Batman Beyond #34 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Rick Leonardi, Penciller; Ande Parks, Inker; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: The bodyswapper or impersonator has been one of the most popular plots in comic books going back decades, and Batman Beyond has been having fun with the curious case of False Face – an obscure Batman villain from Batman ‘66 that Dan Jurgens has upgraded to a major threat as he took over the bodies of first Bruce Wayne and now Terry – Batman himself.
The thing that makes this story more amusing is that actually, False Face is pretty terrible at his big scam. He constantly does things that would give away to anyone that he’s not who he’s pretending to be, and he’s just too dim to care. At the start of Batman Beyond #34, he’s in disguise as Batman and proceeds to sexually harass the woman he just rescued and then drop one of the criminals off a building. He barely remembers not to let him die to keep his cover. Bruce is less than happy to see how Terry is playing rough, but it strikes me as kind of ironic – he didn’t kill anyone, and Bruce was notorious for abusing criminals in his youth. Is old age making him soft?
At the same time, Terry has found himself alone in the city with no memory, assuming he’s a homeless person and teaming up with one of the criminals who False Face roughed up. What is supposed to be a friendly bite to eat ends with an armed robbery, followed by Terry being framed. At the same time, False Face decides to make his move and betray the Bats, teaming up with Splitt to rob Gotham. Like I said, he’s not subtle. This is all fairly exciting, but there’s a sense of preordained ending to it and we still don’t know how the Powers legacy plays into all this.
I also find it pretty amusing that both of Dan Jurgens’ books right now involve Bruce Wayne’s partner and protege with amnesia and in a tough fix where he keeps picking dubious allies. This is definitely better than the title was during the recent Joker arc, and False Face makes for an amusingly incompetent but still dangerous foe.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.