Can This Be Anything But Batman Week?

I think I'll be doing Batman-related reviews all week, culminating, I hope, in a review of The Dark Knight, which I have yet to see. To start, here's a story I recently mentioned in Crisis Death Sticky:

DETECTIVE COMICS #604, DC Comics, Early September 1989
For my money, Norm Breyfogle draws the coolest Batman. And you know what? Alan Grant writes 'im pretty well too! Cue Detective #604 starring the Mud Pack.

There have been four people who've gone by the name "Clayface", and in this issue, they band together to get, what else, revenge on the Batman. There's the original Clayface from the 40s, an old disenfranchised horror film actor. There's Clayface III, who's very touch turns you into putty. There's the lady Clayface who fought the Outsiders and could steal their powers. And there's the mud monster Clayface you remember from all the cartoons.

But wait kids, didn't he die in the Crisis? That's not gonna stop Clayface I who steals the guy's remains and performs a little ritual to bring him back:
"Sorry, Matthew. You'll just have to sit this one out." Did I mention the Clayfaces were all a little crazy? Even after this, Clayface II stays in the team, usually propped up by a large fork (which makes him the most stable of the Pack). Meanwhile, Clayface IV is breaking Clayface III out of Arkham. Using Looker's telepathic powers, she makes III hate his current girlfriend (a store window dummy called Helena - ok, so maybe "a little crazy" doesn't quite do him justice) and he goes even more batshit (pun intended, that's just the kind of guy I am) after decapitating poor Helena. His new girlfriend, Clayface IV, here looking like, well, Looker, finishes the job.
PUNT! Always great sound effects in a Grant/Breyfogle comic. Lady Clay will tolerate no competition! The Mud Pack is complete(-ish)! Even if one of them is a lump of inert clay and another is passed out through all the meetings. Oh, where's Batman, you ask? Well, they're just setting the stage for later ass-kickings, obviously, but Bats does get a totally Aragorn moment:
"A hobbit lay here..." No, I mean "A woman!" Only Batman can make tracking look this cool (see, cuz I just laughed at Aragorn, so that makes him less cool).

I'll let you imagine how much the rest of the story arc rocked when setting up the board was this badass. Maybe I'll get back to it some day. For now, I'll just be a tease.


Sea-of-Green said...

Oh, I agree completely about Breyfogle. Next to Neal Adams, he's my favorite Batman artist EVER. Beats me why DC doesn't use him anymore.

Siskoid said...

Maybe it's his own decision.

Sea-of-Green said...

From what I've heard, DC has pretty much left him in the dust. :-( Marvel isn't treating him much better.

H said...

There was an interview of the two in a recent Back Issue! I'd call it worth checking out for fans of their run.

mwb said...

I have some fond memories of some of the older Batman and Detective Comics runs, but have not followed them for years. Do you know if the current run of either is any good?

Siskoid said...

Well, you've got big names on both. Paul Dini's on Detective and Grant Morrison is on Batman.

I'm not reading Detective right now, though I hear it's pretty hit and miss, with Zatanna guest-starring a little too often.

Morrison's Batman is hampered by some terrible art right now, which is really too bad because the storyline is a pretty exciting deconstruction of the character and his entire history. Earlier chapters are worth finding in trade however.

rob! said...

i always liked that original Clayface--he looks so cool.

Anonymous said...

Siskoid, you should read all the Mud Pack saga... It's cool as hell.

Siskoid said...

Oh, I've read it all. I just haven't reviewed it all. :)


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