- Written by Dan Jurgens
- Pencils & Inks by Bernard Chang
- Cover by Ryan Sook
“THE RETURN” part one! Terry McGinnis is back as Batman, much to the delight of his family and friends. But is the original Joker really back as well? Inspired by the possible return of their role model, the Jokerz have taken over an entire section of Gotham City and are determined to wreak havoc in the still-rebuilding city. While Batman battles chaos on the streets, his friend Dana is at the mercy of the new leader of the now-unified gang.
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In my review of the ‘Rebirth’ special I talked about how ‘Batman Beyond’ has been somewhat of an awkward cousin to mainstream ‘Batman’ comics. I’m really happy to say that after reading both the special and this issue that seems to finally be changing.
As intriguing as the alternate future storyline with Tim Drake as Batman was ‘Batman Beyond’ feels more itself with Terry McGinnis at the helm. The special one-shot did a perfect job of reintroducing him to the audience and so now we’re able to focus on the intrigue of the storyline.
There’s more at stake for Terry then in previous stories as he has always been able to protect his friends and family as both Batman and his alter-ego. Now with Terry presumed dead and Dana kidnapped it poses an awkward question for him: does he out himself as alive and come clean? Or hide in the shadows like the elder Bruce Wayne did?
Of course given that the last issue ended with Terry under a pile of rubble there’s not a lot of time to think about that here.
This issue spends a little more time introducing some of the supporting players in the new ‘Batman Beyond’ world. Matt McGinnis seems to be player a much stronger role in supporting his brother whilst Max is also able to take on more of support role once introduced to the Batcave.
‘Batman Beyond’ has always had a strong supporting cast but this has often relied on major characters from the Batman universe: Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake to name but a few. What we’re seeing in this issue is ‘Batman Beyond’ step away from those characters and focus more on its own original creations.
I’m still a little unsure on the direction of the story featuring The Jokerz and ultimately Joker himself. It does slightly fly in the face of what Jurgens is doing with the main cast. However as we’re yet to fully understand how and if he will even return there could be some great twists to come in future issues.
Bernard Chang takes on artistic duties with this issue. It retains the darker look of the one-shot special so I’m generally pleased. However the red lenses on the Batsuit are still a distraction. New-Gotham has a much darker look than in the Bruce Timm styled comics and therefore it takes on much more character of its own.
The ‘Batman Beyond’ Batsuit has always caused artists problems due to its design which really works against the ability to have an expression on Batman’s face. Chang and Sook are trying very hard to add expression without ruining the suit design. So far its working so long may it continue.
‘Batman Beyond’ #1 has an intriguing story and some great artwork. It’s so far proving to be one of the more original incarnations of this franchise in print. Definitely worth a read.