Review: I Am Batman #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: John Ridley
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: ALW’s Troy Peteri
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
I Am Batman #1 -In the throes of Future State, the streets of Gotham City cry for justice and Jace Fox answers the call!
With a new and improved Bat-Suit, Jace hits the streets to inspire and protect…as he follows the trail of the voice of misinformation and violence-the anarchistic Anti-Oracle! Can the new Dark Knight counterbalance their plan to inspire armed rebellion in the citizens of Gotham?! Can one man inspire a city?
Picking up immediately from the events of The Next Batman: Second Son, Jace thrusts himself into action when the Magistrate’s crackdown on Alleytown begins, using armor he’s found in the abandoned Hibernaculum. The age of a new Dark Knight starts now!
Future State must be here to stay as I bought into the fact that it was a glimpse into a future of what MIGHT become. However, no run of DC comics has bought into Future State like the Batman series. Here we see a Bruce Wayne whose fortune is now in the hands of Lucius Fox due to events of “The Joker War.”
So many variations of Batman have come through the years that we now see a broken Bruce in more ways than one. No mansion, no cave, and on a limit. However, this is not Bruce’s story, but it is so pivotal to Jace Fox’s story.
John Ridley is providing an interesting version of Batman who in all honesty may become something more than what Bruce was. Jace is broken himself and we get to see that he did go through some interesting training in the Far East. He is adept in hand to hand combat and his military background lends itself to using tech at a high level.
His duality in wanting to establish space from his family in his living quarters, however, he wants to make sure he is working alongside his father is interesting. He has a true sense of family that is both the same yet different than Bruce. The intro pages reveal a man that has his own agenda, but arguably is finding faults in the allegiance that Lucius had to Bruce all these years. A son that sees what could have been if only his father had not devoted his life to serving Bruce Wayne and his ideals. This is a NEW Batman!
This is not your typical Batman story. Jace is more like a hero who now has a big budget and can see a more altruistic way of making that change. The folks at DC are going to be using this character along with Nightwing (via Alfred’s inheritance) in establishing a better way of fighting crime and enriching people’s lives.
I think the teamup of these two would be interesting and would be a lot better than what happened with Azrael inheriting the Mantle. I never understood that one!
The art is clean, the colors pop, and we really get to see a “shinier” batsuit in that he is more akin to an Iron Man than a Batman. In fact, I could detect a War Machine vibe while enjoying the battle scenes between Batman and the Gotham PD.
Lines in this comic are clean and as much as I hate to compare heroes, I see T’Challa/Black Panther or Al Simmons/Spawn in this story line.
While Jonathan Stewart gave us a glimpse of an African-American hero in the DC realm, DC is really onto something with Jace Fox!
It’s fresh and worth a lot more exploring!
If you are expecting a typical Batman story….this is not your book. While there are undertones, I think that Jace’s Batman may not even be a Batman for long. Read between the lines of the dialogue that is provided. His calling is not in avenging deaths, but he appears to recognize that his city, his environment needs a true hero to look upon. Not a negative here, but just a cause for pause as it is not a regular Batman story. Jace is his own person and wants to fight in the light…not the shadows!
I am in for the long haul. I can ping pong back and forth from Bruce’s brooding to Jace’s optimism. The great thing is that DC has provided an African-American hero with a vision of hope! I like that and I hope you will too!