Review: BATMAN BEYOND #38
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Colours: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Travis Lanham
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman Beyond #38: After all these years, Derek Powers, long thought dead, returns! The lethal villain who now goes by the name Blight is back to terrorize Neo-Gotham while he hunts down Bruce Wayne! With Terry McGinnis wanted by the police and on the run, the only person who can stop him is Batwoman! But, how do you stop a walking nuclear reactor when you barely know how to use your own high-tech suit?
The mystery of the new Batwoman continues as Bruce Wayne and Matt McGinnis investigate the person they suspect. Bruce confronts Barbara Gordon, suspecting that she has taken the costume to fill the gap that Terry has left. She laughs this off, reminding Bruce that the job of Police Commissioner keeps her too busy to also be moonlighting as a costumed vigilante.
Meanwhile, Matt confronts Melanie Walker, the reformed Ten of the Royal Flush Gang, and Terry’s girlfriend. Melanie also laughs it off, stating. “There’s no way I’d cross the old man like that.”
I quite liked that the reaction from both suspects was a hearty “Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-hahh!” It was a nice callback to Keith Giffen’s Justice League.
However, if Batwoman is neither Barbara or Melanie, then who is it? Well, there’s not a lot of possibilities left. It has to be a woman that both knows about the Batcave and either has access to it or the ability to break in.
My guess is that it’s Dick Grayson’s daughter, Elainna. In the Joker storyline, Jurgens established that she knows about her father and Bruce’s alter egos. She also learns about Terry and Matt succeeding them as Batman and Robin. Plus, she is shown in the Batcave. It’s not a stretch to believe that she still has access.
Although Dick does not want her to take on the role of a superheroine, he likely trained her to some degree, so that she would be able to defend herself if necessary. Also, with Dick disapproving of superheroics, Bruce would be unlikely to give her the costume. So, she stole the costume and took on the role of Batwoman in secret.
Terry is still wandering around Neo-Gotham without his memories, but Barbara does manage to track him down. Unfortunately, Terry doesn’t believe that she has his best interests in mind and escapes from her. He does so by instinctually using abilities he learned as Batman, hinting that his memories may still recoverable, even if he can’t consciously access them.
Also, it seems that Terry might end up involved in the current threat that the Bat-Family is facing: the return of Derek Powers, a.k.a. Blight. Constance Gustinov, the woman he’s hanging out with is a former employee is a former employee of Powers. Could that connection somehow put Terry in the centre of the upcoming conflict between Batwoman and Blight?
Given Barbara Gordon’s age and how busy her job as Police Commissioner keeps her, she seems a pretty poor suspect for being Batwoman. Not impossible, but it doesn’t seem terribly likely. So, why does the world’s greatest detective jump immediately to that conclusion? I think Jurgens probably should have had Bruce suspect Melanie and have Matt concluding that it’s Barbara.
Batman Beyond #38 is another solid issue from Dan Jurgens, with some stunning art from Sean Chen and Sean Parsons. Trying to solve the mystery of Batwoman has been a fun exercise, and I hope to see if my guess is correct before long. I look forward to seeing how she handles her first major battle with Blight in the upcoming issues.