Batman Beyond #4

Artist Eduardo Panscia joins Adam Beechen in the newest installment of Batman Beyond!

Rumors are spreading that Dick Grayson was once Nightwing. Terry enlists the help of his best friend Max, one of few who knows his secret, to post fake sightings of Nightwing around the web while Terry, dressed as Nightwing, makes public appearances. But Dick’s got his own plans, and an all-seeing Internet presence has set its sights on recruiting Max.

The issue mostly focuses on Max, who bears several similarities to Oracle; she’s a computer whiz who not only assists Terry on the job, but also gives him some much-needed support with school and his girlfriend Dana. Beechen does a great job establishing her character as Terry’s best friend and confidante, transitioning her from show to comics well. Her monologues got rather repetitive after a while, though; yes Max, we know you’re Batman’s best friend. I’m sure that’s awesome. Please move on. 

Pascia joins the team as the new artist, and his work is the best of the series yet. While not necessarily stunning or meticulously detailed, Pascia’s art is realistic and breathes a life of its own, yet it’s also faithful to the show’s animation. I especially like Max’s look, as well as Pascia’s use of light and shadowing:

The issue of Dick’s identity was tied up rather quickly, especially considering the implications of Bruce’s identity. Is the media suspicious that Bruce was Batman, or even aware of the possibility? He was Dick’s guardian for a while, and the relatively competent reporter should be able to connect the hypothetical dots. This could have been more interesting but Beechen cuts it off too quickly for my taste–if the media is as gullible as they seem.

Like the very first issue, Batman Beyond #4 feels like a lot of setup for the next arc; it’s low on action, instead focusing a lot on introducing Max and her role in future stories. I still would have liked to see a traditional BB villain, like Shriek or Inque, make an appearance, instead of the Jokerz (again) and another new villain. But, that’s why Beechen is the writer and I’m not, I suppose.

The comic book run thus far, while borrowing parts of the show, still doesn’t feel like it; the fact that Dick brings up Batman Incorporated even suggests that this isn’t the DCAU or “Timmverse,” but somewhere in between it and the regular continuity.  But then again, that could be Beechen’s very intention; once again, we’ll have to wait some more and see.

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