By Gregg Hurwitz, Alex Maleev and Dave McCaig
While it’s no surprise that Scott Snyder’s Batman has been one of the most talked about books since DC re-launched their universe a couple of years ago, Batman The Dark Knight has been a successful title that highlights the villains in Batman’s life, and let’s be honest, the bat has some of the best villains in all of comics.
Even though Villain’s Month did highlight Clayface with his own issue, and this is also an issue dedicated to him, they are in no way the same or a re-hash of the previous issue. This issue focuses on Basil Karlo, the man who became the monster. There didn’t seem to be anything important about Basil; he had dreams of becoming an actor, a star, he wanted people to look at him and notice him. They all notice him now.
Gregg Hurwitz has been very good on this title. He’s taking some of Batman’s villains, and not the most popular ones either, and making them bigger threats than they should be, it’s very similar to Geoff Johns run on the Flash. In this issue, Hurwitz does an excellent job humanizing Clayface. Seeing young Basil struggling to get noticed and being looked over time and time again is something almost everyone can relate to. Hurwitz is also building on the fact that Clayface is not just some big dumb brute. As we see in this issue, he may have a few tricks up his sleeve.
The art is done by Alex Maleev and he is a “love it or hate it” artist, for the most part. He does have a few spotty panels, but overall does match the gritty tone of the book. One of the things that makes Maleev a nice fit for this story is that his art is interesting—there is always something more going on with the panel. He’s an artist that makes the reader really want to stare at the page in front of them. He shines in several of the panels where Basil is younger. His panel set up, in many cases, is also a thing of beauty.
This was a really good read. Clayface may not have a huge fan base like the Joker, but he can be an interesting villain when written right and Hurwitz and Maleev are doing a fine job so far.