The Batman 2: Who Is Clayface?

The Batman — Part II is taking shape. Filmmaker Matt Reeves has reportedly written the villain Clayface into his Batman sequel, set after the events of the first film that saw the dark knight detective (Robert Pattinson) unravel a mystery involving a trio of proto-rogues: puzzling serial killer Riddler (Paul Dano), femme fatale cat burglar Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), and Gotham gangster Penguin (Colin Farrell). DC Comics fans might be most familiar with the modern version of Clayface — a hulking, shape-shifting mud monster with the ability to weaponize his clay-like flesh — but the character's comic book origins are grounded in the grim and gritty reality of Reeves' Batverse.

There have been various iterations of Clayface, who began as a guise assumed by a disgraced movie star driven mad by his lost stardom.

Basil Karlo: The Golden Age Clayface

Clayface was introduced in 1940's Detective Comics #40 as Basil Karlo, a once-famous character actor and makeup expert turned costumed killer. When Batman and Robin investigated the murders of actors involved with the production of "Dread Castle," a remake of one of Karlo's classic films, they unmasked the disguised Karlo as "Clayface": one of Karlo's old monster movie roles.

(Photo: DC Comics)

Matt Hagen: Clayface II

1961's Detective Comics #298 introduced treasure hunter Matt Hagen as the second Clayface, a super-criminal capable of molding his body into any shape he could imagine after being exposed to a strange liquid protoplasm.

Clayface's malleable flesh and shape-shifting powers made him one of Batman's most dangerous enemies, and he spawned a "Mud Pack" that included Preston Payne — whose claylike-body was confined to an exoskeleton suit after synthesizing Hagen's protoplasm to become the flesh-melting Clayface III — and Clayface IV, a.k.a. Lady Clay, who could mimic her victims' appearances and abilities.

(Photo: DC Comics)


Modern iterations of Clayface in the rebooted comic book continuity also possessed DNA-duplication abilities, plus enhanced strength and shape-changing powers. On DC's Prime Earth, the Basil Karlo Clayface was a disfigured movie star whose addiction to Renu — an industrial chemical that, when mixed with wax and putty, could mold almost any material like clay — transformed him into the monsterous Clayface.

(Photo: DC Comics)

The villain's reported involvement in Batman 2 comes after Reeves has hinted at Hush, a criminal mastermind and master of disguise who has ties to Clayface — and childhood friend Bruce Wayne — in the comics. The Batman — Part II is scheduled for release in theaters on October 3rd, 2025.