‘I Am Batman’ continues its roller coaster of a run by taking time away from the heavily cop-focused stories to dive into Batman’s mind and fears, while also finally connecting the character more to the DC Universe at large. Pitting the hero against a foe like Sinestro is a pretty big swing for a character that has mostly been very street-focused since his debut, but at the end of the day, it works and opens more doors for what could be done with this Batman going forward.
As far too many real-world current events are showing time and time again, fear is a powerful tool that many are wielding to get their way. Within the DC Universe, fear has been turned into a full physical weapon thanks to the rings of the yellow-clad Sinestro Corps.
Batman and fear go hand in hand, the whole idea of the costume and such after all revolves around the idea that “criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot” and the costume must, “strike terror into their hearts.” So pitting Batman, at least one of them, against Sinestro seems like an easy idea, especially as a way to tie in the current Dark Crisis event to the series. Overall it’s an idea that works.
As I’ve stated in previous issues this is a series that is a roller coaster, still trying to figure out what it wants to be while hewing far too close to a police book rather than a Batman/superhero sort of story. Here John Ridley peels back bits of Jace Fox’s mind and allows a powered-up Sinestro to toy with the new Batman, trying to get him to kill himself rather than just killing him with a snap of the fingers. Sinestro being this sadistic and playing with his food feels accurate in some ways, especially a souped-up version of Sinestro.
Ridley creates some interesting moments of Batman facing fears, almost giving into them, but pulling back (showing us that he never actually attacked Whittaker as we thought in the last issue). On the one hand, the climax was satisfying, but on the other hand, the only reason that Batman won was because of the sadistic cocky nature of Sinestro. It feels accurate, but also a bit of a cop-out, but it works. Especially as a way to get Jace to leave and go join the rest of the heroes to fight the Dark Crisis after he blew Superman off before and wasn’t willing to go be a bigger hero.
This just makes me wish we would get that Justice League book that has Jon Kent Superman and Jace Fox Batman and other legacy heroes that we had during Future State. Anything to get Jace around other heroes and out of his super cop-heavy world.
After going through quite a number of issues without an artistic change, we have one again as Karl Mostert takes over as artist, and Romulo Fajardo Jr takes over the colors fully after working alongside Rex Lokus last issue. Detailed with weight and great facial/emotional work but with proportions that are a bit skewed but not in a detrimental way is a good way to describe Mostert’s work. Things are smooth and tight but are slightly off from reality in that fun comic book sort of way, not worried about making sure everything is perfect reflections at every step but more about capturing the moment and giving it some intriguing life. I recall describing his work as minimal in a Detective Comics review last year, but that’s not the case here as some panels are heavily deeply detailed while others are minimal in a way that allows the character/focus to stand out more.
The colors remain very similar to how they’ve been with Lokus at the helm as Fajardo has a similar styling, a lot of slick bright colors that are mixed well with the shadows and heavy darkness that permeates the story. A glimpse at the city feels authentic as there is darkness of the night but the bright lights color things perfectly. There is a bit of a glossy feeling over the whole of the colors that fit with Mostert’s more out-there styling, while also not feeling too overly beyond what we would expect from this world.
Letters are done by Troy Peteri still, continuing to make sure that they all flow through the page and bring all the right energy and personality as things move along. With all the fear on display, there are some great little things added in to make sure that we can hear it in Batman’s voice, just like we can hear the sadistic glee that Sinestro is giving off. Same with making sure that the volume is clear as we see moments where words are whispered or moaned but also where they are being yelled. Still loving the inclusion of grawlix here.
Totally dug the exclamation from Batman where he actually stated the title of the book, logo, and all. Such a great comic book thing, gimme all of that.
I Am Batman #15 is now available from DC Comics.