Review: BATMAN #109
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Colours: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman #109: Main Story: Mayor Nakano green-lights the Magistrate pilot program for Gotham City as Batman goes toe-to-toe with the augmented and bloodthirsty Peacekeeper-01! It’s a brutal battle for the ages, but what secrets does Harley Quinn hold about the man beneath the armor, Sean Mahoney? And how does this all play in to the Scarecrow’s hands?!
Backup: Ghost-Maker is fighting through incredible odds to reach the nefarious Madame Midas…but will his next opponent-BRAINSTORM-be impossible to overcome?!
Batman #109 again starts off with a flashforward , in which Bruce is suffering the effects of Scarecrow’s fear toxin. I suspect that the main story catching up to these sequences will mark the beginning of the announced Fear State event. I wonder if that event will also tie into the similarly named Future State. The continuation of the latter in The Next Batman: Second Son and Future State: Gotham seem to be leading the Future State future timeline.
We also see Bruce pondering Miracle Molly’s words, “Do you ever think how much stronger you could be you let your past go? Could that Batman actually save Gotham City?”. These questions open some interesting avenues of debate. It could be that Batman’s past is holding him back from being a better crimefighter. But other stories have shown that it’s Batman’s past that drives him. It might be interesting for Bruce to undergo the Unsanity Collective’s treatment and see Tynion’s take on the matter.
Also in the story, Ghost-Maker takes Harley to his Gotham City base, which he appropriately calls “The Haunt”. This section of the story gives us a number of revelations about the character. Foremost, it’s clear that he is driven to compete against Batman. Batman has (or rather had) a dinosaur in the Batcave, so Ghost-Maker has to have a bigger and cooler dinosaur. Ghost-Maker’s fancy high tech car proves to be inferior to the Batmobile, so he’s planning on destroying it and building a better version.
He also reveals to Harley that he’s a psychopath. Not necessarily evil, but devoid of empathy or fear. He has taken to crimefighting because it’s a challenge. He decided to “challenge myself by setting out to do the one thing that nobody has ever managed. Try to fix the world”. This marks him as a rather fascinating character, and a very dangerous one. With no empathy and a desire to improve the world, he could easily become another Ra’s Al Ghul. And his rivalry with Batman could easily explode into all-out enmity.
I don’t know where the interaction between him and Harley is headed. But there is some interesting chemistry going on. Harley asks him, “So is this a you-wanna-kill-me or a you want-to-bang-me situation?”. Ghost-Hunter eventually responds with, “Maybe it’s a bit of column A, a bit of column B”. It will be interesting to see if whether they become friends, lovers, or enemies.
The mysterious woman with the plant-animal hybrid dogs turns out to be Bella Garten, a.k.a. Gardener, Poison Ivy’s girlfriend from her college days. She reveals that Ivy’s in Gotham and offers to take Harley to her. I hope to see the two reunited soon. Fully acknowledging the relationship between Harley and Ivy was one of the best steps forward that DC has made, and it would be a shame to keep the pair apart for very long.
In the backup story, Madame Midas’ ally Brainstorm announces that he’s unwilling to face Ghost-Hunter on Midas’ behalf. He then relates his origin tale. He relates how Ghost-Maker ruthlessly disabled his psychic powers by stabbing an ice pick into his brain.
This clearly demonstrates Ghost-Maker’s ruthless efficiency in dealing with enemies. There is nothing he won’t do to deal with a foe in an expeditious manner. Thus further demonstrates how dangerous he might be to Batman as a foe.
No complaints so far. Tynion’s run on Batman hasn’t disappointed yet. Likewise, Jorge Jimenez and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz are doing an impeccable job on the artwork.
Batman #109 is another great chapter in the lead up to the Fear State event. Tynion’s story has me hooked and eager for each new issue.