Clayface is a real dirtbag in more ways than one. Okay, not the best joke, but let’s be honest, Clayface isn’t the best character when it comes to pulp comics. Unforgettable in The Animated Series, but so far the comics seem confused on how to use him. Scott Snyder concludes his two part Clayface story this issue; is it good?
Batman (2011-) #20 (DC Comics)
It was revealed last issue that Clayface stole Bruce Wayne’s identity to rob banks. Bruce is being framed, but before he can say “dirt nap,” Bruce comes face to face with Clayface in his Batman armory. Luckily Bruce’s Batman, Inc. is a proper front to allow Clayface to remain unsuspicious of his identity, but that won’t help Bruce fight off the clay man. This issue opens in the armory where Bruce is fighting for his life.
I’ve had some problems with Snyder’s exposition from time to time over his tenure on Batman, as it mucks up the pacing of so many issues. You might have an excellent action scene completely bogged down by too much yap yap yap. That occurs this issue, when Clayface seems to think telling Batman his entire plan over a full page is important.
Batman Beyond reference!
Luckily the remaining pages keep things fast and light with most of them devoted to action sequences. There’s a two page sequence in particular—focusing on Clayface as Bruce Wayne on a motorcycle evading the cops—that’s incredibly well done. Greg Capullo’s pencils and pacing really sing in these two pages, and Fco Plascencia’s colors are just gorgeous. Capullo does a great job throughout, but it’s in these two pages you can see there’s a real master class taking place.
Back to the mud!
Essentially though, this is an action packed issue and not a lot more. Here’s to hoping the teary-eyed Batman gets over Damian soon because it doesn’t add much to the comic. I get the sense Snyder just wanted to have his chance to speak to the death in this issue and the last, but it doesn’t add much seeing a character cry. Make him take action because of the loss, not just sitting around weeping!
Dark ritual, dark knight style.
The backup drawn by Alex Maleev concludes this issue as well. The first part was pretty great for a variety of reasons, which is why its conclusion is just okay in my book. It ends alright, but I could see it as a much stronger story with more development and possibly another part or two as well.
Superman experiences prison rape for the first time.
- Great art
- Lucius and Bruce forever!
- Not much beyond two action sequences
- Exposition bogs things down
As long as Capullo is drawing this comic I can’t see a single issue being worse than a 7.0. That’s no diss on Snyder, because he does a great job too, but there are times when an issue reads as if Capullo saved an otherwise ho hum read. this is one of those times. Clayface is once again just okay in the comic book format, and I’m still holding out hope somebody can make him memorable.
Is It Good?
Good action, decent dialogue, in a fun read.