Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1 – Jackson Lanzing/Collin Kelly, Writers; Max Dunbar, Artist; Sebastian Cheng, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: It’s a little odd that twice in two weeks, we’ve gotten a complete reboot of the Batman Beyond mythos. Sean Murphy’s version was a much more radical digression within his White Knight universe, while Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly are building on what various creative teams including Dan Jurgens built before them. However, the stage in this issue is very different. Bruce Wayne is dead, having died at the hands of a mysterious AI known as Neo-Gotham. To everyone in the city, this is simply a new “smart city” software that is making life easier for them—but Terry knows it’s alive and slowly taking over the city. Making his task even more difficult, Terry is seeing Wayne-Powers taken over by a new manipulative force—the Holographic Man, a former supervillain turned business magnate who aims to turn the powerful corporation into just another branch of his criminal empire.
We’ve seen a lot of takes on Batman Beyond over the year, some of them bleaker than others. This isn’t the darkest, but it’s definitely slipping in that direction. Terry has fought for years, but he can’t really make a further dent in Gotham’s crime scene. What’s more, he seems to have lost most of his support system. Bruce is gone, his family is nowhere to be seen, and Barbara Gordon is getting ready to step down as Police Commissioner. However, a new police officer has entered the story, and she may just be her legacy. Most of the issue feels like a slow trickle of trouble in Gotham, but it explodes in a big way towards the end of the issue as a new villain emerges—one who seems determined to balance the scale in a twisted way. The action that explodes in the last few pages is big and surprisingly bright, but the issue ends on a shocking note. This is an intriguing first issue, although I’m hoping some more classic Batman Beyond elements will work their way in soon.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.