Terry McGinnis is hot on the trail of someone who is killing old Batman foes. Could it really be the villain we don’t want it to be? The new Batman gets closer to finding out the answer, and two old friends show up, in the latest issue of Batman Beyond.
Previously in Batman Beyond: Long after the original Batman disappeared, teenager Terry McGinnis stumbled upon the reclusive Bruce Wayne, and his secrets. Tempered by personal tragedy, and given Bruce’s blessing and guidance, Terry now fights crime in the Gotham City of Tomorrow as Batman Beyond.
HUSH, HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE
Is it Hush or isn’t it? We’ve seen the villain multiple times in the last three issues wearing the coat and bandaged face made famous during the Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee series. But is it really him? If it is, it seems mighty convenient that the villain returns while he is still a big time character in the current Batman continuity. If it is, the character has lost none of his skills over the years, blowing through villain after villain, and being sly enough to to get the current version of Catwoman to plant a tracker on Terry’s suit. While Hush seems more a MacGuffin in this story than anything else, it is interesting to see how Terry attempts to deal with all the old-school villains in a day and age where he is battling beings like Inque, Shriek, Spellbinder, and more. It almost seems as though Adam Beechen is watering down Terry’s capabilities to battle a guy who fights with knives instead of high tech gear. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if the costume was a giant swerve to reveal a different villain completely.
While the Bat-Dickness Meter is meant to measure the present day Batman’s attitude towards his fellow man, nothing on the meter comes close to measuring how much of a dick Bruce Wayne becomes in the future. Pushed beyond his limits, Terry is totally worn out, and no matter how much he continues to try to appease Bruce, he comes off as a failure. For the last couple of issues, Bruce has been working on something, and readers finally discover what Mr. Wayne has been working on behind the curtains – Bat-Wraiths; those transformer type Bat-robots that first appeared in Kingdom Come are making an appearance in this issue as well. Bruce claims that they are going to assist Terry in his mission – or take over the Batman’s duties should Terry decide to walk away. Of course this only makes Terry want to work harder, and a smirking Bruce Wayne indicates he played his protegee like a finely tuned violin. While I have no interest in seeing Bat-robots running around in the future, Beechen handled the confrontation between master and student perfectly.
Also making appearances in this issue are two old chums that we haven’t seen in quite a while. The first is Tim Drake, who Batman Beyond fans haven’t seen since the violent Return of the Joker movie from a number of years ago. It’s a nice cameo in this series that is full of old friends and foes, but it is merely a lead-in to the big issue appearance of Dick Grayson. Anytime Batman’s old allies have appeared in the series, it usually leads to a great story about failed relationship and Dick’s appearance here is a nice taste of things to come.
Long ago, Adam Beechen wrote an issue of Legends of the Dark Knight that became one of my favorite one-shot stories in the series entire run. He also took on Robin for a long while, and did a tremendous job in making the character meaningful again. So it’s a real pleasure reading Beechen again in this mini-series. Except for the fact that Terry seems a tad week on the powers side, Beechen once again gets to the heart of what makes a good Batman story work – the relationship between all the characters. Adding in the fighty-fighty only makes this issue more fun to read.
ON THE ART SIDE
While Ryan Benjamin does a good job on the art, there are many problems with faces throughout the issue. It may be a result of a lot of small panels on the page that features even smaller faces, a problem with the colorist, or a changing of his style. Going through his Deviant Art page reveals he can draw some masterful images, but sequentially, there are some stumbling moments in this particular book.
One of the biggest problems when taking on a character like Batman Beyond is taking the animated style and turning it into something that looks realistic. It’s really strange seeing all the contours and sharp features on a character that was essentially a big area of black with a few highlights on the television. It’s something that needs to be taken into consideration when looking at the art in this issue.
BOTTOM LINE: CHECK IT OUT
Fans of the Warner Bros. television series have had several chances over the years to read Terry’s adventures in comic book form, and this mini-series is another chance to check in on many people’s favorite character. Beechen’s writing is really solid, packing a lot of action and Batman history into 22-pages. While Ryan Benjamin’s art stumbles in places, he does a good job in this installment. There is plenty worth checking out in this issue, earning Batman Beyond #3, 3.5 out of 5 Stars.