaimed to his followers that "I ain't going back to the sewers! That's over! That's history! I'm not going BACK to that! You WITH me on this? I used to RUN this town 'til the cops and Blackmask and Bane HOUNDED me into the sewers. And I blame NOBODY but myself! But I'm KILLER CROC, damn it, and I'm back for what's mine!"
Croc intended to "expand east and south and crush ANYBODY who stands in the way." A crew that included Robin, the GCPD, Alfred Pennyworth and even the Penguin faced down the gang and the Boy Wonder managed to end the uprising by getting Croc to drop a car on himself (Robin #71 and #72).
With order restored in Gotham, Croc was again reduced to committing burglaries (Batman: Gotham Knights #3) interspersed with stays in Arkham. His No Man's Land experiences have emboldened him, though, giving Killer Croc an appetite for power that convenience store heists just can't satisfy. "I'm BACK, baby!" he announced. "The Croc is back to STAY!"
In recent years, Killer Croc has been portrayed as being much more reptilian than in past incarnations. In one incident, a virus forced Croc's body to devolve into a more primal and reptilian state. Croc later attempted to find a cure for his condition, but when this failed, Croc killed the scientist who tried to help him. Croc was later discovered feeding off the remains of the villain Orca. He was apprehended once again and taken back to Arkham Asylum. While being transferred from one prison cell to another, Croc wrestled free from his handlers and attacked visiting reporter Jimmy Olsen. Olsen spontaneously generated super-powers and was able to escape unharmed. Killer Croc soon escaped confinement however, and was one of many super-powered villains led by Deathstroke who crashed the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary. Fortunately, the wedding party was made up of members of the Justice League, the Justice Society, the Outsiders and the Teen Titans. By the end of the fight, most of the villains, including Croc, were apprehended. The administrators of Checkmate later decided that Croc was too dangerous for them to safely contain him. He, along with many others, were exiled from the Earth via Boom Tube and taken to the "Salvation" World.
Powers and Abilities
The disease that Killer Croc is afflicted with seems to be some form of regressive atavism, meaning he has inherited some of the traits of ancestral species of the human race. His skin has hardened to the point where it is invulnerable to most forms of abrasion and even high caliber weapons fired from a distance. He possesses superhuman strength and he is stronger than Batman, whose strength is at the peak human level. A side effect of this condition seems to be that over time the primal reptilian part of his brain gains more control of his psyche. His speed, agility, and reflexes are also superhuman. He can also heal at a much faster rate than normal humans, similar to the healing rate of an actual reptile.
Croc has some experience at street fighting and wrestling, but he is not quite as proficient as Batman or Nightwing. He is a high school drop out, but has proven to be moderately capable of organizing thugs in small-time racketeering operations. He is usually hired by other villains as muscle or as a hitman, as he is at least intelligent enough to follow instructions. Croc also is very skilled at swimming aided by his reptilian genetics.
Superhuman: Killer Croc's mutated strength level is many times greater than that of a normal human. Over the years, as Croc's body continued to mutate, his strength levels increased accordingly. Sometimes, he was even portrayed as being dinosaur like, with a tail and a reptilian snout to boot.
In Other Media
Batman: The Animated Series
Beware the Batman
- See: Killer Croc (Beware the Batman)
Batman: Gotham Knight
DC Films Multiverse
The Lego Batman Movie
Killer Croc makes a cameo appearance alongside other Batman villains. His only line in the film which he states after he sets a bomb on Gotham City is "I did something!", a clear reference to Suicide Squad.
DC Universe Online
- Killer Croc is voiced by Edwin Neal in DC Universe Online.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow
- Killer Croc appears in Batman: Dark Tomorrow as an enemy, with the player having to face him in his underground lair under Arkham Asylum.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
- A Croc action figure made by Kenner toys in 1998 featured a tail and dinosaur-like feet, unlike the comics character.
- Croc's intelligence level has varied over the years, ranging from competent schemer to simply a berserk monster.