The “Dystopia” storyline continues this week as James Tynion IV and Christopher Sebela tell a tale set in the future where things in Gotham aren’t so peachy.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“DYSTOPIA” Anarky has shown Spoiler the world he’s built beneath Gotham City, which he plans to bring into the light…but she needs to know who helped him build it! And what’s more, this alliance has put Steph back on Batman’s radar…and now the two are on a collision course!
Why does this matter?
Aside from it taking a closer look at Spoiler, Clayface, and Orphan now that Batman isn’t really in the picture, it’s also a fun story displaced from the goings-on of the universe. Clayface takes center stage in this issue so if you love that character you gotta read this.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Old friends of a sort.
Tynion IV and Sebela open this issue with a personal scene between Clayface and Mudface as they talk about their past. It’s a heartfelt scene and it’s a reminder of who these people were before turning into the villains with their shape changing powers in the future. As if to stick a dagger in readers’ hearts, the writers remind us of what Clayface did to Mudface to turn her into what she is, which is certainly a change of pace since Clayface has pretty much been a heroic character we can all relate to in this series. That sets up a villainous act from Clayface in the issue, but per this series’ strongest moments, it pulls you into the pain and humanity of the character later on. Make no mistake, this character may stay a hero for a very long time if he keeps getting such good character writing.
The rest of the issue amounts to Spoiler getting the veil pulled away to see what is really going on underground Gotham. It essentially sets up Spoiler’s state of mind as to what may come next for her, which should have fans looking forward to her arc changing next issue.
The art by Carmen Carnero makes the opening scene with Clayface and Mudface really emotional with great use of facial expressions and a nice slight color change on the flashbacks to make them stand out. Colors by Ulises Arreola keep Clayface looking layered when he goes full monster mode in this issue and the skin tones always look spot on.
Sometimes memories hurt.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s hard to say the Spoiler scenes matter all that much. There’s heavy exposition in these scenes, but also your usual fighting that ultimately amounts to little. It’s your stereotypical fight scene for fighting sake. Clayface wigging out is another one of those, but at least it’s tethered to his memory of what he did in the past.
Is It Good?
So far I’m not floored by this new story arc, but I’m definitely on board. Clayface continues to be the highlight of the series under Tynion IV and a character that’s had the most growth over the last year.