I Am Batman has come out swinging literally and figuratively as it has introduced Jace Fox as the new Batman in Gotham. The first issue by John Ridley with Olivier Coipel on art was grounded and brutal in its depiction of the action. The second issue, out this week, features Stephen Segovia on art and the development of some political problems for Batman that could be the end of his reign.
This issue continues to get the brutal no-holds-barred violence right for this version of Batman. Hell, a character even calls him out for not killing and Jace straight up tells him he shouldn’t be so sure. Segovia and color artist Rex Lokus do a fabulous job with fight choreography, making Batman look quick, calculating in his moves, and very capable. Complete with a motorbike, he looks badass throughout the book.
This issue has a very slow, dialogue-heavy scene that halts that action, though. It aims to develop a plot that could pay off later, but isn’t all that compelling or interesting. Following this are two other scenes of characters talking at each other or doing some research to get the exposition across. It kills the momentum before the action cuts back in and it also ends up reading like a plot that’ll not matter for a good bit of time yet.
Ridley seems to be toying with the fact that Batman can get real work done in the streets, but also the question of if the machinations of politics in a Gotham that has outlawed masked vigilantes can ground Batman for good. There’s also an element of politicizing people and using them as a weapon, but there isn’t a lot of plot development to move that along. That’s an interesting element, but it is only grazed.
The biggest problem with this issue is the plot progression in general. Batman fights some goons, words are said in a boring office, and then some more fighting with Batman commences before a cliffhanger that was alluded to.
I Am Batman delivers on the cool action and brutal violence of Jace as Batman, but slows things way down with heavy exposition and slow plot progression. It’s not doing quite enough to capture your imagination and mind, but it sure looks good when Batman is on the page.
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