Batman Secret Files: Clownhunter #1 – Ed Brisson, Writer; Rosi Kampe, Artist; Andrew Dalhouse, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: With the big news that James Tynion IV is leaving superhero comics, it puts the fate of all of his original Bat-characters in a bit of doubt. If this one-shot is any indication, at least one of them is in good hands. Veteran crime/noir writer Ed Brisson takes on Clownhunter, the teenage vigilante obsessed with hunting down not just Joker but all of his henchmen. Flashbacks to his time as a scholarship kid in Gotham Academy shows him as the victim of brutal bullying, but also kind of makes the school itself look really bad—you’re telling me that the school that was a haven for Maps and Olive was letting an orphaned son of immigrants get brutally beaten by white bullies every day? Maybe they were too busy with the ghosts. These scenes are stark and go a little further in explaining just why Clownhunter is so cynical and hesitant to trust anyone—it’s not just Joker that broke his faith in humanity.
But in the present day, Clownhunter has his sights on much bigger game. When he hunts down a sad-sack clown, he finds himself walking into an ambush. The mastermind? Punchline, skyping in from Blackgate. While Clownhunter’s target originally seems like a nobody, he’s a lot savvier than he seems and it soon turns into a brutal battle of Clownhunter against an army of clowns that overwhelm him. It’s a good spotlight for the character and we learn a little more about him, but I’m more excited about the cliffhanger. Bao is not going to fit in with Batman, but he’s not the only outsider in the Bat-family, and a partnership between him and Red Hood could be very intriguing. Overall, Tynion’s set a strong foundation on these original characters including Clownhunter, Punchline, and Ghost-Maker, and this issue is a good indication that they could be Bat-line mainstays for years to come.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.