The issue starts off strong with a lengthy Batman Beyond episode. This story has been riveting the past few issues. Bruce is hospitalized, Jokerz are bombing every corner of Gotham, Dick and Tim are both out of retirement and helping Terry, Dana is in danger, and Catwoman and Vigilante have joined the fight as well as Gotham is consumed in flame. There’s a lot going on and I think it’s going to make for one heck of a good TPB one day. The story only ever drags when “The Joker King”, who would be a far better villain if his character design wasn’t so terrible, explains his origin. That part felt unnecessary because he basically states what we could already assume from the bits of dialogue we’ve seen over the past few issues. None of his origin is very interesting or memorable and it stripped the scene of some of its tension. What should’ve been explained is how Joker King ever got his hands on this super-powered pistol or the suicide drugs he dosed his army with, now that’s something I would’ve wanted to hear. Still, Adam Beechen and Norm Breyfogle are performing at the top of their game right now. I recommend all Batman Beyond fans check this storyline out.
What came next was quite awesome as well. I’m really digging the Superman Beyond stories. I’m like them so much that I wish it was a full issue. What you get here is entirely too short but it definitely left me wanting much, much more. The surprise appearance by a beloved DC character who hasn’t gotten any New 52 attention was a major plus and the villains Superman is facing are far more complex than usual. Typically when you have the alien invasion storyline there’s a lot of naked aliens who use advanced technology yet are only capable or roaring and growling. When we are first introduced to the alien race that seeks revenge on Superman it’s not even the usual villainous monologue you might expect– it’s a father, son moment and one that illustrated perfectly what their motivations were and yeah, it was totally understandable. It’s clearly a misunderstanding and they have the wrong guy, but I’m curious to see how this plays out and who it was that they have confused Superman with.
The third and final story here is a Justice League Beyond Origin piece about Barda. The solicits stated that Fiona Staples from Saga would be doing this, but that’s simply not true. Man, do I hate solicits. Those things are rarely correct. Instead the art is done by Ben Caldwell who brings a very unique, cartoony style to this that I actually enjoyed. It really set this story apart from the other two that came before it. The only problem is that the story wasn’t very interesting to me. I don’t know why but I have trouble listening about the New Gods and Genesis and Apokolips without drifting off. So when it came to this Barda story I found myself enjoying the artwork more than anything. There were some cool coloring choices done as well, but the story…I honestly could’ve done without this and just had more pages devoted to Superman Beyond instead.
Overall it’s an alright issue but it could’ve used more Superman. Superman Beyond was far too short, Batman Beyond is awesome but should probably wrap this storyline up in the next issue or so, and the Justice League Origin story couldn’t hold my interest. It would be nice if all of these stories got on a similar schedule so it was easier to recommend to new readers. Batman’s thing is totally not accessible right now and Superman is on chapter 2 of a new epic. It’s a solid series available at a price that gives you plenty of bang for your buck, but it’s probably best to wait for the TPB.