Batman Beyond #1
By Dan Jurgens, Bernard Chang, & Marcelo Maiolo
Many fans, myself included, were so elated to see Batman Beyond become part of the main continuity. Now, he has his first solo title in the current DCU. The catch is this isn’t the Batman Beyond we know; in Future’s End, Terry McGinnis passed the mantle on to a scruffy looking Tim Drake; this is where issue one picks up. Acclimating to the future, 35 years from his original time, Tim is still having to deal with Brother Eye. Neo-Gotham seems to be the only city that was protected from destruction, so Drake sets out to find out the truth and find some help.
It’s definitely a bit of culture shock to see Tim Drake in the suit, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. One of the key plot points and charm of Batman Beyond was seeing Terry learning to become Batman. He was very different from Bruce, but shared a lot of his strengths. That’s not to say the same doesn’t apply to Tim, but, once again, he has big shoes to fill. I do have to give it to Dan Jurgens though, he is allowing Drake to spread his wings because if the character stayed in the present timeline, he would have been stuck in arrested development. Let’s be honest, he would probably never wear the cowl; everyone knows that’s reserved for Dick. Having him be a different Batman, the only batman, in the future allows for a lot of character development. Many readers may be resistant or put off by this big change, but this comic deserves a chance to find its voice and footing.
Being the premiere issue, there is a lot of exposition. Jurgens makes the material very digestible and implements it well into the plot of the book. A big plus is that newcomers don’t need to be familiar with the events of Future’s End to read this title. It is nice to see some familiar faces from the Batman Beyond mythos peppered into the book as well.
The appearance of Neo-Gotham is a little different from the animated series and the comics that have followed. Bernard Chang does have similar architectural designs for the city that have been presented previously, but the color palette is different. A conscious decision or not, the colors should have been maintained. Also, the lands outside of Neo-Gotham have been devastated, so, yes, another post-apocalyptic future. I’m so tired of this trope. Everyone can probably agree that George Miller has set the standard again. Chang’s design for the batsuit is fairly spot-on, but some of the eye expressions seem off. Marcelo Maiolo’s coloring works well for the material and is able to really bring out the eye color in characters, making them very intriguing.
This isn’t a perfect comic, but it’s a good start. Batman Beyond fans should give this title a chance and who knows, maybe Terry will appear; This is comics after all. Those who followed Future’s End should pick this up as well since this is a direct follow-up. This creative has some work to do, but this title definitely has potential.