A whole lot of Batman vibes are making themselves known in this book while it also does its own thing, but also finds a way to maybe do far too much of its own thing. There is a ton of potential within these pages that is just waiting to be unleashed, but hopefully not all at the same time.
Jace Fox has been Batman for quite a while now, both through the ‘Future State’ issues and his current series, but it’s only through these last two issues that he’s fully feeling the most like Batman.
That’s not to say that he’s just becoming a carbon copy of Bruce Wayne. John Ridley is making sure to keep a lot of who Jace that shines through as he tries to navigate being a hero, working with the police, being Jace alongside his family, and dealing with a brutal unhinged serial killer that beat him pretty good. Taking his frustrations out on a perp though, that’s very much a Bruce Wayne/Batman sort of thing that hopefully, we see Jace continue to move beyond.
Some of the police stuff still isn’t sitting fully well with me at this point, especially with our current state of affairs that Ridley usually hits on pretty well, but it works a little better here. Especially with Chubb working as a voice of reason at times. This very much became a super ensemble book as we get cop stuff, Batman stuff, Vol stuff, Jace and Hadiyah finally crossing paths, various moments with the Fox family, the serial killer stuff, and more.
It’s all a bit too much happening in one space where only some of it is given enough space to actually breathe and have an impact. Clearly, there is a ton to get through for Ridley, but some of it might have been best to hold back the next arc or maybe a one-off between arcs issue.
Artistically this series has been a bit of a roller coaster since day one. So far, the constant rotating cast of artists has slowed down as Christian Duce has been here through this arc alongside colorist Rex Lokus. While Duce has a smooth sort of style that works well in many panels, including the action pieces, there are some other areas where it’s not hitting as well. There is a bit of wonkiness when it comes to some of the close-up emotions sorts of panels, such as when Vol is working with a realtor to try and purchase a base for Jace. Her massive smile is almost Joker-like in quality and I swear I thought the next panel would feature her face literally splitting in half like some sort of demonic being.
Lokus continues to do a solid job mixing the brighter and darker tones needed for this type of series, bringing some weight and depth to all the artwork. It’s very superhero in many respects but hits all those moody Batman checkboxes.
Troy Peteri has been doing very solid lettering work across so many books lately, and it continues here. Lots of little elements and changes are used to give different characters’ dialogue their distinct personality or emotion while making sure that tone/volume is easy to read through these words. Making those solid distinctions in the tone/volume of any given dialogue is a very important thing to be doing with these works as it helps the reader know how they should be reading the words. That might seem small but it’s an overall big thing.
DC Comics’ I Am Batman #9 is now available.