Batman Beyond #14 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Phil Hester, Penciller; Ande Parks, Inker; Michael Spicer, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Finally on Track
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW!!
Ray: After an opening arc mired in Brother Eye mythology, and a second arc that took Terry out of Gotham in search of Damian Wayne (followed by two excellent issues by guest creators), this arc feels like it’s going to be the most classic story the title’s done in a long time – one with callbacks to certain major Batman stories. The issue opens with the Royal Flush Gang reunited under a mysterious new mastermind and with several upgraded members, just as Terry and Max bring the elderly Bruce back to Wayne Manor in a wheelchair following his back surgery. Bruce is grumpy about having to wait out his recovery, of course, but Terry and Matt promptly move in to help him out and bring back a lot of the classic Batman and Robin dynamic immediately. Literally, in fact – it seems Matt has been moonlighting on the Robin cycle.
Terry’s got a new suit and manages to reconcile with Dana, who is now fully in on his secret and has accepted both sides of his life. Meanwhile, Barbara is beginning to sniff out Matt’s extracurriculars. But the biggest pressing problem is the Flush Gang, which seems to be missing Terry’s on-again, off-again girl Ten. In her place is an army of highly powered goons who may not be entirely human. Phil Hester jumping on art gives this title a timeless look that it was missing (Chang is a great artist, but his art definitely went more towards gritty cyberpunk). Bruce’s creepy Bat-drone is my new favorite thing, and the end of the issue delivers one hell of a cliffhanger while calling back to an iconic Bat-moment. Let’s just say Bruce isn’t the only Bat who may not be fully mobile for a while…
Corrina: It has taken a long time to get Batman Beyond back to the roots of the television series and the various digital-first titles that explored the Batman Beyond Universe but this is the best issue of the series so far, almost (but not quite) a reset to the classic setup, though Terry is now older, more experienced, and finally knows what he wants. The relationship with Dana has moved into adulthood in a nice sequence by Hester, with the door closing. (Of course, Bruce interrupts them later, as he does, in typical Bruce fashion.)
But, on Bruce, it’s nice to see he’s mellowed a bit. I love cranky old Bruce Wayne but he works best when there is a human element to him, a connection to other people as well, and it looks like he and Matt are going to be spending time together. And, if the heavy foreshadowing is a clue, we’re about to have a new Robin joining the Bat-Family.
As for the ending? The lead-up to the moment when Ace attacks Terry’s back is a bit abrupt, so I’m hopeful that the suit has protected him. Having just gotten Terry back in uniform, I don’t want to see it stopped anytime soon.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.