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Batman #20 - Nowhere Man, Part 2 of 2; Ghost Lights, Part 2 of 2 Review

4

It's Batman vs. Bruce Wayne...sort of. It's a fight you never expected to see. Plus the conclusion of the back up teaming Batman with a really super guy.

The Good

Last issue we has the surprise opening where we saw Bruce Wayne acting very out of character in his confrontation with the GCPD. We later got an idea how that situation came about but the story jumped back to the events leading up to it. Seeing it unfold gives the story a different feel as we watch the pieces fall in place.

By now it's likely known that the villain here is Clayface. I can respect him as one of Batman's villains but he never really came across as a credible threat. From a creature/monster angle, he has a great design and offers a variation in Batman's villains but he never really got me excited. Seeing him here changes some of that. Scott Snyder has taken Clayface to another level.

Of course seeing Greg Capullo's art during the battle scenes is phenomenal. FCO Plascencia colors here really shine. Having big portions of the issue take place in brighter settings makes this story look different and lets us enjoy all the details. Bruce Wayne fighting Clayface in the Wayne Enterprises R&D lab was great. Bruce can't fight as Batman so he has to rely on different tactics.

The whole angle of Batman Inc has always been questionable for the direction of Batman. There are pros and cons and we get to see more of the effects of Bruce's decision to go this route. Snyder also touches a little more on the aftermath of what happened to Damian.

And of course you have to love the little easter egg thrown in at the R&D lab crusher.

The back up by James Tynion IV and Alex Maleev concludes and we get an interesting take on both heroes and their relationship with each other.

The Bad

While I love Clayface here, it does feel too soon after his appearances in DETECTIVE COMICS and Death of the Family. There was an explanation last issue for his change but it felt a little sudden after his recent appearances. We also don't get a full explanation why Clayface, when mimicking Bruce, he decided to make him wear some Bat-armor underneath his suit if it's all clay.

The back up was great in adding to the dynamic of Bruce and Clark's relationship and the story was interesting but it could have benefited from being a little longer. It felt as if it ended a little abruptly.

The Verdict

Batman vs. Bruce Wayne. With Greg Capullo's art and FCO Plascencia's colors, it's a visual treat. Scott Snyder has taken Clayface and taken him to another level. Unfortunately with the numerous other Bat-titles, this Clayface story felt too close after his appearance in DETECTIVE COMICS. The main story was really good as was the back up but it almost feels like we're just biding our time for the beginning of next month's Zero Year.

28 Comments
Posted by Mucklefluga

So what's the "team-up you’ve been asking for since the start of The New 52!"?

I can't believe Zero Year is only one issue away! Feels like it should be so much further away!

Posted by Jakkoaks

Great issue as always and that Easter egg was fantastic really looking forward to Zero Year

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Edited by nappystr8

I thought this story gave Capullo a great chance to go crazy and have fun. Other than that I found the story to be severely lacking. And did Lucius Fox only ever know Batman's identity in the movies, or is that one of the New 52 retcons? That really threw me for a loop.

Edited by bladewolf

Was a good issue, not great, but better than Issue #19 which, IMHO, was one of the worst in the run thus far. I'd give it a 3.5/5. I'm really hoping things shape up with Zero Year, or I may very well drop this title.

Edited by BatWatch

I agree that the backup ended a little quickly, but I still really enjoyed this issue. The whole issue was extremely engaging, and though there was no explanation for Clayface wearing the suit, I didn't really feel there was any needed. If you had the chance to wear the Bat suit, wouldn't you?

I actually felt they made Clayface a bit overpowered in this issue. Essentially, all he has to do to defeat Batman now if touch him. I bet these new powers are reversed within a couple years. Still, the issue was a very fun ride.

The BatWatch Review is up.

@mucklefluga said:

So what's the "team-up you’ve been asking for since the start of The New 52!"?

I can't believe Zero Year is only one issue away! Feels like it should be so much further away!

Batman and Superman...which actually started last issue. I'm not sure why the solicit was billed that way. I suspect they decided to talk about the backup feature instead of the main feature because it would have been extremely difficult to say anything about the main feature without giving away the identity of Clayface which was the big reveal of last issue. Since the solicits come out about two months ahead of time, it would have ruined the surprise.

@nappystr8 said:

I thought this story gave Capullo a great chance to go crazy and have fun. Other than that I found the story to be severely lacking. And did Lucius Fox only ever know Batman's identity in the movies, or is that one of the New 52 retcons? That really threw me for a loop.

He's only known in the movies unless I missed something big pre-Flashpoint. It's kind of unbelievable at this point that he would still be in the dark.

I'll agree that the issue did not have much below the surface, but it was a really fun surface. I enjoy simple comics from time to time.

@bladewolf said:

Was a good issue, not great, but better than Issue #19 which, IMHO, was one of the worst in the run thus far. I'd give it a 3.5/5. I'm really hoping things shape up with Zero Year, or I may very well drop this title.

Wow. You must have really high standards.

For more news, reviews, and commentary for the entire Bat Family, check out BatWatch.net.

Posted by Owie

Solid issue. I thought the last one was a little lacking but this one pulled it together better. Definitely looking forward to the next arc. And the easter egg was great; since Lucius said he had more to say about it, maybe we'll be seeing it again soon.

I think the reason Clayface was wearing the batsuit was explained, even if it was a weak reason. He said he was going to take some Batgear with him to help in the fight or something like that.

And I enjoyed seeing Bats and Clark talking together. Seeing a Maleev version of the two of them is a treat.

Posted by Saranth

This sounds like heresy, but I honestly did not appreciate Capullo's depiction of Clayface. It looked a little rushed, or lazy. I appreciate that he was trying to demonstrate Clayface's strange, shifting composition, but it just looked a little wild and half-baked. The faces of Penguin, the Joker and the Riddler coming out of the clay, for example, looked so 'rough' that I'm still not sure if the first face -was- Penguin.

Posted by gotwillpower

@owie: Same, I figured Clayface was wearing Bat-armor the same reason Bruce had all those Batmobiles and costumes in the armory. Clayface probably saw a Bat-suit, and thought that, since Bruce made Batman Inc, he wears a Bat-suit underneath his clothes for protection.

Posted by RedQueen

@saranth said:

This sounds like heresy, but I honestly did not appreciate Capullo's depiction of Clayface. It looked a little rushed, or lazy. I appreciate that he was trying to demonstrate Clayface's strange, shifting composition, but it just looked a little wild and half-baked. The faces of Penguin, the Joker and the Riddler coming out of the clay, for example, looked so 'rough' that I'm still not sure if the first face -was- Penguin.

*Gasp* HERETIC! Kill the unbeliever!

Edited by bladewolf

@batwatch said:

I agree that the backup ended a little quickly, but I still really enjoyed this issue. The whole issue was extremely engaging, and though there was no explanation for Clayface wearing the suit, I didn't really feel there was any needed. If you had the chance to wear the Bat suit, wouldn't you?

I actually felt they made Clayface a bit overpowered in this issue. Essentially, all he has to do to defeat Batman now if touch him. I bet these new powers are reversed within a couple years. Still, the issue was a very fun ride.

The BatWatch Review is up.

@mucklefluga said:

So what's the "team-up you’ve been asking for since the start of The New 52!"?

I can't believe Zero Year is only one issue away! Feels like it should be so much further away!

Batman and Superman...which actually started last issue. I'm not sure why the solicit was billed that way. I suspect they decided to talk about the backup feature instead of the main feature because it would have been extremely difficult to say anything about the main feature without giving away the identity of Clayface which was the big reveal of last issue. Since the solicits come out about two months ahead of time, it would have ruined the surprise.

@nappystr8 said:

I thought this story gave Capullo a great chance to go crazy and have fun. Other than that I found the story to be severely lacking. And did Lucius Fox only ever know Batman's identity in the movies, or is that one of the New 52 retcons? That really threw me for a loop.

He's only known in the movies unless I missed something big pre-Flashpoint. It's kind of unbelievable at this point that he would still be in the dark.

I'll agree that the issue did not have much below the surface, but it was a really fun surface. I enjoy simple comics from time to time.

@bladewolf said:

Was a good issue, not great, but better than Issue #19 which, IMHO, was one of the worst in the run thus far. I'd give it a 3.5/5. I'm really hoping things shape up with Zero Year, or I may very well drop this title.

Wow. You must have really high standards.

For more news, reviews, and commentary for the entire Bat Family, check out BatWatch.net.

Actually, I don't think my standards are that high, it's just my tastes are different. For instance, I think Demon Knights is currently the best book DC is publishing. I've actually been enjoying the latest issues of Detective Comics much more than the past few issues of Batman.

Posted by Saranth

@redqueen: Please don't. What would you do without my insight? :(

Posted by RedQueen

@saranth said:

@redqueen: Please don't. What would you do without my insight? :(

Ah, very well, you are free to go.

Edited by The Average Bear

Man, the ending of this issue (not the backup) was crazy powerful.

I thought this would be another eye-rolling impersonation story, but it actually turned out pretty well. It was a nice, symbolic story to serve as a break between DOTF and Zero Year.

Posted by BatWatch

@bladewolf:

I actually prefer Detective to Batman myself at the moment though I was not crazy about the Man-Bat reboot. I've never read Demon Knights, but it seems really cool from what I've heard. I've enjoyed Etrigan the few times I've come across him.

Anyway, I just find it surprising you would drop a series after only a couple 7 our of tens. That's still alright in my book.

Edited by Zeeguy91

@the_average_bear said:

Man, the ending of this issue (not the backup) was crazy powerful.

I thought this would be another eye-rolling impersonation story, but it actually turned out pretty well. It was a nice, symbolic story to serve as a break between DOTF and Zero Year.

I know, right? That ending actually brought tears to my eyes. I actually thought that last issue (#19) was a bit "meh" compared to the rest of Snyder's run, but this issue? Oh my god. The ending to the main story was so emotional and powerful. Can't wait to see what else Snyder has in store.

Posted by bladewolf

@batwatch said:

@bladewolf:

I actually prefer Detective to Batman myself at the moment though I was not crazy about the Man-Bat reboot. I've never read Demon Knights, but it seems really cool from what I've heard. I've enjoyed Etrigan the few times I've come across him.

Anyway, I just find it surprising you would drop a series after only a couple 7 our of tens. That's still alright in my book.

It's moreso that I'm buying comics on a budget. When I can consistently purchase titles that are 4/5 or even 5/5 I start to get picky. My goal is to not spend more than $80 a month on comics and $30 on trades, and right now I've got very little wiggle room.

And you should seriously start picking up Demon Knights. I promise you won't regret it.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

This small arc was a nice little treat even though it was nothing huge. Now lets get to YEAR 0!!!!

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Edited by cincyducksfan35

I felt like Batman was just going to say yeah I am Bruce Wayne. I mean that cheesy excuse for Clayface turning into Bruce Wayne when he touched him and then Clayface rags on Damian and Batman flips out. Idk just didnt really buy that part, but oh well. Clayface was cool

Edited by dreamfall31

Loved the nod to Batman Beyond with the prototype suit Bruce wore to escape the garbage pit. A pretty cool issue, though I needed to re-read the previous one to remember what the hell was going on! The backup was okay, it would have been cooler as a full issue story, but the art was really cool!

Not sure if I'll stick on for Zero Year. 12 issues w/o Batman will be interesting, but I wonder if it'll read better as a collected trade. I'll definately pick up the first issue, but if it doesn't do it for me I started getting Batman and Robin aka Batman and (Insert Sidekick Here) for the time being and it's been pretty awesome!

Posted by JamDamage

good issue. The non-effective cost suit will make fans happy. I'm just glad it didn't have mouth.

Posted by longbowhunter

I enjoyed this simple two issue arc. Clayface was one of the first villains I ever read in a Batman comic so I've got a soft spot for the character. I'd like to add Danny Miki has done a great job as the new inker so far.

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Edited by bob808

can't wait for zero year

Edited by stevencarver_

I can't get enough of this series! The art is probably my favorite in comics right now and Snyder is simply inspiring with his use of Bruce. I absolutely cannot wait for Zero Year to start next month!

Posted by G_Money_Christmas

I was so excited with that easter egg. I just wish it was still around. Great issue but like everyone else, this one and 19 seemed like issues that were just fillers, biding their time until Zero Year gets here.

Posted by Teerack

Really cool how they had the Batman Beyond suit in it, throwing out a prototype because it wasn't coast efficient is like 200 kinds of broken logic.

Posted by Rich711

They could have had an awesome cover teasing the Batman Beyond costume instead they put this boring fight in clay. Atleast this stupid WTF storyline is over. (4 stars?!? come on this was average to below average)

Edited by Mezmero

I wonder if the next Robin could be Basil Karlo. He'll pose as Damian so that Bruce can keep his son and he would become The Superior Robin. Or not.

Posted by mickeymayhew

I like this Clayface but my fave will always be the third one - can't remember his real name but he had the plastic mask over his melting head and he used to burn people's faces off with his hands