It's always interesting when you see the villains fighting against each other. It adds a different feel to the story and changes it from the typical Batman vs. whoever. John Layman's take and portrayal of Poison Ivy is an interesting one. I've never seen her as being too multifaceted but here, you can't decided whether to root for or against her. It makes for an interesting read and you almost feel your emotions get battered back and forth. You want to like her as a character yet she's doing some pretty horrible things. The team up between Ivy and Clayface is strange but is all laid out here. Seeing Batman react to it is great.
There is more on Penguin and his battle against Ivy as well as a follow up from the back up story in BATMAN #14. I had been questioning where his story was going but there are some big seeds being planted here for what's to come.
Jason Fabok's art is a joy to look at. Seeing Poison Ivy confined to her fate in the beginning makes you immediately sympathize for her. Batman fighting Clayface is a grand sequence. Care needs to be taken when depicting him to make him look menacing without coming across as too cartoony.
The back up story here by Layman and Andy Clarke is an interesting look at Clayface. It has a pretty killer ending as well.
This is a Death of the Family crossover. It just felt really forced. We've seen an interaction between Penguin and Joker in BATMAN #14 and maybe it's because we haven't seen Joker's angle for this unfolded completely but it doesn't feel natural. As wonderful as the crossover is, you can't help but wonder how the heck Joker is running around doing everything he's doing in all the Bat-titles. Joker is becoming the new Wolverine, having the ability to lay out intricate traps and plans of revenge against the entire Bat-Family. While he's doing this, he's able to avoid them all even though they are all on high alert.
I can't say I'm a fan of the design of the special suit Batman uses. Because we've seen he has other suits in the cave and the fact that there is a Bat-emblem on it suggests it could be one he has for this particular situation (he's Batman so he's always prepared, right?). I just found it odd to have the color scheme it had.
This issue was a roller coaster ride for many of the characters. We're seeing ups and downs for their plans and Layman is laying the groundwork for an upcoming story. His portrayal of Poison Ivy is great as you can't tell whether you should hate her or feel sorry for her. It's unfortunate that this is a Death of the Family crossover. It just felt really forced to have Penguin in the midst of his battle with Bruce Wayne and then Poison Ivy and now is immediately mixed up with Joker. We get some great art by Jason Fabok in the main feature as well as Andy Clarke in the back up. The art and ending make this issue shine a little brighter. It's great to see Clayface used and given a personality as part of the New 52 updates.