Wednesday, July 24, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman - The Dark Knight #22

Somewhere, James Gordon thinks to himself about just how terrible Gotham is. Daughter almost died, son is crazy, wife left him, we've heard it all before. Later that day he shows up to a robbery turned hostage situation, with some of Clayface's goons, Clayface nowhere to be seen. Gordon offers himself up as a trade for one of the hostages, and once he gets in, he just straight up shoots them all, something that Batman (who just showed up) can't believe, and can't believe it even more when Gordon shoots at him. But oh wait, it's not Gordon, it's Clayface. Bet you didn't see that one coming!

Bruce and Clayface begin to fight, but Clayface does something that sort of freezes Bruce up, and turns into his recently killed girlfriend, Natalya. The cops burst in, and in the chaos, Clayface grabs the jewels his men were stealing, and morphs into a cop, making his escape. Bruce later meets with Alfred in the cave, and determines the first course of action is to find where Gordon is, because Clayface wanted to frame him, and now that he's exposed, Gordon is expendable. Gordon, locked up in an old theatre, is already in the process of making that a little easier for Bruce, as he starts to break out of the ropes that tied him.

Still at the cave, Alfred poses a couple of questions to Bruce, one of which concerning Clayface's newfound ambition for such a high profile crime. The possibility of Clayface working with someone definitely comes up, but Alfred doesn't dwell on that too much, asking why Bruce froze up during the fight. Bruce on the other hand is more interested in who told Clayface Natalya new Batman. Alfred makes a somewhat sarcastic remark about not talking about it will make it go away. Bruce doesn't pay any attention to it, and just tells Alfred to get to work.

Gordon has freed his hands, and is out of the chair he was tied in, but is still chained to the floor by his ankle. Noticing an old spot light, Gordon starts to make use of all the old papers and posters around and makes a makeshift Bat-Signal, which of course Bruce sees. Before leaving, the two take some time to search through Clayface's hideout, but have to leave, as the light ended up drawing the attention of a crowd, one of whom is pushing a baby stroller full of jewels, and is quite ugly.


The Good:

My number one fear going into this new arc was that it'd just be the same thing over again as the Penguin mini, followed by the Scarecrow and Mad Hatter arcs. Batman comes to blow with a classic rogue, all while cut with scenes from said rogue's terrible childhood. Luckily, there was none of that, in this issue at least, so it was somewhat a breath of fresh air. There's a bit of mystery going on here, and with it, a change of pace, which is very welcome in my book.

Alex Maleev takes over artistic duties, and I got to say I thing he's a great fit for Batman. His work isn't as fluid as say Greg Capullo, but he more than makes up for it with his use of shadows and an over all grittiness to his work.

The Bad:

I wish there was a little bit more of a hint towards what Clayface's plan is. He barely even speaks in this issue, or appears outside of that one confrontation, so it's kind of hard to figure out what he wants with jewels. There just isn't a sense of urgency or why this should be a big deal.

The Bottom Line:

After my less than enthusiastic reaction to the Mad Hatter story, the change of pace that is brought with Alex Maleev and Clayface was much appreciated. This issue not falling for the standard format this series has had for the past year plus was a big win, as I had been getting fatigued on that format by the mid point of the previous arc. The only thing I can fault this issue for is the bait on the end of the hook being a little too ambiguous for me to bite, but I will say that I'm at least interested in it.


1 comment :

  1. I'm kind of disappointed they went with the theory that someone told Clayface about Natalya. It would be more interesting if Clayface's new status quo is that he still knows Bruce is Batman, but no one believes him.