(MARCH 1983)

(Part 2 of 6)

(17 pages)

Cover pencils - Ed Hannigan
Cover inks -
Dick Giordano

Story - Gerry Conway
Art -
Don Newton
Inks - Dick Giordano
Colours -
Adrienne Roy
Lettering - Tod Klein
Editor - Len Wein

Second feature - Green Arrow, "Mob Rule! (pt 2)" (7 pages)
Letters page - "Batcave" (1 page)


... in Batman #357

Following the downfall of crime boss Rupert Thorne and the imminent imprisonment of mob leader Tony Falco, Gotham's underworld falls into a power vacuum.

  Soon, a vicious gang of henchmen terrorizes the now leaderless second tier mobsters, and Batman learns that the mystery person making these moves to take over Gotham's underworld calls himself "The Squid" - a name that rings all too many bells with the Darknight Detective as he knows from an encounter a few months ago (in Detective Comics #497) just who The Squid is.

Once a top spy, Clement Carp used to call himself The Squid even then, but now he seems bent on becoming Gotham's new crime lord and master criminal.

He sets up a hideout in an old warehouse by the piers and soon recruits the equally mysterious Killer Croc to work a protection racket for him at the visiting Sloan Circus.

Amongst his arsenal of terror the Squid also counts a giant octopus which he keeps in a huge aquarium in his hideout - and commonly feeds his rivals to it as a demonstration of his ruthlessness and determination to take over Gotham's organized crime.

Pushing further to gain control of Gotham's underworld, the Squid and his gang succeed in capturing Batman who is soon plunged into the huge tank of water holding the giant octopus...
Ending in a classic cliffhanger, the final panel of Batman #357 tells readers that all will be continued - in Detective Comics #524.

As a side remark, Len Wein goofes with his editorial pointer as he wrongly refers readers to Detective Comics #499 (rather than #497) for the Squid's first appearance and previous encounter with Batman.


Batman is able to just escape from the tank with his life, and witnessing this feat has Killer Croc preparing to leave the party in a rush as he tells the Squid that he thinks they are all losers. Enraged by these remarks, the Squid grabs Croc - a movement which knocks off his hat and reveals red eyes and reptilian green flesh...


With the Squid and his gang members in shock, Batman seizes this unexpected window of opportunity and makes his retreat through the shadows of the warehouse. Croc leaves the Squid after violently threatening him and returns later that evening to kill the Squid with a shot from a high-powered rifle... (to be continued in Batman #358)


The Killer Croc story arc (which would be Gerry Conway's final work on both Detective Comics and Batman) builds up as the physical disfiguration of Croc and the resulting reptile features are revealed.

The limited role the Squid plays in all of this is made evident by his demise after a two issue presence, and the threat level is not only passed on to Croc but also raised - a fact easily underscored by the psychology of names and apperances as a crocodile will always seem to be more menacing and lethal than a squid...

It would seem fairly easy to ridicule Clement Carp and the name he has chosen for himself, not the least because he is portrayed as a short and fat character who talks with a speech impediment.

Indeed, Conway has an assortment of gang leaders (assembled in the Squid's hideaway to hear his plan) make remarks precisely in that direction: nobody with a name like "the Squid" could seriously become their leader - comments to which Carp replies that the name fits him not the least because his "tentacles reach everywhere, even to the seats of power". Actually, the way Carp's speech defect is portrayed this should read "my tentacles weach evewywhewe, even to the seats of powew", but either editorial wasn't paying attention or it was judged too much to have each and every "r" replaced by a "w" as the Squid does retain quite a lot of rolling "r"s in the lettering...
One could also add - on a meta level, of course - that the Squid bears a certain resemblance to one of the Batman's classic villains: the Penguin.

Whether or not Gerry Conway and Don Newton had that in mind when they created the Squid for Detective Comics #497 (December 1980), who knows. On the other hand it is quite evident that the slightly comical and cartoonish character could not provide a sustained level of believable threat - but as such he provided a crescendo by opening, so to speak, the door for Killer Croc, and thus catapulting the story to an entirely different level as, clearly, there is nothing whatsoever comical about Killer Croc, and the quality of viciousness and hence danger he poses is beyond any doubt, a fact not the least proven by his cold blooded shooting of the Squid.

It would therefore almost seem as though Conway only sets up and uses the Squid as a plot device. It will not work for readers who simply find this villain too cheesy, but for those who can bear the Squid he plays his role well, even up to his death which fuels the plot and storyline.

Don Newton's pencils are up to his usual high standards and squeeze the maximum effect out of this issue which really is still almost a prologue to far more forceful events yet to unfold.


The visual storytelling is dynamic, and Newton inserts a number of shots and poses of the Darknight Detective that have "classic Batman" written all over them.
ENTERTAINING READING - Not an issue which will have anyone wanting to re-read it immediately, yet it does move along with a well paced storytelling, and the artwork ranges from dynamic to captivating.


The Squid only appears in three issues of Detective Comics during his short lifespan as a Batman villain: #497, 523 and 524, as well as in Batman #357. He was shot by Killer Croc in Detective Comics #524, but as is the case so often in the world of comic books, nothing is as uncertain as death, and even minor personae such as the Squid may profit from this golden rule.

However, Carp's return in the post-crisis continuity of the 52 storyline remained somewhat vague as he was abducted and forced back into crime by the Intergang's boss Bruno Mannheim. In the end, the final fate of the Squid remained uncertain... until he resurfaced - albeit this time calling himself Lawrence Loman and with a slightly different appearance - in Detective Comics Volume 2 #30 (June 2014). He still, however, has his pet giant squid (still named Gertrude) which he uses to dispatch his foes and competitors as he is peddling a new drug with terrible effects (users burn up from the inside, hence the drug's name "Icarus") throughout the streets of Gotham's Chinatown.


  But the really bad guy in Detective Comics #524 is, of course, Killer Croc. Although readers had caught a few shadowy glimpses of this new villain in Batman #357 (where this six-issues story arc had kicked off two weeks previously), the true horrific nature of Croc was now revealed in full.

Quite unlike the Squid, Killer Croc would go on to become a regular Batman villain, even making it straight into the movie adaptations.

The Batman feature from Detective Comics #524 has not been reprinted since its original publication, but it was used for several foreign market editions almost immediately following its original publication, namely Batman Superband #18 (Egmont Ehapa, German edition for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, 1983), Superserien #5 (Semic, Norway, 1984) and Stålmannen #5 (Semic, Sweden, 1984).




"The Newton/Giordano art was excellent" (Mike Sopp, Erie PA)

(from the letters page of Detective Comics #528


BATMAN and all related elements are the property of DC Comics, Inc. TM and © DC Comics, Inc., a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.
The illustrations presented here are copyright material. Their reproduction for the review and research purposes of this website is considered fair use
as set out by the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. par. 107.

(c) 2012-2016

uploaded to the web 9 December 2016