The Tragedy of Poison Ivy & Clayface

Detective Comics #15

Batman’s life sucks. I may know so many men that would yell out on top of the building (or after a Justice League Unlimited rerun) “Damn, I wish I was Batman!" Let’s face it: HIS. LIFE. SUCKS. Of all of the DC characters, the Dark Knight is most well known for being associated with us feeling negative emotions.

What makes Batman, well, Batman, isn’t only his life, but also the lives of those that surround him. Whether it’s Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, Selina Kyle, Barbara Gordon, tragedy surrounds all. Yes, even his villains. It’s not always about the choices that they make, but circumstances that forced them into who they are.

Take Detective Comics #15 for example. Sure, we find out that the only reason why Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley) and Clayface (Basil Karlo) got married was because, since the beginning of the infatuation, she seeded him.

Detective Comics #15


The main ongoing story had Isley unsuccessfully trying to bully the Birds of Prey into submission, and then breaking out of prison to find help. Her life was being threatened and she needed someone strong, tough, and obedient to back her up.

Earlier in this issue, we see Isley buried six feet under and seconds away from dying.  Clayface goes after Batman, demanding to know where his wife is, and the dialogue exchanged allows us to feel how much he loved her. Clayface’s devotion is undying and a foreshadow to a sad ending.

Batman takes down Clayface using herbicide, but he knew he hit where it hurt the most: Karlo’s heart. This was a vulnerability Batman has long forgotten his adversaries had after fighting evil for so long.

The epilogue for this issue was titled Love in Bloom written by John Layman with art by Andy Clarke.

We see Clayface, after finding out the painful truth from Batman, hides in the sewers holding  a piece of paper with the words written "My Dearest Basil." We flashback to his time in Arkham Aslyum and a montage of love letters being delivered to him.

Detective Comics #15

The guards exchange amazement and disgust that someone could ever love him. We then see how Isley breaks him out, with the promise of love.

Back to now, we see Clayface at their rendezvous point. The art is amazing in capturing the heartache bestowed on Karlo and reading the words literally hurt my heart. When Isley shows up, he tells her that when he couldn’t find her, he came back to their rendezvous point and waited, like a loving puppy and devoted husband.

Isley tries to explain that things didn’t go as planned, and they need to leave right away, but it’s too late to control him. Clayface knows the truth. Although their relationship is not abusive like Harley and the Clown Prince of Crime, in the end, Clayface had nothing but rage left in him.

Detective Comics #15


::Sniffles:: Excuse me as I go find some tissues to dab my eyes.