I Am Batman #17 review

While Jace comes to terms with his family’s deception, his biological mother is in need of saving. All the terrible things the Fox family have come to do and hide under the covers is really causing a lot of mistrust and resentment between each other which we get to witness for better or for worse.

Whenever there’s a good (or at the very least decent) issue of I Am Batman I try to see if this issue can stand on its own or if you need to know what’s going on to get it. Sadly you definitely need to be up to date for this issue and while the writing is better than most of its predecessors I can’t recommend it simply because you would have to invest a lot of time into some not so great writing. My one small complaint that I think slightly dampens the rest of my praise is the fact that the cops in this story are both barely explored and lack concrete motivations. Where is their internal conflict? From what I remember there were some problems being brought up about certain trigger happy members and the mask hatred just wanes whenever needed. While the motivations and reactions of other characters are pretty concrete and easy to see as parallels of real life the cops just seem like these inconsistent heroes whose flaws exist as “bad apples” within a barrel of bland batches.

So what about the other character motivations? Why do I think John Ridley wries them well? Well let’s first talk about the Fox Family. We have parents who have an inordinate amount of wealth and the ability to save face whenever something goes wrong. This means that outsiders looking in might not be able to see how dysfunctional they’ve become but internally there’s disillusionment and distrust at every family interaction. One example being Jace’s parents who have had to deal with keeping the family together however they could. Lucius was unwilling to break things off so he turned to another woman and carried out this secret relationship until he brought Jace to their home; Jace then becomes a bittersweet symbol of the lengths his parents are willing to go to just to stay together. The impact of this infidelity on his mother is so much worse. Not only did she find out her husband had this secret relationship but her need to keep the family together doesn’t manifest as some sort of revenge relationship in the shadows, rather she forces herself to stay with a man that she can never forgive. So of course this dysfunctional relationship ruptures the family and undermines everything they worked so hard for!

Now let’s talk about Jace’s motivations for fighting against the Moral Authority, sorry to anyone that hasn’t been intensely following this very loose and meandering plot. But as I see it, Jace clearly grew up with the privilege of his parents having the resources to make his problems go away (they even remind him of his hit and run while talking about their own mistakes). He wields this power by becoming Batman, another vigilante who can find justice through their own convictions, and uses the money and weapons that his father’s company provides. Does Batman not seem like a shadowy figure financed by rich elites and supported by big tech? When Tiffany visits Vol she outright says that her family isn’t “doing much to dispel that myth” central to the Moral Authority’s agenda.

While in the real world these conspiracies are usually targeted against marginalized groups it’s interesting to note that King is extorting a rich and powerful family. That even the villain seems to know that the Fox family is dysfunctional, like he somehow managed to peek behind the curtain. Of course, the Moral Authority supported the murder of Anarky which heavily goes against their desires to see the government and police gone, denouncing the “hidden agenda” instead of the very obvious exploitation they come close to denouncing. Yet unlike his sister, Jace is completely oblivious to why someone would fall for the Moral Authority’s lies. As Jace delivers a blow to King he says: “It’s sad when anybody buys into conspiracy-theory crap. Pathetic when a brother does it.” The amount of condescension that Jace has here is a great way of showcasing the age-old theme of Batman creating his own villains. His motivation to carry out justice in his own way, helping the systems that allow him to have that power instead of trying to have all the power belong to all the people, makes him the perfect counterpart to King who can recruit people on the idea of getting revenge against a world that has oppressed them.

Anyways, how’s the art? We got Christian Duce, Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira making this comic look really solid. I’m tired of ranting about the inconsistency in the art of this world. Obviously it’s still a problem for anyone reading this series from start to finish but this issue at least looks great so eh, why bother. I recommend reading the other reviews where Nicolas Finch or I go more in depth on that matter if you want to know about why we keep complaining. While the backgrounds can look kind of bland here and there the faces are always drawn in a really great realistic style that clearly conveys their emotions and allows you to see every engorged angry vein or skin crease under the tension. Batman gets two panels to show off in, one alone and one accompanied by his sister. In each one the suit and pose are intimidating and powerful until he’s captured and brought to his knees. The contrast between seeing Batman’s full body versus tied up and kneeling does a great job of accentuating the danger around him.

Recommended if

  • The Fox family dysfunctions fascinate you
  • Batman’s fight against King is worth unpacking to you
  • You can’t wait to see an issue of I Am Batman relate really well to the real world


I think it’s really cool that this issue actually addresses some tense family dynamics, themes that relate to the real world and characters that are complex. My problem is the only reason I can actually unpack this issue is because I had to sit through so much filler and I have the patience to reread the issues that were actually relevant. So I think these characters can be talked about at length at this point (except the cops) but are people doing that? Or are they just waiting for it to be over? I know some people are genuinely into this series and I think that it’s cool that once in a while you can have an issue like this that actually rewards them for sticking to it but it’s not enough in my opinion and if you don’t want to start from the beginning I would definitely recommend avoiding this issue.

Score: 5/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.  

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