Batman’s Next Chapter Begins: Reviewing ‘I Am Batman’ #6

by Scott Redmond

Overview

After five previous issues, ‘I Am Batman’ begins to find its way and finally begins to firmly build a world and focus for Jace Fox within the boundaries of New York City. Numerous topical story beats begin to have weight now that this Batman has a definitive place within the DC Universe, but only time will tell if this is enough to help this book in the long run.

Overall
8/10
8/10

Launching and establishing a new book, especially ones for relatively new or recently returned characters, can be very difficult to do. While it might bring more eyes launching said book with a crossover through the first handful of issues brings other complications.

At long last with its sixth issue, I Am Batman is beginning to find its place amongst the slew of Bat-books that DC Comics is publishing monthly.

There were hints about where John Ridley wanted to take things narratively within the official ‘Fear State’ tie-in issues and the unofficial epilogue issues leading up to this one. Now that Jace Fox has a new place to be Batman (New York City) away from Bruce Wayne’s Batman and isn’t hiding from the world that he’s a black man in the costume, some of the topical aspects the book has touched on can be tackled better. Essentially the first five issues almost served as another prologue to the book (similar to what the previous The Next Batman: Second Son series ended up being) with this almost serving as a new number one in disguise.

As a de facto first issue, it’s quite rough in a few places. There is a lot happening and a lot being thrown into place from setting up the new status quo to bringing back in a supporting cast (not just the Fox family but also Detective Chubb, the physical appearance of Jace’s ally Vol, and various political entities) and firmly placing this new Batman in his new city.

That being said, there are some good beats and character moments to work within the tide of setup work being done. I still very much like how Jace and Bruce are similar but shown to be so very different in many respects, especially Jace’s Batman being a much more out there visible version not trying to keep to the shadows. It makes sense for not only who Jace is, but also for how a black Batman would have to work differently than a white one in this world.

As has been the case for most of this book a new issue brings a new main artist as Ken Lashley comes aboard here with Rex Lokus still on colors and Troy Peteri on letters. Lashley has a bit of a rougher style in his artwork, which actually works with some of the more gruesome panels but just overall with a Bat style book. It pairs nicely with Lokus colors which shift from brighter to darker depending on the moment which showcases how New York is very similar yet far different from Gotham. There is great energy to be found in a lot of the action panels as well as a lot of the shots that just show off various portions of New York or familiar landmarks.

Lashley has a keen sense of paneling, as the pages have a lot of different panel styles to them that make sure there is a sense of visual continuity but also variety. Letters-wise, Peteri does the great work that he always does, bringing the dialogue to life with little flashes of personality being able to peek through for characters. As well as a lot of interactive and fun bits of SFX.

While the variety of artists has done great work on this book, it potentially could be helpful to a series trying to find its way to have a full solid creative team that works together for more than an issue or two. Any of the artists that have worked on here could do it, but the book is likely in need of a visual identity that carries forward.

I Am Batman #6 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.

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