Batman Beyond Unlimited #14 review

Not the usual cover is it? It’s so dark and rather understated compared to the Batman Beyond Unlimited designs of the past and it would lead you to believe that this is a very heavy read. Well, in the case of Batman Beyond it actually is, but when it comes to Superman Beyond and Justice League Beyond you’re in for some fun. A great combo like that makes Batman Beyond Unlimited a book that’s definitely worth your time and money. Not only is issue #14 an enjoyable read but it’s also an important one. Things are about to get shaken up in more ways than one.

With Batman Beyond I thought that we were getting a brand new arc and I advertised it as such in the recent Upcoming Comics article. Well I wasn’t entirely correct on that one. This month’s Batman Beyond episode is called Legends of the Dark Knight: Dana. Now, a name like that might make you think it’s going to be similar to those one-shot origin stories from Justice League Beyond. It’s actually more of an epilogue to the 10,000 Clowns arc, but not an inaccessible one for new readers! Author Adam Beechen does an excellent job of tying up loose ends leftover from that epic, explaining all the important beats to the uninitiated in a painless way for the tried and true fans, AND he makes an ENORMOUS change to the Batman Beyond mythology that will be felt in the comics from this day forth. I found it to be a pretty well done, low-key story with a nice big punch at the end but the artwork hampered things a bit. Typically Peter Nguyen does terrific work (he’s filling in for Norm Breyfogle) but just looking at the very first panel you can see something is off. It makes Dana look like she’s 6’6 or like the bottom half of her body kept growing while the upper half stayed at around 15 years old. It’s weird. And there are several other panels from that point on where faces look soured and squished, hands look like flippers, and some panels where figures have no faces at all. It’s a crying shame for such weak illustrations to be used for such an important story in the life of Terry McGinnis. Be on the lookout for a comic book reference, by the way. It won’t be hard to miss.

Apparently No Man’s Land happened in the Batman Beyond timeline. I find it odd how from time to time Beechen will try to incorporate more comics history into the beloved Animated Series history. It’s unnecessary in my opinion and can only lead to confusion. Pressing forward and creating his own thing is cool, but retroactively altering the past doesn’t sit so well.

For the second act, we have the always great Superman Beyond by JT Krul and Howard Porter. If you haven’t been reading from the beginning you’ll probably be somewhat confused by what’s going on here, but trust me, it’s good. It would be worth your trouble to find the older chapters on Comixology! In his youth, Superman once freed some slaves on a strange planet and today those slaves have risen up with their own civilization that is in constant war with their former captors. The slavers sought revenge on Superman and brought him back to the planet for punishment but he was freed by people who view him as a messiah. So… it’s pretty cool. Of the three Beyond features, Superman’s story is the one that I think is most deserving of its very own book. Batman and Justice League can have their short stories, but Superman’s has been far too large in scale for so little page space.

Lastly, there’s the Justice League story, Flashdrive Part 2. It’s a fun one that introduces us to the newest member of the Justice League, Flash. There’s really not much more to it than that. It looks great with artwork by Jorge Corona who captures the look and feel of the animated series well and writer Derek Fridolfs wrote a fun battle scene with some amusing lines. It’s a nice break after the massive year-long arc that Justice League started with. I figured this one would be just as big but this second chapter wraps everything up quickly– just like a Flash story should, eh?

It would appear that next month will have the middle of Superman’s journey plus 2 all new arcs starting fresh in Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond. So if you’re a curious browser skimming through this article, make a note! Next month is the ideal time to give this series a test-drive. Not that this issue is too bad. In fact, I recommend you pick it up regardless just so you can see the surprise that Batman Beyond has in store for you. All in all, this is a comic that’s worth the $3.99!

SCORE: 8/10