Review: I Am Batman #1
John Ridley is one of the best storytellers out there today. Television, movies, and comics, it doesn’t matter, whatever he creates will entertain and make you think. His work in comics is no different with stories that suck you in and can be enjoyed on a surface level or take you deep into thought. For DC, Ridley has been plotting the path of Jace Fox as he takes his steps to become the next Batman. We’ve seen a possible future in “Future State” where Jace is one of Gotham’s protectors. The Next Batman: Second Son had Ridley diving deeper into Jace’s past and his motivations. I Am Batman continues that journey as Jace puts on his own spin to the Batman suit, an origin and debut in I Am Batman #1.
I Am Batman #1 has Jace taking to the streets of Gotham, a city taking steps to a fascist future. The Magistrate is all around and masks are being cracked down on. The issue plants the flag as to what this Batman is going to be like. We not only get a look at his take on the suit and relationship with his partner in crime, but also how he’ll handle his on street theatrics. This isn’t a Batman with a fancy car or plane, it’s a Batman who sticks to motorcycles and where he can be seen. The point is to make sure the people now Batman is here. And that’s maybe the only issue with the comic. There’s comments about Batman being missing for years but that doesn’t quite jive with the other Batman books, especially since there’s mention of a “fear bomb” attack tying into the current story Fear State. It does mention that Batman is believed to be dead, which does fit but there’s some dialogue that doesn’t quite make sense.
It’s the details that Ridley delivers that really stands out. We get a lot about Jace’s dual life. There’s also an explanation of his Batsuit. It all comes together to help create a richer start that entertains and feels like a fleshed out world.
Olivier Coipel‘s art is fantastic. Along with Alex Sinclair on coloring and lettering by Troy Peteri, this feels like the best visual take of Jace’s journey. There’s numerous striking moments with great action sequences. There’s also a clear choice to forgo the over the top entrances keeping things a bit more grounded. Jace’s take on Batman is different and that extends to the visuals. There’s a brutal beauty to how he handles things with a focus less on the toys and more on the physical confrontation.
I Am Batman #1 is as solid as it’s expected to be. The issue is a fantastic start to the series that plants a flag as to what this Batman is going to be like and how he’ll be different. There’s a tone and style to the narrative and visuals that makes the series stand out on its own as opposed to an extension of the rest of the Bat-titles. This is an issue to pick up and series to keep an eye on, especially if all of the issues are going to be this good.
Story: John Ridley Art: Olivier Coipel
Color: Alex Sinclair Letterer: Troy Peteri
Story: 8.45 Art: 8.45 Overall: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review