Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Bernard Chang
Colors by: Marcelo Maiolo
I have to be honest; I have not looked at the Batman Beyond franchise in quite a while. I am a serious advocate of the DCAU Television series and did read the early tie in comics for quite a while but over time have lost touch. Batman Beyond #1 has changed all that and recharged my interested in the series. The first issue is an exciting re-entry into the franchise with excellent art and several familiar franchise faces. The story was compelling, the action structure exciting, and it all left me wanting the next issue, yesterday.
The issue returns us to Terry’s adventure at a full throttle pace. Dana is still Terry’s girlfriend and has been captured. Terry is literally buried in a battle with The Jokers, and Matt has decided to break protocol by breaking the oldest ‘bat-rule’ in the book, showing someone the Bat-Cave. Terry has been out of commission for a bit and is not quite up to his “Batman” self. Additionally, in his absence The Jokers have managed to take over a whole neighborhood and rename it Joker Town. If that wasn’t bad enough the gang’s ambitions are now to return Gotham’s most influential citizen of all time to the realm of the living. Batman you say?!? Nope, none other than the Crowned Prince of Crime himself, The Joker!!
The whole issue finds our hero Terry in a state of distress. After returning from being ‘out of commission’ for a bit, Terry finds himself overwhelmed with the Jokers. Not only have they created “Joker Town” but after A battle with a ‘juiced’ Joker, Terry finds himself seriously out of hero shape and barely able to contend with the beast. Fortunately Batman’s most classic strength, his mind, won the battle. Ultimately Terry lost the day and the Jokers are forcing him to try a adopt a new, yet shocking, strategy.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the issue was the return of some familiar old characters. I always was a fan of both Max and Matt from the Television series. Matt has grown up quite a bit, and is becoming his brother’s keeper so to speak. He clearly is evolving into a new ‘sidekick’ that many speculated he would become back in ‘the day’. We also have a return of Terry ‘wing-girl’ Max. Max has always been a critical part of Terry’s support system since the cartoon and continues to be a confidant. The familiar was everywhere and for an old fan it brought me right home to New Gotham.
One thing that always worries me with comics that were in previous media is interpretation of the visuals as they are translated onto the page. Chang and Maiolo’s art and color are extremely well done. They gave the book a more mature feel which was perfect since Terry and the whole crew had ‘matured’ quite a bit. The art manages to find the contrast of grim, dark, New Gotham dread with a bright neon cyber punk future perfectly. This gives the story the proper visual tone and helped draw me into the story a bit more.
Batman Beyond #1 was a solid issue and made me excited for the series again, and this will be a regular part of my pull list.