July 21, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #484: Ghost-Maker

Batman fights crime because he cares. Ghost-Maker fights crime because it's an art form.

So, I said something about covering Ghost-Maker, but then I took a week to cover someone else so I could actually get some time in reading Ghost-Maker’s first appearance for myself and get an idea on what this guy’s deal is.

But he’s a fairly new character, so there may not be much to say here.  Or there is.  I never know until I start these things how long they’re gonna be.

Ghost-Maker had a brief appearance at the end of December 2020’s Batman #100 from writer James Tynion IV and artist Jorge Jimenez.  Who was he?  Well, his real name was eventually revealed to be Minhkhoa “Khoa” Khan, and he was initially presented as a rival for Bruce Wayne.  That’s right, not Batman.  Bruce Wayne.  The two men are roughly the same age and were both traveling the world and training to be crimefighters from the best teachers in different forms of combat and the like, and every so often, they’d throw down.  Bruce claimed in one issue he always won those fights, but it may not matter.  There’s a major difference between Batman and Ghost-Maker (and yes, Ghost-Maker knows Bruce is Batman):  Batman does what he does because he made a promise on his parents’ grave and he cares about other people.  Ghost-Maker, who will use lethal force as his name suggests but doesn’t always, does what he does because he thinks crimefighting is an art and emotions are for suckers.

Yeah, Ghost-Maker actually attacked Bruce when Bruce told Khoa the whole “swore on my parents’ grave” thing because Khoa found that insulting.

From there, the two diverged to different paths under a basic agreement:  Khoa would stay out of Gotham and Bruce would stay out of whatever city Khoa was operating out of because Ghost-Maker is a more nomadic hero who moves around different Southeast Asian cities, rooting out the corruption there, and then moving on to the next one.  Both men basically honored the agreement, to the point where Batman never even mentioned the guy to his various assistants and sidekicks, and the only member of the Bat-family to get even a glimpse of the guy was Dick Grayson in his Robin days when he and Bruce, following a suspect to Asia, were met by Ghost-Maker at the airport.  Bruce and Khoa exchanged words out of Robin’s earshot, and then Bruce immediately got back in the Batwing and flew back to Gotham with Ghost-Maker basically promising to take care of the suspect.

Basically, Ghost-Maker is Batman if Batman was something of a sociopath who didn’t really experience feelings for other people.  He’s just as good a crimefighter, his Ghostnet computer systems is at least as good as Oracle’s set-up, and he even tried the sidekick thing once with a kid named Phantom-One, but Ghost-Maker’s lack of concern for others means he ended up leaving Phantom-One for dead after a boobie trap went off, and Phantom-One did not take that very well.

So, what brought Ghost-Maker to Gotham?  During a particularly ugly “Joker War,” Ghost-Maker decided to fix Gotham the same way he did everywhere else, pointing to Batman’s recent act of mercy with young Clownhunter as proof Bruce was too soft, even solving three cases that Batman seemed to be ignoring or missing before Ghost-Maker even set foot in Gotham.  Only it turned out Bruce was well aware of all three cases and was just setting them up to get more information to possibly bust bigger fish up the criminal food chain, all of which Ghost-Maker ruined by jumping in too early.  And so…the two made peace and became friends again or something?

No, seriously.

From there, Ghost-Maker would eventually even join Batman Incorporated, the international Batman-based crime fighting league.

So, that’s Ghost-Maker.  He’s a guy who Batman likes but probably shouldn’t from the looks of things.