Joker War was taxing for Batman and Gotham City, and while Batman and the Bat-Family did eventually come together to knock Joker out of power and take the city back, the events that took place certainly had ripple effects. That includes the return of someone from Bruce's past named Ghost-Maker, who seems to be another vigilante that is now in Gotham to do what Batman hasn't. Thus far we've only seen the slick design for the character, but in Batman #102 we find out what connects him to Bruce, and while we don't know the whole story, we do know some critical pieces of his origin. Spoilers incoming for Batman #102 so if you haven't read the issue you've been warned.
At one point in the issue, we are taken to a time many years ago in Dublin, Ireland, where a younger Bruce Wayne is seeking to get Tommy Tivane to help him master fighting with a knife, since the word is no one wields one as lethally as Tivane. That conversation is interrupted by a mysterious figure who Bruce seems to immediately recognize.
The figure tells Tivane that "he thinks he's better than you, Tommy. He thinks he's better than all of us. You can't take it personally, of course. It's in his nature. it's how he was raised. He's a spoiled brat. A rich American who cries himself to sleep at night, thinking of his dead parents."
Those words are what prompts Bruce to charge at the figure, who has a white and black hood much like the mask we now see Ghost-Maker wear. Before he lunges Bruce says "I swore if I saw you again I would break every bone in your body. After what you did to our master in Morocco..."
The two start to fight in the street, and then we go back to the present. So, it would seem that these two both trained under the same master, but Ghost-Maker either killed him or did something else to their teacher. It also seems that Ghost-Maker more than not gets the better of Bruce in a fight, at least at this time.
We then see the two fighting in the present over Clowhunter, and that's when Bruce says "We had an agreement. This is my city." Ghostmaker then says "Then do your damned job."
So, at some point, they probably came to blows and then agreed that Ghost-Maker wouldn't encroach in Gotham, but it seems that truce is done.
Batman #102 is written by James Tynion IV with pencils by Carlos D'Anda and Carlo Pagulayan, colors by David Baron, inks by D'Anda and Danny Miki, and letters by Clayton Cowles. You can find the official description below.
"Bruce Wayne and the city he loves have changed dramatically following the events of "The Joker War," but Batman and his mission are eternal. But not everyone thinks that should be the case... The mysterious vigilante known as Ghost-Maker has known Bruce since they were teenagers, and he's made his decision. It's time Gotham City had a new hero."
Batman #102 is in comic stores now.
What do you think of Ghost-Maker? Let us know in the comments or feel free to talk all things comics with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!