By Christos Gage, Kyle Higgins, Ban Coello, & Thony Silas
Batman Beyond Universe continues stories of characters from the DC animated series Batman Beyond. Writer Kyle Higgins works on the Batman Beyond storyline and Christos Gage handles Justice League Beyond.
In Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis is still working on solving the murder of Neo-Gotham’s mayor. The evidence is leading the reader to believe that a new villain has entered the picture. The issue ends with Batman facing off against some familiar faces from Gotham’s past and Commissioner Barbara Gordon is about to find out a secret the mayor has kept. Now, in Justice League Beyond, Superman is currently powerless and working as a fireman. He tries to live as a normal man in this modern time and goes on a date, meanwhile the League is still trying to solve the mystery of Superman’s enhanced abilities. Kal decides to enter the Phantom Zone to find answers and once there he meets a young boy who has been controlling Kryptonian technology in Superman’s dimension. It is revealed that the boy is the son of one of Superman’s old foes…
It is easy to see how much of a fan Kyle Higgins is of the DC animated universe (DCAU) and makes those of us who are also fans enjoy the story that much more! Including some of Terry’s rogues gallery via the prison break was great fan service. In this issue, he’s progressing the mystery/plot of this story arc. Hints are still being given about a preceding major event in the backdrop, which arouses the reader’s interest. Higgins is masterfully weaving this subplot within the main story without overcomplicating it. Being left with two cliffhangers was a fantastic move and really makes the book stand out this week. Also, the introduction of the foes Batman is about to face was a mind-blowing surprise. Some of the best episodes of the Batman Beyond series were ones that involved elements from Gotham’s past resurfacing in the future and Kyle definitely is on track to add another great story to the canon.
This issue of Justice League Beyond seemed to be a character study of Superman, or Kal Kent as he is known currently, which was very refreshing. Using the pretext of Kal going on a date, Christos shows the reader how out of touch Superman is with people in this time and how he comes to terms with just being a normal person. Now, there have been similar stories in the past, but including the members of the Justice League Beyond (JLB) makes it noteworthy. Seeing Kal ask for dating advice from the members, including old Bruce Wayne, was surprisingly entertaining! Towards the end of the issue, the story returns to the main conflict and and the potential primary antagonist is presented. Gage was able to find find a nice balance of fun and drama to make this a solid book.
Ban Coello and Thony Silas are the artists and they each complement the books they work on. Coello’s sketches are very clean and defined, coinciding with the tone of Justice League Beyond because the team is considered the assembly of the world’s finest. The characters merit detail in vibrant color, provided by Randy Mayor. Ban’s interpretation of Batman is a prime example of this. Now, Silas’ work is a little edgier, which works for a Batman-centric title. The JLB shines, whereas Batman works at night. Thony also matches Kyle Higgins’ writing, which is very fast-paced. These titles are very different, but both teams on these books were well chosen.
Being a huge DCAU fan, Batman Beyond Universe is a breath of fresh air with inventive tales. I can’t wait to see where these creative minds take us next!