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Clayface

The Batman
by yo go re

The biggest complaint about The Batman, the newest cartoon to feature the Dark Knight, is the character designs. And by "biggest" we mean "the old fans won't shut up about it." At least on some level, you have to give the creators credit for going out on a limb - despite the constant whining, they have yet to play it safe. Some of the redesigns are really clever (Scarface), some are really inexplicable (Riddler) and some are just uninspired (Killer Croc). Somewhere closer to the positive end of that scale we find Clayface.

Clayface In the world of The Batman, Clayface is Ethan Bennet, formerly a detective with the GCPD. He was a staunch supporter of Batman, and one of Bruce Wayne's oldest friends. While being held hostage by the Joker, he was exposed to "Joker Putty," a substance which could turn even the strongest steel into maleable clay. Inhaling the fumes from the substance, Ethan found himself slowly changing into a featureless gray wraith that was soon named Clayface.

Of course, the fans wasted no time in complaining about what was wrong with the new Clayface design, even though he was more similar to the comicbook version than the old cartoon was - in the comics, Matt Hagan was thin and goopy, not the big walking pile of turds that Bruce Timm created.

Mattel has recently rebranded its The Batman toys (and if that sentence doesn't drive home why feet of clay "The" shouldn't be in the show's title, then nothing will) as EXP - "The criminals of Gotham City are bigger, stronger and faster than ever. Batman must rely on EXP weapons and armor to take down these new breeds of ultra-powerful villains." - and Clayface made it into the first assortment, alongside Riddler and a new Joker. Three villains in one wave? Way to go, Mattel!

The figure is done really well. He stands 5 3/4" tall, and moves at the Big Five. The sculpt is really nice: the overflowing folds over clay cascade down his body to his large, puddling feet. His left hand is huge and blocky, while his entire right arm is just rubbery goop - in a good way! money shot The figure has a clay-flinging action feature, but it's not a crummy missile launcher or anything; pull his right arm back and it springs forward. The arm is soft rubber, so it flexes and wiggles as it moves, and it's sculpted to look like flowing liquid - like wet clay with momentum. The only downside is that the action feature kills a point of articulation, but you can still get it pointed in whatever direction you want.

The face is really nice. Clay face The whole head is made from the same rubber as the right arm, so he still feels squishy. One problem the BtAS Clayface design had, that wasn't apparent until we got an alternative, was that it was perfectly symmetrical. While that makes animating easier (don't need to worry about which side of the model sheet you're working from) it just doesn't make sense for a constantly shifting character. The Batman's Clayface still has two eyes and a mouth, but he's off-center, drippy and inhuman. It's great!

Really breaking the mold for a Mattel line, the villains in this series are actually pretty easy to find. Now if only we could say the same for Batgirl. In any case, this Clayface is a great little toy, even if you don't like the cartoon he's based on. Like Catwoman, the redesign he received for the show is a minor one, at most, and it suits him well.

P.S.: "EXP" stands for "Extra Power." Someone can't spell.


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