The creative team faces one of Batman’s greatest challenges- a retcon!
Of all the various tropes you might find in a Batman story, one of the most common is figures from his past resurfacing as villains. It doesn’t always work, but Batman #102 hints at how it could.
Tropes exist because they’re a reliable element of a story. However, making sure the trope feels fresh and different is much harder than it might seem. That’s the task that faces James Tynion IV, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Carlos D’Anda, David Baron, and Clayton Cowles.
Ghost-Maker has come to Gotham, after Batman has broken a mysterious agreement with him. The violent vigilante is already cutting a bloody path through the city. His next target? Clownhunter!
I’m continuing to enjoy what Tynion is building here. Where last issue established a new status quo for Batman and Gotham, this issue dives into Bruce Wayne’s lost years trotting the globe. It’s surprising how much of Batman’s training hasn’t actually been chronicled, so Tynion using that for a jumping off point for Ghost-Maker actually makes sense.
Retcons need to be handled delicately, because they can go wrong so easily and simply ruin the story. Here, it works so far. It could still twist in a way that becomes groan-inducing, but I’m enjoying it so far and interested to see where it goes.
Pagulayan is a welcome addition to the art team. He feels stylistically similar to Jimenez, but he also breaks away from DC house style a little bit. His characters are very dynamic, and he draws amazing flowing capes- something some artists don’t play with enough when drawing Batman.
It’s also great to see D’Anda back on a main DCU title, even if it’s just four pages. His sequence featuring Harley Quinn is exaggerated without feeling removed from reality. Baron’s colors are clear and ensure even the darkest scenes are lit in a way that the action isn’t muddy.
The series is on the right path, and I’m glad to see the direction it’s taking. I hope it continues as this is definitely what the series needed.
Batman #102 is available now from DC Comics.