Martin Deer reviews the latest issue of Batman...
Batman #19 began a two party story involving Clayface, and was a rather enjoyable issue as Batman got on with some detective duties. Issue # 20 concludes the story and focuses on the inevitable battle between Batman and Clayface, and again is an enjoyable issue. The most interesting aspect of the story however is how it weaves in to Bruce's current emotional state at the recent tragedy that has befallen him, as Clayface uses it to push his buttons. The final pages of the issue are, quite frankly, the most emotional that Snyder has pulled out thus far, and are genuinely heartbreaking as you feel the true depths of Bruce's pain at the loss of Damian.
As for the main story, whilst it focuses on the physical battle, Bruce still needs think on his feet to get him out of a tough situation, and how he eventually defeats Clayface is pretty great. There's a great nod to the animated show Batman Beyond, which I won't spoil, but it's genuinely a cool moment. Greg Capullo's art seems to get better with every issue, and they're each worth a second read through to simply look at the art, while Danny Miki's colours are gorgeous and vibrant as the page glows at times.
The back-up story is the continuation of issue #19's back-up, in which Batman and Superman fight a mysterious magic creature. The back-up is actually quite touching, as it touches on the friendship between Clark and Bruce, the strength of each man and their bond.
All in all, this two-part story has been a great amount of fun, and definitely worth a read. Next month we travel back in time as Scott Snyder tackles the re-telling of Bruce Wayne's origin as The Dark Knight in Year Zero. Having enjoyed but been left disappointed by the hype and the conclusions of Snyder's previous two large story arcs, I'm looking forward to but also apprehensive about what he will try to add to a story so well known.