Review: BATMAN #105
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Colours: David Baron
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman #105: Batman battles Ghost-Maker in the no-holds-barred, bloody conclusion of this epic tale…winner take Gotham City! And the outcome is not what you’re expecting! The future of Gotham City and the fate of Clownhunter hang in the balance!
In Batman #105, we see the conclusion of Batman’s confrontation with Ghost-Maker. In a surprising turn, there isn’t much of a confrontation – at least not a physical fight. Instead, the two talk out their differences and come to a truce. However, instead of merely reinstituting their previous uneasy truce, Bruce extends an offer to his former friend: “Don’t leave Gotham. Stay. Help me make it better”.
Instead of prolonging their rivalry, Bruce enlists Ghost-Maker in his crusade. Bruce sees that things are changing in Gotham and realizes that he needs all the help he can get to fight crime in Gotham. He explains the reasoning behind his offer, “Because I’m getting older, and this city is getting younger. I don’t have the resources I used to have, or the allies within law enforcement and city government. I could use the help”.
Even more surprising, Ghost-Maker accepts the proposition. It appears that there is something left of their old friendship. It will be interesting to see if Ghost-Maker will remain long term, or if his time in Gotham will be fleeting. However, Bruce makes it clear that he will not allow Ghost-Maker to kill while operating in Gotham. I love that Bruce convinces Ghost-Maker to accept this limitation by framing it as a challenge: “It makes the job much harder. But I guess I understand if you’re not willing to risk failing”. Ghost-Maker’s response makes it clear he realizes what Bruce is up to, but he accepts the challenge anyway.
There is also a brief tantalizing moment, where it looks like we might learn the identity of Ghost-Maker. Bruce starts to say his name, “Kh…” before Ghost-Maker cuts him off. I wonder if we’ll learn what his full name is, or any more of his backstory in the months ahead.
I also quite enjoyed seeing Harley resolve her conflict with Clownhunter. Even though Batman is ready and able to stop Bao, but Harley insists on talking him down herself. Her part in his parents’ death makes her responsible for his current state of mind, and she chooses to face that responsibility. Some of the best Harley stories show Harley stepping back from the madness a bit and using her skills as a psychologist. This is one of those moments.
I also liked how Batman removes his shirt and cape to have a swordfight with Ghost-Maker. It’s a nice nod to his classic duel with Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman #244 (Sept. 1972). A bare-chested Batman crossing swords with an evenly-matched foe is one of the most iconic scenes in DC history, and it’s great to see it echoed here.
At first, I thought that Batman turning the situation around and enlisting Ghost-Maker seemed a little too far-fetched. But I believe that Tynion gave enough indications that something of their earlier friendship remains to make it believable. It still is a surprising conclusion to the story, but an ultimately satisfying one. Other than that, I don’t really have any complaints about the issue.
Batman #105 is an enjoyable story that brings Ghost-Maker into the Bat-Family instead of becoming one of Batman’s rogues gallery – assuming that their deal lasts. Whether he remains an ally or not, I’m sure either path will lead to some exciting possibilities.