With the Caped Crusader’s insane popularity the proliferation of Bat-Books is hardly surprising. Even so, however, people have to accept that eventually Bruce Wayne will get old and retire from being Batman (I’m ignoring Batman: Year 100 here…I just don’t think it’s remotely plausible or close to canon). Many people probably remember the Batman Beyond cartoon show of the early 2000s which explored this idea as a new Batman, Terry McGinnis, dons cape and cowl (as well as a superpowered batsuit) and fights for justice in the Gotham City of the not too distant future. Now, DC has released a new series, Batman Beyond: Unlimited, which explores not only Terry’s continuing quest for justice but also that of the Justice League Beyond, the future incarnation of DC’s Flagship hero team. With all these players in the field and a team of talented writers and artists this series has all the potential for greatness; did the first issue live up to the hype and can it sate fans of the original series?
I’ll start by saying I never watched the original Batman Beyond show (start judging now if you must) but I’ve always heard great things about it. Thus, going into this comic, my knowledge of the world is severely limited. A definite credit to writers Adam Beechen, Derek Fridolfs, and Dustin Nguygen that I was able to follow the story without much prior exposure to the Beyond Universe. The comic is split into two stories: “Night of 10,000 Clowns” and “Konstriction.” The former follow Terry’s battle against the Jokerz, a national gang of thugs that pattern themselves off the Joker and have come to Gotham in massive numbers for an as-of-yet unexplained reason. The latter focuses on Terry’s time with the Justice League Beyond as they work to unmask an evil plot by Kobra, an international organization bent on world domination. Both stories are more or less just introductions to long-running tales in this series but, to be honest, neither grabbed my attention much. Both had fairly mediocre dialogue and some of the writing was rather roundabout. A few of the scenes seemed mostly unnecessary to the plot, and one of the twists at the end didn’t surprise me much. Sadly, though the writers made a great effort, these stories didn’t garner my interest, though this could be because of my lack of exposure of the original animated series.
Batman Beyond Unlimited #1 has great art courtesy of Noam Breyfogle and Dustin Nguyen. The scenes look as if they were ripped straight from a DC Animated Series circa the late 90s, and gives off an awesome retro vibe. The colors choices are also great, and colorists Andrew Elder and Randy Mayor deserve praise for contrasting the shadows of Gotham City with the vibrant colors of the Jokerz and the Justice League Beyond. I felt, however, that the fight scenes were drawn in a way I can only describe as “shaky’; they didn’t feel as action-packed as I’m normally used to in a DC comic, but perhaps that was intentional. Overall, though, the art is quite good.
Maybe I’m missing something since I’m a latecomer to the Batman Beyond party, but this issue didn’t really do it for me. The plots were rather bland, even for introduction stories, and though the art was good it could not make up for the shortcomings of story. Perhaps as the series progresses these tales will develop more interestingly, but honestly this issue did grab my attention enough to make me want to keep reading. I’d be interested to hear the opinion of long-time Batman Beyond fans on this issue, as perhaps a prior knowledge/attachment to the show would invoke greater enjoyment and understanding. Ultimately, however, I feel this issue is not worth the buy for people who are not fans of the original.
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He is actually somewhat intrigued by the story of Superman Beyond and wonders how he will fare in the pages of this series.
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