Comics Reviews

The Next Batman Is Better Than the Original

In I Am Batman #5, Jace Fox’s Caped Crusader has already proven himself superior to Bruce Wayne’s Dark Knight in a very significant way.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from I Am Batman #5, on sale now from DC Comics.

Jace Fox has been trying to establish himself as a different Dark Knight from Bruce Wayne. His goal is for his Batman to be a symbol for the people of Gotham City to rally behind instead of something for criminals to fear, and it appears that he has achieved some degree of  success in his mission.

In I Am Batman #5 (by John Ridley, Christian Duce, Juan Ferreyra, Laura Braga, Rex Lokus, and ALW’s Troy Peteri) while attempting to flee T.A.L.O.S. troopers, Jace encounters civilians who try to help him fight back against the empowered soldiers. This is something that has rarely been done for Bruce because he does not typically inspire that degree of loyalty and compassion from everyday citizens. Therefore, it is safe to say that in terms of connecting with the residents of Gotham, Jace’s methods have proven to be more effective than Bruce’s.

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Jace had been thoroughly overpowered by the T.A.L.O.S. troopers, a new program created from the remains of the Magistrate program. While attempting to escaping, he ran into a lone civilian who assisted him in getting away from the troopers. Jace had apparently protected one of the man’s friends when he was being hassled by the Magistrate, inspiring a sense of trust and compassion in this everyday citizen, who then offered to look out for the vigilante hero.

Fearing for the man’s safety, Jace tried to warn him away. For a moment, it appeared that the man had fled the scene, leaving Jace to deal with the troopers. However, the man returned with a group of armed friends who warned the troopers that they were there to keep Batman safe from harm. This led to a firefight in which the civilians were outclassed, but it also gave Jace enough time to recover and strike back. Although Jace’s Batman was able to successfully repel the soldiers, he gained something even more important that he has been striving to attain: the respect and support of the people.

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Right from the start, Jace wanted his Batman to be there for the people who were oppressed by a corrupt and flawed justice system, and to put those who believe themselves untouchable on notice. While the latter goal has yet to be achieved, the former has proven to be well underway. Jace hasn’t been Batman for very long, but already he has inspired a kind of loyalty in Gotham’s citizens that Bruce has never achieved.

Bruce Wayne protected the people of Gotham by making himself into a living nightmare for criminals to fear. While successful, this created a distance between Bruce and the ordinary people of Gotham, who have always been somewhat wary of the Dark Knight. Jace has flipped this narrative, making it clear who should fear him and who should not. He isn’t trying to cultivate a myth, but he instead wants to inspire genuine change by working with the citizens who need him. This has resonated with the residents of Gotham, making Jace’s Batman more readily accepted than Bruce’s ever was and showing that the new Caped Crusader is well on the way to becoming an even greater champion of the people.

KEEP READING: I Am Batman: John Ridley Discusses How Family Changes Tim Fox’s Hero Journey

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