All Associated Cover/Issue Images
- Ra’s Al Ghul
- (Sigh) Then have your shadow, child, if he pleases you. But be wary. Shadows are, by their very nature, shallow — and what depths they do possess… contain only more darkness.
Synopsis "The Pendulum" (20-pages)
The events of this issue are told in reverse chronological order.
Aug 27th – Aqualad is leading the Team through a Gotham City sewer, but he is distracted by memories of his beloved Tula and a longing to return to Atlantis. He does not notice Clayface watching them from the sewer water. Clayface ambushes the Team and pins them against the sewer walls.
The evening of the previous day (Aug 26th evening) – Batman contacts the Team and orders them to rendezvous with Robin in Gotham City and to find the Clayface creature. They are to track it, but are not to engage it.
The morning of the previous day (Aug 26th evening) August 26th Morning – A large canister arrives at the Wayne Foundation. It is addressed to Bruce Wayne personally. He is inspecting the canister when it bursts open revealing Clayface. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson rapidly change into their Batman and Robin personas and give chase. However, Clayface is disoriented and escapes into the sewers after a brief, but violent fight.
Two days ago (Aug 25th) – Directly after Young Justice (vol. 2) #11 (Feb 2012). Ra’s Al Ghul returns to the Lazarus Pit chamber to find Sensei battling a clay creature that has emerged from the Pit. He recognises the creature as a shadow of the man who was once called Matthew Hagan, one of his League of Shadows. Ra’s mental domination over Hagan remains and he puts Clayface/Hagan to sleep with a simple command. Sensei is ordered to ship Clayface to Gotham City as a reward for Batman’s latest interference.
Six months ago (Feb 28th) – Talia, Ra’s Al Ghul’s daughter, tells him that she loves Matthew Hagan. Ra’s does not approve that she loves somebody so lacking in ability – Hagan may be one of the League of Shadows, but he’s not a particularly gifted one. She says that Hagan loves her for who she is and not because she happens to be an “Al Ghul”. Ra’s reluctantly gives Talia his blessing. She does to Hagan, but he tells her that he is dying of cancer and that he needs her access to the Lazarus Pit to save him. His insistence makes Talia realise that he’s used her and that he really only wants her for the Al Ghul connection. The disillusioned Talia takes Hagan to the Pit and allows him to immerse himself. However, she then locks the lid closed and leaves Hagan to die.
One year ago (Aug 27th, previous year) – Batman kisses Talia one final time before telling her that their relationship must end for as long as she follows her father’s villainous plans.
- This issue takes from on the 26th to 27th of August. It flashes back to events six months and one year before hand.
- Something bad happened to Talia’s mother when they tries to resurrect her with the Lazarus Pit.
- Clayface is Matthew Hagan, one of Ra’s Al Ghul’s lesser agents. He was a member of the League of Shadows and romanced Talia after she broke up with Batman. Talia locked him in the Lazarus Pit when he proved that he only wanted her for her family connections. His imprisonment transformed him into Clayface and he was awoken when Ra’s next used the Pit.
- Artemis does not appear in this issue.
The story telling device for this issue is a series of flashbacks. We start with the latest scene and then jump backwards with each subsequent scene occurring at an earlier and earlier date. Each jump gets longer and longer and we eventually end up a year in the past. Its a bold motif and works well just so long as you’re paying attention to the dialogue and timestamps. The technique reminds me of the Seinfeld episode “The Betrayal” which is told in the same backwards style (itself a technique lifted from a Harold Pinter play of the same name).
A subtext to this story and through several of the preceding issues is how Aqualad has become increasingly distracted by thoughts of the girl he left behind in Atlantis. That is demonstrated here by Aqualad leading his Team into Clayface’s ambush. He is unable to put aside his personal problems and that causes problems for his team. Paradoxically, the monster they are fighting was created because Batman so effectively dealt with his own relationship with Talia that he forced her into the arms of another man and the eventual act of retribution which created Clayface.
Normal artist Christopher Jones takes a break this issue and guest-artist Luciano Vecchio stills in. He matches the book’s house style really well. A particular sequence that stood out for me was the two-page conversation between Talia and Ra’s. It handled in 10 full-page with, constant height panels. The consistency and wide panel shape gives the conversation a movie like quality.
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Page 1. That is Tula. She’s been mentioned in earlier issues as somebody whom Kaldur’ahm (Aqualad) regretted leaving behind in Atlantis and his reunion with her is a set piece in the episode “”.
Page 13. We jump back 6-months to the conversation between Ra’s and Talia.
Page 15. And this is the pre-Clayface Matthew Hagan. In the comic books Hagan was the second Clayface and first appeared in Detective Comics #298. He was a treasure hunter who discovered a magical pool of clay which, when smeared over the body, could allow somebody to reshape their appearance like putty. However, the powers were only temporary and Hagan would need a new supply of the magical clay each time he wanted to become Clayface. He was eventually killed during a world wide Crisis. It is a beefed up version of Hagan’s Clayface which has appeared in most Batman cartoons although his alter ego is usually ignored or completely reinvented — as is done here.
Page 16. Talia mentions her mother in relation to the Lazarus Pit saying “After what happened to my mother…”, but she never finishes the sentence. According to Greg Weisman Talia is 16-years old and Talia’s mother is named Meslisande.
Page 20. This is a repreise of the cover image, but this time drawn by Luciano Vecchio not Christopher Jones. The only real difference is that the Team are in their stealth suits rather than the coloured versions.