Created by Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley and artist Oliver Copiel, I Am Batman is the follow-up to The Next Batman: Second Son. The series follows prodigal protagonist Timothy "Jace" Fox as he finally dons the cape and cowl to become Gotham's newest Dark Knight.
Set immediately after the events of Second Son while tying directly into James Tynion IV's Batman, Jace has learned that his father and Bruce Wayne were allied with Batman. Deciding to use his own training and the resources Batman left behind, Jace moves out of his family's home and sets up shop in the Hibernaculum in order to continue his hunt for Tyler Arkadine, the billionaire philanthropist turned international criminal who eluded our hero in the previous series.
This series contains examples of:
- Back for the Dead: Anarky is found dead by Chubb and Whitaker at the end of issue #1, shot to death by an unknown assailant.
- Badass Biker: Instead employing the use of a Batmobile, Jace chooses to cruise through the streets of Gotham with his motorcycle from Second Son.
- By-the-Book Cop: Continuing her characterization from Second Son, Detective Chubb operates firmly in line with the anti-vigilantism policies put in place by the Nakano Administration. However, her own biases against Gotham's vigilante community is practically teetering on being outright malicious as Chubb not only jumps at the chance to shoot at Jace while he's apprehending the hired thugs trying to kill them, she outright requests the Magistrate forces who show up to assist the GCPD to hurt Jace if they find him.
- Childhood Friends: Hadiyah, the daughter of a CEO working with Foxtech on bringing broadband to rural and underserved communities, used to be close friends with both Jace and Vol when they all attended the same Military School as teenagers. Like Jace, she was shipped off by her family after being involved with a killing. But where as Jace was a perpetuator who bears the guilt of his actions, it's heavily implied that Hadiyah bloodied her hands in an act of retribution.
- Continuity Snarl: Issue #1 has Jace state that there hasn't been a true public sighting of the Batman in six years, with the implications being that Bruce's vigilante persona is still largely regarded as Shrouded in Myth and out of the public eye. But this contradicts the fact that Bruce actually has been seen out in the open as Batman in a number of titles set before and coinciding with this series. The biggest example being the Justice League, where it's a publicized fact that Bats is a founding member.
- Dramatic Irony:
- Lucius believes that the reason Jace is spending so many late nights working at his company is because he's trying to make amends for his past juvenile behavior. In reality, Jace is secretly trying to undermine Lucius' contract with Simon Saint's Magistrate by using their own technology against them.
- Jace theorizes that the Batman might actually be a Corporate Samurai that Lucius and Bruce bankrolled in exchange for him protecting their business interests in Gotham. Needless to say, any reader with so much as a cursory knowledge of the Bat-Mythos knows that his take is way off the mark.
- Elaborate Underground Base: The Hibernaculum is a massive underground weapons foundry hidden underneath Wayne Enterprises that was utilized by Lucius Fox and Bruce Wayne to create the latter's wonderful toys. However, the facility has been largely trashed with many of its original contents either missing or locked off. Thankfully for Jace, Vol has the technological expertise to at least get some of the systems up and running for him to utilize.
- Good Old Ways: In spite of having the vast resources of the Hibernaculum at his disposal, Jace makes the pragmatic decision to design his Batsuit to be considerably low-tech and utilitarian so he won't be tracked by the Magistrate's surveillance network. He also decides to forgo the usage of Batarangs and the other exotic gadgets and weaponry Bruce employed in favor of sticking with the more practical armaments he's already familiar with.
- Icon of Rebellion: With Seer's disinformation campaign fracturing the city's trust in its heroes and law enforcement alike, Jace's ultimate goal as Batman is to become a visible and tangible champion for the people of Gotham to rally behind in opposition of the Magistrate since sticking to the shadows like his predecessor is no longer an advantage.
- No Badass to His Valet: Vol might be Jace's loyal handler and resident Techno Wizard, but he'll never stop seeing the aspiring Dark Knight as the self-loathing dork he grew up with when they were classmates.Jace: I need to bleed this thing for all of its tech and use it for my own purpose.Vol: And that purpose is?Vol: Yeaaaah. Your whole master plan sounds like you're still trying to work out your daddy issues.Jace: I do not have...Look, the privileged...They need to know that the things they think protect them can be turned against them.Vol: Right! But no daddy issues.
- Non-Idle Rich: With the Fox family now being one of the richest on the planet, this easily applies to Jace. However, he expresses disgust at the idea that Batman is an agent for Bruce Wayne and his father, and expresses disdain for the rich who get by on their privilege. He himself has been trying to do good in the world for years; he just now has a batsuit to do it with.
- Private Military Contractor: Simon Saint's Magistrate, the privatized law enforcement initiative heavily featured in DC Future State, are officially in power thanks to Mayor Nakano and have already deployed remotely piloted combat droids to patrol the city.
- Powered Armor: Jace and Vol utilize the Bat-Armor they found back in Second Son to prevent a peaceful protest from becoming a massacre as Arkadine had embedded armed thugs to shoot at the already agitated riot police from inside the crowd. While Jace succeeds in dispatching the thugs before they could hurt anybody, he is quickly overpowered by the Magistrate's combat drones and is forced to abandon the now severely damaged armor to escape with his life.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: When Commissioner Renee Montoya finds out that one of her officers had kickstarted a riot by ordering his men to crackdown on a group of peaceful protesters who had both a permit and the right to assembly, she verbally rakes the cop over the coals before immediately demanding his letter of resignation. She also acknowledges that many of the citizens wearing masks during the protests are doing it as less of a political statement against the current Nakano Administration and more as a safety precaution as the poison gas attack on Arkham Asylum has left many understandably concerned that the air they're breathing is not safe.Commissioner Montoya: I got a department to rebuild, and you and the Magistrate aren't helping.Officer: Those people had no right to disrespect us.Commissioner Montoya: The job's not a popularity contest. People may hate cops, but cops don't hate people. Think about that when you're typing up your resignation letter.
- Retractable Weapon: Jace's weapons of choice are twin extendable batons housed inside his Batsuit's armored gauntlets, something his Future State counterpart notably lacked.
- Shipper on Deck: Vol is very much in support of Jace getting together with Hadiyah and rags on the former for blowing his chances with her.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Surprisingly Averted for a Bat-Title. Jace doesn't bother disappearing on a pair of GCPD officers after he saves them from an armed ambush. Instead, he chooses to have a brief dialogue with them reaffirming his purpose before making his exit. Something that one cop notes is very out-of-character for the Dark Knight, even with present circumstances.Officer: Batman! You're alive? What are you doing here?Jace: Not beefin' with you.Officer: But...what are you doing here?Jace: Trying to help out?
- Ungrateful Townsfolk: As far as both the Alleytown protesters and the GCPD are concerned, Batman showed up out of nowhere to randomly attack civilians. Completely ignoring the fact there were armed gunmen in the crowd who shot first and that Bats showed up to dispatch the shooters.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Jace and Vol are a firm example of this. Their exchanges on the comms are, unless it is absolutely dangerous in the moment, usually filled with snark. Usually Vol snarking on Jace.