This week's Your Nerd Side Show:
The following contains spoilers for Batman: Incorporated #12, now available from DC Comics.
The conclusion of Ed Brisson's Batman Incorporated run left the team with a lukewarm victory, while Joker Incorporated was defeated, several characters were put out of commission and team leader Ghost-Maker decided to abandon the international team. Now without a leader, Batman Incorporated has been left in a precarious position, with their future uncertain.
So will Batman Incorporated continue to operate after the series conclusion? If so, who will remain a part of the team, or more importantly, who will lead the those who stay onboard? While not all these questions received answers by the comic run's conclusion, it doesn't look like Batman Inc. is over just yet.
Ghost-Maker Was A Terrible Leader For Batman Inc
While usually losing a leader would severely damage a team, Ed Brisson's Batman Incorporated made it clear that the international crimefighting team will not miss Ghost-Maker in the slightest. While the Alabaster Assassin was certainly a skilled fighter and a cunning tactician, his leadership skills were abysmal. Ghost-Maker's pride and sociopathic morality made it difficult for the members of Batman Incorporated to respect their leader, with many outright refusing to work with him.
Ghost-Maker also had a worrying tendency to purposefully withhold vital information from his team, sometimes because he doesn't trust them. But also sometimes in a vain attempt to teach them a lesson; as was the case in Batman Incorporated #6 (by Ed Brisson, John Timms, Rex Lokus and Clayton Cowles) when he did not tell the team where the highly unstable Professor Pyg was hiding in order to teach them how to be better detectives. This nearly resulted in the deaths of three civilians and even some Batman Incorporated members, all of which Ghost-Maker was unfazed by, believing he still made the right call.
While these alone was already enough to brand Ghost-Maker as an ineffective leader, however, it was Ghost-Maker's treatment of his team during the "Joker Incorporated" storyline that proved that he should not be leading Batman Incorporated. During this story arc, he refused to take into account the mental wellbeing of his team when both Raven Red and Bat-Man of China lost people close to them because of Joker Incorporated, condemning them for being mournful instead of "doing there job". In Batman Incorporated #11, he took things further by forgoing Batman's "no kill rule" and demanded his team kills the members of Joker Incorporated instead of looking for an alternate solution. All of which led to the team all but refusing to follow Ghost-Maker's orders, effectively making his leadership annulled until the Alabaster Assassin decided to officially quit his leadership position in Batman Incorporated #12.
Several Batman Inc Members Were Killed Or Left The Team
The failed leadership of Ghost-Maker was not the only thing that has diminished Batman Incorporated in the wake of their defeat of Joker Incorporated. The aftermath of Batman Incorporated #12 left Batman Incorporated's roster fractured, with numerous members incapacitated, or in one case outright deceased. The central loss within Batman Inc was Red Hood's own father, Willis Todd (aka Wingman), who was killed by Australian criminal Corvus Cawl after he was distracted by Batman Inc.'s argument over whether they should kill the members of Joker Incorporated or not.
Slightly more lucky members of the team included Australian vigilante Dark Ranger and Shanghai assassin Skyspider, both of whom suffered extensive injuries thanks to Joker Incorporated and thus have been forced to briefly retire from active crime-fighting. There was also the Native American hero Man-Of-Bats who was forced to partake in a more permanent retirement from crime fighting after the villain Dusty Bronco paralyzed him. Furthermore, recent addition Clownhunter also decided to retire from vigilantism for the time being, bringing the grand total of Batman Inc members no longer around up to six including Ghost-Maker's departure. If Batman Incorporated wishes to continue, the team will have to deal with an extensively limited roster, however, there is hope as long as one specific member is selected to replace Ghost-Maker as leader.
El Gaucho Proved That He Is The Perfect Replacement As Leader
Batman Incorporated's leaderless state may appear problematic, especially with Batman more than likely not being available to lead the team with the recent Gotham War event storyline. However, there is one superhero who is already a member of the team and would be perfect for the job. The best candidates to lead Batman Inc. during this rough patch in their history is the Argentinian superhero El Gaucho, a man who has already shown himself to be an effective leader during the few times he has been given the chance to lead.
Throughout Ed Brisson's Batman Incorporated run, El Gaucho acted as Ghost-Maker's unofficial second-in-command, being one of the few people who could overrule the decisions of the Alabaster Assassin if he felt said decision might affect the team. El Gaucho was also one of the few members of Batman Incorporated to try and make peace between Ghost-Maker and the other team members. His seniority as a founding member of the team and the fact that he actively worked as a peacemaker that everyone was able to agree with caused every member of the team to respect El Gaucho.
Furthermore, he was even able to convince the notoriously stubborn Ghost-Maker to stand down after the assassin attempted to kill several Batman villains in Batman Incorporated #7; a feat that Batman himself could not always accomplish. If El Guacho was able to use this power of persuasion with the rest of Batman Incorporated, he would be a great leader with near unanimous support. Despite being understaffed, Batman Incorporated has the right people around to keep the international organization running in the absence of Ghost-Maker, which in truth was a blessing in disguise given his terrible tenure as leader. Hopefully Batman Inc. will continue to make a triumphant return in future DC comic storylines.