Detective Comics Annual #1

by Hussein Wasiti on January 31, 2018

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Eddy Barrows

Inker: Eber Ferreira

Colourist: Adriano Lucas

Letterer: Sal Cipriano


This annual ties in very nicely to the current storyline going on in DETECTIVE COMICS. James Tynion IV has been building to this entire Clayface story for a while and this annual story solidifies the tragedy, although it isn't a perfect issue and has a few problems.


Most notably is the complete change of Clayface's origin. Over the course of DC's decades-long history, there have been multiple incarnations of Clayface, but Basil Karlo remains the most popular that Karlo is Tynion's current Clayface. Originally he was an actor who was furious upon finding out one of his horror movies was going to be remade. He dresses up as the movie's monster and kills the new cast, only to find himself in an accident and irreversibly transformed into Clayface. Sure, it's a bit goofy and definitely came out of the Golden Age, but it's worked all this time and contributed to the overall gloomy, dark mystique of Gotham. In this annual, Basil lives in Los Angeles, is apparently a rapidly-rising movie star, and seemingly can have any role he wants. The circumstances of his transformation into Clayface is, quite frankly, even goofier than his Golden Age origin. There's a clear reason for this change; while the new origin is weird, It's meant to highlight the tragedy of Basil Karlo that fits in with Tynion's story. I personally think that both origins could have been combined, in order to service the character's history while also doing something new.


I'm glad Eddy Barrows got to draw this entire issue. I love single-story annuals and this looked simply gorgeous. A couple of flashback scenes have this excellent colouring by Adriano Lucas that give it a classic Hollywood vibe to them, which Barrows accentuates with his film-reel panelling. I'd love to see more consistent work from Barrows as he's one of my favourite artists.


While this annual fits in nicely with Tynion's story, it unnecessarily changes the origin of Clayface. However, it's still an emotional and powerful enough story. Combine this with Barrows' stunning art, and you have a fun read.

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