10 Issues In: Batman Beyond
Has it really been 2 months since my last post? Yikes. I’d totally be fired if the folks at Big B Comics weren’t so awesome. Anyways, they keep giving me a platform so I’m going to continue talking out of turn, even when you whine and groan (yes I know you’re doing it right now!). As usual this post will contain some minor spoilers (we are, after all, going through ten issues here). So let’s see what’s going on with everyone’s favourite Batman from the future, Terry McGinnis!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE’S DEAD!? How can you have Batman Beyond without Terry?? Oh. Tim Drake is dead in the future so when Terry time traveled to the present day during “The Future’s End” weekly series last year and died, Tim was able to take the suit and return to the future without disrupting the timeline…that’s pretty cool. Okay, I’m intrigued again…no I’m not talking to myself I’m engaging the reader…gawd!
Issue #1 begins with us getting a look at future Gotham. It turns out Gotham is pretty safe from Brother Eye (the “Big Bad” from Future’s End that they didn’t really beat) thanks to a veil they developed that essentially turns the city into a giant blind spot on Brother Eye’s radar. Some Jokerz decide that Gotham should be destroyed, so they break into the Wayne-Powers building to unplug the veil. This is where Tim Drake jumps into action and is able to keep the veil intact. We also learn that Gotham was originally ravaged by Brother Eye and to rebuild Alfred, who is now a JARVIS type AI, Tim needs to grab as much data as he can to build up a defense against Brother Eye. Terry’s friends have been kidnapped as well and are being held captive at a place called “The Lodge”. Tim gets some info from Matt, Terry’s younger brother, who does not believe Tim should be in his brother’s suit, and then leaves for a destroyed New York where The Lodge is located. We then get a second action sequence with a Brother Eye version of Superman, who nearly destroys Tim before Alfred sets off an EMP which knocks out not only Superman but himself as well and powers down Tim’s suit. Given his options he decides to sneak into The Lodge as an every man, which is where he runs into an old friend who just so happens to recognize him.
Enter Barbara Gordon and the fan-favourite Batman Beyond character, Max Gibson. Both try to get Tim to safety to avoid “processing” from Brother Eye. Max bravely goes in place of Tim for “processing”, which is when The Lodge’s superiors realize that Max is a woman (shocking!). Since they were expecting a man, Brother Eye as well as the recurring Batman Beyond villain Inque, who is in charge of The Lodge as it turns out, interrogate Max to discover Tim Drake and Barbara Gordon’s whereabouts. Inque does seem to feel some remorse about what’s being done at The Lodge while Brother Eye is ecstatic to find out Tim is in the building. Brother Eye takes the offensive approach, as he deploys Inque to retrieve Tim and Babs. Despite Tim finally being able to power up his suit, he fails badly against Inque and Max, now under Brother Eye’s control, with both he and Babs being taken away to be processed.
While being processed Tim is pumped full of drugs to reveal the location of Gotham to Brother Eye. Tim has a plan though, as he gets Alfred to send a shock through his system which hurts him but disables his restraints and eliminates the drugs in his system. While escaping he learns that The Lodge is a prison that Brother Eye uses to suck information out of all the prisoners to increase his own knowledge. A fight with Inque breaks out and we find out Inque is only working with Brother Eye because he kidnapped her daughter, who turns out to be completely safe. Tim promises to get her daughter back to her if she helps him. Together they save Barbara, Max and destroy the facility…all is not rainbows and unicorns however since Brother Eye injected himself into Tim’s suit. Now back in Gotham and through the veil, Brother Eye sees all and summons his Justice League robots.
As expected, Brother Eye sends wave after wave of robots to destroy Gotham but Batman and the citizens fight back, save for the Jokerz who are still fighting Batman. The good news is we find out Micron is alive and well, fighting alongside Batman. The unfortunate truth is even with back up they are still getting their butts kicked. Worst of all Tim is forced to destroy Alfred, with Brother Eye being able to track Tim and the gang through Alfred the entire time. Barbara eventually saves Tim using the Batmobile to get him away from the fight. Tim’s suit yet again runs out of power so Babs takes him to the Batcave to try a new suit on… Jim Gordon’s Robo-Batsuit to be exact, the very suit currently featured in the main Batman title.
Tim gets suited up in his new threads and fights Brother Eye’s Justice League. He makes quick work of John Stewart before he runs into Superman and Wonder Woman. Brother Eye thinks he’ll win but Batman and Micron have other plans… Micron beats Wonder Woman while Tim shoves a kryptonite ring down Superman’s throat. Before taking the fight to Brother Eye, who apparently is out for vengeance because Tim ruined his original future (which was way better for him I guess?). Tim and Barbara head back to the Batcave to discover one more useful piece of equipment.
Turns out Bruce had a secret JLA transport in the Batcave that links straight to the Watchtower, which of course is Brother Eye’s satellite now. So while Micron and the others keep Brother Eye’s drones at bay, Tim is up in the satellite ready to wrestle with Brother Eye (who, FYI, has a body now). After a shot that cracked Brother Eye’s armor, Inque, who stowed away with Batman, enters Brother Eye to shut him down from the inside and ensure he can’t move his consciousness to another machine. Tim grabs Inque’s daughter, keeping his promise, and escapes just before the satellite explodes. Brother Eye is defeated and his cyborgs cease operation.
Now that Brother Eye is defeated Tim and Barbara go back to work trying to get the Beyond suit to work once again. Meanwhile, Matt McGinnis has a robot arm he scooped during the Brother Eye battle and takes it to an underground tech dealer who tells him its from Metropolis. A bad guy named Rewire comes in to get some payback on the tech dealer…Matt wisely runs in the other direction. Tim takes on some Jokerz to test out the fixed suit, minus the Alfred AI, when he gets a call from Matt’s guardian, Nora, telling him Matt is missing!
Tim ends up at the tech dealer’s shop and Rewire is still hanging out with the body of the now deceased tech dealer. Rewire is about to blow the place up when Tim grabs a scanner to get Matt’s location, he also discovers that Matt has John Stewart’s power ring. Tim and Micron get back to work cleaning up Gotham after the battle with Brother Eye and Micron shines some light on his previous encounters with Brother Eye and how he was the only member of the Justice League Beyond to survive, doing so by going microscopic in size. There is some unrest outside the gates of Gotham however. Mayor of Gotham, Luke Fox, the former Batwing, isn’t letting anyone in for sanctuary to mainta the safety of his fellow Gothamites. Meanwhile, Matt eventually enters a deserted Metropolis, where there aretalking animals…wait, WHAAA!?
Luke and Barbara are left arguing back and forth about what to do about the refugees following the Brother Eye attack. Tim leaves to find Matt and when he arrives in Metropolis he sees a bunch of advertisements for a Doctor. Tim figures this is what Matt came for so he starts asking around and finds out the Doctor can get you whatever you want but the cost is high since no one is ever seen again. Cut to Matt who found the Justice League Beyond HQ, or what’s left of it. Too bad the animals find him first, we find out they’re new aged Splicers, completely different from the old beyond cartoons. Tim shows up and fights some Splicers while the power ring flies out of Matt’s pocket and into the Watchtower. Matt follows into a room full of tubes where the other members of the Justice League Beyond, who were thought to be dead, are inside in stasis. Batman loses his fight and is taken to the Splicers boss, Dr. Cuvier.
Dr. Cuvier makes the Splicers fight Batman as he watches from afar with the just introduced Tuftan. The Splicers and the Doctor explain that they chose this life, with the Doctor saving them and their families. Matt sees the power ring break through Kai-Ro’s (Green Lantern of the future) tube and he awakens, reviving the rest of the League (except Superman for some strange reason). They are then ambushed by an Elephant Man who brainwashes them into thinking Tim is a creation of Brother Eye so they go out and start throwing down with Batman Beyond. Meanwhile the refugees riot outside of Gotham and eventually get through the gate, with anarchy appearing imminent.
So there you have it! Ten issues condensed into 1500ish words. You’d think I’d be better at this by now but hey I’m talkative. Anyways as for a review, this series’ writing is mixed, not because it’s inconsistency. Dan Jurgens is great at writing good dialogue and emotions but overall the issues never give us a great payoff. The fight with Brother Eye for supremacy amounted to nothing more than a boxing match between he and Batman Beyond. The huge cliffhangers of the issues generally are either left unanswered or uninspired. That being said the scenes with the refugees leave you struggling to decide who you side with. You understand Mayor Fox’s points about not wanting to take anything away from their citizens but how can they let so many people go without? These are supposed to be our heroes, so how can they not care? It’s also nice to see Tim struggle with things he doesn’t understand since he’s usually the smartest guy in the room, although it would be nice to see him win once against someone who isn’t The Jokerz without any help, he was a Robin after all. Bernard Chang’s art is solid throughout, though sometimes the pacing struggles from panel to panel especially during the fight scenes but, overall, solid work.
If you’re a fan of Batman Beyond or Tim Drake you should absolutely pick this up. If you missed out on the single issues have no fear! This week you can pick up Volume 1 from your local Big B Comics which collects the Brother Eye arc…how convenient! If you want to get into Batman Beyond for the first time though, I’d suggest starting off with some classic Terry McGinnis Batman Beyond comics, specifically Batman Beyond 2.0 written by Kyle Higgins! It’s great stuff for longtime fans of the character as well as a perfect springboard for new readers!