If you’re like me, you probably love this series for Clayface alone. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot good with this series, but James Tynion IV has revitalized the nostalgic character who was once a highlight of Batman: The Animated Series. Prepare yourself for the feels folks, as he takes a tumble this issue!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“FALL OF THE BATMEN” part two! Spoiler and the team still have unfinished business to resolve…and unfortunately for everyone, the Victim Syndicate feels the same way!
Why does this matter?
Tim Drake is seriously losing it, but Tynion IV hasn’t quite fleshed that out yet. That’s a major element of this issue, which pushes along Clayface’s story about curing himself of his clay-ness.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Tim looks like a nutter here.
Tynion IV balances out the issue well between Tim and Clayface, showing two building dramas amongst the team, each about characters who can’t help themselves. Clayface needs help curing himself and Tim seems to think he can fix everything in a manic, almost drug addict sort of way. These two character dramas play out in unexpected ways and are the skeleton of the story. At the same time, Batwoman and Batman (among others on this team) take on some cyber assassins, shooting some adrenaline into the plot. This also furthers the plot of a rival mimicking the team in order to destroy them.
The most interesting element of the issue plays out amongst Batwoman and her father as they discuss the very scary notion of a vigilante who becomes organized. If Batman can help Gotham with a team, why not branch out into other cities? At what point does this become a police state? Drake is talking about branching out the bat-family into ambulances even and I’m sure the build up of Batman and his crew isn’t making the police very happy. What makes this entire argument interesting is that Batman himself was always a threat to those who seek justice via law and order and his team makes that much worse.
The art by Joe Bennett continues to look very sharp, which gives the book a primo look. There’s some great use of blur in a chase sequence with Batman and his use of closeups of Tim Drake are strangely unnerving. He’s a hero, but he’s also manic and a bit out of control which becomes more evident when the panel is only showing the face of the character. Clayface goes through some serious s--t in this issue and Bennett highlights that in a way to make us feel awful for the character. He’s a victim here and there’s no way to avoid worrying about the big lug.
Love that blur.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The comic gets a bit preachy, particularly when Clayface is getting some words of encouragement from the doctor attempting to cure him. She talks about transitioning herself and how that helped her cope with her emotions and get better. Clayface is going through a lot to be fair, and I’m sure her words will reach some readers and do a lot of good, but in the moment of this scene it seems to be laying it on so strongly it goes from a character moment in a comic to Tynion IV attempting to make a point to the public. It’s a good point, don’t get me wrong, but it pulled me out of the story.
Is It Good?
This issue juggles two characters’ emotionally unstable moments while the s--t continues to hit the fan for Batman and his crew. Tynion IV has made strong arguments against vigilantism and that makes this series not only thought-provoking, but exciting as it treads new ground.