The $#!% hits the fan in this issue. All of the stories collected in this series are reaching their big climax at the same time and while that doesn’t bode well for new readers who will be confused by such a comic, the rest of you should be on the edge of your seat! Bruce is hospitalized, Gotham is under siege by suicide bombers, Metropolis is getting hammered by a giant robot, the planet is surrounded by a ring of kryptonite, and a giant world-consuming snake is about to devour Earth. And in a month where every DC hero is bursting out of a faded background, Batman Beyond Unlimited’s cover by Dustin Nguyen really stands out. It’s quite cool and what’s inside is good as well.
Also, I’m not going to give individual scores to each mini-story anymore. It’s getting too hard to grade some of the smaller tales.
10,000 Clowns: Boomtown
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Nrom Breyfogle
Color by Andrew Elder
This was a pretty heavy issue and it is easily the highest body count ever racked up in a Batman Beyond story (comic book or TV show). It starts off with Bruce in the hospital, his liver failing from years of abusing pain killers, and from there goes to a devestating scene in which Gotham is overrun by suicide bombers. It’s pretty dark and very intense. Fans who have been reading this and even the earlier pre-52 run by Adam Beechen will recognize a lot of familiar faces. Beechen is bringing in several different elements from his early work in the Beyond verse, all of them converging for one big epic. The only draw backs for this issue were some lack luster panels in which Terry looked more like the Big Boy restaurant mascot, some other actions scenes that could’ve used a bit more sharpness and detail, and the unnecessary inclusion of Vigilante (Jake Chill). By adding him to the story it brings all of Beechen’s work together, sure, but it takes away from the drama of having Terry in this horrible situation alone without Bruce. It’s an entertaining read and I wish it had gone on even longer. It’s a shame that we only get a snippet of this story every month. I’d love to take this all in one sitting. It’s really hard to give an individual score to these since they are so short so I’m gonna stop and just give one overall score.
Superman Beyond: Failsafe
Written by JT Krul
Pencils by Howard Porter
Inks by John Livesay
Colors by Tony Avina
I hope Superman fans are aware of this series. I care very little about Superman at all, but even I find myself thoroughly enjoying this from month to month. The art team is doing a fantastic job and each issue looks really great, Krul is constantly adding more and more elements from the original Superman mythology to create an even richer world for him to inhabit, and the action is top notch. Superman is definitely faces a suitable threat here and although its disappointing that you don’t get the full conclusion and only a snippit of it, it’s all quite good. I think everybody should pick this up when it’s released as a TPB.
Justice League Beyond: Knostriction Chapter 9, Crawlspace
Written by Derek Fridolfs & Dustin Nguyen
Pencils by Dustin Nguyen
Inks by Derek Fridolfs
Colors by Randy Mayor
Not much happens in Crawlspace. Everyone, good guys as well as bad are simply preparing for the inevitable attack on earth by the giant snake. The episode’s greatest strength is its artwork (Fridolfs and Nguyen make a great team) and its sense of humor– there are a few really nice moments between Terry and Bruce. Although the collection of Justice League, Batman, and Superman together in one book seems kind of odd since we just see Bruce in the hospital in one book and then here he’s A-Okay. It strips Batman Beyond of some of its drama. Likewise with Superman who we see struggling to save his city in his own series and then here he’s out in space strategizing with the rest of the league. It’s best just to ignore all of that and enjoy yourself I suppose.
Once again, it’s a pretty great issue. Terrible for new readers who will have no clue whatsoever what is going on, but great fun for those of us who have been reading the series from the beginning. I still say that you should wait for the TPB though. It’ll be a much more fulfilling experience when you get to sit down and read these adventures from start to finish.