So you’ve made it to the finale of “The Right Question” and maybe like me you had no idea that it was the finale even after reading it because the story was so underwhelming. If you’re following these reviews or the I Am Batman comics then chances are you were paying closer attention than me and already knew this was the finale. I am surprised to have seen in my comment sections that people have been enjoying these issues (no hate, that’s cool to see). I can admit that in this finale right questions were indeed asked in a way that closed the chapter on Anarky’s murder. Meanwhile Batman’s little sister starts her chapter as the latest vigilante to join New York City.
Are we really doing a recap at the beginning of issue number #14? In a way that should’ve been my hint that this was the finale because why else would John Ridley make sure that the reader understands exactly what led to this opening action. For the slowest paced comic I’ve read in a while this opening recap felt like a bit of a joke but I guess the redeeming factor is that it’s framed as being told to the political activist so it’s at least not too out of context. The detective work actually makes sense for Danny Chan’s death and the first half of this mystery gets a satisfying conclusion. The detective work is unusually fast paced as it picks up from the conclusion of the last issue. The previous comic ended with the reveal that Danny Chan was an informant and now we open up with the immediate consequences of that information. But my big question is why on earth would Anarky care about Danny Chan’s murder if he found out that Chan was a police informant? This is a huge part of the mystery and possibly even more important than Danny Chan’s death because it involves a character that DC fans actually care about. Yet Anarky’s death ends up making zero sense and doesn’t seem in line with the motivations that have been set for either the activists or Anarky. If the activists are trying to deal with the intense betrayal of Danny Chan then why would they care that Anarky is snooping? Anarky is Anarky! He doesn’t respect the authority of the police and there’s no soft spot for snitches for this hardcore revolutionary!
What results from this opening breakthrough is pretty great though. It’s a bit surreal to me to see something that I have been saying about superheroes ever since I started reading about them actually be said by the very superheroes themselves. I hope it’s obvious I’m not trying to take any credit for this, that would be ridiculous, and I’m not just praising the conversation between Batman and the Question simply because I want comics to be an echo chamber of my personal headcanons or whatever. I’m just really happy to see a level of self awareness from the author about the role that Batman plays in society and the way that this complicates the traditionally Jesus-like figures of superheroes. I have spent a lot of time in my reviews pointing out that if I Am Batman could only acknowledge that when Batman is written in a grounded way the tendency for him to be seen as purely good goes out the window then the comic would be so much better and it’s little moments like these that have made me at least appreciate this issue more than the previous ones I’ve had to review so far.
The self awareness continues when the newest vigilante to hit the streets tries to help out someone that’s influenced by gang life. Not only are the options of staying or leaving presented as choosing between threats of violence or promises of protection but the vigilante’s first mission is essentially about a rich kid trying to protect private property. And I have to say I love the fact that Chubb in this issue is, for the most part, just having pure unhinged hatred for masks, it’s campy and fantastic. The entire conflict between Chubb and Tiff is really entertaining and I laughed so hard at the line “another #!?@ mask”.
I really don’t have much incentive to talk about the art by Christian Duce and Tom Derenick. There’s nothing I haven’t seen in an I Am Batman comic before. The city at night, the moon shot, the café conversations, the activist space. I do enjoy the layout of the action scenes and think that certain angles of familiar spaces do make it feel a bit new and I have to admire the fact that a comic with so many artists attached to it can finally feel like it has its own visual landmarks, its own language that I can start to understand and recognize the patterns of.
Knowing how great an I Am Batman comic colored by Rex Lokus can look has definitely spoiled me. The moon is looking okay (when it usually contains the shades and crevices that make it look amazing), the city at night sometimes retains the nice coloring he’s done in the past (though with a noticeable lack of graffiti) and in general the coloring just works well without really being exceptional. I do have to wonder if this is in part because Romulo Fajardo Jr. was also credited as the colorist of this issue. I’m not saying that Fajardo is a bad colorist but perhaps Lokus wasn’t able to do the work by themself and Fajardo had to step in last minute, the result of their combined lack of complete presence on the comic explaining why this comic is a blend of expected greatness and unexpected blandness when compared to the usually exceptional coloring of I am Batman comics in the past. But that’s all speculation of course.
I do have one major complaint about the coloring and if you’ve already read this issue then you will probably already know exactly what I’m talking about. My biggest complaint comes towards the very end where you have this confusing and quite frankly disgusting mustard yellow lighting around Whitaker (and eventually Batman) that’s supposed to be the lighting of the street lamp. It took me a while to realize that Whitaker wasn’t some sort of flashback or hallucination but actually there and it took me even longer to realize that this lighting was also effecting Batman and Chubb. It definitely made me wonder how an entire group of people looked at these pages and no one stopped to think “what in the world is going on here”, I mean, it’s not even consistent in its intensity and placement! This might seriously be one of the worst lighting effects I have seen since I’ve started reviewing for Batman News.
- You’re excited to see I Am Batman’s writing become self-aware
- The familiar world of I Am Batman is something you never thought you’d be able to see
- Danny Chan’s death mattered more to you than Anarky’s anyway
I may not always agree with everything in this comic but I’m pleasantly surprised by the campiness, the self aware writing and the closure over Danny Chan’s death. I still think that I am Batman advances way too slowly and like I said this has made the finale feel like a small piece of a puzzle rather than the beautiful big picture. But in an insane turn of events I’m more irratated by the coloring than the actual writing and I hope that Rex Lokus is doing ok.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.