Batman #102 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Carlo Pagulayan/Danny Miki, Carlos D’Anda, Artists; David Baron, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Many characters are settling into the new Gotham, and James Tynion IV’s run hasn’t lost any of its momentum as it kicks off a new arc. This story will introduce his fourth new major antagonist, Ghost-Maker—Bruce’s old rival who trained with him and is now a bitter enemy. We’ve seen “anti-Batman” characters before, but never one with this kind of motivation. His opening monologue, as he talks to a captured officer about how Gotham is beyond saving, comes across like a fanatic. And the difference between him and Bruce is made very clear when we see who his top target is—Clownhunter. He intends to kill him as a symbol of Gotham’s decline, while Bruce is trying to stay ahead of the troubled kid and arrest his targets before he can get to them. But as we see when Bruce tries to track down a bar catering to Joker die-hards, Ghost-Maker is good at staying one step ahead of him.
There are a lot of plot threads that are very interesting here, starting with the fact that Oracle seems to have evolved into Bruce’s top ally at the moment. Things are strained with Lucius at the moment, so she’s in Bruce’s ear for most of the issue. I’m glad to see Barbara Gordon back in the role she’s best at, although I’m not sure how permanent this will be. The funniest subplot has got to be Harley Quinn trying to rent an apartment in an old neighborhood of Gotham (to the skepticism of the grumpy landlord), only to be interrupted by Clownhunter, who plans to blow up the building. That leads into the first reunion between Bruce and his old friend, and a flashback to Ireland shows the origins of the resentment between them. This era of Bruce’s past hasn’t been explored too much—the last major plot thread to come from that was David Cain as his deranged former mentor—so there’s a lot of promise here. And like much of Tynion’s run, it’s sure to make a chaotic Gotham even more challenging for a very different Batman.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.