The introduction of the original Ghost-Maker sidekick cements him as a dark mirror of Batman in DC Comics’ Batman Incorporated.
Bruce Wayne’s friend and rival, the vigilante Ghost-Maker, is known to have striking similarities to Batman and his superhero career. One significant similarity, however, depicts Ghost-Maker as a much darker character than initially thought.
Debuting in James Tynion IV and Jorge Jiménez’s Batman run, Ghost-Maker (Minhkhoa Khan) was introduced as a psychopathic crime fighter who sought to bring down criminal operations much like the Caped Crusader. And apart from a will to kill, the different characteristic of Khan is that instead of fighting crime for selfless reasons, he does it for the art of doing it. What makes him a capable rival is that Ghost-Maker also possesses the same skills as Bruce, as the pair trained together in their youth under the tutelage of several mentors. And it’s the mystery behind the recent murder of their teachers that reveals what a dark mirror Batman Ghost-Maker is.
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In Ed Brisson and John Timms’ Batman Incorporated #2, Ghost-Maker leads Batman Incorporated in an investigation into the murders of him and Batman’s mentors. The mysterious killer has already eliminated the criminals who taught them how to fight with knives and the art of high-speed car chases. With the killer’s final message to the team reading “No More Teachers”, it is speculated that this villain may be trying to stop these criminals from passing their knowledge on to dangerous vigilantes such as Ghost-Maker.
Ghost-Maker had an evil sidekick, Phantom-One.
The search for this serial killer takes Ghost-Maker and his sidekick Clownhunter to Shanghai where the pair try to protect Skyspider, a criminal who taught him and Bruce how to cross skyscrapers. The killer, however, strikes, leaving Skyspider unconscious but not before she expresses shock at the sight of Ghost-Maker taking on another apprentice despite an incident involving an unknown sidekick. The identity of Ghost-Maker’s former sidekick (and possibly killer) is immediately revealed when Clownhunter is kidnapped after the attack and is introduced to Phantom-One. Dressed in an all-white costume that resembles his mentor’s, Phantom-One claims to have been killed by Ghost-Maker and that he kidnapped Clownhunter to save him from their mutual mentor. Of course, this character is meant to draw a comparison to Robin and the idea that he was murdered and fighting his “Batman” makes Ghost-Maker an even more sinister vigilante than he was. previously.
Readers have been led to believe that Clownhunter parallels Dick Grayson’s Robin given their equally tragic origins. It turns out that, like Batman, Ghostmaker actually had his own line of sidekicks that started with Phantom-One, whose motivations and supposed backstory aren’t all that different from Jason Todd’s; they both blamed their mentors for their deaths and came back from the dead with a vengeance. And given Ghost-Maker’s brutal crime-fighting history, it’s possible he played a major role in the death of his first sidekick. So while Ghost-Maker has embarked on a path of heroism by joining Batman’s crusade, Phantom-One’s return may prove that he can never truly redeem himself.
Batman Incorporated #2 is available now from DC Comics!