“No More Teachers” part 4 does little to refute the ongoing indictment of Ghost-Maker. Easily divided by Phantom-One and his vigilantes, Batman Incorporated suffers an embarrassing defeat while Khoa disappointingly remains one step behind.
I am a huge fan of Robin, the Boy Wonder. My brother would often play Batman, while I took the fun role as the sidekick-in-arms. In my opinion, Robin represents how Batman desires to see the world. Yet, in many ways, Phantom-One represents how a sociopath like Ghost-Maker sees the world. Misanthropic, heartless, and vengeful. Neither sees themselves as villains, but they are both uncompromisingly self-righteous. In a way, Phantom-One seems to hope doubt in Ghost-Maker would be the poison pill that brings Batman Inc. and his “new Robin” Clownhunter to his side. However, the villains all believe their problems begin and end with killing Ghost-Maker.
This issue confirms my suspicions about Black Mist from the beginning. As readers finally get a glimpse of her grim origin, we can understand more of her true nature. Dublin’s disgraced Batman just so happens to also be the mastermind behind Phantom-One’s vengeful return. In fact, every one of Luthor’s discarded Batmen are operating purely on revenge. Coincidentally, many of their individual revenge stories just so happen to align with one of Phantom-One or Black Mist’s regional targets.
All of the members of what I’m calling “vengeance incorporated” are now in the open. Ed Brisson finally names the Noir Spider-Man looking vigilante in the duster as “Fissure.” We also meet another Batman reject named Oryx. Her costume seems to share inspiration with the spotted mammal of the same name. Moreover, The Fallen of Bhutran shows off her tranquilizer claws with stylized pink bubbles of xylazine. Additionally, I finally noticed all of Luthor’s lairs mentioned in the first issue hint at each vigilante’s hometown. Speaking of Easter eggs, the issue opens with a panel of Ghost-Maker’s vehicle that bears inarguable resemblance to a X-Wing from Star Wars. Not to mention, I took note of the narrative significance of Timms returning Clownhunter to his original costume.
The core of this story isn’t relying on the effectiveness of Batman Incorporated as a team. They have decent chemistry, but sadly all seem ineffective and rightfully critical of Khoa. It doesn’t help that the murderers of “vengeance incorporated” have way more empathy and camaraderie than the main cast. Instead of building trust or likability in Ghost-Maker, every character does an incredible job in making you hate him. The whole thing plays out like a roast of the character in place of using the opportunity to display redeeming qualities. Using a band of killers to shame a killer is needless hypocrisy, and wastes the time of everyone else living up to Batman’s example.
- Holding onto this book by any of its narrative threads.
- You are fan or critic of Ghost-Maker.
- You are somehow willing to embrace five more Batman analogues.
A common criticism of Ghost-Maker is that he is a Batman wannabe. After seeing so many actual thinly written Batman wannabes, I might disagree. Ghost-Maker is a man with the potential to be Batman or better, but chooses to pursue criminals for pleasure. The more the character embraces Batman, the more other characters and readers will remind us how much he fails in comparison. Therefore, I can say with confidence that this book will fail if he doesn’t arc soon. The team suffers in the shadow of a Ghost-Maker driven narrative, and won’t improve until set apart from Batman’s standard. Without a mystery to hide behind, Batman Incorporated needs to strengthen it’s core narrative and cast. For now, the artwork is fine, but the story is in trouble.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.