[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Bernard Chang
Terry McGinnis, as Batman, has just fought off an attack on the Gotham City Police headquarters by the League of Assassins, with the aid of Curaré. When Koru, second in command to Ra’s Al Ghul, appears to continue the fight, Curare holds him off while sending Terry in her flier, which is pre-set to take him to Ra’s enclave.
The fight goes against Curare, but Terry finds that the prototype Batsuit he is wearing refuses to allow him to turn back. It turns out that the artificial intelligence in the suit is designed to make sure Batman doesn’t fail, regardless of what happens to the person wearing the suit.
Terry’s brother Matt asks Bruce why that’s a bad thing, and Bruce proceeds to tell him about Batman’s final case. Bruce was wearing this prototype suite while facing a gang of four Banes. Bruce was injured and would have lost the fight, but the suit took over and defeated the gang. However, the ordeal left Bruce with the injuries that ended his career as Batman.
The suit has blocked off Terry’s communication with Bruce, so Bruce sets out to follow Terry, who is heading towards a confrontation with Ra’s.
Terry fights his way through the League of Assassins until he confronts the Demon’s Head himself. During his battle with Ra’s, the mask covering his face is knocked off, revealing that Ra’s is not who Terry thought he was.
In recent issues, both Bruce and the Joker have returned from the dead, so it’s an interesting twist that the one villain who could legitimately still be active turns out to have been succeeded with a younger replacement. The one villain who it makes sense to still be fighting Batman in the future actually seems to be out of the picture.
And this Ra’s is someone with a personal connection to Bruce. Bruce states that, “The Demon is my problem. No one else’s.” This isn’t just because he has spent a lifetime fighting Ra’s, but rather that the current Ra’s al Ghul is someone who he feels responsible for on a deeply personal level.
Now, as a possible future timeline, the events that happen in the Batman Beyond universe are not set in stone. The current DCU might head down another path altogether. And I certainly hope it does. Because in this timeline, one of my favourite heroes ends up becoming one of Batman’s greatest foes, and I truly don’t want to see that happen.
That being said, as only a possible future, it poses quite the fascinating problem with how Bruce and Terry deal with one of Bruce’s closest allies becoming an enemy. Just please don’t eventually make it canon, DC.
This is another shocker in a sequence of surprising returns. Jurgens certainly knows how to throw a curve at his readers. I’m eager to see what else he’s got up his sleeve.