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In the very early days of Batman comics back in the 1930s, Bruce Wayne patrolled the streets of New York City to fight crime. It wasn't long before that real-life locale was replaced with the fictional Gotham City, and an iconic DC Comics location was born, but the Big Apple remains a part of Batman's history as a character and a part of the DC Comics universe despite the presence of fellow Northeastern behemoths like Gotham and its sister city, Metropolis.
Well, sometimes even Batman needs a change of scenery, and that's why this February DC Comics is sending one version of the Caped Crusader back to the Big Apple.
The publisher announced today that I Am Batman #6, written by John Ridley with art by Ken Lashley, will send "Next Batman" Jace Fox, as well as the entire Fox family, to New York City for a new storyline dubbed "Empire State." But it's not a temporary visit, as DC's announcement notes the intention is to "permanently" relocate the Fox crew away from Gotham for adventures in a new city. The moves marks the first time an ongoing Batman series has been set in New York City since 1941, when Gotham sprang up to replace it as the character's home base.
“I’m incredibly excited about charting this new direction for Jace and the Fox family,” said Ridley. “This new setting is a great opportunity to do some really creative world building and give Jace his own allies, adversaries, and challenges that will continue to shape and define him as his own character under the cape and cowl.”
Jace was first introduced as "The Next Batman" during the Future State event back at the beginning of 2021, in a future Gotham in which "masks" had been outlawed and the city was in the grip of a police state known as The Magistrate. Recent issues of Bat-family titles, led by the main Batman series, have put all the ingredients in place for The Magistrate to become a reality, as explored in the ongoing Fear State event, but it's worth noting that Future State: The Next Batman only showed one possible future for Jace and for Gotham. In the months since his Future State debut, Jace's origins and his journey to becoming the next Dark Knight have been explored by Ridley through series including The Next Batman: Second Son and, now, I Am Batman, which chronicles Jace's rise and efforts to lay out his own path as a superhero.
I Am Batman #5, arriving January 11, will help set up the Fox family's transition to the Big Apple, while the "Empire State" storyline itself kicks off in I Am Batman #6, on sale February 8.