In the latest issue of DC’s Batman series, the Ghost-Maker has arrived, believing that the Dark Knight has failed his city. Batman proves otherwise.
Warning: spoilers ahead for Batman #103!
In the latest issue of DC’s Batman, the Dark Knight is dealing with an old rival (though new to readers): Ghost-Maker. Ghost-Maker was apparently training to be a crimefighter at the same time as Bruce Wayne in their youth. While they apparently had a long-standing agreement to stay out of each other’s way, Ghost-Maker just broke that deal by entering Gotham City. Believing that Batman has failed Gotham, Ghost-Maker thinks he could do a much better job at protecting the city. However, Batman proves exactly why he’s wrong.
Ghost-Maker and Bruce were training at the same time, and eventually became bitter rivals after Ghost-Maker killed one of their shared masters. Ghost-Maker saw their training as a competition, always trying to one-up Bruce and getting to new teachers and mentors before he could. Now, the competition continues in the present, with Ghost-Maker believing that Batman has utterly failed to protect the city, especially after the events of the Joker War. Using lethal methods that Batman cannot condone, Ghost-Maker seeks to kill both Clownhunter and Harley Quinn, not understanding why Batman has allowed either of them to live.
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As Batman fights Ghost-Maker to protect the young killer Clownhunter, the new vigilante boasts about all the things he’s done to make Gotham City better before he even entered the city in Batman #103 from James Tynion IV, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, and Guillem March. Apparently, Ghost-Maker had already leaked the criminal activities of 14 different judges to the GCPD and got them all arrested. He also solved a list of homicides, linking them all to the same serial killer, who was then sent to Arkham Asylum. Not only that, but he then sent information to the FBI about 6 shipments of heavy weapons being delivered into the city from Santa Prisca.
While all of these accomplishments seemed to convince Ghost-Maker of Batman’s failures, the Dark Knight turns the tables on Ghost-Maker in epic fashion. He knew about all of those ongoing crimes. He knew who the serial killer was and had his Bat-Family tracking him so they could uncover all the victims, not just some of them. The judges were under the control of the crime boss Tiger Shark, and Ghost-Maker ruined a RICO case against him by getting all the judges arrested prematurely. Batman had also replaced the ammunition from the heavy weapons with faulty shells, and was planning to take down the buyers when they came to pick up the shipments.
After all these years, Batman knows how Gotham works and operates. He knows that some crime-prevention takes careful planning, precision, and patience before true justice can be achieved. While Ghost-Maker’s actions did get justice, the lasting value was lower. Ghost-Maker assumed that Batman was being negligent, but Batman couldn’t have proved Ghost-Maker more wrong. The same thing goes for Clownhunter. Batman knows that Clownhunter won’t get any better simply by being arrested. Regardless, Ghost-Maker refuses to believe that Batman is the better crimefighter, so he tranquilizes the Dark Knight in order to take him of the field and show Gotham what a “true crimefighter” can do.
Batman himself admits that he’s not perfect in this issue, but it seems pretty clear that he’s the better protector for Gotham over Ghost-Maker. As the series continues, it will be interesting to see how Batman handles his old rival going forward, and if he’ll be able to protect Clownhunter and Harley Quinn at the same time.
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