Batman Beyond #18 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Phil Hester, Penciller; Ande Parks, Inker; Mike Spicer. Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Robin Ride!
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: There’s a lot going on in Batman Beyond #18, bringing in new villains, new heroes, and a great twist ending. That all comes together to make this maybe the best issue of the rebooted series. As the issue picks up, Batman and Stalker are plunging to their deaths, while Ten – who has been operating as a vigilante unbeknownst to Terry – her been captured by the masked Payback. Payback, previously a kid who turned supervillain to get back at his distant father, is now a sadistic mastermind with a blood grudge against Batman and a willingness to see the entire city burn to spite him. Batman and Stalker’s escape from near-death is a great action segment and allows the African cyborg assassin a chance at redemption after being blackmailed into trying to kill Batman and kidnapping Dana.
However, the issue really takes off as Batman gets ready to take the fight to Payback and the truth behind the villains vicious new MO is revealed. With Ten in danger, Terry charges right in but soon finds himself facing one Deathtrap after another, unable to figure out why the boy he had to arrest then has gone so dark. Well, that’s because it’s not the boy at all. The issue goes a lot darker than I expected, revealing that Dr. Stanton abandoned his son after he was arrested, leaving him to rot in juvenile hall without ever visiting him. And soon, brutally beaten by older boys and believing his father didn’t care about him, Kenny took the only way out he had. And Dr. Stanton, looking to blame anyone but himself for his son’s death, became obsessed with revenge against Batman. He’s easily the darkest villain this series has had so far, and it doesn’t look good for Terry. Fortunately, it’s finally Matt’s chance to shine next issue. What’s a Batman without his Robin, after all?
Corrina: The twist ending didn’t surprise me as much as Ray but I suspect that’s because I’m not as well-versed in Batman Beyond mythology. But if you were a fan of the show, it should hit hard.
I loved the rising danger from the various deathtraps–I counted at least three and I bet I forgot one. I also love that not only Terry but Bruce himself felt for Stalker and understood why he did what he did. (Though would Dana be so forgiving?)
Ten’s segment is great but I want to point out that this is the second time this arc that one of Terry’s love interests has been kidnapped and threatened by the villain and that trope is one I dislike intensely. It’s mitigated by Ten being able to fight back, somewhat, and that she has something of a backstory, having turned into one of the good guys, but I hope this plot device isn’t used again for a long time in this book.
Meantime, Matt rides as Robin! That has been coming for a while but still, it was cool to see.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.