The Creeper Will Be Watching
THE CREEPER #1 (of six)
THE CREEPER #1 & 2
DC Comics 2006
THE CREEPER #1 and #2
Beware (of) the Creeper (comics)
DC Comics 2006 - The Creeper #1 & 2
Written by Steve Niles, Art by Justiniano
I'm fond of the original Steve Ditko Creeper from the 1960s, in a a number of ways it seems like the quintessence of a Ditko character; i.e., simultaneously weird, calculating, cold, laid back, smart-mouthed and most importantly, hyper-rational (while pretending to be insane).
Creeper incarnations since Ditko have emphasized the weird and faux-insanity of the character whilst hardly bringing up the calculating and encased explanatory thinking process the character uses to justify the weird-costume and the violence. Ditko explains everything (in particular the odd-ball costume) in his original creation of the character, but in this latest DC Comics incarnation some 4 decades later there isn't the slightest attention paid to how obnoxious TV host Jack Ryder goes from unwitting victim of Dr. Yatz's 'serum' to costumed superhero (I've only read the first 2-issues of the 6-issue miniseries thus far).
Jack Ryder is shot and thrown to his death off a seaside cliff, only to awake with red gloves, a burlesque-show red fringe feather-duster around his head, a green pair of banded shorts, and red booties, all encased in a mustard yellow body-stocking. The character mentally notes the changes in strength and endurance wrought by Yatz's "nanocell technology" but pays scant attention to the new outerwear.
Forty-plus years ago, Ditko seemed set upon presenting the weirdness of Creeper's appearance, but artist Justiniano wants The Creeper to be frightening, and he indeed looks scarier than anything Ditko presented. Justiniano's Creeper's red fringe grows longer at times, and functions as a cape in some panels, in others it looks like bizarre red-shutes that vertically ascend above the character's head. Not only that, when Jack Ryder isn't Jack Ryder but the Creeper, he has extreme gum recession, and his face takes on a Joker-like visage of a death-head.
Writer Steve Niles has given Jack Ryder/The Creeper a case of multiple-personality disorder right out of the Harvey Dent/Two-Face play book. The two chat with each other in an internal monologue/dialogue where Ryder asks to "take over" as if switching back-and-forth from Creeper/Ryder is like flipping TV channels. How did this come about? Is it the result of the Yatz "nanocell technology?" Or the trauma of Ryder waking up in a very odd transvestite outfit? I hope Niles develops something out of this that is remotely like the actual medical condition of MPD, which would be interesting and different from a run-of-the-mill Two Face photocopy.
There are a number of well-drawn action sequences, and Justiniano does add a (nice!) farcical element to the Creeper's scampering about Gotham. Niles has written in rather minor confrontations with a cliché character called "The Axeman" who is dispatched immediately. There is also a ridiculously incredulous Batman who comes across The Creeper, only to ask, "Good or bad?" The Creeper answers "Good, yeah we're good!" That's enough for the world's greatest detective who then ropes away, apparently by attaching to a zeppelin, though I am not sure. I don't know what these guest-star bits are supposed to add, maybe there will be something about it in a later issue that makes sense of it all. At this point, though, it's meaningless as part of any plot point. And that's the main thing that has me wondering what the purpose of this mini-series is, aside from twisting a few screws in the character and letting it putter for a half-dozen issues.
Original Page 2006 | Updated Dec 2011
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