Batman Incorporated began with Batman’s faith in Ghost-Maker to lead in his stead. Unfortunately, the challenge of keeping his promise to Batman pushes him to his limits. After unsuccessfully handling “Vengeance Inc.” and now “Joker Incorporated,” Ghost-Maker faces the reality that he may not be able to live up to Batman’s expectations after all.
Some Days, You Just Can’t Get Rid Of A Bomb
Joker forces Batman Inc. to come up with a plan in under thirty minutes. Despite working against a shrinking time table, Batman Inc. refuses to give up and search for more options. For starters, Nightrunner kidnaps Charles De Ghoul and winds up in a high speed chase with his goons. However, without a complete strategy, he resorts to driving his prisoner as far away as possible to buy time. Comparatively, Dark Ranger’s improvised maneuver saves the hostages, yet wounds himself and kills Corvus Cawl. Sadly, the Australian police only pull Ranger from the debris and confirm that Willis Todd’s death wasn’t a fake out after all.
Alternatively, Gray Wolf and The Knight continue to tinker with Dai Laffyn’s bomb for possible weaknesses. They come to the conclusion that only an electromagnetic pulse disruption can disable the suicide bombs. As a result, Jiro and Batman-Of-China cobble together some impromptu EMP devices from whatever materials they can find. While understanding the ability to “MacGyver” electronics together is a necessary Batman-like trait, creating EMP’s out of just anything lacks believability. Gray Wolf even performs life threatening analysis on the microchip with a magnification monocle over his bulky mask. Least of all, if it was as simple as shorting out the signal, then the team look increasingly incompetent.
At the same time, Ghost-Maker quickly acts on a simple solution of his own. Losing patience, Ghost-Maker lobs daggers into the heads of Alpaca’s henchmen! If they survive at all, assuming from the placement in the parietal lobe and cerebellum, that they will remain vegetables. In spite of Batman-Of-China’s pleading, Ghost-Maker chooses to carves up Alpaca anyway. Fortunately, Ghost-Maker was actually making precision cuts to surgically remove the detonator. Once again, this convenient solution reinforces the conflict’s superficiality.
Ultimately, Ghost-Maker finally admits that he isn’t capable in following Batman’s path. Every arc in this run establishes Minhkhoa as an unlikable underdog with room to grow. Instead, the character doesn’t fulfill any character development goals and regresses at his first obstacle. Alternatively, while Raven Red temporarily entertains the idea of killing Dusty Bronco, he won’t abandon his ideals. Weirdly enough, the same is true for Ghost-Maker. Instead of rising to Batman’s standards, the character falls back on his core traits of hurting and killing people. Honestly, I expect more imagination from a character defining themselves as an artist.
What Did We Accomplish?
Batman Inc. deserves better. When Grant Morrison was still at the wheel, the international club of heroes proved their worth in around the globe. This volume empowers an unworthy Batman analogue and otherwise unlikable character with an opportunity to grow into their potential. For some reason, the book takes this thesis and simply asks; “Yeah, but what if he just fails.” Except, everyone is already rooting against this character on and off the page. Personally, I don’t mind subversion, but this was an incredible waste of time. Without some kind of development, Ed Brisson’s story just implodes. That in and of itself, is disappointing. Seeing the wasted potential in the character and the book only proves the detractors right, and Batman wrong.
As for the rest of Batman Incorporated, this experience serves as both an opportunity to rededicate themselves or a wake up call. In the span of Ghost-Maker’s leadership, we have lost The Hood and Wingman, crippled Man-Of-Bats and Dark Ranger, and made several others quit or retire. Namely, James Tynion IV’s Clownhunter has also finally had his fill of clowns. While I doubt anyone will miss Bo Pham, I think Clownhunter should have been the one stopping Raven Red for thematic resonance. There’s no better full circle moment than the kid who kills clowns telling someone not to kill a clown! Anyway, the rest of the team agree to continue the best they can without Ghost-Maker.
- Wishing to finish the Ghost-Maker run of Batman Incorporated.
- You need kindling to warm you at the camp fire.
- Needing to something to roll up to hit that spider you managed to spot!
Ed Brisson just gave up? The entire book surrounds Ghost-Maker trying to live up to Batman’s standards, and then he doesn’t. In fact, the events of the second act entirely unravels the good will of the first. Overall, it isn’t saying anything, it doesn’t make sense, the art is often jagged and inconsistent, and neglects the team for most of the series. Batman put a killer in charge of a group of heroes and only accomplished to kill and traumatize them. I can forgive the book being goofy, but the biggest sin is ineffectually criticizing Batman’s effectiveness. Even if I don’t approve of crafting DIY electromagnetic weapons, making the impossible reasonable is what makes Batman special. In that sense, most of the team prove themselves worthy of the cowl, even if they clearly need to find less challenging professions.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.