Batman Beyond #16 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Phil Hester, Penciller; Ande Parks, Inker; Michael Spicer, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Not Looking So Good For Terry
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Following the conclusion of the Ra’s Al Ghul arc, this series has finally gotten back to basics, pitting Terry against some of his most iconic villains from the cartoon. And first in the lineup is Stalker, the ruthless but honorable African hunter. At least, the honorable part was in the series – since then, he’s been blackmailed into targeting Terry by any means necessary in exchange for food for his starving village. The book’s finally moved away from the overly long Brother Eye arc, but the impacts are still being felt in Batman Beyond #16, and that’s what motivates Stalker’s assault. Hester and Parks are a great choice as the new art team, as they manage to depict a futuristic Gotham and some great action. The issue ended last time with both Terry and Dana plummeting down to the city below after Stalker shot out Batman’s wings, but the new costume bails them out.
We haven’t gotten to see the upgraded costume in the field much yet, but this issue it becomes clear that it’s a massive powerhouse, able to survive extreme situations. I’m of two minds about that, as it opens Terry up to some more extreme threats – but it also makes him seem a lot less human in places. The action segments where Terry goes up against Stalker, and barely survives being thrown into the middle of a furnace, are some of the best of the series. But there are some interesting subplots in between the action, including a mysterious shadowy vigilante taking out criminals when Batman isn’t around, and some great interactions between Matt and Bruce. I’m still waiting for Matt to decide to steal that Robin costume out of the Batcave! Overall, this is a fun issue that continues this series’ recent resurgence.
Corrina: I’m not thrilled with Dana’s second damsel-in-distress moment in this series but at least it’s over quickly and back to the excellent fight between Terry and the Stalker. They’ve both upgraded from the Batman Beyond days, and the fight plays out all over Gotham. Hester and Park’s sequences, as you can see from the page above, shine in the action scenes. The battle was so well done that I’m genuinely worried about how Terry is going to get out of the mess he’s in. And it’s also the first time the effects of the dystopia created by Brother Eye have been felt by a Batman Beyond villain.
The subplot with the mysterious vigilante intrigued me. I think we’re not supposed to believe it’s the new Batwoman Beyond, as Gordon knows all about her. That leaves us with numerous choices connected with the television series.
Overall, for a series severely handicapped by being connected to the now-forgotten Brother Eye event, it’s found its groove.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.