I Am Batman #0 – John Ridley, Writer; Travel Foreman, Artist; Norm Rapmund, Inker; Rex Lokus, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Jace Fox has been all over the place since he was introduced earlier this year, first in a Future State mini and then in a digital-first series in current continuity. It’s been an odd rollout, but a solid introduction to the character now getting his first main-line ongoing series. It launches with an oversized zero issue by regular writer John Ridley, but there are some stumbles due to the fact that you really need to have read the previous mini to get the character’s backstory. As someone who has, it continues the pattern of Jace being a morally complex character in a morally complicated world—and a very different Batman taking on a world that has turned against all vigilantes.
This is very grounded in current events, with massive protests sweeping Gotham City and being met with excessive force by the police. The choice of Renee Montoya as the new Commissioner is something that still doesn’t quite work for me, as I can’t imagine she’d agree to be Mayor Nanako’s enforcer AND quietly cooperate with a private military goons. This issue gives her some nuance, but she’s still largely cast in the role of the villain—an odd turn for the woman essentially run out of the force due to her orientation who became a crusading vigilante. But I imagine in anyone else’s hands, the GCPD right now would be even more corrupt and violent—not that it protects Jace when he intervenes.
Jace’s position here is interesting. We’re learning more about his backstory, both in the introduction of his old friend Hadiyah and in flashbacks to his mentorship under Katana. His relationship with his family is intriguing, although the ongoing sidelining of Tam Fox is a sore spot for me. The choice of a more heavily armored batman, instead of the traditional Bat-suit from Future State, reminds me a little of Jim Gordon’s tenure as the Bat. It looks great thanks to Travel Foreman’s gritty arc, and the story sets up an intriguing conflict that puts Jace in the middle of two groups both out for his blood. Does Gotham need another Batman in present continuity? I guess we’ll see, but this is a good start.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.