Rebirth Beyond or Beyond Rebirth? So many subtitles
Dan Jurgens (W), Ryan Sook (A), Jeremy Lawson, Tony Avina (C)
Cover by Ryan Sook
Publisher: DC Comics
Batman Beyond has been a pretty good comic series in the New 52 despite this iteration of it being spawned out of a pretty crappy story (Futures End, for those keeping score). It told the story of a time-displaced, older Tim Drake taking up the mantle of Batman from the believed-to-be-deceased Terry McGinnis. Neo-Gotham and the world at large had been completely obliterated by Brother Eye and his army of cyborg horrors, and Tim Drake did his best to keep what was left together. Dan Jurgens managed to craft a decent series out of this premise, and it was always a fun read.
In the last story of the pre-Rebirth series, Terry McGinnis was discovered to still be alive and in the hands of one of his old enemies, Spellbinder. Tim, Matt McGinnis, and Commissioner Barbara Gordon managed to break the control Spellbinder had over Terry, and they brought him back home. Tim opted to go out and discover himself as well as the new world, and Terry became the Batman of Neo-Gotham once more.
This issue opens up with Batman ambushing two members of the Jokerz Gang who were attempting to hold up a school bus full of children. He quashes their scheme, and informs the reader through captions that the Jokerz have become more ambitious and organized as of late. Where their previous goal was simple chaos, their new operations involved acquiring money and power.
While Terry fights these Jokerz, we see flashbacks to how he became Batman the first time. He got into a street race with a member of the Jokerz, which led to him meeting an elderly Bruce Wayne. After the two scuffled with the Jokerz, Terry helped Bruce into his home. He accidentally stumbled upon the Batcave and, as a result, discovered that Bruce Wayne used to be Batman. Terry is thrown out and returns home to find that the Jokerz had killed his father. He returns to the Batcave and begs Bruce to become Batman once more. Bruce refuses, but he helps Terry to become the new Batman with a new suit.
In the present, the Jokerz are killed by Joker Toxin upon being arrested. Barbara and Terry begin to worry that the thought-to-be-dead Joker has returned somehow.
We see Dana Tan, Terry’s old flame, walking around a poor section of Gotham. She has become a social worker and wants to help the downtrodden. She is ambushed by two Jokerz and is taken into a crumbling apartment complex.
Terry is moving back in with his brother when Max Gibson comes in an informs him of the kidnapping. He goes to save Dana and is ambushed by a venom-powered Joker. Meanwhile, Dana is brought to the head of the Jokerz operation, Terminal. He tells her what their master plan is: resurrecting the Joker himself. The comic concludes with a shot of the particularly muscular body of the Joker, which is hooked up to various medical devices.
This was a strong and smart way to continue this series. It fills the reader in with a brief history of the character, what’s happened to him more recently, and gives us a good look at what’s to come.
The pacing was good. It jumps right into the action and sets up for the main story of the first arc. It gives new readers an insight into who Terry McGinnis is and the kind of world he lives in.
The art is really good. It looks modern, but it keeps the Bruce Timm art styling of the original cartoon. The coloring is done very cleverly too. There are great contrasts between bright colors and dark, matte shadows. The Batman suit itself looks gorgeous, and the red eyes are a very nice touch. The death scene of the two Jokerz is aptly grizzly looking as well.
Dan Jurgens, while I generally enjoy his writing, does have a bad tendency to get a little too wordy. He restrains that compulsion here, allowing the comic to flow far more smoothly.
I will say that “schway” is definitely a pretty lame colloquialism for these characters. I don’t care that it was in the original cartoon. I hated it then too.
I honestly don’t have much more to say about this comic. It’s just plain good. It’s not brilliant or awe-inspiring, but it is fun and well-made. It doesn’t do anything especially smart for me to praise, but it doesn’t do anything particularly bad that I feel the need to harp on. It’s just a plain fun and action-packed comic that keeps the spirit of the cartoon that gave birth the character some 15 years ago now. I can easily recommend it.
Final Score: 7/10