Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Batman Secret Files: Clownhunter #1 Review

An Insane Posse Of Clowns

Written By: Ed Brisson
Art By: Rosi Kampe, Andrew Dalhouse, Simon Bowland
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: August 17, 2021

We have another Batman Secret Files this week and while these one-shots have been featuring characters that don't get a lot of love in comics normally, with stories that vary in how much they want to expand on the character, I'm hoping that this one makes people care about Clownhunter again because while it feels like Bao Pham made a decent splash in the aftermath of the Joker War, it feels like we're so far removed from that now that the idea of a Clownhunter comes off as almost odd....... but maybe this one-shot will get us... or maybe just me back on the Clownhunter trolley. So let's look at what this issue has to offer.

For this issue, we see some more background of Bao Pham, where previously we knew that his parents were killed by the Joker but in the aftermath of that tragic event, his Aunt and Uncle sent him off to a private school to live and it was there that the rest of the student body felt that Bao didn't belong, what with him being a poor orphan from the Narrows and since every depiction of school bullies in media is that they're psychopaths, they essentially spend all of their free time kicking Bao repeatedly while he's down. Now, that's a bit basic overall, but it works with the character, who while he wasn't trained by Batman can go out into Gotham and take on the henchmen of the Joker and uses his pain from his past to continue to push forward and overcome the adversities that come his way as he did with all of his bullies from the past...... but when everyone else has the numbers over you, there's not much that you can do overall.

Beyond getting some more backstory on Clownhunter and where he came from, and the events that may have turned him into an altruistic psychopath, we do see how Punchline is still relevant to the Joker's gang outside of what we're seeing in the Punchline backups of The Joker book and while those backups have been hit or miss for me, I loved the addition of her character in this and making her someone that not only Clownhunter has to worry about but vice versa as well....... Not to mention the way that this issue ends makes me very intrigued for the future of Clownhunter and his place in Gotham.

All in all, I enjoyed the art in this story a lot and while all of the real new background information about Bao that we get here is that he got the shit beat out of him by privileged white kids wasn't too intriguing beyond the idea that Bao learned to take a lickin' from pieces of shit leading up to his time as Clownhunter, I did enjoy the progression from the last time we saw him and the threat that he's become to clowns in Gotham overall...... Not to mention, I'm intrigued with where the character is going and who he'll possibly be teaming with. Pretty much though, from the information we got here, the badass factor that is Clownhunter and where this story is going at some point from here, this has to be my favorite Secret File so far and I hope that when we finally do see Bao again, it isn't too far removed from this because even though I enjoyed this issue, it's been a dog's age since we've seen him and I think a lot of people will have stopped caring about him in the meantime. 

Bits and Pieces:

The journey of Bao Pham continues and while the path he's on looks pretty promising, the road that got him where he currently is didn't do much overall but show us that our main character can take some pain and doesn't like putting up with nonsense. That being said though, I really enjoyed what this issue did for Clownhunter and Punchline, not to mention that I loved the art throughout...... I just hope that it's not too long until we see this character again and pick up where we left off here.


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