This week from DC Comics we get the next issue in the Batman Secret Files series. Each of these stories focuses on a lesser Gotham hero that does not get much page time. The last one focused on Huntress. This one focuses on the latest vigilante to walk the Gotham streets. This story gives us some much needed backstory on Clownhunter, and shows us where he might be headed – if he lives that long. This issue shows how Bao lived the life of a bullied kid until the day he finally said – No more! It also begs the question: If the enemy of my enemy is my friend…is the failed apprentice of my failed apprentice my apprentice? We’ll come back to that.

This issue shows us the life Bao suffered through as an outsider. The other kids constantly bullied and harassed him. He finally had enough and fought back since everyone else just stood around and watched. This would lead him to his vengeance kick when Joker killed his parents. He refused to let a bunch of clown freaks bully and terrorize the city, but there is just one problem. Rage only takes one so far. At some level you need training and actual knowledge, and Bao just reached that point.

No More – Out of His League

Now if this were a normal gang, or a random group of freaks roaming the streets of Gotham, Bao might have been okay, but these were not rogue criminals. This group belonged to the the likes of Joker and Punchline. This fact makes this a gang Bao is not ready to face. Sure enough when he decides to confront Sol, the loud mouthed, lack luster goof, it turns out he was a plant meant to lure him into a trap by Punchline herself. From there things only go down hill. Bao can scrap with the best of them, but even he cannot take out an entire gang of Joker flunkies. Via phone call from her cell, Punchline goads Bao endlessly until she finally gives the order to end the Clownhunter.

The whole time the beatings take place, I knew someone had to jump into the fight, but I wondered who would be the Bat-family member to do it. Nightwing? Tim? the Batgirls? or perhaps Batsy himself. Bruce did leave Bao with Leslie Thompkins in the hopes he would lay down his bat. It felt like he might, but then again where would his character be if he did? In the end, Red Hood drops in to save the day. I guess now we need to ask the question: If the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Does the rogue apprentice of your rogue apprentice make him your apprentice? You KNOW Batman will get involved at some point.

Jason pleads with Bao to reign in his sloppy, uncontrolled fighting. He cannot take on organizations like this and hope to survive. It makes sense Jason would be the one to talk to Bao. The two share the reckless vengeance. It killed Jason once, and if Bao didn’t stop his turn may come as well. No more won’t work on these goons. Despite Jason’s offer to team up, train him and end Joker once and for all, Bao walks away and all but refuses the offer. Clownhunter will surface again, but at what cost? Will he survive his next mistake?

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