[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Phil Hester, Ande Parks
“The Long Payback” part four! Following his defeat at the hands of Stalker, Batman is delivered into the arms of the mysterious villain pulling all the strings—someone he never expected! Humiliated by past defeats, this deadliest of enemies wants to drag Batman through the streets of Neo-Gotham en route to a public execution. With Bruce Wayne hampered by injuries, the rescue mission falls to a complete unknown, with dire consequences!
Batman’s battle with Stalker continues from last issue. Terry barely manages to prevent Stalker from unmasking him during the fight, but Stalker comes close to killing Terry anyway. Terry needs someone to come to his aid, but who can?
Bruce is still recovering from back surgery, and is physically unable to come to Terry’s aid. But what about Matt? We get another quite blatant hint that Matt is going to assume the mantle of Robin – but he doesn’t yet.
Ten, the daughter of King and Queen from the Royal Flush gang, comes to help Batman. Ten is reformed and is, as Bruce guesses, trying to impress Terry, who she has a crush on. But she doesn’t realize that Terry is Batman. Her reappearance in Terry’s life could cause some interesting complications in Terry and Dana tan’s rekindled relationship.
Payback also returns, revealing himself to be the one behind Stalker’s attack on Batman. That makes three villains (or ex-villains) from the original cartoon appearing, which is a treat for fans of the series.
Terry gets a chance to show his true character and worthiness to be Batman when Payback turns on Stalker, enraged that Stalker has nearly killed Batman, instead of allowing Payback to kill him. But Terry attempts to save Stalker, much to Stalker’s surprise. Terry simply tells him, “It’s what I do.”
I can see that someone unfamiliar with the Batman Beyond cartoon might find the story a bit confusing, as they wouldn’t recognize a lot of characters. However, Matt is also unfamiliar with them, which give a decent excuse for Bruce to deliver exposition that brings both Matt and the readers up to date on Payback and Ten.
This title is a real pleasure for fans of the original Kids’ WB cartoon. It’s almost as if the series had been brought back from cancellation for a fourth season.