|Real name:||Ethan Bennett|
|Portrayed by:||Steve Harris|
In The Batman, Ethan is one of the most respected members of the Gotham City Police Department, and Bruce Wayne's best friend. Whereas his partner, Detective Ellen Yin, sees things in black and white, Ethan sees the grey in most everything, and is more willing to allow the Batman to co-exist with the Gotham P.D. In fact, he often finds himself wondering if this caped vigilante he is pursuing is actually helping the city. During most of Season 1, Ethan defends the Batman and his actions, while Yin often disagrees.
In the episode "The Rubberface of Comedy," Ethan's superior, Chief Angel Rojas, orders the entire police force to take down every masked and costumed "freak" in Gotham City. Ethan protests, defending the Batman as an asset to the city and crediting him with helping to capture Joker. In response, an infuriated Rojas threatens to suspends him, telling him to figure out where his loyalties lie. Ethan decides to prove that he's a good cop, and attempts to take down The Batman, but during a scuffle with Joker, both Batman and the Crime Clown escape. Later, when investigating a break in at a museum, Ethan is captured by Joker, brought back to his hide-out, and subjected to pyschological torture, driving him to the brink of insanity. Yin and the Batman rescue him, but not before he is exposed to Joker's "Joker Putty" formula; inhaling it, Ethan begins immediately coughing, and the formula takes effect.
(When the "Joker Putty" touches a surface, it turns it to just that: a malleable putty. Joker was about to spray Ethan with it, saying he wanted to know what it did to humans, when Batman knocked it out of his hands with a Batarang, causing Ethan, still tied to a chair, to inhale the fumes.) Batman captures Joker, who taunts Ethan as he is taken away. When Ethan tells the media that The Batman saved him and caught Joker, Rojas suspends him. At home, a depressed Ethan, still sick from the Putty fumes, turns on the shower, and the hot mist in the room allows the putty to take full effect, and Ethan's skin melts.
In "The Clayface of Tragedy", Ethan, horrified by his transformation, and unable to speak clearly (due to his throat being full of clay) seeks help in the city, but is attacked by the police, who use a fire hose to wash him down a drain. Ethan then kidnaps Rojas and attempts to kill him, but is foiled by Batman and Yin. Ethan demonstrates his ability to shape shift and mimic voices, claiming that he can now be anyone he chooses. Yin and Batman try to reason with him, but Ethan claims that Joker "didn't just melt my body, he melted my mind. I'm a freak inside and out!" After a fight with Batman, Clayface nearly kills him, but is stopped by Yin, who begs him not to cross the line and get blood on his hands. Clayface turns back into Ethan, and comments that he never thought he'd see Yin defend Batman, before sadly asking "Yin, what's become of us?" before allowing himself to melt down a drain. During a talk between Bruce Wayne and Yin in a diner, Ethan appears for a few seconds, and the two run after him. However, he disappears before they can find him. They comment "He could be anywhere. He could be anyone..."
Clayface returns in the episode "Meltdown", where he goes to Arkham Asylum to kill the Joker, but Batman stops him. Clayface later goes on trial for his crimes, with Hugo Strange giving him a clean bill of mental health. He is put on probation: if he uses his powers again, he will be put back in Arkham. Clayface becomes Ethan Bennett again, and gets a job from his friend, Bruce Wayne.
When the Joker breaks out of Arkham to wreak chaos, Ethan becomes determined to save others from his fate, and becomes Clayface again in an attempt to stop the Clown Prince of Crime. At first, he and Batman work together to bring the crazed supervillain down, but after Batman confronts him for his violation of court orders, Ethan feels betrayed. He becomes Clayface permanently and is put back in Arkham.
In the episode "Grundy's Night," a creature known as Solomon Grundy, an old legend, is attacking Gotham on Halloween. It soon turns out that he's really Clayface in disguise. Batman and Clayface fight in a wax museum where Batman defeats him and Clayface is sent back to Arkham Asylum.
In the episode "Clayfaces," Ethan promises to give up his life of crime to use his powers for good. Bennett seems to have finally reformed. He tracks down and captures the Joker, disguising himself as the Joker's henchmen: Punch and Judy. He hands him over the police without using excessive force, and turns himself in to the authorities, who take him to Arkham Asylum. However, Bennett has not completely regained Bruce Wayne's (and Batman's) trust. He is eager to leave Arkham and continue working as a police officer, although Batman refuses to consider this request until Bennett is cured, citing he could easily go back to crime. Ethan then fights a new Clayface. Together, Ethan and Batman confront Basil Karlo, the new Clayface. At the end of the episode, Ethan is cured from his condition when Batman fires an antidote into the two, and he is taken away to Arkham. While Ethan has been completly cured of his mutation, Basil Karlo still retains his powers.
FutureEditIt is stated by a police dispatch in "Artifacts" that Ethan is permanently cured, and becomes the new Chief of Gotham PD in the year 2027.
As Ethan Bennett:
- The Bat in the Belfry
- Call of the Cobblepot
- The Man Who Would Be Bat
- The Big Chill
- The Cat and the Bat (cameo)
- Topsy Turvey
- The Rubberface of Comedy
- The Clayface of Tragedy
In other mediaEdit
The character was incorporated (to a limited extent) into The Batman Strikes! comic book series after his appearance in the animated series.
In the comic book, Clayface pulls a stunt similar to turning into Solomon Grundy and turned into Catwoman to frame her for his robberies. Afterward he began a series of "copycat crimes" based on cases he solved as a detective. In "Hit and Run", he turns into Joker and steals the Batmobile to get Batman to find Joker's hideout so he can take his revenge. In "Escape," he is manipulated by Hugo Strange to steal a chip that would help him get rid of the "voices" in his head. However, Strange uses it to control him, and turns him into a giant designed to wreak havoc on the city. He is eventually freed by Batman, and the two work together to stop Strange.