Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Batman #105 Review and *SPOILERS*

Friends in the End

Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Alvaro Martinez, Christian Duce, David Baron
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 15, 2020

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

In our previous issue of Batman, we really got a snoozefest as the majority of the issue was incredibly boring. However, the ending scene of that book was incredibly intriguing and made me excited for this new issue. It was one of the best cliffhangers you could ask for in a comic. That being said, I am a bit guarded when it comes to getting my excitement up for this book. For the most part, each issue has ended with a very interesting story beat that has made me look forward to the next part only to be dragged through boring exposition and flashbacks. Then, once again, the boredom fades when another exciting cliffhanger is brought up. I’m sure this is an overall issue with comics in general but this book is a big culprit when it comes to this. However, all we as the the audience can do is read the next issue and hope that it turns around. Let’s jump into it.

We begin our story in Argentina where Bruce is about to board a private jet. As he is leaving, Ghost Maker confronts him. He tells Bruce that he’s not ready to move forward and that within six months on the job, he will most likely die. Bruce rejects his assessment but Ghost Maker tries to reach out to him again. He begins speaking about how the two of them saw the world for what it was and that they were training themselves in order to fix it. It was art. It was something that only they could do. Once again, Bruce rejects his assessment and tries to leave. He doesn’t share the same ideas that Ghost Maker does and he doesn’t have any intention on giving up his mission that he began when he was six years old. In response, Ghost Maker strikes him and Bruce begins to address him by name but Ghost Maker stops him. This is where the two agree to make their deal. Ghost Maker wouldn’t set foot in Gotham and Bruce wouldn’t go to wherever Ghost Maker had set up shop. They then part ways.

Back in the present, Clownhunter is standing above Harley with a sword. Batman tries to reason with him again, but Bao isn’t hearing it as he goes for the kill. Batman is able to remove his restraints and tosses a batarang to Harley, who frees herself just in time. With the two of them free, they are able to quickly disarm Bao. He rushes over to a corner and picks up another knife but Harley comes to him this time asking him to hear her out. First, Harley apologizes for what she did to him, even though she doesn’t remember it. Then she tries to connect with him by sharing how she felt when she was under the Joker’s spell. She talks about how broken she felt at the time and lashing out made her feel whole and powerful. Joker was able to manipulate that feeling to make her do horrible things. However, eventually she got out and realized what she had done. She is still trying to make up for everything she did by trying to help more people than she ever hurt. After she finishes, she leaves everything up to Bao. He raises the knife and brings it down upon a table instead and then leaves.

Batman and Harley touch base quickly before he tells her to leave so he can confront Ghost Maker. The two begin fighting and during their fight, Bruce tries to reach out to Ghost Maker and explain how he sees things in Gotham. During the fight, the two of them are fairly evenly matched and then they suddenly are able to find some middle ground. Batman drops his sword and tells Ghost Maker that he doesn’t want to fight anymore. Ghost Maker agrees to end the fight and tells Bruce that he will be leaving in the morning and their deal can continue from there. Then, before he leaves Bruce offers him a spot in Gotham. Bruce admits that he is growing older and that he need more help than ever before. He tells Ghost Maker that the only rule is to refrain from killing anyone. Ghost Maker then seems to accept this offer before the two get a heads up about an attack, and the two rush into battle together. This is where the issue leaves us.

I’m kind of torn on this issue. There is a ton of good stuff in here. Story lines that we’ve been following are brought to a nice conclusion (at least in the context of this story arc) and at the end of the issue, there is a satisfying feeling that is left within me. That being said, The climax of this book is the fight between Batman and Ghost Maker and while I don’t mind how it ends, I’m questioning it a bit. I like the idea of these two finding common ground and deciding to work together instead and I’m excited to see how their dynamic changes throughout this book. That said, I feel like all of the major points that Batman uses in this argument are the same ones that he’s been saying all along. Sure the context is a little different so it’s not completely unfeasible, but personally, I felt as though they were the same things that had been said all along. Overall, good story though and GREAT art!

Bits and Pieces

The Batman creative team brings this story arc in for a satisfying ending and one that I’m very happy with. While there are some issues that I have with it, overall most of the story lines in this story arc were brought to a nice conclusion (or jumping off point for the future) and the ending is great. There is some really good art in this issue as well. I wouldn’t say it was an amazing issue or anything, but at least I wasn’t bored and I would consider this issue to be worth the price.


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