John Layman gets a crack at a villan’s month issue with one of the villains that made his first arc on Detective Comics stellar, Clayface. Clayface was not only reinvigorated in Layman’s Detective’s but also in the two part filler arc between Death of the Family and Zero year in Snyder and Capullo’s Batman. Seemingly poised for new status within the New 52, I was fascinated to see where Basil Karlo was headed with his Villains Month issue. Here is what I liked about the issue.
1. We see him get angry and kill his cohorts, botching the bank heist in the first panel. Typical Tuesday for Clayface.
2. We see him go to a bar that has the White Rabbit in it (first villain in the first arc of Dark Knight).
3. Guess who has control over even the good guys? That’s right! The bad guys!
Rating before reading: 6
Rating after reading: 5
This story falls short of being good. Cliff Richards’ art is clunky and not precise, and Layman’s story shows just why Clayface is a second string villain. He’s a follower. When it is told to him that he doesn’t stand a chance to get into the Secret Society, he takes it upon himself to hunt down a new group of resistance fighters bent on destroying the Crime Syndicate. With his powers he is easily able to overwhelm and suppress the resistance and destroy them. He then contacts the Syndicate to tell them the good news. Where he discovers that the Crime Syndicate set up the resistance in an attempt to root out any remaining heroes. Once again mad, Clayface did what he does best. Smash things. After blowing up the compound, he heads back to town and drinks at the bar until someone asks him to be the muscle man in his bank heist.
While the issue was fine, the Bat universe is littered with high quality villains who all take initiative. Clayface generally does no such thing, and upon taking the initiative, he gets turned down and rejected. Seeing him get the chance to move up in the villainous hierarchy was awesome, but seeing him torn down was not. Had we seen a story in which Clayface took the initiative and moved up on the threat level as a villain the book might have been better, but instead the book doesn’t focus on what makes him awesome. It only focuses on his faults. In doing so, he will never be more than a henchmen. Why set him up for something greater when you are only going to take it away within minutes?
Until the next time,