"The Coming of... Clayface III!": 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 c
- You picked a bad night to tangle with me, little man... a real bad night!
- — Batman
Synopsis for "The Coming of... Clayface III!"
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 "The Coming of... Clayface III!"
- 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)
- This issue is reprinted in Shadow of the Batman #5, Batman: Strange Apparitions, Tales of the Batman: Len Wein and Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers.
- The flashback scenes in this issue are re-imagined in the 3rd story in Secret Origins (Volume 2) #44.
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)