Detective Comics #973
Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Jesus Merino
Colors by: Jason Wright
The Issue starts off months ago, before Tim Drake ever disappeared to the prison of Mr. Oz, back when he was still constructing the Belfry. He is telling Batman how he created a “mudroom” out of the excess clay that was taken from crime scenes going all the way back to Clayface’s first attack. Hundreds of gallons of psychoactive clay was at their disposal. Cut to now… Major spoiler(s) ahead.
Recall the last issue when all of the Belfry’s gallons of clay leaked onto an already out of control Clayface. The sheer volume of the excess clay made him monstrously large in size. We are talking King Kong smashing through buildings and city streets. I especially like the way the artist depicted Clayface. He has this great-white-shark-thing going on where he has two rows of teeth and looks terrifying.
Also recall that since Tim has been back, we’ve known that Batwoman is going to do something that sets off a chain reaction thus destroying the Bat-Family as we know it. She received a special gun in the last issue from her father, General Kane (a bad guy), which was specifically designed to kill Clayface by breaking down his molecular structure in some form or another. Seeing how this run is called “Fall of the Batmen,” I can feel us getting closer to Batwoman’s critical action. Batwoman tells Batman about the gun and he strictly forbids its use.
In my last review I pointed out that it seemed as if Lonnie was beginning to wake up to The First Victim’s intentions. That Lonnie may not be such a bad guy, and maybe he was just a pawn in a larger scheme disguised as righteousness. Well, I was right. After he sees Clayface rampaging through the streets with innocent people’s lives at risk, and no concern at all from The First Victim, Lonnie manages to get away from him altogether. Upon escaping The Frist Victim, he pays Stephanie Brown and Tim Drake a quick visit. Lonnie says he’s going away for a while but wanted to give them information to help Batman find out who The First Victim is.
Meanwhile, Batman as well as an army of A.I. batman bots created by Luke Fox which are in turn being controlled by Azrael, led Clayface straight into Monster Town. Here Dr. October has given Cassandra Cain a serum that needs to be injected into King Kong’s… errr… Clayface’s brain. Miraculously she is able to do it. It sends a shock through his molecular structure forcing him to take his human form, as Basil. Though very temporary, he almost immediately he begins to lose control again.
Cassandra is talking with Basil before he loses control. He is realizing the destruction around him, what he’s done, and states “Bad guys don’t get happy endings.” Cassandra is crying, pleading to him, telling Basil she knows him, and he’s good. Over the intercom Batwoman tells Cassandra to close her eyes… Then… BLAM!! Straight through the side of the head, Batwoman snipes Basil from a building top. The issue ends with the headshot, Cassandra Cain crying behind him, and a Batman logo in the lower corner of the page ripped in half. Is this truly the death of Clayface? What will become of Kate Kane? I can’t imagine she’s going anywhere, after all, Wonder Woman once snapped Maxwell Lord’s neck on national television and she’s still a revered character. Is this really the beginning of the end of our beloved Bat-Family? We will have to find out next time.
Detective Comics has been reliably fantastic. James Tynion IV brings so much depth to each of these individually unique characters and creates a dynamic between them that is splendidly attractive. The stories that he has weaved from the beginning of Rebirth, with the Victim Syndicate, and the departure of Tim Drake, then his return, seem as if they are all about to come together in an epic closure. When this is all going to end, I’m not too sure? But keep cranking out books like this with amazing stories and epic artwork, and I’m all in. Include this in your pull for the week.