Review: Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Ryan Sook

Summary
The story begins with Terry McGinnis, the future Batman, stopping a robbery being committed by the gang called The Jokerz. This leads Terry to reminisce on how he became the Batman.

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Terry and his girlfriend Dana Tan had been confronted by the Jokerz. Terry used a motorcycle to flee and lead them away from Dana. Racing past Wayne Manor, Terry nearly hits an old man. Terry stops to defend this old man from the Jokerz, but is shocked to see him take them down singlehandedly.

Terry realizes this is Bruce Wayne, and he helps the elderly man back to the manor. Before leaving, Terry accidentally discovers the entrance to the Batcave, leading him to the further realization that Bruce was the Batman.

An angry Bruce throws Terry out of the manor, so he returns home to find his father has been killed by the Jokerz. He returns to Bruce and begs him to put the suit back on and catch his father’s killers. Bruce refuses because he is done with being the Batman. So, Terry steals a newer Batsuit and goes after the Jokerz himself. Bruce reluctantly coaches Terry remotely, but gradually came to accept Terry as the new Batman.

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Returning to Terry’s present, he hands the Jokerz over to Commissioner Barbara Gordon. Before they can be taken in, the Jokerz die from Joker venom, just as the Joker used to do with his henchmen whenever they were captured. This makes Terry wonder if the Joker could possibly still be alive.

Later, Dana Tan is captured by a pair of Jokerz, while Terry is getting reacquainted with his little brother Matt. They learn from a news report that Dana has been captured, so Terry races off to face them. While Terry faces a large Venom-fueled member of the Jokerz, Dana is introduced to the man in charge of the gang: the newly resurrected Joker himself.

Positives
With this Rebirth special, DC again is following their successful formula of continuing the story from the New 52 era, but re-establishing classic elements of the characters. Once again, Terry is the Batman of the future, but the story acknowledges that he has been missing in action for a few years. Other than this and the absence of Bruce, this story could have come straight out of the cartoon. Batman Beyond has definitely returned to the classic status quo.

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Also, the revelation that the real Joker is back is a shocker and promises an exciting future for this title. Terry has faced a number major threats, but now he has to face the very worst of the original Batman’s foes. This conflict will test whether Terry is truly worthy of the carrying on the mantle of Batman.

Negatives
The main thing missing is the elderly Batman. Hopefully, they will be able to keep the title exciting without his presence. But it’s probably better that they carry on without using some weak excuse for negating Bruce’s death. It’s promising that Barbara seems to taking over Bruce’s role as mentor to Terry.

One thing that has me a bit worried is that even though they acknowledged Terry’s long absence, no mention was made of Tim Drake’s tenure as Batman. I hope this is just for brevity and they don’t plan on ignoring Tim. I have too many questions about his mysterious disappearance at the end of the previous series and would be disappointed if this mystery isn’t followed up on.

Verdict
This is a solid setup for the upcoming new series. It recaps Terry’s origin and sets up the new status quo. DC has once again succeeded in returning classic elements to the current continuity of the character.

3.5outof5

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.