Review: BATMAN BEYOND #40
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Sean Chen, Sean Parsons
Colours: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Wes Abbott
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman Beyond #40: Batwoman is doing her best to find Blight, but time is running out. The evil villain is looking to take Terry’s body for good, which would give him a whole new lease on his criminal life. And rather than wait for Batwoman to come to him, Blight takes the fight to her! Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is surprised to find a blast from his past has returned.
While Terry has been missing in action for the last few issues, a mysterious new Batwoman has appeared to take his place. And now, Batman Beyond #40 reveals who this new crimefighter actually is.
Bruce had suspected Barbara Gordon, while Matt McGinnis suspected Terry’s girlfriend Melanie Walker, but neither option seemed too likely to me. Barbara is a bit too old for the role and a bit too busy as police commissioner to be leading a double life. On the other hand, Melanie seemed a bit too obvious a suspect.
My own theory was that Batwoman is neither woman, but is another character that Dan Jurgens introduced recently, Elainna, the daughter of Dick Grayson. I was pleased to find my theory confirmed in the pages of Batman Beyond #40.
Jurgens has made a number of expansions to the Batman Beyond mythos, and the introduction of a new Batwoman offers some interesting possibilities. We know that her father is against her getting involved in the world of superheroics, which will undoubtedly cause some conflict when her identity is revealed. And will Bruce back her decision to take on the identity of Batwoman, or will he side with Dick?
Also, I have to wonder if when Terry sees Elainna at odds with Dick over her being Batwoman, if this will lead him to reconsider his decision to forbid Matt to be Robin. Assuming that Terry regains his memories and returns to the his former life.
Also, we get to see Dick in action as Nightwing… well sort of. As Blight’s operatives attack Wayne Manor, Dick arrives wearing a motorcycling outfit that looks very much like his Nightwing costume. He immediately leaps to action, helping Batwoman to fight off Blight’s forces. While it’s not exactly a return to the crimefighting life for Dick, it does deliver a nice bit of fan service.
It does occur to me that the possibility of Bruce and Dick at odds over Elainna being Batwoman might be somewhat repetitious. They had the same conflict over Matt’s being Robin. I hope that the story plays out a bit differently and isn’t just a repeat of the earlier matter.
I hope that Elainna continues in the role, whether she gains the official sanction of Bruce and Terry. It might be interesting to see her continuing as Batwoman in defiance of the official Bat-Family, but I’m sure she would also make a fine addition to the team.
Also, if she does continue in the role once Terry re-assumes his role as Batman, perhaps her costume should be updated to better differentiate her outfit from Terry’s.
Jurgens continues to do a masterful job as caretaker of the Batman Beyond mythos. He manages to keep the feel of the original cartoon, while expanding and exploring the world of Terry McGinnis’ Batman. This iteration of the Batman Beyond comic has proven to be a worthy continuation of the classic animated series.