DC's new Batman, Jace Fox, has quickly established himself as a force within the Bat-titles and Gotham City, but in November the publisher announced he'd be leaving that city behind for the bright lights of New York City.(opens in new tab)
And now we know why (and what his first day in the Big Apple is like).
Spoilers ahead for I Am Batman #5 (opens in new tab) by John Ridley, Christian Duce, Juan Ferreyra, and Laura Braga.
As promised from the initial announcement, January 11's I Am Batman #5 - in a story fittingly called 'Goodbye, Gotham' - explains Jace Fox's reasoning for why he (and his family) decides to leave their hometown of Gotham City. It's not a retreat - it's more about growth, and comes after Jace and his father, Lucius Fox, end their years-long estrangement and have a true father-son talk.
The development comes after Lucius Fox finally sees the error in judgment he made in backing a super-secret military program called TALOS (Tactical Assault Lightweight Operator Suit), in which he, as the owner of Wayne Enterprises, financed the high-tech battlesuits augmented with AI learning for the government.(opens in new tab)
"Somewhere I went from wanting to protect to wanting to control. And I know you hated me for it," Lucius Fox tells his son after he came to his senses. "I've wanted so badly to be a symbol for this city. Maybe the most important thing I can do, particularly for black and brown people, is to stand up and say it's okay to ask for help."
The elder Fox says he's decided to enter therapy to help him with his issues, and the conversation reads like an unspoken olive branch to Jace (whom he has been estranged from for years), asking for his help and his fellowship.
New Batman, New York City(opens in new tab)
Jace Fox - who, remember, took up the name Batman in 2021 - then confides in his father about his own future.
"However it began, I feel like I finally found a purpose: to pledge my life to going to war for justice," Jace says. "As long as I'm in Gotham I'll always be the other Batman, or replacement Batman, or substitute Batman."
This explains why he's deciding to leave Gotham City, but as for why he's leaving for New York City? Family.
His sister Tam has been in a coma for the past few issues but wakes up in I Am Batman #5. While she's currently being treated at a Gotham hospital by the finest doctors a Wayne Enterprises CEO like Lucius Fox can afford, it turns out she needs better health care than that - and it's something the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City has.(opens in new tab)
(Yes, there's a real-life Presbyterian Hospital in New York - in fact, they have 10 campuses in the area.)
"Mom's taking Tam to New York for rehab. Tiff's going with her," says Jace. "Maybe I'll do the same."
Lucius supports Jace in his decisions but makes one request - a costume change. He wants Jace to ditch the faceplate in his Batman gear.
The faceplate covers up the lower half of Jace's face when dressed up as Batman. It's better protection of course, but it also hides the color of his skin.(opens in new tab)
"You ARE Batman, yes... but you're also your OWN man. A legacy of our past. A symbol of our future. And a kind of hero we need right now," says Lucius. "Never be afraid to show people who you are. Take pride in the fact that you inspire. And above everything else, my son... represent. ALWAYS represent."
The last page of I Am Batman #5 has Jace-as-Batman surveying the New York City skyline from - what else? - a gargoyle outcropping.
With this issue on stands, DC has already shared an unlettered preview of what's next - I Am Batman #6 by John Ridley, Ken Lashley, and Rex Lokus - over on DCComics.com (opens in new tab). Take a look:
I Am Batman #6 is on sale now, with I Am Batman #6 coming February 8.
Keep track of this and all the new Batman comics, graphic novels, and collections coming in 2022.