Honestly, as I sit here and process what I read I can’t help but sit back in awe. There are several ways this issue from DC Comics could have ended. Was it a tad cheesy? Yeah. Maybe a bit cliche? Perhaps. In the end though I would not change a thing. THIS is how you tell a story arc. Batman 105 concludes the Ghostmaker four part story line, but in the end let’s face it. Throw in the Joker War story line and this whole series might as well be called Batman and Harley.
With the ending of the Joker War we knew things would be changing. Bruce no longer has his fortune, his butler, his girl (Catwoman), his sidekick, or his good name since Joker used his things to destroy Gotham. Batman 105 really takes a major step in the age of the new Batman. I do not remember a time when the Bat-family felt more unified than it does right now, and this includes several new faces.
Batman and Harley – Cover2Cover
This issue sports at least three different covers and all three are amazing. The main cover does a great job illustrating the very core of this issue. Everything comes down to the choices of three men – Batman, Ghostmaker and Clownkiller. These three hold the fate of what happens next in Gotham. The second cover is a gorgeous cover featuring Batman in blacks with dark pinks to highlight Gotham. The shadow of Ghostmaker lurks in the background as their destinies collide. I love the ominous effect this cover achieves overall. The third cover looks more like a schematic or concept drawing of Batman and his suit going forward. It has a cool effect with its prototype feel.
Batman and Harley – Is This the New Robin?
One story arc that has run mostly in the background but extremely noticeable these past 2 arcs is that of Bao. Clownkiller played small parts in these arcs, but yet he kept turning up again. Ghostmaker puts him to the test much the way Joker did to the people of Gotham in Dark Knight with the Ferries. The question became – could Batman talk him out of killing Harley Quinn. The answer is technically no, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.
The kid does break in a fashion and storms out of the room, but it’s the last little bit that catches my attention. Harley asks Batman if he’s gonna make sure the kid ends up okay. Batsy says he will do everything in his power. Previously, he offered Bao the number to his doctor friend, Dr Thompkins. That obviously didn’t work. We know we have not seen the last of Bao, but have we seen the last of Clownkiller? Look at the age, background, and abilities of Bao and I will bet we see him in Red and gold soon.
Batman and Harley – Brothers Reunited
From the very beginning we knew Batman and Ghostmaker shared a long and complicated history. Over this four part arc we learned they were basically brothers against crime. They simply chose to fight it in opposite ways. Where Ghostmaker focused on an ends-justify-the-means/take no prisoners approach, Batman went after the bigger picture and gave people the chance to change their live when possible.
The thing that stuck out to me in the opening war of words came from their self assuredness. Ghost hammered Bruce on how his ways were weak and he would fail or die quickly. Bruce grew frustrated, but he stayed in control. Bruce drops the line about how Ghost has a broken side Bruce does not and Ghost instantly lashes out at Bruce. This demonstrates the mental control Bruce used but Ghostmaker lacked.
In the ending fight, Bruce again demonstrates his mental control superiority. He throws down his sword and tells Ghostmaker he will not fight him any more. Ghost never wanted to kill Bruce. Admit it or not he cares too much. Changing Bruce to his ideals becomes a point of love more than hate. He wants Bruce on his side. Not surprising, Ghost quits fighting as well. It’s this next part that surprised me.
Here we go. The two warriors maintain the status quo. Ghost leaves Gotham and Bruce stays away from Ghost’s territories. Nope! Bruce changes the arrangements and asks Ghostmaker to stay in Gotham to help! It appears Ghostmaker will be an ongoing face in Gotham when we return in January. The Bat-family will love hearing this part.
Batman and Harley – The Best For Last
Of course I saved the very best for last – Miss Harley Quinn. Earlier when I said Batman did not stop Bao from killing Harley I was correct. Harley stopped Bao from killing Harley. Although she lost her own title a while back and will now get it back come January, Harley Quinn featured heavily in these past two arcs. She decided the ending between Bats and Mr J and now she appeals to the very heart of Bao.
Harley is a bombshell hottie, one of DC’s sexiest vixens. Her humor and out of the box thinking makes her both adorable and hysterical, yet all this misses the real Harley Quinn. She even makes a comment about this. People see her as stupid, but she really isn’t. She pours out her emotions telling Bao how Mr J poisoned her and fed her false feelings of power, but in the end it was all a lie. Now she tries to make up for the wrongs she committed so blindly. This bring her to tears as she confesses.
Then comes the slightly cliché part where she tells Bao to kill her if he feels it’s the right thing to do. Naturally he does not, but the whole scene works so perfectly coming from some one like Harley. She even talks to Batman about making sure the boy will be okay. While Punchline fed Gotham a bunch of crap about being manipulated and wanting to change, this was pure, honest Harley from the heart. This side of Harley is why I will get her new title in January. I have loved Harley being front and center with the Bat family these past couple arcs.
Batman and Harley – Next Up
This will be the last issue of Batman until March when it relaunches. I can’t wait to see what happens with the Bat-family as Ghostmaker, Bao and Harley join the struggles moving forward. But next up: