"The Coming of... Clayface III!": This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #478.
- I had hoped to avoid this Batman -- but you forced the issue! Now I'm afraid you must feel the terrible touch of -- Clayface!
- -- Clayface
Appearing in "The Coming of... Clayface III!"
- Clayface III (First full appearance) (Origin)
- Whacko (Single appearance)
- Gotham City Police Department
- Harry (Single appearance)
- Charlie (Single appearance)
- Clayface (Matt Hagen) (Flashback only)
- Martha Wayne (In a photograph only)
- Thomas Wayne (In a photograph only)
- Silver St. Cloud (In a photograph only)
- Henry Matlock (Only appearance; dies)
- Gotham County
- Gotham City
- Clayface's exoskeleton (First appearance)
- Helena the mannequin (First appearance)
- Gotham Gazette (Flashback only)
- Batmobile (Behind the scenes)
Synopsis for "The Coming of... Clayface III!"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #478.
Batman pounces upon two thieves robbing the Gotham Aquarium. Frustration over his recent break-up with Silver St. Cloud has driven the Dark Knight to new fits of anger and he unloads on the petty crooks until the arrival of the Gotham City Police Department.
Meanwhile, a mysterious hooded figure breaks into the Gotham branch of S.T.A.R. Labs and tries to steal an experimental device. The night watchman, Henry Matlock, tries to stop the thief, but the cowled criminal turns on him, using the corrosive touch from his fingers to turn the guard into a mass of protoplasm.
Batman returns home to the Wayne Foundation and shares his frustration with Alfred. He quickly realizes how his actions have been affecting his work and he is having great difficulty balancing his private life with his career as Batman.
Commissioner Gordon later contacts him and brings Batman to the scene of the crime at S.T.A.R. Labs. They find the words "Forgive me" written in clay on the wall behind Matlock's corpse.
Meanwhile at the Father Knickenbocker Wax Museum, the hooded criminal who calls himself the new Clayface has dinner with a manikin. He tells the motionless dinner guest about his own tragic origins and his forays into a scientific process that led him to seek out the second Clayface, Matt Hagen, in the hopes of finding a fix for his anatomical deformity. The process failed however and now Preston Payne is a monstrous man of clay who must infect others with his corrosive touch to stave the waves of fever and pain that overwhelm him. His only hope is to find another component for a device from S.T.A.R. Labs.
Clayface goes out to S.T.A.R.'s Starhaven facility outside of town and breaks in. Batman receives a call about the break-in and goes to investigate. He finds Clayface trying to steal another device similar to the one from the first S.T.A.R. Labs break-in. Batman pounces on him, but Clayface shrugs him off. He then removes his glove and prepares to kill Batman with his corrosive touch.
Appearing in "If a Man Be Made of Clay"
- Clayface III (Apparent Death)
- Silver St. Cloud (Flashback only)
- Mysterious Lady
- Lester Burton (Only appearance; dies)
- Sal Menkin (Single appearance)
- Arnie's All-Night Gasarama Gas Station
Synopsis for "If a Man Be Made of Clay"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #479.
Clayface lunges at Batman, but Batman fends him off by temporarily shorting Clayface's exoskeleton with a live cable. Clayface kicks him backward, then runs out of the lab. On his way out he sabotages the Batmobile so that Batman cannot follow him.
While racing back towards Gotham City with the stolen S.T.A.R. Labs device, Clayface suffers from a massive "fever" attack. He swerves off the road and crashes his vehicle. He then stops an oncoming motorist, kills him, and steals his car.
Back in Gotham, a mysterious raven-haired woman arrives at the Wayne Foundation. She asks for Bruce Wayne, but the receptionist tells her that Wayne is away. Rather than leave a message, the woman leaves.
Commissioner Gordon receives word that Clayface is returning to the city so he blockades the Gotham Narrows Bridge. Clayface barrels his car into the police barricade, dives out, and begins scaling the side of the bridge. Batman catches up to him and the two fight one another for a second time. Clayface grows frustrated and dives off the top of the bridge with his stolen device.
Batman tracks him down to his base of operations at the Father Knickenbocker Wax Museum. The two fight each other for a third time, but this time, Batman disengages the power pack on the back of Clayface's exoskeleton. Finally defeating him, he begins to drag him outside. During their battle however, a candle fell over, igniting the place on fire. When Clayface rouses and sees the wax museum going up in flames, he breaks free and rushes back in to save his beloved manikin, Helena. The roof collapses down on top of him, and Clayface is presumed killed. However, no body is ever found.
Appearing in "The Devil's Plague"
- Cain (Host)
- Doctor Norman Potter (Only appearance; dies)
- Doctor Caroline L. Burke
- Nelly the Hell-Horse
- Charlie Cosgrove
- Sadie Cox
- South Sorghum
Synopsis for "The Devil's Plague"
This story is reprinted from House of Mystery #254.
Doctor Norman Potter makes house calls to the families of South Sorghum, West Virginia. Many of his patients are old-fashioned God-fearing Christians who are reluctant to rely upon modern medicine. Potter criticizes his patients' ways, but administers care nevertheless. With the arrival of his new assistant Doctor Caroline L. Burke, Potter notices an increase in bizarre and violent deaths. He begins to suspect Burke of foul play, but when goes to confront her, she takes a mis-step backwards and falls onto a pitch fork. Potter learns only too late that the real perpetrator behind the bizarre deaths is his own horse, Nelly. Confronted by the nightmarish beast, Doctor Potter passes away.
- "The Coming of Clayface III" was originally printed in Detective Comics #478.
- "If a Man Be Made of Clay" was originally printed in Detective Comics #479.
- "The Devil's Plague" was originally printed in House of Mystery #254.
- This issue reprints the original Marshall Rogers cover to Detective Comics #478, however, the graphic incorrectly numbers the issue as #477.
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