I Am Batman #13 review

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Come witness one of the slowest stories in Batman history! This time we get to witness heady philosophical conversations between Batman and his allies while his little sister confronts the people that are dragging down those she tries to help. It’s difficult to remember that this is supposed to be part of a new storyline for I Am Batman because every plot point is still stuck in the past but here we are at part 2 of The Right Question.

I’m being really harsh right now but I should start off by saying that I actually think this issue has a lot of improvements over its predecessors. I’m tired of writing reviews that have nothing but negativity in them so I’m going to pretty much only focus on the good in this review but in all honesty I’ll just say it now: this issue is not good enough to stand on its own and I wouldn’t recommend reading it because I wouldn’t want anyone wasting their time with this storyline. So with that out of the way let’s focus on the good stuff!

When it comes to the main plot of the story, John Ridley writes a lot of scenes where people are sitting down and talking, standing up and talking, being on the phone and talking, just talking in general, you get it. There’s a great encapsulation of Batman’s activity in this issue where he asks “so… what do we do?” and The Question answers “You? Nothing. Me… I need to ask some questions.” So with Batman out of the action he ends up visiting friends, family and foes with some decently written dialogue about issues he’s been tackling throughout the story. These conversations allow us to see the character as multi-faceted where he can relate to different people and expresses various emotions like stress, doubt, and vanity. The people he’s talking to are also very different and provide for a variety of tones. The Question is clearly very enigmatic, Hadiyah is brutally honest about herself and the police officer is unable to control his anger. These conversations are a major improvement from the previous issues because they actually give the reader something to chew on as well as a cast of characters that feel distinct and interesting.

As for the b-plot of this issue I am also way happier with the direction Batman’s little sister is taking. Though this issue is called The Question Part 2 the real focus is on Tiffany in my opinion because her plot is both way more complex, riveting, and action packed. I’m invested in her journey to improve the lives of others because it seems like it actually has a lot more thought behind it as she grounds herself in vulnerable people’s lives in a way that Batman has utterly failed to do so far. She is still young and was unable to recognize how overbearing she was and how difficult it is for someone who has experienced financial struggle to be told by a rich kid that they’re there to help. The money her family possesses and the lack of attention Tiff gets means that she is primed for the type of vigilante justice that we see her get invested in. Though her transition towards this vigilante lifestyle, which we’ve been seeing for a while now, had started off really poorly, I am happy to see that it’s a much more concrete and understandable progression for her character now.

Now I said I was going to focus on the positives in this review so I’m not gonna go deeper into the story because there are still some things that I could pick apart like Chubb’s team being really boring and unnecessary or the snail’s pace at which this comic series is advancing so let’s avoid that for now and go straight into the art of this issue because it’s incredible!

If you’ve been following this series or these reviews then you’re probably already aware of how confusing and frustrating it is to see just how many artists have been working on I Am Batman. And while yes, that has made it incredibly difficult for the series to have a consistent aesthetic and normally I would be ranting about how this issue has three different artists, this is the brightside review! So while it’s kind of disheartening to see how many creative minds have been thrown onto this project my heart skipped a beat the moment I saw the first page because I am absolutely in love with the art of this issue!

Somehow the combination of Christian Duce, Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira has made the world of I Am Batman look as good as it did in its very first issue. The thick outlines, the incredible amount of detail to convey the realistic atmosphere of a grounded Batman storyline, the creative panel composition that allows action moments to pop out of the page, these all combine to make the art an essential part of understanding the tone of the issue. Some pages are less detailed and the outlines aren’t always as thick as they could be but those are really few and far between. I’m also happy to see that this issue actually has some showstopping pages that make you want to take it all in. A subtle detail I found in this issue is just how often the characters are unable to look each other in the eyes which makes the guilt and oppression that these characters are dealing with feel really concrete.

I couldn’t finish this herculean task of writing a “positive points only” review of I Am Batman without talking about the coloring. I have almost always had nothing but positive things to say about the coloring of Rex Lokus but boy does he bring his A-game in this issue. The coloring is mind blowing and works so well with the realism of the art. Not only do everyday (or every night?) elements of Gotham stand out like the soft pale glow of the moon seeping into the night like a fog that makes the reader want to focus extra carefully and unravel all the details of each page but the show stopping moments have their flamboyant and dark colors mix together to have the reader immediately recognize that they are witnessing something exceptional in every sense of the word. My favorite part about the coloring has to be that the graffiti has come back! I love the graffiti in this series because not only does it look sick but it actually makes the world Batman is traveling through feel authentic and lived in with the colors of the graffiti providing the reader with constant eye candy that melts into the darkness like a lollipop you miraculously manage to savor instead of just crushing between your teeth.

Recommended if…

  • The idea of three artists working (practically) seamlessly together makes you really curious
  • Your investment in this story has been pretty strong and you’re excited that everything has gotten better
  • Tiffany trying to help people and slowly becoming a vigilante sounds super cool

Overall

I said it at the beginning and now that I’ve dumped a bunch of positive points onto you I’ll say it again. This issue, although it has shown improvement, does not exist in a vacuum and is way too dependent on you following an incredibly mediocre (at best) story that advances at a snail’s pace. I could have easily spent a large part of this review criticizing this issue for how it ties into the overall story but I really love seeing people improve their work and I wanted to make sure I spent this review talking about that. There’s also a more cynical reason being: I have no idea when I’ll be able to be this positive about I Am Batman again. If this hasn’t scared you off from purchasing I Am Batman #13 though then nothing will. So if you are going to buy/have bought this issue then I’m genuinely curious to hear what has made you so devoted to this story; please leave a comment and let me know!

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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