The Batman Of The Future Today: Reviewing ‘I Am Batman’ Vol 1

A new era means it’s time for a different version of Batman to rise up and tackle a diverse level of issues that the other Batman isn’t quite suited to fight.

If one were to say that The Next Batman: Second Son was Jace Fox’s Batman Begins and the Future State: The Next Batman series is his The Dark Knight Rises, then this series, I Am Batman, would be The Dark Knight of the entire endeavor. The previous two series worked to establish who Jace was in the past/current day on his path to becoming Batman and in his future where he was already solidly Batman fighting against a dystopian regime. While I Am Batman has Fox fully donning the cape and cowl (a custom modified version of Bruce’s suit found in the Fox Tech bunker) to take on chaotic forces overwhelming the city as Fear State touches all of the Bat-books.

John Ridley has found the groove with this character across the three different series and has turned the Fox family into a cast of main characters rather than the supporting cast they often were to Bruce Wayne in his book. One of the most interesting parts of the series is the juxtaposition of what type of civilian persona Jace has taken on compared to the one that Bruce held for so many years. While both of their personas are a mask for what they really are doing/feeling, Jace has chosen to go for hiding in plain sight type of setup working for his father and pretending to be the returned son who is fully embracing the family legacy.

Beginning a series amidst a crossover event is one of those prospects that balances precariously upon the realm of high risk versus high reward. It might come with higher potential sales for a book, especially ones that typically might have a more challenging time with the way this industry/audience works, but that might also come with the risk that the book/character doesn’t get to establish their own world/tone fully. With this series, from a certain point of view, the balancing act is tipping very much towards the high-risk side of things.

That’s not to say that this series isn’t good or isn’t asking some good questions or presenting good character moments alongside stellar art. Where the risk comes in is that by the fifth issue the series is just beginning to fully find a footing and that’s mostly because the actual meat of the book doesn’t come till the series makes the leap to New York City with its very next issue.

Using the Fear State event to dive into the minds of “normal” run-of-the-mill citizens who had something going wrong in life leading to them being radicalized by the Gotham equivalent of QAnon, called the Moral Authority led by someone called Seer, is an interesting avenue. Seer tells them they are special and gives them something to fear/fight against, like a system that harnesses anger and unleashes it upon others, those who are often considered ‘different’ or are a ‘threat’ to that system. Sounds familiar.

Kicking off the first issue with the gorgeous work of Olivier Coipel and Alex Sinclair is a very good one. Coipel has such a distinctively deep and detailed style that has some really great flourishes to it. Gotham looks amazing under his pen, and there are so many moments that stand out and the type of image one would place upon their walls if they could. Sinclair helps these images pop as Gotham is both bright and shadowed/dark at all times, fully hitting that light/dark aesthetic perfectly. This is what Gotham is quite often, the place that is touched by the light but cannot ever eave the darkness in order to embrace that light.

Steven Segovia and Christian Duce make an interesting tag team of artists for the middle portion of this story. There are clear points where the art switch can be seen but the two have styles that are similar enough that it’s not a jarring change. A lot of the dynamic energy and detailed work carries over between the two, as do a lot of their choices in how to set up panels within the pages. They share a lot of the same energy and style choices across their pages, most notably in the way they go about choosing panel layouts and maximizing the space that each page affords them.

With the colors of Rex Lokus, there is an inherent shadowy nature within these colors that adds to the artwork and brings a heaviness that is fitting for the world of Gotham. While there are a ton of blacks, greys, and shades of brown that make up most of the scenes, it’s all still clear enough to distinguish because of the different shades Lokus uses. While Gotham can be beautiful in its own ways, we see that a ton in Detective Comics and Batman and Catwoman among others, here we are seeing the darker drearier, and harsh parts of this particular story.

There is a bit of carryover from the previous series, as the previous creative team of Travel Foreman, Norm Rapmund, and Lokus tackled the zero issue of the series. Emotions and body language are spot on through most of the pages, you can feel the exasperation coming off Rene Montoya on a few of the pages. There are some really striking pages of Jace taking his newly found Bat-suit out for the first time. The glow of the eyes, the swirling smoke, the shiny blue metal with hints of black mixed in just works. There is a true weight to what is occurring on the page.

In the final issue of the volume, there is a bit of a clear disjoint between the art with Duce joined by Juan Ferreyra and Laura Braga as each of the three artists has styles that are not fully similar to one another, but the colors across them help to bring some consistency and make them fit together a bit more. It’s clear who was handling which pages which isn’t a negative but just a fact of the issue.

A lot of the life of this book is shown with the various bits of dialogue, as Troy Peteri gives the caption boxes and the various bubbles a bit of their own look. There are a good number of SFX dotting the pages, and they are bold and bright and hit as hard as the action moments they belong to. There are just enough of them to drive home certain moments, rather than filling every single page of the heavily action-oriented issue.

I Am Batman Vol 1, featuring issues #0-5, is now available in hardcover.

A new era means it’s time for a different version of Batman to rise up and tackle a diverse levelCOMICONRead More

Leave a Reply

Generated by Feedzy
%d bloggers like this: