Saturday, 4 July 2015

Batman Beyond #1 - DC Comics

BATMAN BEYOND No. 1, August 2015
Set thirty-five years from now “in the definitive future of the DCU”, this “mini-relaunch” by “DC Comics” of their “Batman Beyond” title has clearly given Dan Jurgens “a lot of room to develop a new path” much removed from anything which has previously happened in the DC Universe or even “what’s been established in the animated series”. However for those readers unfamiliar with the events depicted within this comic book's forerunner, the eleven-month long mini-series “Future’s End”, the Minnesota-born author still wisely begins his narrative by ‘reacquainting’ readers with a few (semi) familiar elements such as ‘Alfred, “Joker cosplayers” and of course, the red and black Batsuit. 

Unfortunately such an intelligently written ‘acclimatization’ process to such a very different looking high-tech Neo-Gotham barely lasts half a dozen pages, as the Minneapolis College of Art and Design graduate quickly succumbs to the temptation of populating his “almost limitless canvas” for this ‘Batman of the Future’ reboot and disconcertingly starts to imbue his storyline will all the hallmarks of an “Elseworlds” comic book.

To begin with the titular character is no longer the Terry McGinnis of “Warner Brothers” fame but rather a time-travelling Timothy Drake who was “supposedly” given the suit by Paul Dini’s co-creation. Such an arguably controversial move is even voiced within “Brave New Worlds” itself as Matt McGinnis bitterly states that “if I had been there Terry would’ve given the [Bat]suit to me.” Infinitely more perturbing though is the appearance of a “turned” Superman; a laser-carrying cyborg with four metallic spider-legs, who seems far closer to a mixture between supervillain Hank Henshaw and Metallo than the popular Man of Steel. This abomination of Joe Shuster’s boy scout, coupled with the later appearance of a somewhat emaciated Barbara Gordon provides a disappointing glimpse as to the “exotic… wide-open adventure” Jurgens plans ‘to enjoy in having such latitude’ with this title.

Equally as uninspiring is the artwork by Bernard Chang. The Asian American designer draws an extremely impressive looking Batman and some mean-looking Jokerz. But as soon as the action cools and the Montreal-born illustrator starts to have to pencil less dynamic scenes, such as Drake having a hot beverage with Nora Boxer or being incarcerated within the Lodge, his quality sharply declines. Indeed by the end of the former Red Robin’s confrontation with Superman, Chang’s pictures bear little resemblance to the artist’s earlier work and seem almost to have been rushed in order to meet some imminent fast-approaching deadline.
The variant cover art of "BATMAN BEYOND" No. 1 by Kalman Andrasofszky


  1. I'm not a big fan of Batman in any of his incarnations, so I tend not to comment when you review any of his comics. However, I was amazed to see Vampirella's bat logo on the chest of this Batman. She should sue him for copyright, even though her logo is gold and his is red!
    Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing a Vampirella/Batman crossover. It is possible as Vampi has teamed up with Catwoman before, Speaking of Vampirella crossovers, the upcoming Vampirella/Aliens crossover has me VERY excited.

    1. Bryan, I do review quite a few "Batman" titles as its hard not to own his stories when you collect comics as fervently as I do. But most of the stuff coming out of "DC Comics" presently isn't his best stuff by a long way, "Batman Beyond" #1 being a good case in point... Though #2 is better as you'll see from my review on it next week.

      I didn't spot the "Vampirella" reference but I'm not all that familiar with your fave character. However if you want to see what a Batman -Vampirella crossover could have looked like then this site is great for comic book covers:

      September 2015 certainly looks a good month for comics with the Vampirella-Aliens crossover starting - especially as its a six-issue mini-series. Are you planning on getting it as a tpb or will you be buying each issue like me? £40 (including p&p) for a pre-order of its b&w variant #1 cover is a little steep though ;-)

    2. As a HUGE fan of Vampirella, I am VERY familiar with her costume and as soon as I saw the cover to Batman Beyond in your first picture, I immediately saw the similarity between her gold bat logo and Batman's red bat logo. They really are identical.

      I have seen lots of fan art featuring Vampi and Batman but not the one in the link you gave me. Thanks, Simon. I've added it to my massive folder of Vampirella pictures and photos.

      As for Vampirella/Aliens I ALWAYS buy her comics. It is not often I buy any of her TPBs. Buying multiple copies of a comic just to get the variant cover(s) is something that does not interest me. I choose which cover I like best and buy that one and that one only. I totally agree that £40 for a single issue is very steep and way out of my price range.

    3. Well I'll be looking forward to your opinions when I review Vampirella/Aliens crossover in September Bryan... and in the meantime hope to entice you into buying some other tpbs you've never heard of before :-)