Title: Industrial Revolution Part 1: “A Riot Going On”
Written by: Adam Beechen
Art by: Ryan Benjamin
Cover: Dustin Nguyen
Release Date: May 4, 2011
Batman Beyond’s second arc begins with Industrial Revolution! Paxton Powers is released from prison under mysterious circumstances–and then Wayne-Powers begins to destabilize, leading to worker riots and plummeting stocks. Both Terry and Wayne set out to determine who’s behind all this, and just how Powers got out of jail. Meanwhile, Dana dumps Terry and reunites with her brother, who was also released from prison.
This was my favorite issue of the series so far. Vintage BB baddies, excellent dialogue, and a crazy cliffhanger ending–this is the Batman Beyond I’ve been waiting for!
After Dick brought up Batman Inc in his “confession” last issue, I feared that Beechen was taking us further from the DCAU and closer to the main continuity. But it’s a breath of fresh air, and a relief, to see original BB villains again, and Paxton was a great choice to start. The comic even mentions his last appearance in the episode “Ascension,” which you can actually watch for free at Kids WB’s DC Beyond!–but the comic brings you up to speed just as well too.
Bringing in Paxton meant reintroducing Bruce’s company as Wayne-Powers–it was co-owned by Wayne and Derek Powers, Paxton’s father, who stole the company and eventually became the villain Blight. This was also a major element of the show, so this focus felt very organic and natural; and it was nice to see Bruce out of the Batcave for once and taking a personal, proactive stance towards protecting his company, which he does several times in the show.
Beechen’s writing is fabulous, especially the bantering between Terry and Bruce. After Dana dumps Terry (which was surprising, albeit not unexpected), he tries to vent to Bruce, which ends in a total fail. The coloring while Terry’s in the Bat-jet was great too, and Benjamin’s art continues to impress.
And Bruce playing Batarang-fetch with Ace–classic! It was small moments and details like these, both visually and in the dialogue, that really brought back the “Batman Beyond” world and made a big difference in this issue.
Speaking of Dana, perhaps she only dumped Terry because of her preoccupation with her brother Doug being released from prison. It certainly adds yet another element to the goings-on (what a juggling act!), but his full impact on the story remains to be seen.
And the ending was a killer, in a good way. Hit me like a ton of bricks. Let’s just say that Paxton isn’t the only villain that Bruce and Terry will have to face–but I won’t spoil it, go read the issue!
Perhaps the only thing that’s missing is Max’s absence after we last saw her making a deal with Undercloud. While there was more than enough in this book to fill all the pages, I wonder where she is *shifty eyes*