Batman Beyond #1
Writer: Adam Beechen
Pencils: Ryan Benjamin
Inks: John Stanisci
Colors: David Baron
June 30, 2010
I was stoked when DC announced the six-part mini for Batman Beyond. The cartoon is second only to Avatar: The Last Airbender in my book. I watched the animated series religiously, and I even had a giant Batman Beyond poster hanging over my bed.
The concept of a young man taking over the cowl under the tutelage of Bruce “Silver Fox” Wayne is genius, and it’s executed quite well in this first issue. Bruce is, of course, so obsessive that no amount of old age will keep him from protecting Gotham. He’d have to cease to exist (notice I didn’t say “die”), and even then, he’d probably still have some contingency AI Batman to run shit. For now, we’ve got Terry McGinnis.
Terry is a likable kid who has a great sense of humor. When he takes off that mask, he’s got a little Tim Drake action going on (winks at E.) His character is true to form with quippy comebacks and a young man’s attitude laced with tinge of snark reserved for Bruce. BW seems to be keeping the task bar skyscraper-high, but he doesn’t quite trust Terry … completely.
Bruce: “I don’t like relying on anyone.”
Terry: “Yeah? Including me?”
Bruce: “You’ve done well enough. So far.”
Terry: “Alert the vid-crews and data-streamers! Bruce Wayne just gave me a mili-kudo!”
Given BW’s control-freak tendencies (and staying true to the ’toon), he’s got a com-link to Terry … Oracle style. The banter that ensues between them highlights the well-paced action of this issue perfectly. Longtime DC readers get a few nuggets of villains past, and an aged Amanda Waller. Yup, The Wall. Epic win, folks.
Mega-kudos for Ryan Benjamin’s art. It is simple and clean as an ode to the cartoon, but the artist’s lines display depth and emotion. The actions scenes work well and are made to pop with the futuristic background detail. I don’t think colorist David Baron used more than three or four shades in any given panel, but it complemented the pencils and the overall tone of the book.
It’s a story balanced with progression of plot, and there’s just enough exposition of continuity that anyone could pick it up and enjoy. Since DC is so desperate to attract new readers, they should be marketing the hell out of this book. Batman Beyond could be just the reader bait the company needs.
Juicy story. Good art. Buy it.