Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Batman #104 Review and *SPOILERS*

Wanna Play a Game?

Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, Guillem March, David Baron
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 1, 2020

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

The Batman book has seemingly bounced back from the Joker War arc. While we are still dealing with some of the fallout, the stories that we are following are pretty interesting with lots of different players involved in various ways. I’m not saying that the book is perfect, it is far from it, but I’ve been enjoying this current story arc, at least for the most part. There are some things that I question about the way that this story is going. Clownhunter is clearly playing a vital role but is also very outclassed when it comes to the heroes and villains that are involved. Due to this, his character seems really weak, but also volatile which lends itself to some interesting interactions. I would like for Ghost-maker’s backstory to be better fleshed out so that as readers we can better understand his motivations, which at this point mostly remain a mystery. We know his goals but not what drives them. Regardless, I’m interested in how this book moves forward, so let’s jump into this latest issue and see where it takes us.

We pick up with Ghost-maker stitching up Batman in a new location. As Bruce regains consciousness, Ghost-maker tells him that he is doing all of this for Bruce’s benefit as his method of changing Gotham is failing. Bruce soon realizes the location that he is stuck in is none other than Arkham Asylum. We cut to Nightwing who is stopping a bank robbery as he talks with Barbara Gordon. Barbara gets him up to speed on the situation. Batman has been missing for the past 6 hours and multiple high profile situations have taken place during that time. Major criminals brought to justice or returned to prison, villains going underground, etc. During this conversation, Nightwing tells Barbara that he knows about Ghost-maker and begins making his way toward Gotham. Barbara grills him for some information on Ghost-maker and Dick tells her that he only met him once before.

We cut to a flashback where we see Dick and Bruce in the Bat-Wing. Dick reveals that they were pursuing a low level criminal as he was fleeing the country. They eventually land in a huge rainstorm and see a figure waiting for them. Batman gets out and the two being talking which eventually turns into arguing. Eventually, Bruce returns to the plane and informs Dick that they are returning to Gotham. Dick questions this and out of anger, Bruce breaks some of the control panel. After doing so, he eventually confides in Dick about Ghost-maker. The story follows Bruce as he learns the skills he will need to become Batman. During his training he comes across a young man around his age and the two share a lot in common and often share stories about their training. The two became friends and Bruce decided to confide in him about who he was and why he wanted to become a fierce warrior. Ghost-maker rejected his reasons and felt betrayed that Bruce wasn’t who he thought he was. Ghost-maker was doing this for the art of it, not for vengeance, and he believed Bruce was similar to him. The two have their first fight and it would lead to many more down the line. Eventually, the two would agree to stay out of each other's territory.

Batman tells Dick that Ghost-maker will send the criminal back to Gotham after he catches him and Dick correctly infers that Batman misses Ghost-maker because he was one of his only friends from that time. Dick shares a few more snippets of information that he gathered over the years but that is very limited. Suddenly Barbara gets a call from Spoiler and Orphan who arrived at the scene of the abduction. They found out where they had been taken because some plants on the wall had grown into a single word; Arkham. We cut back to Arkham to see Clownhunter and Harley regain consciousness. They exchange verbal jabs before Batman informs them that Ghost-maker is trying to test them and provoke Clownhunter. Clownhunter finds that he is the only one that was left unrestrained and begins exploring the room only to find a sword left for him. Harley tells him that she had nothing to do with the Joker War so he shouldn’t hold her responsible, but Batman informs her that she was still by the Joker’s side when Joker killed Clownhunter’s parents. Batman begs Bao not to take the bait but Bao prepares to finally take his revenge. This is where the issue leaves us.

I’m not gonna lie, this issue is kinda boring. Which is a really bad sign. Now, I wasn’t bored the entire time. The ending scene in particular really ramped up the tension and left us on a very exciting cliffhanger. However, the rest of the issue is a real snore. It’s one long conversation between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon about what he knows in regards to Ghost-maker. The answer is, not a lot. We do get a little bit more information about Ghost-maker’s past, specifically that he began honing his fighting skills for “the art of it” which is a really lame reason, especially considering that reason leads to a huge divide between him and Bruce. I’m hoping there’s more to that story as we move forward. Ultimately, I feel like we got one really long conversation that didn’t really give us a lot of satisfying reveals and then in the last few pages, we all got a scene that we really wanted and can’t wait to see more of. I’m scared that it will end in a very cliche way, but until then, this scene was great! Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the issue as a whole.

Bits and Pieces

The Batman book stumbles as all the momentum we had in the previous issue grinds to a halt and we slowly meander through a flashback scene for the majority of the issue that provides very little context that will be relevant to this story. Thankfully the book ramps the excitement back up near the end, but the issue as a whole is really boring. This score is more reflective of the ending scene because without it, this issue would have been a total flop.



  1. Call me crazy, but could DC possibly be setting up Clownhunter as the next Robin. With Damian kicking the whole Robin thing to the side and the other Robins all grown and doing their own thing, maybe? MAYBE?!

    1. That's kind of what I am thinking. On the podcast, eric kept thinking clownhunter would actually teamup with damian, which might be cool...