When an old enemy from Bruce Wayne’s past awakens in the future, Batman Beyond must see if he is a match for this old foe. By popular demand, Batman Beyond returns to comics in this six issue mini series.
Batman Beyond #1
Written by Adam Beechen
Pencils by Ryan Benjamin
Inks by John Stanisci
Colors by David Baron
Letters by Travis Lanham
Edited by Michael Siglain
Cover by Dustin Nguyen
Variant Cover by J.H. Williams III
Published by DC Comics
Previously in Batman Beyond: This mini series is said to take place after season 3 of the Batman Beyond television show. That being said, you may want to also pick up the Superman/Batman Annual #4 that just came out featuring Batman Beyond. The plot is simple. Bruce Wayne is retired from being Batman due to age and a bum ticker. After young Terry McGinnis’s father is murdered, Terry stumbles into the Batcave and takes the technologically advanced Batman Beyond suit to avenge him. Working together with Bruce and his trusty dog, Ace, Terry takes up the mantle of the bat and protects Neo Gotham from old and new villains.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Cadmus Labs have it all. All except for the recent test subject they just lost. After killing a few guards and making his exit, Amanda Waller surveys the damages and prepares for consequences. Elsewhere in Neo Gotham, Terry is jumping roof tops and complaining about never having any time for fun as he pursues and takes down Spellbinder (think Mysterio). As Terry returns home, he’s stopped along the way by Micron (future Atom) who once again asks him to join the Justice League Unlimited with Superman, Barda, War Hawk, Aquagirl, Green Lantern and himself. Terry politely refuses and takes to the skies.
Back at the Batcave, Bruce emerges from behind a tarp where he’s working on new items for Terry’s utility belt. Terry tries to sneak a peek but is reprimanded for it. Terry tells him of Micron’s offer and his desire for a bit of sleep when Bruce ruins that plan when the murder of Phillip Cobb shows up on the Bat-computer. Bruce reveals to Terry that Cobb was once a villain named Signal Man who has since been rehabilitated and gone straight as Terry heads for the crime scene. With two slashes to the throat and two to the heart, Terry wonders if this could possibly be the resurgence of Two-Face. As they start to follow up on that lead, alarms go off at the near by St. James Hospital. St. James apparently received some of Arkham’s inmates when they closed the building down; one of them being Jervis Tetch, A.K.A. The Mad Hatter. As Terry makes his way to Tetch’s room, he hears a scream in the opposite direction and finds the escaped test subject standing over a female nurse. She reveals to Batman that he wanted to know where Tetch’s room was and then he started cutting her. When asked if he said anything else to her, all she replied was “Hush”.
THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN ASKING FOR!
Now THIS feels like a Batman Beyond comic! The art and the colors of this match the television show much more than they did in the Superman/Batman Annual. It feels animated without coming off as a cartoon spin-off comic. There’re a few inconsistencies but they’re all easily over looked. For one, Bruce looks younger and doesn’t use a cane.
(Which brings to mind the scene in season 1 when Powers asks Bruce “How are you holding up?” and Bruce replies “With a cane.”) Another one is the fact that Cadmus is still running when it was disbanded in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. All of these can be overlooked in place of good story telling and that’s what this is.
OLD + NEW = FUN
One of my favorite things about the Batman Beyond cartoon was the mixture of old and new. To see the fate of Mad Hatter and to know that Two-Face could still be on the prowl puts a dorky grin on my face. (We’ve already seen the fates of Joker, Harley, Mr. Freeze, Bane, and Ra’s al Ghul.) Conversely, the appearance of Spellbinder and Micron make me feel that Adam Beechen is taking a step in the right direction by not forgetting that Terry has an established rogues gallery and group of allies that can’t be forgotten. Not only does it give us a reference point for when this story takes place but it also gives the public that demanded this character’s return to comics a little fan service.
NOT SO MYSTERIOUS MYSTERY
The only disappointing part of the story was the predictability of who the villain was. Dustin Nguyen did the cover and, for any of you who are fans of his work, everyone knows who his favorite villain is to draw (note the bandaged looking eyes in the sky). Add on top of that, his resistance to drugs, his higher than average physical performance, a white male wearing a trench coat and the use of knives. It was either Hush or Zsasz and I don’t think that Zsasz would have provided as much of a challenge in an age of this new technology.
SO HOW DOES IT FARE?
I’m really excited for the next issue to come out. It really feels like a part of the show got mixed with Detective Comics. I know a lot of people had sour thoughts when they heard Adam Beechen was involved but he tells a tale worthy of its source material. Maybe if this mini sells well enough, it’ll be the next DC Animated movie. I give Batman Beyond #1 four and a half stars out of five.