Review: Batman Beyond #1

Batman Beyond #1

Written by Adam Beechen

Art by Ryan Benjamin

My first thought reading this issue is that maybe I should have checked out the miniseries that came out a few months ago, but rather then be justified in that we instead get a solid number one issue. I mean, sure, if you’ve never heard of Batman Beyond you’re going to be completely lost, but why would you be reading this book then? Heck, how could you have not heard of Batman Beyond, one of the great Paul Dini and Bruce Timm cartoons that made up the DCAU? If you haven’t seen it then chances are you owe it to yourself to go hit up wherever you get your DVDs and get the three season cartoon. Get it, watch it, love it….and then read this issue.

Because this issue drops you right back into the world of Batman Beyond, and despite having not red the preceding miniseries, I feel like I haven’t missed a beat. I mean, I’m assuming that this fits in after the show, and I also imagine that everything is relatively canon too. We get to see Terry beat on some bad guys, make a little time with Dana, and then dodge out with a lame excuse as soon as Bruce calls and tells him it’s Batman time. It’s just like the show, and I have to give props to Adam Beechen for giving it that feeling. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s got my nostalgia going in all the right ways.

Not only are we dropped back into the life of Terry McGinnis, but the world of Batman Beyond as well. And by that, I mean it’s the first issue and the Justice League is already making appearances…..which makes me wonder about Warhawk, since in the DCAU he was the son of John Stewart and Hawkgirl. Ah, memories. We’re treated to a bit of the supporting cast in this issue; Bruce, Dane, Terry’s mom and little brother, and yes, Ace the Bat Hound. Admittedly with only a standard length issue, and with Beechen trying to push a freshly created villain, there wasn’t much time to do much with any of them, but it’s nice to see everyone show up. Just like in the show, sometimes a name brand character shows up for five minutes to establish that they still exist. It works. Plus, it creates excuses for Terry’s actions and the direction he goes in, especially given how the issue works.

The new villain created for this arc has a pretty original powerset, though when I first saw the object taken I was a bit surprised at how thing went. I mean, he takes a weapon once used by a Flash Rogue, internalizes it, and then gains abilities that said Rogue never had. I like it, he’s a threat despite his characterization showing a regretful man who has nothing to lose but still didn’t plan on what he wound up with. The momentary insanity that leads you down a rabbit hole you just want out of, the sympathetic super villain. It’s just unfortunate that I foresee everyone but Batman not caring that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, or even have these abilities.

I like the art and the book maintains the futuristic tone that one would expect from Batman Beyond, which is nice and all, but I have a complaint. Why is Terry asian? Why are his mom and brother asian? Why is the majority of the Justice League asian? Seriously, there are enough characters distinctly white in this book that I shouldn’t be asking this question, and no, before you even think it, this is not racially motivated. Terry McGinnis is the son of a white couple (and even with the origin given to him in the Epilogue episode of JLU, it remains two white people), so why does he have distinctly asian features (not just skin tone)? There are a grand total of three characters in this issue that I would look the other way on this about; Dana, Green Lantern, and the newly created bad guy. So the fact that everyone seems to have this issue is just a big gripe for me, and really just because…well, it looks weird. Like Batman Beyond Hong Kong.

But artistic gripe aside, I enjoyed this issue. By no means perfect, and if your’e a Batman Beyond rookie you probably won’t have the worlds easiest time getting started, but it’s worth it. The show is awesome, and this book could be too. If the creators can keep the tone of this book in line with the show, like they did in this issue, it will have no trouble remaining consistently entertaining. Now I’m just hoping that the second issue can bring enough to the table to make this book get really good.



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