Yes, I have been reading and I am really disappointed. I had been hopeful for an inspirational origin story for Jace Fox, and while I understand it is Mr. Ridley’s story, it is disappointing for me. Especially given so many real life inspirational stories out there. The story about The Batman has always been about motivation. This is why the initial stories in The Next Batman were soulless. They might have had writing plots, art, but no heart.
An ironic misperception that I read too often is that Bruce Wayne Batman lacked “empathy.” I couldn’t imagine anything less true. The Bruce Wayne character gave everything he could to protect others and humanity, and even in the Death Metal Elseworlds, he fought past death, losing his arm, and being mutilated. For others.
Heroism inspired by criminal guilt and heroism inspired to protect others are totally different value sets. You can’t guilt someone to have the primary powers of The Batman, which is his mind, his calculating thinking, his preparedness, and his role as a one-man army fighting to stop crime’s war against the innocent. The Batman’s empathy for the innocent was not a lack of heart even for criminals, and for 80+ years, we saw that character try to reform even the worst criminals. Despite everything, the psychopathic Joker was not killed. The concept of The Batman is based on those foundational values.
I believe the intent of Mr. Ridley’s storyline origin is that criminal experience and guilt makes you more empathetic and urderstanding to them. If that was what was necessary to be empathetic to individuals choosing a path of crime, then crime would have conquered our Earth ages ago. The reality is that we see today is that we don’t need to be criminals, to offer empathy for both innocents and criminals, to protect innocents, to protect the right of criminals to justice, and to want to urge criminals to reform. We simply do not need to be a criminal to understand this. So from that perspective, I just find the origin to be at odds with reality and human nature.