Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman - The Dark Knight #23.3

Clayface has been hired to be the muscle on a score, and just the muscle. He's a smart guy, but maybe not the smartest, and doesn't take kindly too being called an idiot, something that goes all the way back to his acting days, with his anger eventually causing him to become Clayface. So when the goons he's working with tell him to shut up and do his job when he suggests they rob a small jewelry store, Clayface sort of flips out on them, killing them all. Realizing he just sort of massacred a handful of guys, Clayface decides to lay low, and emerges form the sewers disguised as one of the men, only to find riots in the streets of Gotham, caused by the apparent deaths of the Justice League.

Clayface latter hangs out at a Gotham bar which has become infested with some of Gotham's worst. Dollhouse, Great White Shark, Zebra Man, White Rabbit. It's here where Clayface learns about the Secret Society, and asks how he can join. White Rabbit sort of puts Clayface down and tells him that if they wanted him to be a member, they would have made him a member by now. When a transmission form an apparent resistance force makes it on to the TV, Clayface comes up with an idea to gain the attention of the Society.

Clayface sneaks his way onto the resistance camp and figures out something is up with them, they're all clean shaven and not exactly hiding from anyone (the Society). When Clayface makes his way to some people, they greet him with guns, and he greets them with his Clay, realizing they're some sort of army instillation. With the men outside defeated, Clayface makes his way inside the base, and starts to wreck shit, despite the general telling him he's an idiot making a big mistake.

With all the soldiers down, Clayface tries to contact the Society, only to find out that the Society had started the resistance in an effort to draw out any stray super heroes, and begin to berate Clayface, which of course sets him off, causing him to accidentally trigger a self destruct switch at the base.

Later, Clayface is once again in the bar, where he's recruited for a similar job seen at the beginning of the issue. Clayface agrees to just be the muscle, but he's already come up with an ambitious plan for himself.


The Good:

John Layman just knows how to right a good villain. Here, Clayface is given a little depth, where he's more than just a failed actor turned monster. He's got feelings! You almost feel bad for the guy, as it's probably safe to say that everyone has been in a position where they think they're doing something helpful, but find out they just fucked everything up. It's relatable... and I'm relating to Clayface. I don't think I've ever had that happen before, and that's why Layman is good at writing these villains. 

The Bad: 

I think the art is pretty good, but some pages just seemed a bit washed out. Maybe it was the inking, maybe the colors, I can't tell, but it wasn't a huge problem for me, to be honest.

The Bottom Line:

By this point, it has been what, a year since John Layman came on to the Batman scene? Or at least close to it? By now it is no secret how much I enjoy his work in general, but this is just another great example of why. I had no intention of really caring about Clayface, nor feeling any empathy for him, coming into this issue... but then I left with just that. Layman just has that ability to make me invested in characters like Clayface, and I'm left with not a single bad thing to say about these types of stories.



  1. Hey, since you probably know more about Batman and his villains than me, do you know who the lady with the fox tails and ears shooting pool is? I'm rather curious since she is the probably character that jumped out at me the most in that shot with all the villains in the bar.

    1. I think a couple of the people populating the bar were just generic characters, not anyone specific.