I Am Batman #5 – John Ridley, Writer; Laura Braga, Christian Duce, Juan Ferreyra, Artists; Rex Lokus, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: For a while, it felt like this comic was in a bit of a holding pattern as Jace Fox settled into his role as another Batman. Now it’s clear why—because this series so far has just been a prequel to Jace finding his own place as the Batman of New York, not the second Batman of Gotham. The last issue set up a new villain, Noonan, who was looking to take over the Magistrate program and create a new, ruthless band of protectors who would hunt down vigilantes with extreme prejudice. He largely seems like a copy-paste of the deceased Simon Saint, but he was able to take Lucius Fox into his confidence and convince him to test the new models on the mystery Batman. This leads to a tense fight as Jace battles to stay alive against a group of armored enemies while also trying to protect the forgotten citizens of Gotham—and gets some unexpected protection in return.
One of the best parts of this series has been how it shows Jace interacting with the citizens of Gotham in a way Bruce rarely does. He’s not willing to distance himself from them and keep himself mysterious the way Bruce does, and it costs him—but it also proves to be his salvation. As we exit Gotham, this issue has some interesting details about the Fox family. It was good to see Jace confront his personal guilt and start using it for something positive, and the conversation between Jace and Lucius that ends the issue was a powerful talk about mental health in a way we rarely get to see male characters explore. I’m less happy about Tam’s ongoing health issues—it seems like she’s used as a plot device for too much of the run, in the way Aunt May was early in the original Spider-man run. But with a new city and a focus on the Fox family, I’m hoping that changes. Overall, we’re exiting Gotham with a lot of promise.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.