“Motherless Child” – Part Two
Writer: John Ridley
Artists: Christian Duce, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira
Color Artist: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Review by Derek McNeil – Minor Spoilers Follow
I Am Batman #17: Following the shattering revelations of the previous issue, Jace must set aside his renewed bitterness toward his father, and save his mother, but Jace doesn’t go it alone. Ready or not, Tiff steps up as New York’s newest hero.
This issue picks up immediately from where the previous issue left off. Jace’s parents have just dropped the bomb on him that Tanya Fox is not his birth-mother. However, last issue left us with a lot of questions. It turns out that Lucius is indeed still Jace’s father, having had an affair with a subordinate at Wayne Enterprises, Elena Aoki.
When Elena became pregnant, Lucius confessed his affair to Tanya, who agreed to raise Jace as her own son. However, it’s unclear how Elena felt about this. Did she willingly give her son up to the Foxes, or was she browbeaten into doing so by Lucius? When we encounter her later in the issue, she appears to be quite resentful to Lucius, so perhaps she feels quite bitter about not being part of her son’s life.
Lucius and Jace also recently patched up their fractious relationship, but this revelation pretty much demolishes that. Jace now longer feels that he’s properly part of the family. Even worse, he finds out that Tam and Luke knew about this and never told him.
Aoki is a Japanese name and Elena is clearly shown to be an Asian woman. This means that Jace is biracial, not entirely Black as he believed. This is another blow to his sense of self which leaves the new Batman wondering who he even is. He may be unsure of who Jace Fox is, but he still can take some comfort in the fact that he can still say, “I am Batman”. However, he has yet to encounter the original Dark Knight, a meeting that’s inevitable. It remains to be seen if he will still be able to call himself Batman afterwards.
I like that Tiff’s more level-headed in her reaction to the revelation about Jace’s true parentage. Jace initially shows no interest in rescuing his birth mother, telling his sister:
Not my family, not my problem.
I Am Batman #17 also confirms that Hadiyah does indeed know about Jace being Batman, so she adopts her own secret identity, Nobody, to come to Jace and Tiff’s rescue. I like that her Nobody identity appears to take inspiration from Renee Montoya’s Question. This is rather appropriate, considering that we learned a few issues ago; that the two heroines are old friends.
While I appreciated seeing Jace’s acceptance of Tiff as his crimefighting partner, it still felt a little bit rushed. I hope that Ridley didn’t have to compress this element of the story due to the series imminent end, as this seems to imply there are no current plans to continue Jace’s story in a follow-up series.
This leads me to wonder where the end of the series will leave us. Will story threads be left hanging that might never get resolved? Or, will Ridley be forced to wrap everything up in a hurry. Neither option would be very satisfying. I would prefer that Ridley gets to wrap up his story at his own pace, whether in this series or a follow-up.
I Am Batman #17 is a very emotional and powerful chapter in Jace’s story, even if it does have me a bit worried about how the series will be resolved with just one issue to go. I do hope that this isn’t the last we see of him as Batman. Hopefully, Ridley will return to pen another volume.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment