II Am Batman # 5 Jace Fox decides to drop the cover, show his skin and let the world know he’s as much of a hero as Bruce Wayne.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for I’m Batman # 5, for sale now from DC.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article correctly neglected to credit the artists who worked on the issue and the character’s new costume design.
Jace Fox, the new Batman in the DC Universe, no longer hides his skin color.
I’m Batman # 5, the latest issue of author John Ridley and artists Christian Duce (who illustrated the page below), Juan Ferreyra, Laura Braga and Rex Lokus, sees Jace throw the bottom half of his mask at the behest of none other than his former alienated father Lucius Fox. In an interview with CBR, Ridley said it was “a very powerful identity moment when Lucius tells Jace that he should never put his front plate back on, represent and never think of himself as a minor Batman.”
“He admits that his son has a lot to learn before he becomes Batman, but he emphasizes that he is not an inferior person by any means, “Ridley said of Lucius’ advice.” Some people have said I make Black Batman, and they think it’s a compliment. But I say it’s not Black Batman but Jace Fox as Batman who happens to be black. This family has to struggle with money, with representation and with just being out in the world, and you will see much much more of that in the future when Jace and his family move to New York in I’m Batman. “
Jace, originally introduced to DC’s possible alternative future Future state initiative in 2020, became prominent during the “Fear State” event in 2021. Inspired to adopt Batman’s identity after the militaristic Magistrate security force took over Gotham City, Jace has so far operated in the shadows, far from the reach of the original Dark Knight and the great Bat family.
I’m Batman # 5 sees Jake’s faceplate turned aside by an assailant while his father, Lucius, sees the event on screen. In a marked change from typical superhero-secret identity conventions, Lucius instantly recognizes his previously estranged son and promises to support Jace in his crime-fighting career.
“In comics and other created tales, it’s a given that no one can find out who the hero really is,” Ridley said. “It’s a conceit, and it works great. But for me, and I say this partly as a father, you will always recognize your child. You can be in a bunch of children and still recognize the sound of your child’s voice in that moment. “I just could not just play that conceit. Jace is black with a goatee and there is no way that Lucius would not recognize his son.”
Despite the newfound respect between Jace and his father, the couple will not work together to tackle crime in Gotham in an instant. Beginning in I’m Batman # 6, Jace moves to New York City, marking the first time the Big Apple has been protected by Batman since 1941.
“I’m incredibly excited to set out this new direction for the Jace and Fox family,” Ridley said when Jace’s move was first announced in November last year. “This new framework is a great opportunity to create some truly creative world-building and give Jace his own allies, opponents and challenges that will continue to shape and define him as his own character under the mantle and cloak.”
I’m Batman # 5 is for sale now from DC.
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