Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Batman #103 Review and *SPOILERS*

Breaking and Entering

Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Guillem March, David Baron
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 17, 2020

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Last we visited the Batman title, we had just gotten a brand new story underway in which Ghost-Maker, a villain whose backstory is tied with Batman’s has arrived in Gotham and begun his own war on crime. Now, in the last issue, I voiced some concerns that I had about this book going forward as there are a lot of things that this story has to explain about Ghost-Maker in order to make sense. I wasn’t sure that this team was up for the challenge but I wasn’t going to hold it against them and I still don’t plan to. However, now we move on to this current issue and hopefully it will progress in a way that satisfies the reader and gives us the explanations we need while also being fun and entertaining. However, we will not know about that until we move forward so without further ado, let’s jump into this latest issue.

Our issue begins with a flashback to the Gobi Desert from many years ago. We see Bruce meditating among the sand when he acknowledges someone else there. Ghost-Maker appears and wants to fight Bruce once more but Bruce refuses. Ghost-Maker plants his swords in the sand and joins him. After talking for a little bit, Bruce reveals that it is the anniversary of his parent’s deaths. While Ghost-Maker initially seems to show some sympathy towards Bruce, he eventually gets around to saying that he thinks Bruce will fail because he allows emotions to affect him too much. To this remark, Bruce grabs a sword and the two begin their fighting anew. We cut to the present where Batman is fighting Ghost-Maker again in order to protect Clownhunter. Barbara Gordon is still trying to identify the man but for some reason her computer is unable to pick him up. Bruce explains the situation to Barbara and Ghost-Maker taunts Batman a bit before revealing the deeds that he has already finished in Gotham.

Ghost-Maker had revealed corrupt judges, apprehended a serial killer, and discovered a hidden shipment of illegal weapons. Eventually Ghost-Maker makes to dash toward Clownhunter again and Bruce tells him to run which he gladly does. Before Ghost-Maker can get to him, Bruce is able to stop him and their fight continues. We cut to across the street where Harley Quinn is talking to a plant in order to try and talk with Poison Ivy. The plant she got is actually poison ivy so she has been breaking out in rashes ever since she got it but she’s been trying to keep the plant alive. She talks to the plant for a while and explains everything that has taken place recently in Gotham before she eventually wraps things up. As she comes to an end of her message, we see Clownhunter sneak into her apartment and go for the kill, which Harley easily dodges. Harley dodges his blows until he finally lands an elbow shot to her face.

The two talk for a brief moment before the fight continues and unfortunately for Clownhunter, he is extremely outmatched. Harley gets an upper hand when suddenly Batman bursts through her apartment window. Harley knocked Clownhunter out and ties him up before she realizes that Batman has two swords in his back. She tries to contact the person in Batman’s headset when Ghost-Maker shows up. Ghost-Maker talks to her for a second before hitting her with a tranquilizer dart. Batman then takes the opportunity to tell Ghost-Maker that he had actually known about all the things that Ghost-Maker had dealt with. However, he had been waiting to move on those things because they were tied to bigger issues that now would never be solved. The issue comes to an end as Ghost-Maker refused to accept Batman’s way of thinking and hits him in the neck with a tranquilizer dart. Batman, Harley Quinn, and Clownhunter are all at his mercy.

So this is a pretty damn good issue. It’s extremely enjoyable to read. We get another quick look at the backstory of this new villain and his relationship to Bruce before we jump right into the action of the current story. I would have liked a little more but I’ll take what I’ve been given for now. The fight between the two was a little typical but when Clownhunter and Harley Quinn started fighting, things definitely took a more positive turn. Now, the one issue I have with this story at this point is the role of Clownhunter. When we were introduced to him, he was a badass vigilante that was protecting the streets of Gotham by any means. Now that he is a proper character in this book though, he seems very weak. I’m not saying that he should be able to fight on par with Batman or Harley Quinn because he certainly shouldn’t. However, now instead of a badass, I kind of see him as weak kid over his head. Maybe that’s the point? I’m unsure, and I’m not really sure how well that story is going to turn out but this book ended on a nice cliffhanger and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Bits and Pieces

While far from perfect, this issue of Batman is very fast paced and action oriented. We get several long fight scenes that are occasionally broken up by dialogue but the dialogue is meaningful and provides context. It isn’t just simple quips back and forth. It honestly feels like legitimate story beats are being hit during these scenes and that’s what I want from a book like this. While some of the choices makes me scratch my head, I’m willing to see how things turn out from here and I’m excited for the next issue.


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