How can you defeat an enemy that can look like anyone and everyone around you? Clayface is one of Batman's oldest enemies; and since he possesses the power to shapeshift into anything, he's arguably one of Batman’s fiercest foes. He could be the ally you're standing next to, or your own innocent-looking granny, and you'd never know. If I could change into anyone at will, I'd mostly use it to avoid seeing people from high school. But Clayface has more criminal bent of mind than avoiding Becky from Trig, and has used his abilities to fool the Bat family countless times, sometimes in an extremely disturbing fashion. Here are the 5 creepiest Clayface transformations...
Batman’s Rogues Gallery
It’s no secret that Batman has one of the best rogues gallery in the DC Universe. Clayface has impersonated almost every single one of the villains (well, the A-List ones at least). The most terrifying version of this is from 2013’s ‘Batman’ #20 where he takes the form of three nightmare-ish versions of the Riddler, the Joker, and the Penguin at once. He uses these horrific caricatures to taunt the Dark Knight as he threatens to drop him from atop Wayne Enterprises. These Lovecraftian versions of Batman’s big three are ghoulish. The Penguin connected to the Joker’s tongue is something straight out of an 80s body horror movie! In fact, this image looks more like a Scarecrow hallucination than something from Clayface. Kudos to Basil Karlo for haunting our dreams with this transformation.
If the rogues gallery transformation was a nightmare, then this one is straight up horrific. The episode “Growing Pains” from ‘The New Adventures of Batman’ is one of the most messed up things I’ve ever seen and I love it! I remember my skin crawling after I saw this episode and immediately wanting to watch it again. Robin (Tim Drake) befriends a lost girl, Annie, after she’s running away from a large man. She doesn’t remember anything from her past and Tim vows to help her out. Eventually, he figures out that the large man chasing Annie is none other than Clayface. When some clay gets on Annie’s hand, she absorbs it and remembers everything. She is a manifestation of Clayface, sent to scout the area while he was in a weakened state. She wandered off and got lost. In the end, she is engulfed by Clayface and returns to become a part of him again. Batman consoles Tim saying “sometimes there are no happy endings” and truer words have never been spoken.
A few years before Jason Todd was resurrected as Red Hood, Clayface assumed the then-deceased former Robin's identity in 2003’s ‘Batman’ #618. Used by Hush as a red herring, Clayface appeared as an aged-up version Jason in Hush’s costume. During the battle, Clayface knows just what to say to play into Batman’s guilt and cloud his judgement. And as Batman pieces clues together during the fight, it occurs to him that this could actually be Jason behind it all. It almost worked too, if it weren’t for that meddling rainstorm.
The Mud Room
During Rebirth, Clayface has a change of heart and wants to be one of the good guys. He is taken under the wing by Red Robin and Batwoman and soon becomes a valuable member of the Bat-Family. When the team moved to their new deluxe apartment in the sky, the “Belfry,’ Tim uses excess Clayface material and an old Bat-computer fight terminal to create a training simulator in 2016’s ‘Detective Comics’ #935. Dubbed “The Mud Room,” it is able to run the team through numerous danger scenarios featuring their deadliest enemies so they can truly be ready for anything. Which is thoughtful, but just imagine having to run training exercises made up entirely of your teammate's body parts. Helpful but ew.
Clay-Critter is another spawn of Clayface, although nowhere near as scarring as Annie. He’s introduced as one of the Super-Pets in 2018’s ‘Super Sons Annual’ #1. Sadly, he is only shown in a flashback and died atop the Daily Planet before we even got to know him. Oh well, Clayface could always just make another one, right?