Batman Beyond #33 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Rick Leonardi, Penciller; Ande Parks, Inker; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: This arc of Batman Beyond has been dominated by two storylines, one much more interesting than the other – and, in Batman Beyond #33, it becomes very clear which is taking over the book. The new villain Splitt was introduced two issues ago and had an interesting hook – the villain is composed of a pair of brothers who can merge into one being with super-speed and have been darting around the city stealing from Powers Inc. to get a mysterious technology to cure one of the brothers. It’s a cool power set, but their appearances are brief and their story doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere. Terry’s pursuit of these criminals, though, is complicated by Bruce Wayne’s erratic behavior. As we know, Bruce was actually replaced during a visit to Arkham Asylum by the criminal False Face, who has been taking full advantage of the Wayne fortune to gamble and impress women.
False Face at first seemed like a rather low-ambition villain, just wanting to engage in vague debauchery. When he gets close to being discovered, though, he turns overtly villainous – shooting Terry and forcing Matt and Melanie out of the Batcave courtesy of his digital security system. He even plans to reveal Batman’s identity to impress his date – which seems more like a teenage boy’s scheme than an aging super-criminal. Melanie chases the case to Arkham, where she reveals that it’s the real Bruce under False Face’s restraints and mask – but Bruce isn’t the only one False Face has managed to replace by now.
This is a strong hook akin to the best stories with the Chameleon over at the competition. However, it feels like yet another distraction from any real forward motion in this title. We’ve had some interesting hints dropped about the role of Derek Powers’ legacy in this title – when are we going to see them play out?
Corrina: What I like about this arc is that it truly feels like a team working with Terry now. Melanie works better as a love interest because she knows what’s going on (though I still hate how the series got rid of her predecessor), and Matt is being used well as Terry’s backup.
And it’s always great to see a spotlight on cranky Old Bruce Wayne, even under a mask, and even when fighting blind. Those were effective sequences in Arkham between Melanie and Bruce. Also effective were the sequences with False Face, taking full advantage of being Bruce Wayne to be a super-sleazy old man. False Face doesn’t seem very bright, however, as he immediately engages in horribly out-of-character behavior for Bruce, making him easy to spot. But maybe he’s simply impulsive after being in Arkham that long because assuming Terry’s identity is a smart, smart move. Yikes, poor Terry. Leonardi does a terrific job with the casino sequences, the close-ups on False Face, and the plunge off the building that cuts to black.
As to the speedy brothers, that plot is treading water, though, hopefully, it will overlap with the main plot at some point.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.