When his old enemy Ghost-Maker comes to Gotham, Batman, his allies, and even his enemies all can agree: He is annoying and his name is dumb.
Warning! Spoilers to Batman #103, out now!
When becoming a superhero or supervillain, the look is one part, the other is the name that your enemies or the public will know you for. Batman‘s latest foe Ghost-Maker, an enemy from Bruce Wayne’s past with similar training and resources, has returned to Gotham to challenge his old adversary in their traditional sparring match but he’s run into a problem. Nobody, whether crime-fighter or criminal, will take him seriously, going so far as to call his costumed name stupid.
Ghost-Maker is the latest in a series of problems Batman and his allies have to face in the aftermath of ‘the Joker War’ and the reality of how badly they failed Gotham City. With limited resources, a public tired of being in the middle of an endless series of superhuman squabbles, and anti-vigilante measures being implemented by city officials, Batman and the Bat-Family face a Gotham that is not only tired of how things are going but even showing approval to other vigilantes like Clownhunter – whose brutal methods contrast that of ethics and code the Bat-Family upholds. Ghost-Maker poses a different, yet familiar threat, as a vigilante crime-fighter who not only knows Bruce Wayne’s true identity but claims to be capable of better protecting Gotham than Bruce can.
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In Batman #103 by James Tynion IV with art by Guillem March and Carlo Pagulayan, Ghost-Maker targets Bruce’s latest failure, interrupting Clownhunter as he’s preparing to kill Harley Quinn in her new apartment. Batman agrees with Clownhunter’s dislike of the talkative and assertive vigilante, engaging in a battle where the winner earns the right to protect Gotham as they seem fit. Oracle tries to help Bruce, but can’t find any information on his opponent. Meanwhile, Ghost-Maker mocks Bruce over his identity as Batman, stating that it contradicted statements he made earlier in life and wasn’t clever at all. Bruce merely explains that Ghost-Maker is still upset that Bruce not only made fun of his name when they were teenagers but that he’s been on a losing streak ever since they began their obsessive competition all those years ago,
Tynion IV rewrites Batman’s history to include Ghost-Maker’s place in it as Bruce trained to become the Dark Knight. But he can’t resist criticizing the unnamed vigilante just because he doesn’t have the presence to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. He’s so eager to prove himself as Bruce’s superior, both in actions and in words, that he only serves to be more annoying and only mildly threatening to Batman, his allies, and even those they’d consider criminals. Clownhunter is afraid only after Ghost-Maker threatens to kill him as an example, Oracle is frustrated by Bruce’s insistence on going solo against Ghost-Maker’s advanced technology, and Harley is annoyed when both Clownhunter and Batman crash into her new apartment.
Realizing she’s definitely going to need to bribe her new landlord, Harley meets with Ghost-Maker who introduces himself. She tells him his name is dumb which gets her knocked out by a tranquilizer dart while Ghost-Maker laments how much he hates this city. As Batman basically explains all of Ghost-Maker’s recent actions have simply undone a majority of his plans, he admits he isn’t perfect but he’s doing his best to navigate through his city which is beginning to reject him and his protection. Citing what he believes to be Bruce’s greatest weakness, Ghost-Maker knocks Batman out, stating he’s going to prove what Gotham would be with a true crime-fighter in charge. Considering the current status of Gotham right now, Ghost-Maker may be in for a rude awakening, especially if his name doesn’t strike that good ol’ fashioned fear into the hearts of criminals.
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