Batman Beyond #1

Batman Beyond starts his own ongoing series in this first issue! Adam Beechen returns as the writer, after his Batman Beyond six-issue miniseries, which just wrapped up last month. The miniseries was a great introduction to the world of Batman Beyond–but if you missed it, here’s your BB 101 crash course.

The first issue introduces the villain, the future Justice League, and Terry’s personal life, but doesn’t yet deliver a huge “wow” like the miniseries.

Even though the variant boasts BB’s own rogue gallery, Beechen brings in a new villain for this first storyarc. After Carson Jatts steals some unstable tech, his arm is transformed such that anything he touches turns into a different substance. Jatts then takes a mall hostage–the very mall in which Terry’s brother and mom are trapped inside. I respect that Beechen brings in a new villain, especially since Batman took on Hush in the miniseries. Even so, I’m not sure what to make of Jatts. He doesn’t fit with BB’s future-tech baddies like Shriek and Spellbinder, nor is he unpredictable like Stalker and Curaré. Jatts seemed intent on stealing the wand for its powers, but once said powers are attached to his arm, he bumbles around without any sort of concrete plan. Things can change from here, and it lies in Jatts’ sanity and deviousness, and higher, more dangerous stakes.

The new Justice League!

The Justice League, with helpful nametags!

The Justice League step in to assess the threat! The future Justice League is first seen in the two-part episode “The Call,” but this is their first appearance in the BB comics. They’re a great well-rounded team, somehow even fifty years into the future, Barda still manages to look fantastic. And, Warhawk is Green Lantern John Stewart and Hawkgirl’s future son! *JLU geekfest*

We’re also introduced to Terry’s family and his girlfriend Dana. In the show, Dana constantly whined that Terry had no time with her, but of course, she can’t know that he’s Batman. Well Toto, we’re not in high school anymore, but the plot still comes to a screeching halt while the two are flirting…and walking…and talking. Beechen might have one twist in store for us, though: Terry refers to Dana as a “secret weapon”–perhaps by now, she knows Terry’s secret.

Anyone else love Babs’ one-frame appearance? Fifty years hasn’t been kind to her, and once again she doesn’t move from behind her desk. My dear Barbara, in the DCAU, the events of Alan Moore’s very awful Killing Joke did not ruin your life. You can walk. So stand up.

Ryan Benjamin’s artwork is rather cartoony, probably in homage to the television series. This never changes with each BB comic, so it was expected. I love Darwyn Cooke’s variant cover, with Batman jumping into the faceless Inque, Blight, Shreik, Curaré, and Spellbinder (Cooke designed the opening titles to the show). It’s a great nod to the show but also looks forward to future adventures with BB and his rogue gallery, hopefully after this Jatts guy is taken care of–and I’m especially excited for Curaré, my all-time favorite BB villain.

Terry from the show (left), and his new look in the comics (right)

But Terry doesn’t look right. I can see why Benjamin decided to create his own look: the comics deserve to be somewhat different from the series. But the continuity between the two has been established, and “Benjamin’s Terry” doesn’t look any older than “DCAU’s Terry,” in fact they barely look similar to each other! Terry needs to look older than his face in high school, he needs to look like Bruce, and he needs to look…grr…better!

*ahem* Aside from that, the plot will surely thicken in the second issue, which will be released the first Wednesday in February, in print as well as digital. Hopefully, the fact that Terry’s family is taken hostage doesn’t become a Spiderman-saves-Aunt May cliché, Jatts becomes a more dangerous villain, and if not, maybe Barda will punch him.

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