Clayface faces off against Batman in an issue written by Gregg Hurwitz and illustrated by Alex Maleev. Guest starring Black Canary and Condor, Batman: The Dark Knight #25 officially brings Hurwitz’s Clayface arc to its underwhelming conclusion.
Maleev’s art is stunning. It truly is something beautiful to look at, and not a single page is disappointing. Dave McCaig’s colors are a beautiful compliment. His wide use of browns and oranges reinforces the fact that this was very much a Clayface tale without hindering the art or reading experience in any way.
Just about everything else falls into this category. Hurwitz tries to craft a story that delves into the heart of Clayface’s character, but fails. His characterization was extremely off, and that ruined the already weak story. Hurwitz depicts the character as a mumbling, gurgling oaf in desperate need of control. Clayface is about much more than having and controlling an audience.
Outside of the failed portrayal of the villain, Hurwitz also does a poor job writing Batman. The Caped Crusader is hardly involved in the story and when he is, he’s either being a very bad detective or battling Clayface in anti-climactic fashion. If the best the World’s Greatest Detective can do is come up with a list of every place ever connected to Basil Karlo and then have to divide it up with two random heroes pulled off the street, then the meaning of World’s Greatest Detective has clearly changed.
Black Canary and Condor contributed nothing to the story, and Alfred was so overly sarcastic that it was out of character and displeasing. Hurwitz needs to realize that he has a very poor understanding of all of these characters. His plot has repeatedly been simplistic and his characterization bad.
The art is half the story, and artists Maleev and McCaig did everything they could to make this book worthwhile. However, until the writing improves, this book will just be a collection of pretty pictures.