Kyle Higgins may be leaving Nightwing, but Batman Beyond 2.0 continues to flourish in the latest chapter of the Terry McGinnis saga. The crew is in dire straits as Terry and Bruce (yes, that Bruce) have stumbled upon an underground nest of Man-Bats while the clock continues to tick on Barbara Gordon’s tenure as police commissioner. As this arc crosses the halfway point, Higgins continues to add more twists and turns to the story while, at the very least, showing readers how much Bruce really has left in his tank.
Higgins and artist Thony Silas are making it difficult to review this title because issue after issue, Batman Beyond 2.0 delivers in both the writing and art departments. Higgins kicks off the issue with a sense of urgency that never lets up. Right away, the characters are in a bind, as the mayor wants to send in an “extraction team” for the hostages captured back in issue nine. Barbara senses it will go south and resists, but unfortunately her term as police commissioner is hours away from ending. Meanwhile, Terry and Bruce find themselves quickly outmatched by Langstrom’s new and improved lackeys. The pressure put on these characters from both fronts quickly pulls the reader in as the story moves at a brisk pace. Though the narrative may not reach the heights of The Dark Knight Returns or Maus, this is superhero storytelling at its finest. There is a lot of action without it becoming superfluous, some playful banter, and antagonists that the reader can enjoy rooting against.
Silas continues to make this series shine with art that adds energy to every panel. Specifically, his depiction of Bruce is not the bitter, broken old man from the Batman Beyond animated series, but a man who scoffs at his own advanced age. As he hurls projectiles at an oncoming horde of Man-Bats, there are shades of Neil Gaiman’s Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? He may not be wearing the cowl, but it’s undeniable that there is plenty of fight still in him.
Higgins continues to add new elements to the story, and while they have worked well thus far, he treads dangerously close to “deus ex machina” territory more than once. One of these twists—though logical based on what has been previously established—comes out of nowhere and may cause eyes to roll.
Despite the energy Silas brings every issue, he continues to draw many faces the same.
The pressure is on and the fun continues in Batman Beyond 2.0 #12. This adventure in the bowels of New Gotham is a blast, while the conflict above ground raises questions about Barbara Gordon’s future. If her tenure at the GCP is nearing its end, will she be a full time member of Team Batman? Will she miraculously be reinstated? Regardless of the answers, Higgins and Silas’ work in the Beyond universe is among the best offerings in the DC stable.