Batman Beyond #1 (DC Comics)
Batman Beyond has had comic book appearances in the past, but according to DC, this is the first time it really counts. Batman Beyond #1 is one of the first new “#1’s” in DC’s post Convergence minirelaunch, and the Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang’s new ongoing has some surprises in store for fans of the character. Including a person behind the Batman Beyond cowl that isn’t Terry McGinnis.
I won’t spoil the identity of the new Batman, but I will say that much of this debut issue focuses on him constantly asking A.L.F.R.E.D., his AI program, to fill him in on the Gotham of the future, which has changed since Terry McGinnis traveled back in time in the Future’s End weekly series. As Batman investigates the new city, much of Dan Jurgens’ script becomes an info dump. There’s a quick battle with a Brother Eye infected Superman, but other than that, there’s not a whole lot to go on here.
Jurgen’s script is so focused on filling the reader in that he neglects to come up with a really intriguing story. There’s no clear motivation for this new Batman, other than exploring Gotham and constantly talking bout how different this looks from what he’s seen before. Batman Beyond #1 isn’t that new reader friendly either. Despite the “#1” on the title, Jurgens relies on the reader knowing about many of the events of Future’s End, which detailed how this new Batman Beyond came to be.
In terms of the art, Bernard Chang’s style isn’t what I was expecting for a Batman Beyond series, and while it took some getting used to, I ended up really enjoying it by the end of the issue. Chang’s depiction of the future of Gotham is really beautiful and dark, and his design for the Brother Eye Superman is pretty creepy too.
Batman Beyond was not the debut issue I was hoping for, but it’s got potential. If Jurgens’ scripts can balance action with exposition then Batman Beyond could grow into something really special. But for right now, it needed to come out swinging to really stand out. DC’s got a lot of new books hitting this month, and it would be shame for a title featuring Batman Beyond get lost in the shuffle.