“Motherless Child” – Part One
Writer: John Ridley
Artist: Christian Duce
Color Artist: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Review by Derek McNeil
Following the brutal, random killing of a FoxTech employee, I Am Batman #16 sees the Fox family gathering in New York for a family dinner, to try to do the one thing they have been unable to do for years: tell each other the truth about all their secrets and lies.
John Ridley presents us with a story that focuses on the title’s subplots and Jace’s relationships with his supporting cast. I really love stories where the writer puts the action on the back burner and shifts the focus to the main character’s personal life. While I wouldn’t rank this issue as high as Marv Wolfman’s classic “A Day In The Lives” in New Teen Titans #8, this is still a great issue.
The assassination of Tanya’s executive assistant prompts Lucius to travel to New York, reuniting the Fox family (except for Luke), but when Jace responds to a mass shooting, it becomes clear that someone is targeting FoxTech. Vol suggests that someone may have discovered Jace’s secret identity that Jace is the ultimate target.
There’s a clear theme of secrets and the threat of their exposure. Jace confronts Tiff about her secret activities as a vigilante. However, she turns the argument back on him, revealing that she knows he’s Batman. I suspect that this may be what prompts Jace to take her on as a partner, rather than risking her fighting crime on her own.
Jace also finally reveals to Hadiyah that he’s fallen in love with her. However, she doesn’t react well, telling him:
Your timing is just… [censored], you know that?… I just had had some whole other thing dumped on me, and I… I don’t have room for the personal. Not right now.
I wonder if this means that Jace will have to help Hadiyah as Batman, so that they’ll be able to pursue a romance. Or will Hadiyah drop out of Jace’s life to handle this herself.
It also seems that Lucius is hiding the biggest secret of all. His conversation with Tanya makes it clear that they’re harboring a secret that could ruin Lucius. She tells Lucius that he should come clean, prompting his response:
You don’t care what telling THAT secret does to me.
Her response to that is to remind Lucius that he’s “the one who did it”. It’s unclear what this secret is, but it appears that the unknown killer’s targeting Lucius because of it.
I Am Batman #16 concludes with perhaps the most shocking secret of all. The killer posts a video declaring his vendetta against Lucius and the Fox family, claiming to have Jace’s mother captive and threatening to kill her. Jace is confused, as Tanya’s right there with the rest of the family, when she drops a bombshell on him. You need to read it to believe it.
Unfortunately, DC’s solicitations have revealed that I Am Batman will be ending with issue #18. With all the revelations coming to light this month, that doesn’t give Ridley much room to bring the series to a satisfying conclusion. Of course, it’s possible that he might be returning to continue writing Jace’s adventures. Hopefully, DC will enlighten us to whether this will be a hiatus for the character, or if Jace’s story is coming to a close.
I Am Batman #16 is a fascinating issue, laying bare a lot of the Fox family’s secrets. It will be fascinating to see how Ridley wraps this story up over the next few issues. And while it’s unclear as to what lies in Jace’s future beyond the end of this series, I hope that Jace’s adventures as Batman will continue in some corner of the DCU.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment