Reading Batman #20 Through The Searing Pain

imageWill Romine writes;

Hello Friends!

It’s your old pal Will Romine here with a review of Batman #20. I just had LASIK surgery a couple of hours ago and my vision is a little fuzzy, so I’m not sure if Batman is fighting Clayface, or a giant poop monster. Either way, we’re in for some fun!

This issue completes the two parter that began in Batman #19. I’ll be reviewing both #19 and #20 as a single story. I will try my best not to spoil anything from #20, but #19 is fair game. It’s been out a month already, so if you haven’t read it yet, hop to!

Last we saw out Caped Crusader, he was fighting a new-and-improved Clayface. This Clayface is the original Basil Karlo, but with a twist. Remember the golden days of Xerox, when none but the ten richest monarchs had home printing capabilities Not too long ago, it was significantly easier to produce a copy of a copy instead of a new original. Trouble was, with each reproduction came a reduction in quality. Make enough copies of copies of copies, and the final product would be unrecognizable as the original. Now what if that xerox were a person? Scott Snyder explores this concept in Batman #19-20. This story arc is a fun little two parter that explores the character of Clayface.

This issue made me think of the old Sammy Davis Jr. standard “I Gotta Be Me”. Before reading this issue, this was a song about self assurance and confidence. The lyric “I can’t be right for somebody else, if I’m not right for me” is a call for self acceptance and personal validation. In other words, YOU are the only person that YOU will ever be, so you’d better learn to like yourself and become the best person that YOU can be.

Clayface doesn’t face that problem. He doesn’t need to be right for himself precisely because he can become anyone. Let’s say you don’t like your overbite or cowlick. BOOM! You can become George Clooney. Not smart enough to ace that physics exam? Neil Degrasse Tyson is only a shapeshift away. However, overcoming our shortcomings, or at least learning to live with them, is a hallmark of being human. What happens to one’s self when you can become anyone? Scott Snyder masterfully explores this issue. Also, we get an Easter egg of what lies BEYOND.

Well friends, I’m sorry that this review is so short. Right now it feels like someone rubbed my eyes with pee-coated sandpaper. IF you want to know why I capitalized BEYOND, or just want to keep in touch, tweet me right @notacomplainer.

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