Batman (vol 1) #550 VF

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First appearance of Chase.


Cassius Payne, Clayface IV, is captive in the Department of Extranormal Operations laboratory. The doctor Peter Malley is experimenting with Clayface to unravel the mystery behind the Clayfaces. Malley takes a piece of Cassius' skin which is clay instead of normal skin. Malley puts the piece in a glass vase and starts to record some background on the Clayface case. While he is recording the past history of the formers Clayfaces, the piece of clay inside the glass starts to move in a weird way. It seems that the piece of Cassius' skin is alive itself. Doctor Malley doesn't notice this and he continues working on his recording. The clay starts to burn a side of the glass and makes a hole in it. The clay moves out of the vase and Malley realizes that the clay is gone. Malley freaks out and starts to look for the clay everywhere. The clay is in an upper pipe and jumps down over Malley. On contact, the clay starts to fuse with Malley and transforms into a new clay-like being. A guard overhears the noises and enters the room to see what is happening. The guard faces a monster and when the guard shoots the monster's head three times, the bullets just pass through without harming the clay person. The monster looks at the gun in the guard's hand and starts to melt it without even touching it. Then he melts one of the walls and escapes the facility looking for his "mommy and daddy in Gotham". Cassius feels that a part of him is leaving him and wants to be freed to follow it to Gotham. The clay-thing melts a car's door and starts his journey to Gotham City.  At the D.E.O. building, the medics are trying to separate the melted gun off the guard's hand, but it is all in vain. They need to amputate the arm before more organs are compromised. Sandra Barret is told by the guard that the clay-thing is headed for Gotham and she asks for any agent available in that city. She is told that the only available agent is Cameron Chase; a rookie that has just been hired.  The D.E.O. contact Chase when she is on her way to Gotham to visit her sister Terry Chase. They tell her that her sister will receive a fax with all the information about the case she is assigned. When Cameron arrives to her sister's home, they discuss Terry's admiration of superheroes and Cameron reproached her that attitude towards what she believed to be metahumans and aliens to society. Cameron reads all the needed information on the Clayface case and she is ready to start working over it.  Meanwhile in Gotham there is already a report of a missing police officer. Harvey Bullock investigated the case and the place where the officer was last seen. The officer's car is near a shapeless mass on the ground. Bullock tells an officer to take a sample of the stuff to the forensic laboratory. Batman is nearby the scene and decides to take a sample of it as well. Meanwhile, the Clay-thing already in Gotham has emptied the car's gasoline and pulls off to charge some more. The owner of the gas station is freaked out at the sight of the monster and runs away in fear. Clay-thing is shocked as well and melts the entire gas station just by staring at it. Then it begins to walk away to find his parents.  In the Batcave, Batman discovers that the mass is actually organic matter from a human body that was melted. He lets the police know about it and then starts to work searching some clues on the possible suspects. Agent Cameron Case goes to the police department to pick up the files about Clayface III. Batman knows that the crime is related to a Clayface in some way. He knows that Clayface I is melted underground. Clayface II is deceased and Clayface III and his wife, Lady Clayface are both in Arkham Asylum. Batman deduces that the attacks are coming from Cassius, the fifth Clayface.  When Batman arrives at the cave that Clayface III and Lady Clay used as a hideout, he finds that Cameron Chase is already there looking for some clues. Chase is uncomfortable having Batman near her and Batman talks to her to make her realize the wrongs of her thoughts towards the metahumans and vigilantes. Batman also learns that it isn't Cassius Payne who is behind it at all but rather Peter Malley, who was fused with a part of Cassius. When they find no more clues, they decide to go to Arkham Asylum, which is the most likely place for the Clay-thing to strike. Batman outruns Chase by using the Batmobile and arrives there first. Chase asks for her sister's help with the addresses and is delayed.  By the time Batman arrives at Arkham, Clay-thing has already arrived. Batman tries to knock him out but can't make it. Batman runs from Clay-thing's sight to avoid getting melted and Clay-thing seizes the chance to melt one of the Asylum walls. Clayface III is guiding Clay-thing from the inside of Arkham, but upon entering, he is stunned by Amygdala. Batman fights Amygdala to prevent him from escaping Arkham and using a knockout gas pellet, Batman subdues his enemy. Chase arrives just in time to try and stop Clay-thing from hurting anyone else but is almost melted by Clay-thing's sight if Batman hadn't saved her. Cameron Chase then feels the pressure of Clay-thing walking towards her and something snaps inside her and Clay-thing starts to melt down. When the creature is completely melted, Batman and Chase are wondering what just happened. Chase tells Batman that he is not needed anymore as the D.E.O. will take care of the case from that point on. Batman tells Chase to make sure that another incident like that one doesn't repeat.  Cameron Chase then comes to the wrong conclusion that Batman is responsible for the melting of Clay-thing with superhuman powers. Batman on the other hand knows better and he realizes that Cameron Chase is a metahuman herself and that she melted Clay-thing.

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