Batman Beyond #32 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Rick Leonardi, Penciller; Ande Parks, Inker; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Bruce Don’t Care
Ray: Now that the major Joker story and Matt’s time as Robin have wrapped up, Batman Beyond is back to case-of-the-week storylines like the TV series commonly did. There are two main mysteries going on right now – the new criminal known as Splitt, who seems to be two people who can merge into one super-powered body, and the odd behavior of Bruce Wayne after a visit to Arkham last issue. If there was any doubt that this wasn’t Bruce, it’s clear once he displays a bored disinterest in Terry’s fate during the fight and leaves him to his own devices, forcing Matt to come up with a way to save his brother’s bacon. Terry manages to get away from Splitt, and while the brothers continue their thefts in an apparent attempt to save one brother’s life, Terry works with Matt and Melanie to uncover their connection to the defunct Powers Industries – the former base of his arch-nemesis.
Rick Leonardi does a good job as the new artist on Batman Beyond #32, but overall the plot lacks the punch of the recent Joker arc. The funniest part is fake Bruce Wayne going to casinos and basically acting as UN-Bruce-like as possible. As for Splitt, we’ve seen their type of villain before but it seems clear the brothers aren’t actually evil. Future solicits even show them teaming up with Batman, likely once the truth is exposed. The most interesting part of the issue comes in the end, as the location of the true Bruce Wayne is revealed – along with the identity of his impostor, in a clever twist that fuses this series with one of the oldest versions of Batman. I just wish it had more twists like this one because it’s felt for a while like this future-set story is just treading water. It needs a new major plotline to drive it, and the possible return of the Powers clan could do the trick.
Corrina: It’s taken a long, long time for this series to shake off the mess that was Futures End, for certain. (Where is that older Tim Drake, anyway?) The best parts have been the interaction between the new Bat-Family: Terry, Bruce, Matt, and sometimes Babs.
The worst parts have concerned the predictable plotlines with Terry’s girlfriend-in-peril and the ridiculous argument that Matt, a veteran of a war, isn’t suited to be a Robin. We’ve moved Matt away from the Robin suit and to being the behind-the-scenes hero support, which works wells, as does the switch to Melanie, who seems to belong much better among the superheroes.
I’ve always liked Leonardi’s work and it’s strong in the action sequences, especially as Terry is pinned in the opening segment. He’s also great in the segment of Bruce headed into the casino, with a sneaky grin on his face. That Bruce is an imposter is obvious. What’s less obvious is how they’re going to expose him.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.