Review: I Am Batman #0
In DC’s Future State, we met a new Batman, Jace Fox. The future Gotham has turned into a neon fascist nightmare where masks are outlawed and the Gotham PD are overshadowed by a private military police force called the Magistrate. The result created a nightmare future where Batman was the enemy and freedom as an illusion. When DC launched its current line and focus, the Batman comics started to lay the ground for that nightmare future. One of those series was The Next Batman: Second Son which laid the groundwork for Jace’s new role. I Am Batman is the next chapter in Jace’s evolution as he takes his first steps in the Batman persona.
Writer John Ridley returns to tell Jace’s story and continues to explore how his family dynamic and past mistakes drive his focus. Ridley’s storytelling has a brilliance about it. He does an amazing job of balancing outright telling the reader what they need to know and seeding enough hints and details for them to put things together themselves.
What Ridley also gives us is a flawed hero. Jace messes up, a lot. He doesn’t know everything he’s doing and we’re really getting an “origin’ story with some pretty hard lessons for the hero to learn. And that extends beyond just the physical part. Jace has to deal with public relations and perception as well and due to the past Ridley has driven home, we understand why.
But, Ridley also delivers a story that has relevance. The issue’s tension, at multiple times, is about the clashes between the Gotham PD and protestors. It’s hard not to think about Black Lives Matter and the real life protests that regularly occurred over the past year. Ridley is a master of mixing entertainment and social relevance.
Travel Foreman‘s art is good though never quite excites. With ink by Norm Rapmund, color by Rex Lokus, and lettering by Dave Lanphear, the art does its job of conveying the tension, emotion, and action. But, it misses the mark for those iconic moments. The comic’s art works best during the quieter moments like when Jace has trouble talking to a potential romantic interest. The protests, and Batman’s moments, never quite deliver the punch needed. It does well but not great.
I Am Batman #0 is a nice bridge from the previous series and this one. We get to see Jace’s initial steps as Batman after his discovery in the previous series. We get more of his thoughts, motivation, and his view as to what he needs to do next to succeed. It gives us a flawed individual who we can see grow and while we might not always agree with what he does, we can understand his viewpoint. It gives us a well-rounded character that could very well be the future of the DC Universe.
Story: John Ridley Art: Travel Foreman
Ink: Norm Rapmund Color: Rex Lokus Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Story: 9.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review