Wednesday, October 23, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman - The Dark Knight #24

Clayface is sealed up in Arkham Asylum, but luckily enough for him, this time he has a friend of sorts. The inmate in the cell next to him was a big fan of his movies, and starts to recite some of his favorite lines from Clayface's old movies, which gets Clayface to start down memory lane.

As per usual with this book, Clayface had a childhood that wasn't anything to write home about. He wanted to stand out, and his finically struggling parents couldn't exactly give him all the cool hip clothes he thought he required, but even with some scraped together cash, new clothes didn't help him stand out as a child.

Then Basil tried to act as a kid, and all the way up to adulthood, he was told that he was simply too plain and there was nothing special about him. But Basil didn't give up, he heard there was someone in Gotham that could make dreams come true, and that person was the Penguin, who offered Basil a substance thought to be used by Native American Skinwalkers, which Basil stupidly accepted, not knowing what the terms would eventually be for his deal.

But short term, life was great. Basil's new found talents helped him win all sorts of rolls, and he couldn't be happier... until Penguin called, requiring Basil's shapeshifting for a few criminal activities. The stress of the work that Penguin was putting him through eventually made it so Basil couldn't even hold his form, and eventually it all came crashing down, to where he is today.

But that's all right, because Clayface has a friend to talk to! Oh no way, he's dead now! Well since there's nothing in Arkham fro Clayface anymore, he decides to break out, pretending to choke on some food, and coughing up a piece of him that gets in the gap of his cell when the doctors try to help him, which he later uses to pry open the containment cell.


The Good:

As always, Alex Maleev's art is great, especially with his pages depicting Clayface's good ol' days, and his regression into what he's know as today. I liked the change to the origin, unlike Two-Face's, I really don't have much issue at all with it, given I couldn't tell you a damn thing about Clayface's origin prior to this, other than he was an actor, not like it was all that iconic. I will also say that I was a bit surprised that the isn't didn't hang too long on the childhood stuff like most of the issues of this series has.

The Bad:

I was surprised it didn't do more with the childhood, but it doesn't change the fact that the book is so formulaic. Its the same thing nearly every issue and arc, bad guy does something, now look at the origin. It's become rather uninteresting, to be honest. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but Clayface adapting to the DNA of anyone he touches was described as a new evolution in those two Clayface issues of Batman, recently? If so, then this issue gets a bit wrong, having that there from the beginning. Also, it ends with Clayface getting out, and I guess we have another issue of this arc? I'm kind of at a loss for the point of continuing this is. Clayface doesn't seem to have a grand plan, he's just escaping to escape, essentially.

The Bottom Line:

Going into this issue, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, and found that I was right for the most part. Sure there are some interesting changes to the origin, but the whole bad childhood trope has become far too predictable for this title. Luckily we didn't spend too much time on that, and this arc seems to be shorter than the last, so there's that. Was it a bad issue? No, I actually did like it more than I expected to, but it does nothing to separate itself from any other issues of this run, other than the fact that it's Clayface, and not Penguin, Scarecrow or Mad Hatter.



  1. Ok, i've been out of the Batman loop since Morrison departed.. But Maleev? Awesome! Is this his first issue? Or have there been others?

    1. He drew the last two or three issues before this, and was doing back-ups on Batman post Death of the Family, pre Zero Year.

  2. Unreal! Thanks for the reply! Love the site! Reading from Ranelagh, Tasmania!