Batman Beyond - Rebirth #1
By Avi Weinryb
September 29, 2016 - 10:15
The Batman Beyond concept finds its origins in the Batman: The Animated Series show, before it grew into its own program, eventually crossing over into mainstream comic continuity. Like another Batman TV show character who made it into the mainstream -- Harley Quinn -- this future Batman is a fun addition to the DC Universe. The concept is simple enough: In a future Gotham, somehow a little more gritty than ever before, and now with Blade Runner-esque set design, a new Batman has arisen with some help from an elderly Bruce Wayne. This Rebirth title makes a few tweaks but we are ultimately treated to a suitable reboot for a character that did not need one.
Dan Jurgens’ story largely hews to the established origin of this future Batman, with some economic compression typical of Rebirth titles - meant to get the concept established quickly so we can jump into the present tale. This serves to prevent alienation of old readers who are are buying the same story all over again, while new readers have a smooth entry to a title with which they are perhaps unfamiliar. In this issue, we learn about how Terry McGinnis inherited the mantle of the Batman from Bruce Wayne, how Terry connected with his current crew of allies, and who makes up the constellation of friends and foes in his life. The troublesome gang of Jokerz, a Joker-worshipping cult of clown crazies, have overtaken Gotham -- excuse me - Neo-Gotham - and they’ve disturbingly transitioned from clowning around to becoming a big player in organized crime, with financial resources to back them up.
The art in this issue is strong - delivered by the able hands of Ryan Sook. Whether it was his choice or that of the editors, I’m pleased to see the Gotham City depicted here never indulges the dredges of Batman history, becoming a neon, day-glo parody of itself like the Gotham of the 1995 film Batman Forever - a risk some depictions of Gotham can run when peering into a dystopian future. I’m not crazy about some of the adjustments to the Batman costume, but it’s serviceable. The action, of which there is much, is well composited, and the story flows courtesy of great panel distribution and expressive use of colour - even in the midst of the darkness that is Neo-Gotham.
Jurgens sets up the final page, so we know it’s coming, but when we arrive on that final splash, what Sook has waiting for us is undoubtedly terrifying. There was really no better way to conclude this issue and it’s a great start to a new run of this Batman-family favourite. It’s good to have Batman Beyond back. Here’s hoping the title lives up to its name and we go beyond what we’ve seen before.
Last Updated: July 2, 2020 - 16:53
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