|BATMAN BEYOND No. 3, October 2015|
Writer Dan Jurgens’ pre-publication declaration that this third instalment detailing his ‘take’ on the DC Universe “thirty-five years in the future” would contain a “nice little surprise” at the end, doubtless had many comic collecting cynics believing that the National Cartoonists Society Award-winner was simply trying to increase the title’s distribution sales. But on this occasion “DC Comics” advertising hype would actually seem to have been correct, albeit this twenty-page periodical’s greatest ‘bombshell’ is not the fact that Tim Drake was duped into leading Brother Eye back to the secret location of Neo-Gotham. But that the former Red Robin ever actually survived his incarceration at the hands of the “semi-autonomous artificial intelligence surveillance system” in the first place.
Indeed, when it comes to portraying a superhero somehow surmounting overwhelming adversity in order to succeed then the young (future) Batman’s escape from the very heart of the supervillain’s “Cyborgian Army” factory in “Brave New Worlds – Part Three” has to be viewed as a genuinely miraculous exodus. Either that or an especially contrived narrative which defies all common sense, logic and practicality, and one which disappointingly actually generates far more questions than it answers.
Foremost of these convoluted conundrums is the American author’s explanation as to why Inque is a ‘loyal’ lieutenant of Brother Eye and willing to subserviently do whatever the one-time orbiting satellite commands. Initially Jurgens would have his readers believe that the shape-shifting femme fatale ‘sold out humanity’ simply because “I’m a survivor. You’re dead. Reason enough?” Yet then divulges that Jack Kirby’s creation is actually holding the daughter of Terry McGinnis’ ‘most powerful adversary’ as a prisoner on the moon.
Such a revelation makes perfect ‘motivational’ sense unless in the very next panel, the distraught mother immediately endangers her child’s life by forming an alliance with Batman, simply because the costumed crimefighter confidently asserts “Help me burn this place to the ground and I swear I’ll bring your daughter back to you.” Why having clearly spent so long under Brother Eye’s thrall helping the mechanical monstrosity subjugate the planet’s entire population would Inque suddenly risk all on the say-so of her one-time greatest foe? Especially when he’s trapped deep within the bowels of one of the artificial intelligence’s most notorious strongholds?
Equally as mystifying is Drake’s somewhat superficial rematch with his former Teen Titans team-mate Cyborg. Vic Stone arguably pummelled Tim in their previous encounter, yet Jurgens suddenly has Batman, despite clearly have been tortured by his captors for a considerable amount of time, truly trounce the mechanically enhanced superhuman by simply giving him a face full of jet boots; “You beat me once. No one beats me twice.”