YOU MUST BE JOKERING
THE CREEPER #4 (of six)
THE CREEPER #4
DC Comics 2007
"I have reason to believe Ryder might be in trouble, and I'd like to find him before it's too late." - Batman
"If I knew where that womanizing jerk was, I'd be there slapping him around!" - Vera, ex-girlfriend
- (Page 15, issue 4 from DC Comics The Creeper.)
Story by Steve Niles
Artwork by Steve Scott (pencils) and Walden Wong (inks)
Colors by Chris Chuckay
How often do you see the title character from a mainstream superhero comic getting continuously pummeled without apology? This is the case in DC Comics' The Creeper. Usually the vulnerability of a hero is emotional, caused by lousy inter-personal relationships with family or friends or by the arch-villain using said family and friends as leverage against the hero's awesome, overwhelming power. Certainly the Steve Niles' written Creeper has sour-relationships, but despite the perfect athletic physique bestowed by the involuntary injection of Dr. Yatz wonder serum, Creeper has a difficult time winning mano-y-mano, and one of the chief reasons is because he keeps running into fellow Yatz-victim Gavin, the teenage kid who now keeps growing larger, issue by issue. Gavin also has a tongue that whips around like a loose-fire hose, squiggly tattoo-like designs, and mandibles! Not that he uses any of this in his constant fighting with Creeper, which is combat based upon the Hulk method: just pick up the puny human and throw him.
So far, Gavin has exhibited no interest in his condition. He has mutated into an enormous, powerful yellow-skinned heep since getting a hit of the Yatz wonder serum, but he seems to not have noticed. He is too intent on talking like an idiot ("Gav kill!") and on chucking the Creeper around like an action figure turned projectile. Not that is has any effect on the Creeper who does not bleed, bruise or get sore from being heaved through walls. It does bother his self-esteem a little, perhaps, but that's about it.
Meanwhile, Batman keeps snooping around, apparently curious as to why there are Joker-colored people running around in his city. He bumps into Jack Ryder's (aka the Creeper's) ex-girlfriend Vera Sweet, just as she was being captured by two zombie/criminal henchmen. Bats beats the two up, and then he and Vera share notes on their fruitless search to find out what has happened to Ryder. It is rather curious that when Batman yanks a battery-pack from off the skull of one of the criminals he has just defeated, the criminal vanishes into a sprinkle of red dust like Dracula with a stake whacked through his heart. Neither Batman or Vera pay any attention to this. I guess this is normal in Gotham City and hardly worth a mention. Then Batman performs the amazing Newton law of gravity test on the second zombie/criminal, dangling him over Gotham from the top floor of a high rise building. Batman seems to be obsessed with this primitive form of physics, because I see him doing this with crooks in a lot of comic books.
Promptly the crook gives up the information Batman wants (Yatz is on an island called "The Tombs" in Gotham Bay) and then the crook/zombie says: "Hey... if I'm just gonna end up a zombie, would you mind putting me out of my misery?" Batman replies, "sure" and drops said criminal/zombie to his death. (Actually, that's only what it looked like. Batman only yanked the battery pack out of the criminals head, which made him turn into red pixie dust like the earlier vanishing thug. But visually it looked like the former, not the latter). Then Batman ponders the situation and says: "This is taking a bad turn. People are dying." Maybe you should not be pulling those battery packs from their skulls? By the way, how does the World's Greatest Detective know the guy with a battery protruding from his skull is a zombie? Because he said so? And how does that make the "zombie" any different from anyone else walking the streets of Gotham? Except for the cosmetics and the battery, the guy was a typical Gotham thug with a nice suit and tie. Crooks sure dress well (and conservatively) in Gotham.
We catch up with Ryder/Creeper who is lost in another internal multiple-personality conversation between the Creeper persona and the Jack Ryder personae. They even have a door they walk through to chat with each other. They spend so much time doing this in their subconscious maybe they ought to furnish the place, maybe add a couch and chairs?
The artwork by Steve Scott is serviceable but not as goofy as the Justiniano art from the previous three issues. Steve Niles' story is so light-hearted that the cartoony Justiniano figures fit the tale, but Scott's art is more of the gloomy seriousness you can find in the regular Batman or Detective Comics titles. The Walden Wong inks are just as tight as they were on the earlier issues, and the color schemes have not changed at all.
Original Page December 2006 | Updated May 2012