CREDITS: Written by Scott Peterson; art by Tim Levins and Terry Beatty.
REVIEW: Deals starts with a short action sequence that has nothing to do with anything, which is problematic because so much of the rest feels like it glosses over elements that need to be developed better. That's a bit more than three pages of real estate that could have been used better. And the issue spins its wheels for a further three pages when Clayface causes a small riot in Arkham, which was amusing - I liked it - but it's another waste of time.
Some of these unfinished elements are minor and only needed a panel's worth of explanation, like how Batman freezes the escaping Clayface in the tunnel. There doesn't appear to be anything motivating it. But there are bigger problems, like how there's a kid out there being cared for in a government facility who has Clayface's powers/curse (it's killing him as he loses cohesion). It feels like the story should be about Clayface's own (illegitimate?) child, but the boy has parents who love him and Clayface plays the part of the kindly uncle and mentor... when he's not trying to either wriggle out of it or get a better deal out of the help he's giving. The ending, where Clayface is forced to admit his bluff and that he wasn't really willing to let the kid die is too quick and abrupt and really needed more suspense. The pacing is way off on this one.
The story does otherwise have some heart, with the final panel revealing why Clayface would have wanted to help, deal or not, though it's a relatively simple motivation. And he's at least true to himself trying to exploit the situation no matter his weak spot.