Writer: James Tynion IV / Artists: Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, and Guillem March / DC Comics
Batman #104 gave us a peek into the backstory of Ghost-Maker and we learned why he could end up being one of Batman’s most challenging foes in a while.
In a flashback, we see that Ghost-Maker was a lot like Bruce Wayne. Like Bruce, he also traveled the world to learn every form of martial arts there was to learn. He even had a similar goal to become the world’s best crime fighter. Where he and Bruce differ is that he’s not doing this for vengeance. Or justice. He’s doing this just because he can. And because he respects the craft.
Yes, you read that right. Mans wants to kick ass simply because it’s something to do and he wants to be the best. Not because he cares about the people he might be saving.
What really worked for this issue was the opportunity to see Ghost-Maker from a few different perspectives in time. In the present, where he is actively trying to prove that Bruce has been going about protecting Gotham the wrong way.
Then, there’s a flashback shown from Nightwing’s perspective containing the only time that he’s ever seen Ghost-Maker. Batman was as emotionally compromised as he’d ever been and in a rare moment, Dick needed to give him reassurance that he was doing things the right way.
Lastly, there’s the earliest flashback, where Bruce and Ghost-Maker are fifteen years old. Even then you can see how much they differed, even though they had similar goals.
Ghost-Maker hates that Batman is using his gifts to serve justice. It’s an insult to him. He’s here now to prove that he can get so much more done if he just cuts out all the moral superiority. Essentially, Ghost-Maker is like The Joker if he focused all of his chaos on stopping crime instead of encouraging it. But just because his crusade falls on the “right” side of the fence, doesn’t mean his methods are morally sound. At all.
The art this issue was a group effort, and while consistency in comics is always appreciated, the different styles really added context to the story. Basically, each artist handled a different scene. These scenes took place either in the present, or over a few different flashbacks. Switching up the style for a particular scene and perspective really added to the mythos of the Ghost-Maker within the context of the story.
Batman #104 gives us a history lesson on Ghost-Maker, who turns out to be an old acquaintance of Bruce’s, like everyone else in his rogues gallery.
8.5 Bat Bats out of 10
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