Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SHADOW OF THE BAT #26 - April 1994

Creatures of Clay - Diary of a Lover
Credits:  Alan Grant (writer), Bret Blevins (pencils), Bob Smith (inks), Todd Klein (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)

Summary:  While searching for the Abattoir, Batman is ambushed by Lady Clayface.  Meanwhile, Clayface invades a therapy session Leslie Thompkins is holding for the children who witnessed the Abattoir’s fight with Batman.  He demands Graham Etchison turn himself over.  While fighting Batman, Lady Clayface flashes back to her life with Clayface.  She recounts Clayface’s escalating pain, which can only be alleviated by touching another person and passing his contagion on.  During a respite from his pain, she was impregnated.  Following her flashback, Lady Clayface regains the upper hand on Batman.

Irrelevant Continuity:  The Clayface in this story is Clayface III, Preston Payne.

Total N00B:  My only knowledge of Clayface comes from the ‘90s animated series and the recent video games.  Consequently, any image of Clayface with an oatmeal can head and supervillain cape just looks wrong to me.  And I have no idea who Lady Clayface is.

Review:  This Abattoir storyline certainly has its share of detours, doesn’t it?  Alan Grant has apparently been roped into the Batman arc (which even Doug Moench doesn’t seem too enthused about finishing), and has decided to use it as a springboard for…a Clayface/Lady Clayface story.  Sure, whatever.  The second chapter of the story makes the connection clear, but at this point, the Clayface material comes across as a totally arbitrary diversion.  However, even as a diversion it’s still more entertaining than anything directly related to Abattoir.  Grant does a good job of making the Mr. and Mrs. Clayface sympathetic characters; more sympathetic than the person who’s actually Batman at this point, to be honest.  And the mystery of why they’re simultaneously trying to kill Batman and kidnap Abattoir’s cousin makes me curious enough to read the next issue.  So far, this is the best Shadow issue reprinted in the Knightfall books.

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