Matt Hagen was once the country's most famous movie star, but his acting career almost ended for good when his face was horribly disfigured in a car accident.
To the rescue came Roland Daggett, who offered Hagen access to Renuyu, an experimental skin-rebuilding chemical his company developed that would restore Hagen's ruined face and allow him to resume his life. But the price was heavy. In return for the formula, Hagen now is at the beck and call of Daggett, who forces him to change his appearance to steal, extort and silence Daggett's business rivals. Hagen finds the arrangement repulsive, especially when Daggett orders him to impersonate Bruce Wayne and kill Wayne Enterprises' Lucius Fox. But since he can't back out without Daggett cutting off the monthly supply he needs to keep his face together (not to mention that Renuyu's chemical mix is addictive), Hagen agrees to the hit.
After failing to kill Fox when Batman intervenes, Daggett becomes concerned that Hagen's loyalty is no longer guaranteed and orders his men to kill him. When Hagen sneaks into Daggett's lab for more Renuyu, they forcibly overdose him on the compound, shoving it down his throat, causing him to mutate into a pile of living clay...
Tropes in this episode include:
- Batman Gambit:
Batman: "That's it Bell, keep it up. You're reacting true to form, so far."
- When Batman tricks Bell into thinking the cops are staking out his house.
- When Daggett's thugs point out that he's a master of disguise who'd be hard to track down, Daggett explains that the Renuyu factory is the only place he can get more—he'll come to them.
- Belly-Scraping Flight: Weaponized as an interrogation technique, when Batman dangles Bell in front of the Batwing and flies low over the river. Bell's feet get dunked and he frantically tries to run across the water's surface to keep them from dragging.
- Big "NO!":
- Hagen when he's been force fed an overdose of Renuyu.
- This episode ends on more of cry of despairing horror when Hagen sees what the overdose did to him, but the spirit's there.
- Blatant Lies: When he falls into Dagget's trap Hagen tries to imitate Bruce Wayne as a hail-mary way of fooling the thugs who come for him. It doesn't trick them for a second.
- Body Horror: Matt Hagen changing into Clayface.
- Clear My Name: Batman must clear his name when Roland Daggett blackmails Matt Hagan into posing as Bruce Wayne to get important evidence against Daggett away from Lucius Fox.
- Create Your Own Villain: Roland Daggett's attempts to control Matt Hagen with his highly addictive facelift-in-a-jar concoction eventually turned the man into Clayface.
- Dead-Hand Shot: A variation is shown when a blob of clay drips from Hagen's hand.
- Exact Words: After overdosing him with Renuyu, Bell calls Haggen a 'slimeball'.
- Fainting: Raymond Bell faints while being questioned by Batman. Considering Batman's terrifying interrogation technique, it is not surprising.
- Gone Horribly Right:
- As mentioned above, Batman's attempt to interrogate Bell by frightening him ends in failure when he passes out from fear.
- Daggett's thugs' attempts to get Hagen out of the way via Renuyu overdose make him an incredibly powerful juggernaut, laser-focused on their boss.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Bruce's attempt to talk to a traumatized Lucius by sneaking into his hospital room ends with the terrified man summoning guards and Bruce getting busted.
- Headphones Equal Isolation: Roland Daggett's Number Two Raymond Bell wears headphones that he keeps tuned into police bands to stay one step ahead of the cops. During one scene, Bell has them on when Daggett is trying to talk to him, but can't hear him.Daggett: Germs, take off his headphones.
- It's Personal: Considering that it's about Bruce Wayne being framed for attacking Fox, it's no surprise Batman takes his interrogation of Bell to the extreme.
- Off-Model: An AKOM episode, so this is to be expected.Bruce Timm: This was the first episode done by AKOM's C-Team of animators, and it really bummed us out when it first came in. That show probably had more retakes than any other, nearly completely redone two or three times before we could actually air it without cringing.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: When Bell and Germs force a whole beaker of Renuyu down Haggen's throat. It's even the trope page image.
- Super OCD: Germs, one of Daggett's goons. He had a habit of using a napkin to open doors. He's the poster boy for Terrified of Germs. The prospect of having to kill a person doesn't phase him, but upon learning his intended victim is currently in a hospital? That freaks him out. Batman even takes advantage of this by producing a canister and claiming it contains organisms that cause a disease with no known cure. (It's ordinary seawater.)
- Tragic Villain: Clayface
- You Have Failed Me: Because Hagen screwed up a couple of jobs.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Stated word-for-word, by Daggett about Hagen.