Review: I AM BATMAN #16
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Artist: Christian Duce
Colours: Rex Lokus
Letters: Troy Peteri
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
I Am Batman #16: Following the brutal, random killing of a FoxTech employee, the Foxes gather in New York for a family dinner to try to do the one thing they have been unable to do for years: tell each other the truth about all their secrets and lies.
In I Am Batman #16, John Ridley presents us with a story that focuses on the title’s subplots and Jace’s relationships with his supporting cast. I really love stories where the writer puts the action on the back burner and shifts the focus to the main character’s personal life. While I wouldn’t rank this issue as high as Marv Wolfman’s classic “A Day In The Lives” in New Teen Titans #8, Ridley’s story is still a great issue.
The assassination of Tanya’s executive assistant prompts Lucius to travel to New York, reuniting the Fox family (except for Luke). But when Jace responds to a mass shooting, it becomes clear that someone is targeting FoxTech. Vol suggests that someone may have discovered Jace’s secret identity that Jace is the ultimate target.
There’s a clear theme of secrets and the threat of their exposure. Jace confronts Tiff about her secret activities as a vigilante. However, she turns the argument back on him, revealing that she knows he’s Batman. I suspect that this may be what prompts Jace to take Tiff on as a partner, rather than risking her fighting crime on her own.
Jace also finally reveals to Hadiyah that he has fallen in love with her. However, she doesn’t react well to this.
She tells him:
Your timing is just…'[censored], you know that?…I just had had some whole other thing dumped on me, and I…I don’t have room for the personal. Not right now.”
I wonder if this means that Jace will have to help Hadiyah as Batman, so that they’ll be able to pursue a romance. Or will Hadiyah drop out of Jace’s life to handle this herself.
It seems that Lucius is hiding the biggest secret of all. Hs conversation makes it clear that they are harboring a secret that could ruin Lucius. She tells Lucius that he should come clean, prompting his response:
And you don’t… you don’t care what telling THAT secret does to me.”
Her response to that is to remind Lucius that he’s “the one who did it”. It’s unclear what this secret is, but it appears that the unknown killer’s targeting Lucius because of this mysterious secret.
I Am Batman #16 concludes with perhaps the most shocking secret. The killer posts a video declaring his vendetta against Lucius and the Fox family. He claims to have Jace’s mother captive and threatens to kill her. Jace is confused, as Tanya is right there with the rest of the family. But Tanya drops a bombshell on Jace:
Jace, I love you. I always have and I always will… But I’m not your mother.”
Notably, she doesn’t say that she and Lucius are not his parents, implying that Lucius is indeed his father. Does this mean that Tanya is Lucius’ second wife? Did he have an affair? It will be interesting to see what circumstances led to Tanya raising another woman’s child.
Unfortunately, DC’s solicitations have revealed that I Am Batman will be ending with issue #18. With all the revelations coming to light in this issue, that doesn’t give Ridley much room to bring the series to a satisfying conclusion. Of course, it’s possible that he might be returning to continue writing Jace’s adventures. Hopefully, DC will enlighten us to whether this will be a hiatus for the character, or if Jace’s story is coming to a close.
I Am Batman #16 is a fascinating issue, laying bare a lot of the Fox family’s secrets. It will be fascinating to see how Ridley wraps this story up over the next few issues. While it’s unclear as to what lies in Jace’s future beyond the end of this series, I hope that Jace’s adventures as Batman will continue in some corner of the DCU.