Review: Batman Beyond #1

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Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Bernard Chang

Summary
Picking up where Batman Beyond Rebirth left off, we find Terminal, the leader of the Jokerz, holding Batman’s (Terry McGinnis) former girlfriend Dana Tan hostage. Terminal shows the Joker’s corpse to Dana and announces that he is going to resurrect the Joker. He argues that the Joker was Gotham City’s most influential citizen rather than Batman and as such, deserves to be reborn.

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Meanwhile, Terry’s brother Matt brings his ally Max into the Batcave so that they can track and assist Terry in rescuing Dana. Accessing the Batcave’s comms, they find that they can barely pick up a signal from Terry’s Batsuit.

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This is because Terry is currently under a ton of rubble that a huge Jokerz member has dropped on top of him. Terry is unable to free himself, so out of desperation, he drops a couple explosive charges down an exposed pipe, hoping that they will explode somewhere useful, but far enough away not to prove fatal to him.

Luckily, the explosives free Terry, but he still has to face the Venom-engorged Jokerz goon. He barely manages to do so by destroying the device infusing the brute with Venom. Unfortunately, Terry is immediately swarmed by a mob of Jokerz. Realizing he is overmatched, Terry flees back to the Batcave.

At the Batcave, Terry explains to Matt and Max that his months away from being Batman has left him unprepared to act as Batman, and that he fears he may have made the situation worse. He tells them that defeating a couple thousand Jokerz is beyond his abilities as Batman. Matt mistakenly assumes that Terry is being a quitter, but Terry reveals his real plan – to infiltrate the Jokerz by posing as one of them.

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Positives
I like that Terry’s absence from the role of Batman is having some consequences. Rather than him just jumping back into the job in peak form, he is rusty from having gone months without training or practice. Undoubtedly, he will return to his prior level of performance, but the idea that Batman’s ability can be less than optimal isn’t often touched upon.

Also interesting is Terry’s decision to go undercover to infiltrate the Jokerz. It shows the versatility of the character for him to drop his normal methods if they aren’t working and try something different. There is more to Batman than just showing up in costume and beating up the bad guys.

Negatives
This issue bears the Rebirth branding, but there doesn’t seem to be any apparent connection to the Rebirth story line. On the other hand, there is some metaphorical rebirth evident in the story. The status quo for the series has gone back to more or less the same as the original cartoons (minus Bruce Wayne). Also, if Terminal’s plan to resurrect the Joker succeeds, that would be a literal rebirth.

Verdict
A solid issue, carrying on the strong start of the Rebirth special. It will be interesting to see how Terry’s attempt at bringing the Jokerz down from the inside progresses.

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.