REVIEW: Batman Beyond #1

Batman has become more than a man, he has become a symbol. The dark knight is as much a part of the social fabric of pop culture and entertainment as any other brand or name to be created in the last 100 years. The character and name of Batman will outlast its modern fanbase, it will transcend fads and be part of pop culture 100 years from now. That’s the power of Batman.

Each time I open the cover to Batman Beyond I keep hoping that someone will finally get the approach right to this story. This is more than Terry McGinnis taking up the mantle where Bruce Wayne left off, it’s more than some kid flipping and flying through a futuristic setting; this is the legacy of legend being passed down to the next generation. This is the story about one young man taking on the weight of the ultimate hero.

Batman is the bar of excellence to which all other heroes and heroines are measured. You don’t just don the costume on a whim; it’s too valuable, too important to too many. This is the holy grail of heroes. The responsibility that comes with the costume is too much for just anyone to wear. In Gotham (and to a degree here in the real world) when lives hang in the balance there is only one sure-fire solution. You hit the spotlight and wait for the Dark Knight to rise.

Dan Jurgens has taken a more practical approach. He has steered this Rebirth title back into the familiar waters of something that resembles the cartoon and while this is marketed as issue number one, the plot keeps referring back to a previous story, as if there was an issue before this one that the readers should already be familiar with. What that issue is I couldn’t tell you. I just had to move past the unavailable information and focus on the story in front of me.

Terry is trying to infiltrate Jokerz Town to rescue Diana who has been taken hostage by Terminal. Terminal saves us all the hassle of wondering what his grand scheme is by monolouging to Diana that he plans on resurrecting the Joker. Meanwhile, we discover that Terry is out of shape and having trouble defeating some Joker thugs hopped up on venom. After getting his ass thoroughly handed to him, Terry decides to retreat back to the Batcave. He loses the batsuit and replaces his torn costume with a Joker outfit. We end the issue with Terry preparing to go undercover in Jokerz Town.

Bernard Chang’s artwork is as crisp and clean as ever. I can’t find any real faults with the art, but I will point out that Terry’s disguise at the end of the issue looked a little too close to Lex Luthor’s armor design on the chest piece, but that’s being nitpicky.

Final Thoughts- The cover says issue one, but it’s difficult to read this comic and not feel like you’re missing part of the story. It’s like walking into a movie when you’ve missed the first ten minutes… it doesn’t ruin your ability to follow the film, but you sit there the whole time feeling like you missed an important piece of information that wasn’t shared with you.

Final Grade: 3 Stars

Batman Beyond #1
Story: Dan Jurgens
Art: Bernard Chang
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Travis Lanham
Publisher: DC Comics

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