Review: Batman #105

"Ghost Stories" - Part Four

Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Alvaro Martinez & Christian Duce
Colour Artist: David Baron
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Review by Max Byrne

Batman #105 is a strange beast, albeit a great one. After spending the last few weeks building up the backstory of the wonderful new Ghost-Maker character, all roads seemed to be leading towards a battle for the ages between this new creation and the veteran Batman. However, in the words of the late Rowdy Roddy Piper, "just when you think you know the answers... change the questions!"

Yes, Tynion flips the expected status quo on its head and establishes a new allegiance. Whilst this might seem like a strange direction for the story to take, particularly based on the last few weeks, it feels pretty organic and believable to me. One does get the sense that the opposed ideologies of the two warriors might override their tenuous friendship at some point, but hope springs eternal that these former BFF's are going to provide us with plenty of exciting content over the coming months.

The flashback scenes between the characters are pure gold. When you get to learn about their shared past, then all the moments in the present day carry so much more weight, and resonance. Despite Ghost-Maker being a new creation, the flashback scenes make him feel like a long term fixture in the DC Universe. It's a clever strategy from Tynion which helps ingratiate the character in a big way. I'm genuinely intrigued by the potential for this character, and hope that he lives up to this hugely promising start.

Our old friend Clownhunter is still very much at the centre of events here, and this is another Tynion creation that I have a lot of time for. Whilst some may find him very one dimensional, and I can see why, I think there's a bit more under the hood than we've been shown thus far. There will be an upcoming issue that finally gives us his full backstory, and I cannot wait for that. One imagines that the character will be rendered in a more sympathetic light than previously depicted.

A grand total of four artists contribute to this episode, and the transitions are pretty seamless. Too many cooks do quite often spoil the broth, but not here. The different artists' styles are sufficiently similar to avoid any real styles clashes and, as befits such a top tier title, the pages are full of visual treats. One particular highlight is a rain-soaked meeting in the past, where  the characters look striking against the precipitation in the air. The sense of the raindrops bouncing down is wonderfully rendered.

Conclusion

Batman #105 is a lovely read. By establishing this sudden new dynamic, Tynion is setting the table for some interesting new adventures, and interactions. Whilst the face turn from Ghost-Maker might not be to everybody's taste, I am on board for hi-jinks galore, and the inevitable confrontations to follow.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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