SPOILER WARNING: Man-Bats! So many Man-Bats!
Since its launch in the spring of 2013, Batman Beyond 2.0 has been one of the most consistently quality reads in DC’s lineup—a trend which continues in the latest chapter. The issue begins with attention focused on the two men that were abducted back in Chapter #9. After an exchange of words with one of their captors, which only adds more mystery to the story, Kyle Higgins shifts the narrative to our protagonists. As Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson discuss the situation at hand (and allude to a certain moment in the past) Bat-Terry and Old Man Bruce attempt to infiltrate Kirk Langstrom’s lair via the cavernous Gotham City sewage system.
Kyle Higgins does a masterful job of progressing the story while adding new layers of mystery to the situation at hand. The script carefully tips its hand, giving the reader just enough to satisfy while sowing the seeds for a potentially grander story. A line of dialog here, a kiss there; they could end up as red herrings, but if nothing else, they invigorate the story with a sense of wonder.
The biggest mystery surrounds the rift between Bruce and Terry (and to an extent, Dick and Barbara). Higgins has teased that those events will be the focus of the series’ third arc, but lack of knowledge only adds to the enjoyment of their scenes. As the characters tiptoe around the past, the reader is only drawn in further with their own speculations. The story becomes more than something that is read; it welcomes audience participation.
Thony Silas’s art continues to be one of the book’s highlights. However, there were multiple instances of “same face syndrome” throughout the issue. The most egregious moment is early in the issue, when the gender of a character could only be determined from reading dialog. Well, the characters said it was a woman, so we’ll have to take her word for it.
Another Saturday in the books, another great issue of Batman Beyond 2.0. Kyle Higgins and Thony Silas are crafting something special on the digital scene that serves as the last remaining vestige of the DC Animated Universe. Where the story goes from here is sure to be a wild and entertaining ride. If you haven’t hopped aboard yet, now’s the time.