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Review: Detective Comics Annual #1

Basil Karlo is the son of a bitter Hollywood makeup artist and an up and coming movie star in his own right when a tragic car accident sets him on the road to becoming one of Batman’s greatest foes: Clayface.

Writer James Tynion IV’s treatment will be familiar to fans of Batman: The Animated Series while also drawing in some subtle nods to the character’s debut in the 1940s. Detective Comics Annual #1 oozes with pathos, adding family dynamics to a well trodden tale of ambition and addiction to great effect. There isn’t a lot of action but artist Eddy Barrows sells the few fight scenes he’s given to draw with dynamic compositions. Barrows also has a great hand for making the quiet scenes that abound seem just as interesting as Batman breaking someone’s teeth.  It’s not perfect; the ending is a bit abrupt. An extra page or two would have done wonders but as it is this is a very, very good comic.

Fun to look at and fun to read, this is a great introduction to comics for someone who is new to DC or for a lapsed reader like myself. Fans who remember the cartoon may be slightly confused that the character isn’t named ‘Matt Hagen’ but it is otherwise a one hundred percent accessible take on this material.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review