Terry McGinnis is once again fighting crime in future Gotham City. But what rough beast slouches towards the city of the future? Your Major Spoilers review of Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1 awaits!
Previously in Batman Beyond: Rebirth: In a future world that’s coming, Bruce Wayne finally grew too old to be the Batman. Twenty years after Batman disappeared, Terry McGinnis stole an experimental bat-suit from the retired Bruce Wayne, setting out to fight crime and find his father’s murderer. Bruce agrees to help him in his war on crime, hiring Terry to be his “executive assistant” and providing the support of the world’s greatest detective to the new Batman… Batman Beyond!
YES, I KNOW BATMAN BEYOND ISN’T HIS ACTUAL NAME
During the mess that was ‘Future’s End’, Terry McGinnis sent his mentor back in time, died in combat with the Spellbinder and was replaced as Batman by Tim Drake, a somewhat puzzling decision that smacked strongly of killing two birds with one stone, without actually making either character’s fans happy. All of that has gone by the wayside, and Terry is back in costume as The Batman, which coincides with an upsurge in Jokerz activities throughout Gotham. As with most of the Rebirth #1s, there is a bit of refresher here, giving us Terry’s origin (with a few alterations from the DCAU continuity), a lot of careful exposition and a story that takes us across Gotham, encountering his new supporting cast and villains, and ending with a final-page reveal of what the Jokerz are really up to: Resurrecting the man himself, the original Joker!
Ryan Sook’s Batman is really cool looking, with a notable change from the cartoon version being the addition of big red eye-shields that look really good. Sook’s art is reminiscent of the work that Tony Harris did on Starman in the 1990s, giving future-Gotham an interesting look that feels both retro and Fritz Lang at the same time. There are some stumbles in the plotting, especially as regards the exact sequence of events that led to Terry’s return and reclamation of the Batman identity from upstart Tim Drake (which, to be honest, may entirely be burying the goofiness that was ‘Future’s End’, a shaggy dog story full of sturm and drang but no real substance or story), but that isn’t entirely a knock on this issue. The story hook of the original Joker’s return could make for an excellent tale, and the creative team has earned enough goodwill that I don’t expect disaster.
THE BOTTOM LINE: AN INTERESTING RESTART
All in all, it’s a good first issue and a good redebut for Terry as Batman. Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1 looks really good and is consistent enough in the scripting to make me want to know more about Terry’s adventures in Da Future, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. With the number of people I know who fondly remember the show, this one has a strong built-in audience to support it, if they can keep up the quality of the work…