Batman Beyond #21 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Will Conrad, Artist; David Baron, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Fear Gas?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The brief Robin experiment seems to be over for now, as in Batman Beyond #21, Terry has benched Matt after Matt disobeyed his orders during the Jokerz attack on GCPD headquarters last issue. This is a fairly common Robin trope – Dick, Jason, Tim, and Steph were all benched by Bruce at different points. Damian likely was, but probably didn’t listen. So I have little to no belief it’ll stick, but it mainly seems to serve to drive a bit of a rift between the brothers and put Bruce on the side of the rebellious kid for once, which amused me. The main story, involving the mysterious fear plague that’s making people in Gotham see Batman as some sort of inhuman monster continues to unfold as well, as the panic that caused Scab to go violent last issue doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident. As the issue opens, Terry breaks up a Jokerz heist, but soon finds himself the target of the panicking thugs. Things go from bad to worse as the civilians nearby get involved.
The issue also deals with the fallout from the scene the last issue where Dana saw Terry being kissed by Melanie/Ten. I’m glad to see Melanie back as a regular, as she’s by far my favorite supporting character in the Batman Beyond series. Dana, meanwhile, seems ready to break up with Terry for good, which I can’t say I’d be sorry to see. Unfortunately, over the course of this series, she’s been good for little more than overwrought romantic complications and being the token “girlfriend subplot”. She deserves better, but if the series isn’t giving it to her, they may want to write her out. Of course, it’s hard to tell what’s her and what’s the fear plague, which she falls prey to as well. The latter half of the issue is one big elaborate action sequence, as Terry’s presence winds up accidentally causing a riot that attracts the attention of the GCPD again – only for Commissioner Gordon to jump in and lend her support to the riots.
After a very strong arc, the series seems to be backsliding a bit, with very little advancement in many plots and a lot seeming to go in circles. We still don’t know what’s causing this plague, either.
Corrina: You’d think Terry would be quicker on the uptake about the fear plague and realize that people are overreacting. Instead, he seems to actively ignore it.
Of more interest to me were the scenes between Matt and Bruce, with Bruce hoping to find some way to explain to Matt why Terry made the decision to keep his little brother on the bench. It’s a nice role reversal, as Ray said, but, I wish Matt would bring up that he’s already been a fighter in the war and saving his childhood at this point is a lost cause.
I also wish the series would move a bit faster on the tear gas, somehow adjust Dana to make her more interesting, and have Terry give a proper reason not to let Matt be Robin. As Ray said, this series feels like it’s going in circles.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.