Writer: John Layman
Artist: Jason Fabok
This was a very poor series, but since John Layman and Jason Fabok became the writing team it has had a new lease of life put into it. They have really made this a decent Batman series again, and I can't thank them enough for that.
This issue sees Poison Ivy buried in the ground, and Clayface, her husband is out looking for her and is willing to go through Batman to find her. Also in this issue, Penguin has to leave and help Joker (see the back story of Batman #14 for what happened), Ogilvy is planning something, and Batman dons a new suit.
This was a good issue and Layman continues making this series better, and this story is also getting more interesting with each issue. This issue however isn't as good as the previous, and although there were a lot of interesting things revealed in this issue it's been the worst in Layman's run so far, but not by much, and still very good. I've enjoyed how Layman has made me excited about this series once more as although I like some of Tony Daniel's stories, and most of his art he was killing this series. I've been enjoying seeing some detective work since Layman joined this series and I can't thank him enough for that. When the title of the books called Detective Comics it's a bit disappointing to see little detective work throughout 12 issues, and although I'd prefer no detective work rather than bad or forced detective work, I'm happy to see it in this series as other Batman series have shown hint of detective work already.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Fabok's art throughout the last three issues, and he's slowly becoming one of my favourite Batman artists. Okay his art isn't a nice looking as J.H. Williams III or Ivan Reis but it is still very visually stunning, and very realistic, which is something Batman has needed. I also think that he's managed to draw all the characters perfectly, and when you've got a mixture in looks between Penguin, Clayface, Ivy, and more that's not easy to do. I've also liked how he's put ton's of detail into his work and how he's added detail into the background. I've also loved how he's been able to incorporate a sense of drama into the series, by setting the mood of the issue.
This issue wasn't really a proper tie-in to the Death of the Family crossover like advertised which was a shame. The only thing connecting this issue to the crossover was that Penguin got called away to help Joker. The series may very well tie into the crossover properly from next issue but it didn't in this issue, and considering this is the third part of a story, and that Death of the Family's been mentioned in others it would have made sense waiting till it was a proper part of the crossover, as some people wanting the entire crossover might be disappointed.
Ogilvy's secret agenda has been revealed in this issue, and it appears that he's sick of playing second fiddle. It's very interesting to see Penguin's right hand man betray his boss, and he couldn't have picked a better time. He wouldn't be the first of Penguin's henchmen to have betrayed him, but he's certainly put thought into his plan which is nice to see. It will also be interesting to see if this will affect other series as along with Penguin Ogilvy has appeared in Nightwing recently, so it will be interesting to see if any future appearances will keep the continuity from this series. Knowing what DC's been doing since the New 52 I'd expect they will.
This issue has Batman donning a new suit to tackle Clayface. Batman has had many different suits in the past and I always like when he gets a new one as it adds something new to the issue it's featured in. This issue he's wearing a red suit with a yellow logo, and a purple cowl, gloves, and trim. He had a suit to this in Batman R.I.P., but there was a reason for it in that story. This issue however doesn't have much of an explanation to why he's wearing a different suit, although due to the mask I assume it's to do with the chemicals he's releasing. I do however like this suit overall, and always like seeing Batman wearing something new every now and then.
The fight between Batman and Clayface earlier in this issue was also very good and although it was cut short I liked how Batman was unprepared for a fight with Clayface, and how he knew when to leave. The cross between anger and love in Clayface's words during this sequence was also easily noticeable, and it was nice to feel some sort of sympathy towards him for a change.
It was nice how the story went through telling how Poison Ivy and Clayface got married. Although the back story from last issue showed Ivy breaking Clayface out of Arkham Asylum it was nice that this was continued in the main story, as it adds more information to the story, plus not everyone likes reading the back stories in series. I also liked how Layman was able to tell this part of the story without taking up too much of the issue, and showing the emotions Clayface feels toward Ivy. It was also interesting to find out exactly how Ivy was able to persuade Clayface to marry her, and how the big lump of mud showed that he had a heart.
Another brilliant issue from Layman and Fabok. I would recommend this to anyone who's been following the series, and would also recommend this and the previous two issues to anyone who's a Batman fan or looking to become one. I would however warn again that this isn't a proper crossover issue and that if anyone is looking at buying this to learn more about the Death of the Family crossover they'd be better of giving this a miss.